"So if you want to learn a language, do NOT learm Welsh, cos it is DIFFICULT."
Based on this "sage" advice from Adam, we can extrapolate the following general statement:
"If you want to learn another language, don't, because they're difficult."
Yes, the "soft mutation" concept could be a difficulty for someone learning Welsh - but so what? All languages are full of such relative "difficulties" which can present quite a challenge to a non-native learner.
English has plenty of "difficulties" of its own.
Damian in Edinburgh: >>Welsh has a strange form of mutation as well, which hardly any other Language has.<<
As I know, Irish and Scots Gaelic have this too (which can explain some strange consonant clusters at the beginning of spelled Irish Gaelic words, for example). Right now I cannot cite any examples, but I remember having read this some time ago...
>>It's a fact that visitors from outside Britain at least TRY to pronounce Celtic placenames a wee bit more like they should be pronounced, and not deliberately turn mispronunciations into some sort of gleeful sporting activity. Andy told me that a female Greek singer once sang the entire Welsh national anthem IN WELSH and her pronunciation and stress was absolutely spot on.<<
In fact, Welsh and other Celtic languages definitely have more in common with some South European languages phonetically than with English. I personally think Welsh has the most sounds in common with Romanian and Bulgarian, which definitely have the vowels spelled as "u" (a sort of an unrounded "oo" sound", as far as I know), though not the "hissing" vowel spelled as "ll". This, of course, is no justification for failing to make that effort from the part of the English towards correct pronunciation, mind you...
On a personal note, I used to practice the pronunciation of Welsh out of curiosity on the text of a famous lullaby which has a wonderful melody and text (I listened to the melody and tried to sing along by reading the text, having done some study of Welsh pronunciation previously). That gave me at least some idea of how Welsh sounds like.
Here is a link to the the text of the song in Welsh and English:
Me: >>I personally think Welsh has the most sounds in common with Romanian and Bulgarian, which definitely have the vowels spelled as "u" (a sort of an unrounded "oo" sound", as far as I know), though not the "hissing" *consonant* (not vowel, my mistake!) spelled as "ll".<<
Maybe this statement of "having some sounds in common" can also be extended to some Romance dialects as well.
I live close enough to Murrayfield rugby ground in Edinburgh to sometimes hear the roar of the crowd and sometimes when they sing the various national anthems before the games and it's clearer when an easterly wind is blowing. Especially the Welsh anthem which is always sung the loudest and the most enthusiastically by the huge crowd of Welsh guys, plus the team players of course. Naturally the anthem is sung only in Welsh - it is never sung in English, ever. Always in Welsh, from the rugby grounds to the school assemblies in Wales.
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau (Land of my fathers)
(for Andrew :-) )
Needless to say you need audio switch on
Cymru am byth = Wales for ever