Well I have just returned from the awesome Part 10 and 3 days with the Bootcamp group. Yesterday I went with my non welsh speaking husband to buy a trailer in Corwen. Went into trailer shop and said we were looking for small trailers (in Welsh) lady obviously understood but replied in English. So that wasn’t very successful! However on the way home we needed to get some egg boxes so husband phoned (in Englis) an agricultural supplier in Bala. Yes, so we popped in and I said in welsh that my husband had just phoned for the boxes. Lovely chap replied in welsh . The boxes were used but clean, but when I asked how much he wanted he replied he said ‘dim byd - ti’n Cymro ‘ so happy Diolch o galon SSIW
Just a wee one. But I started the course on Monday – so I’ve only gotten through Challenge 2 so far. Though Welsh isn’t as common in the NorthEast, there are still folks here who use it when possible. One is our Costa Barista. He told us that if we ever started learning we could practice on him. So today I went to order my mocha (in English) but when I was finished I told him in Welsh that “I needed to practice speaking in Welsh.” He was impressed and agreed to let me and my hubby practice with each visit. (And we visit often!) yeah!
That’s got to be the sweetest phrase in the world!
There were lots of lovely moments last week in Caernarfon, of course, but I had a really nice language breakthrough in the queue for the toilets in Y Bachgen Du. A woman started explaining to me in English why one of the toilets was closed for cleaning. I replied in Welsh, and she didn’t say ‘oh, well done, how long have you been learning?’ She just apologised. And switched to Welsh.
That sounds tiny, but it felt really important. (The explanation wasn’t any more pleasant in Welsh, though! )
At which point you replied in Welsh, “I really didn’t want to know that… too much information…”
A really small breakthrough for me and my girlfriend. We have started to learn Welsh together (I initially started in August but had to stop due to some life obstacles) and have completed the first two lessons of the 6 month course. Whilst practicing while walking through Cardiff we were testing each other and a lady that was in the street looked up and smiled as we were walking passed. It could easily be a friendly interaction which had nothing to do with the Welsh but I am going to take it as a little bit of motivation to keep going.
So not so much a breakthrough but a little extra motivation. My partner however had some quick breakthroughs as somebody that has never been taught or spoken Welsh as she is born and raised in England by picking up the pronunciation of “ll” and “ch” very quickly. Still struggles with the rolling r but she’s doing very well
‘ Da iawn’—that’s what he said when I managed to translate ‘ochr draw’ as our class continued its romp through the hilarious book ‘Bore da’ by Gwennan Evans. How did I know? Can you guess which SSiW lesson? In the context of the story, it refers to something ‘mysterious’ from the ‘otherworld’ perhaps (you’ll have to read the story), not ‘the other side of the bridge… or wall… or hotel’ so there’s 3 clues for free.
How was it a breakthrough? I translated it spontaneously because I just ‘knew it’.
Oh, and while I am here preening, I did speak some Welsh to my very patient conversation partner in N. Wales yesterday, AND (sorry, but humility is not my strong suit), drum roll please… ‘I CRACKED SLACK’ today (with a lot of advice from folk far and wide), so was able to briefly say ‘Hi and Bye’ on a Hangout—just checking I could connect in.
Phew, after all that I now have to do another load of laundry and wash the floor… ‘that’s life!’
Today, I got a joke fast enough to spit my beer all over the pub table with laughing.
Llongyfarchiadau, but you can’t just leave it like that - what was the joke?
Polite warning - it’s not the cleanest joke ever.
I was meeting a friend of a friend of a friend who’d kindly agreed to a two hour chat, and we were discussing Great Political Scandals of our time (anything to avoid actually getting to know people!) I couldn’t remember the name of the guy I wanted to slag off, so I said “The one who had the… beth ydy’r gair am ‘threesome’?” He replied “Dwi’m yn gwybod, dw i ddim wedi cael un byth yn y Gymraeg!” *
*What’s the word for threesome? I dunno, I’ve never had one in Welsh!
A couple of things this week - firstly I visited a Welsh medium school for a meeting and conducted the conversationalist with the receptionist totally in Welsh. Secondly I went to a barbecue with lots of Welsh speakers present and managed to have a number of conversations.
I’m in Fishguard again today with Welsh speaking tarmacking gang from Lampeter… All in Welsh and my ear is tuned in to them this time, which is great. Bach (a little) goes after everything.
Everything is shortened with them, but they mentioned that “Cymraeg yn dod”, as in - Your Welsh is coming along.
Today I went into a couple of libraries to ask about putting up posters on their noticeboards about Nia’s day in Llandudno on 13th July and did it all in Welsh. 6 months ago, short of “croeso”, “dw i’n hoffi coffi” and “diolch”, I spoke not a word of Welsh, let alone hold a conversion with strangers in a local library. So, thank you very much indeed to everyone at SSiW @aran, @Iestyn, @Deborah-SSiW @Nia.Llywelyn etc… It is a great feeling. Onwards…
MACHYNLLETH next stop....SSiW Days Out
I went to a one day festival/Concert. I was wearing a Cymru T shirt and for the first time ever I spoke welsh with someone without telling them I was a learner. We chatted 4-5 minutes and I understood pretty much every word or at least knew what he was saying. He appeared to understand me and answer correctly my questions. It felt like he didnt notice I was a learner as its the first person who chatted away to me without telling me I was doing well (in English) or switching to English. It was a surreal and beautiful moment chatting away in welsh in the middle of a field full of English people and another small step on the ladder.
I’m going home to Wales for 3 weeks in August. I cannot wait to have some breakthrough moments to tell you about - I’ve just started Level 2 of the 12 month course and cannot wait to use my Welsh every day instead of sporadically here in the USA.
Not speaking breakthrough but listening and understanding.
Recently, I temporarily stopped doing SSiW after challenge 16, it was just too much, more stress than fun and I felt quite low for doing the same mistakes again and again. I started doing Duolingo to fill some gaps in vocabulary and I’ve been also learning from other sources - youtube, songs etc.
One of my favourite ways to learn a language is to watch tv shows or movies (with English subtitles at first and with foreign language subtitles as soon as possible). So we were watching Craith every other day, with my husband. He doesn’t want to learn welsh but is willing to watch it in Welsh with English subtitles with me.
So we did every episode with English subtitles together and a day later I watched it again with Welsh subtitles, pausing as needed.
At the beginning, I was depressed that I can’t tell apart positive and negative sentences with all that shortenings. But it only took an episode or two to get used to it.
I was also a bit depressed that I can either focus on listening or pause almost every sentence and focus on understanding. I did mostly the second. But then I realized my brain somehow managed to do both and now when we watch it with my husband (we still have one episode to go), I realised I can understand huge chunks of it, even when I don’t focus on the subtitles.
Today (yesterday) I was going to our post office and there was a new guy. It didn’t occur to him that I don’t speak Welsh and he said several things mostly to himself (not requiring my answer, he was just trying to find out how to process prepaid packages) and I was shocked because I understood 80% of what he said. I also overheard two other small talks and understood most of them. I know I have to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people (which is something I am uncomfortable with in any language) but at this point, being able to understand feels good.
BTW I got back to SSiW today (like really today, after midnight), did challenge 17 and had huge fun doing it. I am a bit ahead with vocabulary but I absolutely needed to practise putting sentences together and it also filled some gaps for me (like using “it” as an object). I feel I have the energy to finish level 1 quickly and I am really happy about my learning now.
Stupid one but it felt good!
I saw a bike advertised for sale in Welsh on Facebook and seem to have pulled off a reasonably complicated Messenger conversation with the seller. Hooray! Unfortunately I’m collecting the bike tomorrow and she’s going to suss out my incompetence immediately when I forget my own name in a panic. It was fun though!
I was playing this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x8uFGwmbqM and part way through I decided to try and listen to the words to see if I could understand anything and to my absolute flabberghastedness I understood it all. I am so used to switching off when Welsh is spoken - this is all turning me upside down. Of course the song is very slow and the words are simple. But still…