Y41 “Coed y Brenin by Colin Jones” gan Dyddiau Hapus
If, like me, you find the prospect of reading a whole book in Welsh a daunting proposition then Coed y Brenin, by Colin Jones, is the book for you. It is an easy read, especially if you buy a kindle edition. Here, every unknown word is a mere click away from understanding. Words are highlighted, with a direct link to an end-of-chapter dictionary. When you have found the word, understood it and want to go back to reading the chapter, one click sends you straight back to where you left off. With no rumaging around for the dictionary you have forgotten to bring with you, or distracting swapping from kindle to google-translate and back again, you can concentrate on enjoying the book. The writing is southern Welsh, but as someone who is learning Northern Welsh (very slowly) I can reassure you this is no bad thing and certainly no hindernece.
Also, knowing the author wrote it especially for his beginner learners is a comfort. It means the language is simple but at the same time, like all good teaching experiences, you are gently pushed into reading an ever-wider vocabuary. You soon come to believe that you can do this reading-in-Welsh thing. Despite the inevietable limitations of a beginner’s vocabulary for an author, Colin Jones has produced a story that is simple good fun. It is clear he enjoyed writing it.
I would recommend this book as a good ‘toe-in-the-water’ introduction to becoming a Welsh reader. And like all good ‘toe-in-the-water’ experiences, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover just how warm the water is. Without even realising it, you will have overcome your fears and, before you know it, you will be wading out into deeper and deeper water. In time, you will be swimming into the warm waters of Bethan Gwnes, Lois Arnold and the like. Your cofidence will grow, so much so that you might eventually be able to swim out into that big wide ocean of rich and varied Welsh literature. Who knows, in time and with a lot of practice, you will be able to tackle something really wild, like Adar o’r Unlliw by our own Catrin Lliar Jones. Because it is always important to have a goal to aim for, however unreachable it might seem right now.
But for the present enjoy paddling in the shallows. Ther water is warm and there are no sharks! And if this first dip in the water turns out to be okay - and I know it will - then Colin Jones has more to entice you in, still supporting you through those tricky moments when it all feels a little too much and the water ahead looks very, very deep.