Is learning Welsh a waste of time?


#21

Right, exactly. It’s like saying “oh, mathematics - that’s just messing about with numbers” or “who cares about philosophy - that’s just ideas…”

Err… yeah.

Bingo is just numbers on a piece of paper, football is just air trapped inside a ball, clothes are just fibres stitched together.

Everything is just something else that sounds mundane.


#22

Hehe… that’s my plan! I hadn’t thought that much about Urdu, Polish, Punjabi, and Somali… but the rest of them are already on the list! I think it is important to know where we come from and what has shaped our world from our histories, and I value the different contributions that have been made. Being American, I have hoped to one day learn Lakota, Navaho, and Hawaiian, among others. The last two were recently added to Duolingo, which is exciting!

Speaking of Chinese… in China everyone knows there that their country has 56 ethnic minorities, and their languages and cultures are protected. Everyone is encouraged (probably expected?) to learn “putonghua” - the common language of Mandarin Chinese - but that doesn’t mean their native languages are seen as useless, the diversity is valued. That was something I really admired when I lived there. Even Han Chinese (the dominant ethnic group) are proud of their linguistic and cultural diversity and are very likely to tell you about it if you talk to them for a while.


#23

I hadn’t thought like that, but you are exactly right - too often we (us and the people around us wherever we are) lack pride in the diversity of language. I’ve been brought up in an exclusively English-speaking environment - but I should certainly be telling everyone how exciting it is that I share these islands with people speaking ancient languages unlike any others and with others from every part of the globe. Even better if I can say a greeting to my neighbours in their language.

:sunflower:


#24

I agree! Here, however, it is hard to feel pride, and especially for myself personally, being a descendant of immigrants who collectively committed a massive genocide… In fact, I am descended from the only Mayflower passenger to ever own another human being - a Native American man they named Joell who I found out about when I uncovered a will from the late 17th century because he was “inherited” by the son. Too sad. :sob:

The US used to have over THREE HUNDRED languages spoken - California alone had around 33 - but most of them are gone now which makes it even more important to protect those that remain and to help them flourish.


#25

Yes, that’s the downside - as much as we learn to appreciate those who went before, we also come face-to-face with their stupidity.

Still, without being flippant, there’s nothing we can do to change those things now. We can only learn and remember and try to ensure that these facts are not forgotten.

Which is another good thing about learning a language: it’s a humbling experience. Embracing all that history - good and bad - that’s encompassed in language and culture is humbling. And that’s good. :person_climbing:t4:


#26

… and you can get on perfectly well without it in Yr Wladfa in Patagonia … if you speak Spanish :slightly_smiling_face:…English is not a great deal of use there, though, so if you’re visiting but don’t know any Spanish, your knowledge of Welsh becomes very useful indeed!
Even though only a minority speak Welsh there, I found that Welsh speakers seem to be generally warmly welcomed by monoglot Spanish speakers - and on several occasions a rather cool reception suddenly warmed up when they realised we were Welsh-speakers and not ‘Anglo-Saxons’


#27

Helo, Debra-Rowlands a croeso i’r ffwrm! (and welcome to the forum!). I’m a bit late to this discussion. I live in the United States and that’s my excuse. HA! I won’t add to the impressive answers previously given. But obviously to this group, learning/speaking Welsh is very important and NOT a waste of tlime/energy. It’s also important to you, or you would not have asked the question.

My first thought after having read your question was to ask, “Why does that person think it’s a waste of time?” I’d be interested to hear the answer. It seems to me there are a lot of stupid stereotypes regarding the Welsh and the language that are persistent, i.e. “It’s an antiquated language…” “no one of significance speaks it…” “Only those of lower class speak Welsh…” “If it had value, the English would use it…” “If it’s so important why does only 20% of the population speak it…” and many more. It’s important to you, that’s all that should matter. But I also understand the need for approval from those we care about. I highly value my Wife’s opinion and when she disagrees with me, I take her concerns seriously, which leads to discussion.

Why does this person believe Welsh is a waste of time? I wonder what would happen if you said, “I don’t see it that way. How come you believe that?” This should lead to an interesting discussion.

If I was neglecting my familial duties, like, "I will, yeah! I’m trying to conjugate “bod,” then I need to readjust my priorities. But otherwise, it’s your time. Do what you want.


#28

I can’t speak for anyone else, anywhere else - but here in Wales (I live in the South-East) there is a group of people who object to the status of Welsh. Sometimes one hears about them ranting over Welsh street-signs and road-markings. Sometimes they explain that they consider Welsh -language things a ‘waste of money’.

I don’t know what prompted this thread and I’m not being negative about anyone specifically. But it is a reality that many Welsh learners here in Wales experience people being negative about the language.

I think it’s even understandable on one level. But for me, I offer the things I’ve mentioned above if anyone asks me about it. If they still don’t like it, there isn’t a lot I can do or say to make them change their mind.


#29

Also if all else fails, I think about the good things I’ve experienced whilst learning Cymraeg already. I’ve met a bunch of people who are fun to hang around with, even though we mostly only talk about cake and holidays. I went to the Eisteddfod, which was great.

I get to read books like a 7 year old and TV shows that would be childish or too stupid to waste time watching in English. I get to titter like a little girl at strange sounding words. I get to laugh at things that really aren’t funny. I get satisfaction from being able to understand street signs and overheard conversations.

It might be “pointless” but my life is better for doing it.


#30

Absolutely not (& I’m a Saesneg). The school which my grandchildren attend are so inspirational, committed & proud of the language & its people, it’s their attitude that keeps me learning. In Caerphilly it is a living language with a past, present & a bright future. Pob lwc i chi! :raising_hand_woman:


#31

Loving all the answers in here… <3

Also, Debra, you might find this interesting and encouraging:


#32

As a lighthearted analogy, being able to speak english in wales is like having a scone with butter, being able to speak welsh in wales is like having a scone with butter, jam, lashings of cream, edible gold glitter and miny sparklers. Enjoy/mwynhewch. :grinning:


#33

Wow, talk about lighting the blue touch paper but, in this instance, instead of an explosion there has been a magnificent fireworks display, inspirational really and will stop me occasionally thinking if it is all worth it. For decades I was unable to speak Welsh but was still proud to be Welsh, so the language and the hiraeth don’t have to go together but they help. If anyone has seen the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ then Wales without Welsh would be something like that - where we could think it might not make any difference if Welsh never existed but, in reality, what would Wales look like if it had not been there?


#34

Nothing which brings you happiness, contentment and which enriches your life is a waste of time.

This is one of the many things wrong with the world, we’ve forgotten how to take time out to do the things which feed our souls and bring us joy.

If more of us took time out to explore our frivolities, this world would be a much happier place.

Learn Welsh or fill your house with Christmas decorations 12 months of the year, build animals out of matchsticks or brew wine from cucumbers… fill your boots, be happy and take pride in your choices. :heart:


#35

Ooh, can we quote that in a post on Facebook please? It’s brilliant. :star: :star2:


#36

This reminds me of my Jewish American friend from New York who I met while she was studying Welsh medieval literature in Aberystwyth in the early 70s.

People kept asking her what was the use of medieval Welsh literature. She would give them a huge smile and say, “None whatsoever, but I enjoy doing it!”


#37

Certainly, if you’d like to.


#38

An amoeba knows how to survive, reproduce and even communicate efficiently with chemical signals. If that is all life amounts to then all the extra wonderful things we think of as human are essentially pointless.


#39

“A waste of time” = doing something you disliked which has no positive outcome. Nothing you enjoy doing, in your spare time, is a waste of time. It’s as simple as that. You could learn ancient Greek, thoroughly enjoy it, and never put it to any practical use. You won’t have wasted your time. People do talk a load of crap. Listening to them is a waste of time.


#40

Gwych - diolch o galon i ti, Sharon… :star: :star2: :heart: