Something speculative in Welsh
Recently I heard an instructor on a Welsh language course delivering a speech in quickfire Welsh, to give learners an idea of how baffling the language may sound at conversational speed. What he was actually saying was just some elaborate nonsense. Later he rattled off a similar speech, but this time without bothering with the nonsense, instead merely repeating "something-something, something-something" in Welsh. "Something" in Welsh is "rhywbeth", pronounced (roughly) "hroobath". So "something-something" in Welsh sounds like "hroobath-hroobath" - which to English ears could sound a bit like "rhubarb-rhubarb".
Given the OED's first (1926) example of "rhubarb-rhubarb" is from the Manchester Guardian, and Manchester isn't that far from Wales, it made me wonder if a Welsh-speaking actor or director might have been the source of this odd usage.RLamb (talk) 12:56, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
- It's plausible, but it's also likely that the English word was chosen because of how it sounds. Just like why cheese was chosen for a word to say when taking a photograph. —CodeCat 12:58, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
- Gosh that was quick. I haven't been here much before and don't know my way around. I just came back to delete this entry and re-post it in the tea-room, which seems a better place for it. But I won't bother now. Yes, it's only a speculation.RLamb (talk) 13:16, 25 September 2012 (UTC)