That is not meant to decry one or the other, as I love both. After all, I grew up clambering and climbing over one and trying to swim in the other.
They have their singular qualities and attempting to make one element into another requires more than shape-shifting.
Welsh mutates according to all manner of grammatical situations, has multifarious ways of saying 'yes ' and 'no' and the vast majority of nouns are either masculine or feminine ( some are cross-gender).
English changes like a massive sculpture which is being carved into forms and also graffitied upon by the popular imagination.
Now I know what is meant by the saying 'croesi'r bont' as a sign of progress in Cymraeg ; yet I keep seeing the river but not the bridge itself, apparently made of wood not stone.
Maybe I went over in a dream?
One time in a local shop a man I knew from the past was cracking a joke at the expense of Welsh.
Referring to a newspaper crossword he said - ' I had this clue. Dead language, five letters. I wrote Welsh, even though it was Latin!'
I was incensed and ranted at him about how everyone should learn. Now, whenever I see him I deliberately greet him with 'Shwmae!'
I can understand when people say it shouldn't be a badge of nationality; it's a strong argument for a bi-lingual country.
Yet, because learning is a matter of choice I do strongly believe that it's fundamental in making a connection with our past, culture and literature, not to mention a thriving culture today in television, theatre and music.
I began learning far too long ago, attended evening classes and was left along a footpath with few signs by my wife, who strode on ahead to get A Level and a Diploma. As a Gaelic-speaker , she knew the right direction.
I kept it up over the years and especially enjoyed the classes at the old snooker club the Scala, with Phil Meaker as 'tiwtor' and, later, in the local pub with Rob Hughes, who insisted on speaking Welsh at all times.
I miss former Chair of Cymdeithas Jamie Bevan, who did the same and whose experience should be shared in every school in the land; as he was someone who rebelled against it at his Welsh-medium Comp, then moved to England and fully realised its worth.
I never really glimpsed the flow of water, never mind the crossing-point.
For a whole decade I simply didn't have the time to attend lessons and paid the price.
I became a 'lapsed learner' and , as my two oldest children progressed through Welsh-language schools and my wife chatted readily in Welsh, I stood on some outcrop peering into the distance.
With early retirement I vowed to take on the three W's : Welsh, writing
( blogs) and walking.
I should really be writing blogs in Welsh about walking, but it hasn't all worked out!
I realise that the 'hyder' (confidence) has gradually increased and also, that I don't possess the total single-mindedness of other learners, who devote much of their time to it.
As well as conversation, two things are vital to me : writing poetry in Welsh and tackling my latest project , the translation of Myrddin ap Dafydd's 'baledi' for a book, a genuine challenge given their strict rhyming structures.
The poetry-writing comes sporadically, but last week I completed two : one about standing at a bus-stop in Aberfan and the other a supposedly 'doniol' (funny) one about a character called Dafydd ap Treiglo, who is constantly shape-shifting.
In Welsh, I find myself writing in couplets at times, while I'd never do so in English. I'm beginning to wonder if it's because the poems are naff!
Learning Welsh can be so rewarding!
I'm listening again to songs by Meic Stevens, Steve Eaves and Fflur Dafydd and discovering so much I missed in the past.
I even watch documentaries on S4C without the sub-titles. However, it doesn't qualify me for comprehending an interview with Super Furries' Gruff Rhys.
Sometimes it's like I'm abandoned on the river in a coracle, going round in circles.
Then I write a poem, or just have a simple conversation and I feel myself stepping over.
This is a recent one, which failed to win the Caerffili Eisteddfod. Perhaps I took a liberty, as the subject was 'Arwr' ( hero).
Y ferch hon yw cyffredin ac arbennig,
Curiad y teulu, llaw a cheg.
Y ferch sy’n gyrru’r tacsi bob dydd,
Helpu pan o’t ti’n cwympo ar y stryd.
Y ferch sy’n wrando ar bob gair,
Hwyr y nos a chynnar y bore.
Y ferch sy’n dy gefnogi di yn y cae
Pan nad wyt ti’n gallu chwarae.
Y ferch sy’n nyrs, cogydd ac athrawes,
Dy hen ffrind, gofalwraig mor gynnes.
Y ferch sy’n caru heb gwestiwn
Drwy’r tymor peryglus llais ar y ffon.
Fel anrhegion, wedi rhoi ei hamser a’i phres,
Siwr y fod, mae hi’n arwres.
This woman's ordinary and special,
rhythm of the family, hand and mouth.
A taxi-driver every single day,
helped you up whenever you fell.
A woman who listens to every word
late at night or early in the morning.
A woman supporting when you play,
even if things go awry.
A woman who is nurse, cook and teacher,
an old friend, a warm carer.
A woman who loves without question
through tough times, a voice on the phone.
Giving gifts of her money and time,
she is indeed a heroine.
( translated by the author)