Must meet up with you again.
I hope that this will encourage fellow students and SSiW teachers alike.
Today, I needed to help a friend to navigate across Swansea four times in a minibus. The challenge was that I was only allowed to speak in Welsh.
All went well, although it was a close thing at a few junctions. You know the type where you need to be in a certain lane (even though it seems wrong and both have straight ahead arrows), and then change lanes within a few yards, ready for the next set of lights. Straight ahead here, but left at the next turn, etc, etc. Anyone who has been to Swansea will know what I mean.
I really feel that I have turned a corner now (if you’ll excuse the pun); as I now know that I can use Welsh in everyday life. If I can do it, anyone can.
Yes! My Llandeilo time is now a bit randomly timed and we are still moving in stuff from storage and decorating etc, so time is a bit short before Christmas, but do come and visit if you like.
That made me laugh, as living in Glais I know all about the Swansea road markings. How brilliant that you managed it all in Welsh and four times. That’s a quadruple breakthrough.
Well done! I look forward to the day I can do that!
As with everyone here, I assume, it is often difficult to assess progress. I still sometimes think I am no better than I was a few years ago but that is evidently not true.
Today I was asked to go to a meeting to discuss a Welsh language service for Christmas. The minister is a first language Welsh speaker and the other person who would be there was a fluent learner. As this was likely to result in me ‘volunteering’ to do things I was hoping the meeting would be in English. When I arrived I felt obliged to do the usual greetings in Welsh but the conversation continued in Welsh and, after an hour of sorting out the service (and still no English) we went for a coffee and continued in Welsh. I am sure I was given a bit of leeway by the others but this was the first time I felt that my Welsh conversation was not a semi-retired person’s hobby!
Of course I will still be depressed when I can’t understand Kath on Pobol y Cwm tonight…
That’s really fantastic that you spoke and listened in Welsh for the whole meeting. Such a achievement.
That really is a massive achievement. That is something to aspire to one day.
I had another little breakthrough yesterday, when I dropped my grandsons off at their Welsh school Breakfast Club yesterday, I answered a teacher in Welsh. Only three words, but I never thought I’d have the confidence to respond in Welsh at the school so soon. This was one of my reasons for learning Welsh, so now if I can just understand at least some small part of their Christmas concert I will feel I’m really getting somewhere.
I wouldn’t say “little” for your first three words in the real world. Probably those are the hardest. I don’t know why, but that’s just how it is.
Sorry long post! I have just got back from a 4 day weekend trip to Aberystwyth and a brief stopover in Casnewydd and Caerdydd to see family. At first I was super nervous about speaking in welsh when we got to Aber, and on the first evening (Friday) I’d only muttered a few diolchs and nos das. I was feeling pretty deflated by the Saturday afternoon because I was worrying about what other customers and shop assistants would say etc and chickening out. Anyway, I was leaving Coffee number 1 determined to speak some welsh in a pub, and low and behold I bumped into @Nicky! I can’t thank you enough because it got me over my nerves and was great to finally meet in person. From there, I went up to Soip Inc and spoke in there for 5-10 mins (cant remember how long because I was having so much fun), then back to our hotel we were staying at to chat a bit with the barman over a pint or three!
I didn’t think my weekend could get better but in Sain Ffagans I spoke for probably 25 mins with an amazingly patient retired teacher called Dafydd (forgive my spelling). I couldn’t believe the things we talked about and the welsh was just coming into my brain before I knew I was saying it! Dafydd did say that I was a “classic learner” because I didn’t have any questions to ask him. After he brought that to my attention I had a load for him which I think helped the conversation flow much better and less one way; it felt more real. My brother was astounded that I was able to have this conversation and I think it has made him think about how learning welsh is possible (he lives in Caerdydd but has never really seen it spoken much in his day to day life).
Overall, it was an incredible feeling and made me realise I just need to find as many chances to speak as possible. I’ve still got loads to learn, but honestly, the more I spoke the more I got a feel for what is right to say. I am so motivated that I am planning another trip asap!
Diolch SSiW - what started out as a bit of fun and curiosity is now turning into something so much more
Doesn’t get much more serendipitous than that!
That was the word I was looking for!
With my mouthful of a Quorn sausage sandwich I might add!
Sounds like a productive weekend! Also caught sight of you I believe when I walked past “Y Banera” later on that night but I thought better of tapping the window!
Sometimes all it needs is the first conversation to get things started, and its often better if someone “starts on you”, rather than you “starting on them!”
Next time you’re around these parts, let us know!
This isn’t my breakthrough, unless you see it as a triumph of… let’s call it persistent encouragement (it sounds nicer than nagging, which is what everybody else calls it).
Ever since I started SSiW, I’ve been employing some gentle arm twisting to persuade other members of my family to give it a go. This is, of course, motivated by a pure and noble love for the language and has nothing at all to do with me wanting handy practice partners. Honest.
Since my children don’t live in Wales, I didn’t really have any hope that they’d take me seriously, but a couple of weeks ago I had a text from my daughter, in Welsh, telling me that she was partway through Level 1. On Sunday night we managed to have a half hour conversation, entirely yng Ngymraeg! Ok, so it was mainly about how long she’d been learning, what teams played in the rugby, and she had to pretend to have met her brother in the pub over the weekend, but it was a conversation nonetheless.
Interestingly, her 5 year-old son, who refuses to speak a word of Welsh, is picking up some understanding and now happily answers (in English) a few questions put to him in Welsh, such as what he did at school today, what he’d like for tea, etc. He even looks at us pityingly if we make a mistake.
It’s only a small thing, but very exciting for me. Years ago, when we lived in South Wales, I looked for a Welsh medium playgroup or nursery for her to attend and there wasn’t one in our area. It’s only taken 30 years, but we’ve finally made a start! Poor thing, she doesn’t realise that now I will never leave her in peace…
That’s brilliant! I would love it if my kids wanted to learn, and I wish I had got a bit more Welsh into their childhoods (they are 15 and 17). If I ever get any grandchildren I will be making sure they are exposed to it. I can’t imagine my husband ever wanting to learn, but I have been working on my mother - she lives in Cardiff and her best friend is mam iaith. But she spends her language time learning French and Greek!
Dolch am rhannu stori gwych, Isata. Thank you for sharing an excellent story.
This sentence made me smile the most because it shows that humans absorb what they’re exposed to. He has no interest in learning Cymraeg but can answer questions put to him yng Ngymraeg. Dyna ffantastig! Cymraeg is adding a nuanced layer to your family relationships, opening another door for expression.
It’s never too late!
Great! I think that must make a difference. Children are amazing in their ability to absorb and discriminate between different languages so the more exposure the better. We have a new grandson arriving in December and I’m tempted to speak to him in nothing but Welsh!