Phrasebooks have long spared English blushes abroad, allowing modern tourists to tentatively attempt the local language in exotic locations.
But in 19th century Britain it was rain-swept Wales which attracted intrepid travellers, and their needs were far removed from simply settling the bill or ordering a taxi.
A 180-year-old phrasebook telling early tourists how to address Welsh “peasants” has been unearthed by archivists, and reveals the demands of Victorian visitors.
The 1838 volume The Welsh Interpreter was written for those who “wish to make themselves understood by the peasantry during their rambles through Wales”.
Sadly there’s nothing really fun in it – like so where do you keep the special sheep?
Unlike “My postillion has been struck by lightning” which has a certain fame as being most fun. I may well have garbled bits of this but I think it was an Anglo Portuguese dictionary/book of phrases for the traveller. Which was done by a Frenchie who spoke neither language. He took the Luso-Frog dictionary, the Frog-real language one and worked from end to end. Leading to such phrases as that about the horse – a postillion being a type of horse I think.