Newsletter June 2011
The Llangollen International Eisteddfod

04th – 10th July

For one week in July each year, the small Welsh town of Llangollen is descended upon by the world. Between 2000 and 5000 competitors and as many as 50,000 visitors have been eager to witness the dazzling spectacle and experience the magic of Llangollen offers. The beautiful Welsh town has for more than 60 years hosted the world at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. During the day, International musicians and dancers compete in over 20 high quality competitions. Each evening, the best and most colourful competitors share the stage in renowned concerts given by professional artists.
Placido Domingo acknowledges that his first professional experience in the United Kingdom was at the 1968 International Eisteddfod, and in 1955 Luciano Pavarotti competed with his father in the male voice choir competition with others from their home town of Modena. The choir won its section, and Pavarotti returned for a spectacular concert in 1995.

Welsh ~ Cymraeg

The Welsh Language Board indicated in 2004 that 611,000 people (21.7% of the population of Wales) were able to speak Welsh. This figure marks a 0.9 percentage point increase when compared with a figure of 20.8% from the 2001 census.
Welsh is one of the Celtic languages still spoken, perhaps that with the greatest number of speakers. The only natural communities of speakers are found in Wales, and a small colony in Patagonia (in the Chubut province of Argentina), although there are speakers of Welsh elsewhere through immigration. The name Welsh originated as an exonym given to its speakers by the Anglo-Saxons, meaning "foreign speech" (see Walha). The native term for the language is Cymraeg, and Cymru for "Wales."
Welsh is an Indo-European language and so has much of the deep structure of its grammar shared with other Indo-European languages, as well as much vocabulary cognate with that of other members of the family - including English. Welsh is less closely related to English than are languages like French and German and the Scandinavian languages. English is a language which developed from the confluence of various influences in the Indo-European family, but has surprisingly few signs of direct influence from Welsh.

Some basics in Welsh:
Hi, how are you? Helo, sut wyt ti?
Very well, thanks. yn dda iawn, diolch.
Where are you from? Ble ydych chi o?
What is your name? Beth yw eich enw?
Thank you. Diolch yn fawr.
What time is it? Faint o'r gloch yw hi?

Conlan School promotes "English in North Wales", a teaching and learning initiative between a group of schools, colleges and universities based in North Wales whose purpose it is to encourage learning the English language. Please, find more information here:

Host Family Interview

Conlan School understands the importance a host family can play in a student’s experience abroad. We are lucky to have such a great network of friendly, enthusiastic and caring host families across North Wales. This month we will put our host families under the spotlight and find out their thoughts on hosting students and take a look at the experience from their perspective. We have interviewed our families and will feature these interviews over the next few months. This month we have interviewed one of our longest standing host families, Mr and Mrs Paul and Lorraine Robertson.

Please, read the interview here.

If there are any questions you would like us to ask please send in your ideas to

Saying of the month: “Jack of all trades”

Literally it means “A man who can turn his hand to many things.”
With any phrase that includes a name, it's natural to consider whether its the name of a real person. In this case Jack of all trades was a generic term rather than a living and breathing individual. In fact, the very long list of terms that include 'Jack' exceeds that of any other name in English and this reflects the fact that, as a derivative of the common name 'John', 'Jack' has been used just to mean 'the common man'.
We now use 'Jack of all trades, master of none' in a derogatory way. Originally, this wasn't the case and the label 'Jack of all trades' carried no negative connotation.
Various trades were populated by Jacks - lumberjacks, steeplejacks for example.
'Jack of all trades' entered the language in 1612 when Geffray Minshull wrote of his experiences in prison in Essayes and characters of a prison and prisoners; the 'master of none' addition began to be added in the late 18th century.