SSi Forum

Is learning Welsh a waste of time?


Coincidentally, just appeared is this rather nice potted history Welsh in Patagonia including some intersting examples of how the language has developed there, and it mentions also in passing that young people there who are not of Welsh descent have also begun to learn Welsh:


Sadly, sixty years ago, my mother decided there was no point teaching me what she thought was a dying language, despite her own love for it.

Now I am finally reconnecting with my mother’s tongue that was not my mother tongue - and I am loving it! I feel as if I am regaining a missing part of myself. It has given me access to a cultural world that was largely closed to me until now.

Connecting with different cultures is NEVER a waste of time. It opens windows on the world and windows in our minds. The haters can slam those windows shut if they want - they’ll never know what they are missing out on!




This resonates very closely with my situation although, since the family had moved to Aberdeen when I was 2/3, it was not mam’s decision to drop Welsh - more a question of Geography.

I share your joy at “reconnecting” with my “mother’s tongue” (you put it so well) and I shall be eternally grateful to SSiW for my being able to talk to her in Welsh before she died.

split this topic #45

2 posts were split to a new topic: Split from “Is learning Welsh a waste of time”


I would contend that nothing is a waste of time if you enjoy it.

People learn High Valyrian or Klingon. They’ll (probably) never use those languages in the wild, but so what? If they enjoy it, does it matter?

I’m learning the piano. I’m terrible. I’m never going to perform for anyone, so one might ask “why bother?” but I do it because I enjoy it. Same for Welsh: I may not use my Welsh in the wild (but I hope I’m wrong) but even if I don’t, I enjoy doing it so it’s certainly not a waste of time.

Or at the other end of the scale… one day the ultimate heat death of the universe will occur, ultimately rending all human endeavour pointless. So everything is a waste of time :smiley:


“It’s being so cheerful as keeps me going” - catchphrase of Mona Lott, a depressed laundrywoman in the classic 1940s BBC radio show ITMA, starring Tommy Handley.



I am vaguely familiiar with ITMA. It’s one of the classic comedies they play on Sunday mornings on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Don’t get to listen to the radio in the morning any more :frowning:


Geography played a part for me too. (Born in Edinburgh, then lived in Bristol before moving to Canada when I was seven.)

But where I do consider myself lucky is that my Nain lived with us. As she and my mum had both only learnt English at school they naturally spoke to each other in Welsh, so I heard it all around me when I was growing up, even though I couldn’t thread a sentence together myself.


I was born in 1949, so was too late for ITMA, but when I was growing up, people were still using the catchphrases, and you’d keep hearing Tommy Handley’s name mentioned. But (according to what I heard, anyway), Tommy Handley’s widow stipulated that they could not play any recordings of the programme after his death, so I never got to actually hear it.

I listen to Radio 4 Extra quite a lot, but always via iPlayer Radio (or “Sounds” as we are expected to call it now). Don’t think I have ever noticed ITMA in the schedule though.
I’ve heard occasional clips of course. I suspect I wouldn’t like it, to be honest. The only old comedy I seem to like is “Hancock’s Half Hour”. Still works for me! Timeless character stuff.

Edit: apologies: From a quick search, it seems that they have broadcast ITMA on Radio 4 Extra in the past, but there don’t happen to be any episodes available at the moment, it would appear. It will probably come round again.


I’m really glad you asked this question, Debra-Rowlands. I’m really enjoy learning Cymraeg and am very passionate about it, but reading so many heartfelt responses made my heart feel good on a stressful day. :hugs:


Yes, they repeat the stuff fairly often. I can’t remember ITMA much, but I seem to recall thinking it wasn’t terrible. What I did quite like was Men from the Ministry and All Gas and Gaiters. The former more so than the latter. They also play The Goon Show, The Navy Lark and Albert and Me (which is particularly awful!)

A lot of it hasn’t aged brilliantly, but it can still raise a smile sometimes!


This is hilarious. I am currently in Spain with my husband Darren. We studied Welsh last year. This morning we went on a ramble with a local group. We had French, Spanish, Dutch, Swiss, Irish and I think German too in our group. Yep, everybody there understood Spanish and English. We giggled as we chatted in Welsh. Hee hee! Nobody knew what we were saying. And yes, I know they weren’t bothered but we had never been in that situation before so it was quite exciting.


And another thing. During the Spanish intercambio this week I told my Spanish friend about my Welsh studies. She responded with “what’s the point, it’s no use outside the country.” She studied ancient Greek at university and is currently studying modern Greek in case she ever decides to visit Greece for the odd small holiday. I don’t think I need to relate how the rest of the conversation went. Thankfully we are still friends.


It rather depends on what is meant by waste of time. Allowing other’s comments to knock you off course is surely a waste of time. If you. enjoy it; if you connect with your ethnic kin or your genealogical roots then no it’s not. If its the absence of a reasonable chance of success then yes it maybe a waste of time because you fail to achieve and experience frustration. I was learning but haven’t done any for months due a lack of practise opportunities in England.


I spent six years in school learning Latin and don’t begrudge a minute of it.
Besides “It’s my time and I’ll waste it if I want to” :smile:

edit: This was a reply to the thread as a whole and not to any particular post. :smile:


I remember that with affection, and would probably still like it. It reminds me of a gentler time; a different world, so near (for some of us), and yet so far.

I did use to enjoy that on the TV, way back. I suspect it would still work, just like Dad’s Army still works somehow - clearly dated, but it’s really about characters whom we can still recognise.

OTOH for example, I can remember adoring The Goons, and “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again”, whereas nowadays I can hardly bear to listen to them, and I’m not quite sure why.

Gently steering back on topic, whether it’s listening to ancient comedy or learning Welsh mutations, whether it’s a waste of time or not depends on what else you might plan to do with that time.


Shared on Facebook and Twitter. Hope that’s ok Aran?


This is a personal response. If the sharing with Facebook and Twitter includes my own posts, I would rather not.


No, it won’t - the share button just triggers a link to this discussion, and people would have to come here as usual to read it… :slight_smile: