I promised my son that I would learn the language wherever he settled, and he came to university in Wales and never left. So my grandson is at Welsh school, and I want to be able to speak Welsh with him and with my daughter in law. In one way, my family has gone full circle. My father was born in Newport in 1920, to a non- Welsh speaking family. But when he was at school, he asked if he could learn Welsh, only to be told it was a waste of time and money, so he was not allowed to. He lived long enough to know that his grandson was a fluent Welsh speaker, and that his great grandson would be too.
I really enjoy reading stories like this. For anyone who says “language doesn’t matter,” stories like this contradict that statement. If language was only a means of communication then the loss of Welsh in the 1800s-1960’s would not have mattered. Language binds a people together, linking generations and provides a pathway to share a heritage.
Because I come from Wales and learning the language is like opening the door to a secret room in my home …
The best thing that’s happened (or rather, the best thing that is in the process of happening) is that Wales is becoming visible to me in a new way. I was always surrounded by Welsh, of course, but I took for granted that it was something incomprehensible and ‘for other people’. Now I am one of those people!
Oh, that’s a rather lovely turn of phrase… would you mind if we quoted you on that?
Not at all!
This is such a great thread. It’s wonderful to read all the reasons for learning Cymraeg.
That’s really beautiful and poignant sentence, Rebecca. Very memorable and it brought up own memory when I began to understand Welsh. I’ve never been to Wales but discovered a lot of Welsh ancestry and it felt like I found a long lost family that I was welcomed into.
I live in Wales. When I have learnt Welsh I will be able to communicate with my Welsh family in their native language.