SSi Forum

Is learning Welsh a waste of time?


#103

Very close to us then. I don’t know the names but may know them in passing. We have a regular grannies group for Gorslas School and three of them live on Black Lion Road, plus another couple live in Cefneithin and @margaretnock lives on Cefneithin Road too. I will ask my friends when we next meet. Many are very local and have never moved away. Would you private message me with the name you are known by, and any details which may help them identify. We are always talking about days gone by, it would be great if we can make a connection. Also, one of my friends is Joyce Thomas a retired teacher, though its a common name.
Anyway, hopefully we will find out :hugs: I might even get to practice my Welsh with them. :thinking: Did you say you some family come from Tumbl too?


#104

In fear of hijacking this thread … my dad was born in Tumble along with most of his siblings but there’s only the two left in that area now. My name is Geraint Scourfield, the surname passed down from my Taid, Brynmor, to his 5 kids, Glain, Benjamin, Iona, Tegwen and Gareth. Gareth and Iona have always lived in that area as far as I know.

Old days are the best subject, you never run out of things to talk about.


#105

Diolch! I will be in touch after chatting with a few friends. :hugs:


#106

They seem to have moved the article – that link doesn’t work, but this slightly different one does:


#107

Learning Welsh a waste of time? No, no, no! Part of the attitude, held by some English-speakers, that we don’t need to know a second language because so many others know English. I find it unfair, and extremely arrogant, to expect others to make great efforts to learn English, without us (English-speakers) learning another language in return, as appropriate. (I.e., one intuitivly expects immigrants to English-speaking countries, from outside the Anglosfere, to learn English. At that rate, it is only fair that if you, an English-speaker, ar going to spend an extended period of time in a non–English-speaking area, then you learn the language of that area.)

As for Welsh, minority languages such as Welsh hav very often been repressed by governments, probably in large part because linguistically unfying the country makes people easier to control and coerce. (Remember the Welsh Not?) I am a firm believer in the fundamental right to be free, and this includes freedom of language. Also, i despise linguistic discrimination; given that language is often closely tied to nationality / ethnicity / identity, i hav come to regard linguistic discrimination as another form of racism. Therefore, by learning Welsh or Cornish (i am learning both), you ar standing up for freedom.

As for these ‘arguments’ against Welsh. “It’s an antiquated language…” No. It is a modern, living language, and should be respected as such.
“no one of significance speaks it…” No. Rhys Ifans, who played Xenophilius Lovegood in the Harry Potter Series, is a nativ Welsh speaker. And Gwenno Saunders has released a number of songs and albums, mostly in Welsh and Cornish. (For comparison, Julie Fowlis sings in Scotch Gaelic, and Ruth Keggin sings in Manx. Songs in any of the three types of Gaelic [Irish, Scotch or Manx] ar quite beautiful.) Had Welsh not been persecuted (see below), even mor people would speak it.
“Only those of lower class speak Welsh…” The usual snobbish attitude, that a given language is only for the lower classes; pure linguistic discrimination.
“If it had value, the English would use it…” By the same token, if Finnish had value, the Russians, Swedes, and Norwegians would speak it. If Navajo had value, other Americans would speak it. Welsh or suchlike should be recognized for what it is: a legitimate language, on the same basis as other languages.
“If it’s so important why does only 20% of the population speak it?” Because of repressiv policies like the Welsh Not. Without them, far mor people – perhaps a majority of the Welsh people – would speak it. It gets better: until ~AD400, Britain (England + Wales) was part of the Roman Empire, and the people there spoke Proto-Brythonic. However, ~AD400, as the Roman Empire was collapsing, the Romans withdrew from Britain, and Germanic peoples (hence, Germans) invaded Britain and Germanized the island. The language of these Germans became English, while of Brythonic, only remnants (Welsh, Cornish, Breton) remain. So, the existence of English is arguably mor remarkable than the existence of Welsh; English would not hav come about had Germans not invaded Britain; English would hav either failed to develop, died out, or remained a minority language had the Germans not overpowered the Celtic Brits (linguistically). Celtic languages wer once widely spoken thru Europe, even out to Turkey. (Remember the Book of Galatians in the Bible? The Galatians wer Celts in central Turkey; their language was closely related to Gaulish.) I am planning to write an alternate history series, CeltWorld, where the Celts ar not overpowered by Romans or Germans, and Celtic ends up, and remains, one of the big branches of Indo-European.


#108

This is completely inaccurate.

Firstly, it should be borne in mind that the repression of Welsh at the school level was down to parents wanting their children to be immersed in an English-only environment for the sake of their having a better chance at a decent job. This sort of immersive school was not the only option in Wales. But people always attack immersive policies because such people lack an understanding of historical context.

Secondly, a HUGE reason Welsh was preserved as well as it was is because of its use in a religious environment. There is no question amongst the consensus of scholars that a dwindling church attendance has negatively impacted Welsh.

Thirdly, the best data we have access to states that no more than 20 per cent of Wales know more than 250 or so words in Welsh, and no more than 11 per cent know more than 500.

Although the analogy is not precise, this means that almost no one in Wales can speak at an A2 level, which an English speaker can acquire in a language like French or German in six months.This entire course doesn’t even reach that level.And the resources to get beyond that are almost non-existent.

This is to say nothing of ADVANCED Welsh at an academic level, which is of course a form of literary Welsh that almost no one outside of academia understands.

A lot of people view Welsh as being almost a pretend language for those reasons, and the main responses I ever hear are almost always sentimental in nature.


#109

I’m sorry, but I know people who’s parents or grandparents were beaten at school for speaking Welsh. The deliberate repression of Welsh did happen and was the model for using the same cruel treatment in other countries such as America, Canada and New Zealand to repress other languages and force children to speak English. It’s true that there was, up until the 1950s and 60s, a feeling that to “get on” in the world you needed good English and Welsh was unnecessary, but where I live Welsh is just a natural part of life and I use it every day.

I don’t know where you’ve got the idea from that people who learn Welsh as a second language can’t speak it properly. If you joined our weekly chat group you’d find that our group who all learned Welsh as adults all know far more than 500 words and can chat happily about a wide rage of subjects for up to an hour and a half or longer.

Recent surveys had shown that even Welsh people who don’t speak Welsh have a positive view of the language. As to the question, “is learning Welsh a waste of time?” I spent four years at school learning French and have used it precisely twice in my life. Once on a weekend camping trip to France and again many years later in an attempt to converse with an elderly man in Portugal spoke no English and who had assumed we were French. Yet despite that, no one would say that I wasted my time learning French but will try to say learning Welsh is a waste of time, despite the fact that I use Welsh every single day.


#110

What an odd thing to post on a popular and busy Welsh-language learners’ forum.

The popularity and usage of any given language is in constant flux, and the use of a language ebbs and flows over time.
The decline in spoken Welsh in the 19th and 20th centuries was multifactorial, and closely tied with political and economic factors to which I think you allude. However, this forum is part of a wider resurgence of the language, and anyone that’s had the privilege of conversing with ‘mamiaith’ speakers will know that our efforts to learn, speak and breathe further life into it, are welcomed with open arms by the many people who speak it as a first-language.

I’m not sure of your agenda or reasons behind making the points you attempt to make, but calling it a ‘pretend language’ is a laughable notion. Cymraeg continues to have an entire thriving culture around it (including contemporary films, music, books, TV & Radio channels podcasts etc, quite apart from being the medium that thousands of people choose to live their daily lives through).
Stick around in the forum, and you’ll learn that the ‘resources to get beyond’ are all around you.
Cymru am byth.


#111

Welsh definitely isn’t a pointless language, I wouldn’t let one idiot spoil your journey, I’ve been learning about 18 months, met some lovely people, who by the way are learners too, it has opened my eyes to a great culture, music, TV,
speaking Welsh to a Welsh person for the first time was a very proud moment for me, I’ve had frustrations along the way and a lot of fun learning, I think for me it’s become a part of my life, I don’t live in Wales but I get to practice with people from Wales, Ireland, America, New Zealand Australia, Estonia, so I’de say carry on learning and take no notice of idiots


#112

Are you able to quote a source for these figures? I’m not the expert here, but everything that I have ever read on the subject suggests that the Welsh-speaking proportion of Wales is far higher than this. The English Wikipedia article “Welsh language” quotes much, much higher numbers than what you claim, and provides government references to back its claims.
And although I have met Welsh people who have no desire to learn Welsh, I have never heard anyone claim to “view Welsh as being almost a pretend language”. Again, quoting a source for this claim would be helpful.
Noswaith dda i bawb!


#113

This is also innacurate. I know people who have done Welsh degrees and they are certainly not incomprehensible to ordinary Welsh speakers. People do study Medieval Welsh, just as people study Anglo Saxon poetry or Chaucerian English, but they speak the appropriate type of Welsh, depending on the situation.


#114

The simple answer to this post is that it is ‘b****cks’. Government figures put the percentage of Welsh speakers at 29.5% in Wales, with well over 100,000 speakers in England and lesser numbers elsewhere. Many people speak at an A2 level. I have learnt Welsh myself but can converse on a variety of academic subjects at an advanced level, like many people I know (obviously the subjects vary from person to person just as it does in English). If by academia you mean secondary schools as well, by default that includes many teachers and students. One has to question why would someone bother to post such a disparaging comment on a forum for learners. People would laugh at you if you came to my village and told people speaking Welsh in the street that they were speaking a pretend language.


#115

I don’t really know correct numbers so I leave this to others.
But I have to assume you have never been to Wales.
From my direct experience of just 4 weeks I’ve EVER been there, this cannot be possible, since I was able to speak it every day with random people and most of them more fluent than me!

Edit: forgot to mention that not only this course but there’s plenty of resources, even living in a different country like me, to learn Welsh to an advanced level.

And well…sorry, but first language English speakers who learnt A2 French or German or Italian in 6 months (or in several years) are not exactly that common! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#116

Learning any new language is absolutely not a waste of time. It opens up new experiences, increases your linguistic capabilities and is good for your brain. Only 20%, of a given demographic speaking a language (or 10%, 5% or a few thousand people come to that) is no reason to dismiss its value, although I’d question the accuracy of that number today and I’m also sure the surveys don’t include those living outside of Wales.


#117

Not by any means is it a waste. For me it is my number one coping skill. That being said, I feel like an outcast in this group, am sure I am not the only one. It’s sad because we could really use some encouraging. My wish is that people work together to say “hey, that’s great you are learning” instead of scrolling by and ignoring the content created by the less “popular” members, like we are in middle school or something.


#118

I just wanted to say that I don’t think we have a culture of popularity here. I’ve noticed that Americans seem obsessed with who’s most popular and regard popularity as a quality that people just have, but certainly here the people who get the most engagement are those who post the most interesting things or ask the most intriguing questions.

I admit that though I look in there almost every day, I ignore almost all of the threads and only follow a few that particularly interest me, but that’s because I’m probably on too many social media sites and there are only so many hours in the day. It’s not that I favour some contributors over others.

For many years, decades even, I used to write fiction and tried to get published. I sold a handful of short stories and even had a couple of agents interested in my novels, but never quite broke through because I wasn’t writing the right kind of thing to guarantee sales for the publisher. I had to accept that, painful though it was. Now I’m older, I’m happy doing things that interest me. If others like my photos or my videos, that’s a bonus.

If you want people to engage more, you have to study the sort of things that they find interesting and change what you’re doing so that what you produce matches what people like. You have to experiment with different things, rather than just doing what you personally like doing. The people who are popular on YouTube work very hard at studying how the algorithm works and matching their output to popular trends.

Apologies for going rather off-topic here. I think the person who revived this thread, namely akira-myazaki is a classic troll who posts something controversial and then vanishes so I don’t expect them to respond to any of the excellent rebuttals that people have posted here. Akira-myazaki also posted a critical comment about SSiW on my video, but then deleted it so though I got a notification, I was unable to respond.


#119

Edit: looks like the user trolled me too. Block. Ironically, the troll has a Japanese alias and hates on us for learning a new language? He needs a hobby! What a way to project! Hey, I am sorry he trolled your video. If you would like to exchange Youtube comments I would be glad to say something kind. https://www.youtube.com/c/JenXOfficialEDM/videos I try and say healthy things and stay positive, to encourage other small Youtubers like myself.

Part of my problem is I have a habit of over-commenting and over-liking which harms the algorithm. Thank you for the reminder. Time to time, I go in and delete ignored comments on Youtube just like i block the trolls.

Not an American thing IMHO, just feeling invisible like others, and trying to cope with my severe depression and my autism. :frowning:

There has been debate back and forth privately about the lack of commenting and participation on both Slack and here on the forum, and I wanted those who also feel this way to be safe to open up about their feelings. :hugs:

Maybe this is a good idea for a new thread? I wish all to keep at their Welsh and I am here to help should people have questions or need ideas.

I am sorry you got rejected by the publishers. As a writer myself I see that a lot. There is a great #WritingCommunity on twitter. We work to increase visibility for each other, even if we like different things. Downsizing my socials is helping me. I hope these ideas help you too.

Thank you for commenting.


#120

Anyone who thinks learning Welsh is a waste of time clearly doesn’t live in Wales. I’m English by birth but retired to North Wales in 2018 because my wife and I just love it! She is ‘half’ Welsh as her mother was born in South Wales.
There is only one legally required language in Wales - Welsh, though English is a de facto language and almost always included when communicating… I thought I had ‘made it’ when I got one official communication solely in Welsh, a while back.:rofl:
In our local town I met a gentleman who came into a shop and the woman who ran it introduced me to him. He was an elderly man who - to quote the woman, would cry out in Welsh if he hurt himself… Well of course he would, he’d been speaking it all his life! In fact when she told him that I was learning the language he was almost in tears to think that a foreigner (my self description) would put in the effort to learn ‘his’ language. He was deeply moved and thanked me for helping to keep the language alive. I said that it was a privilege and that it was a mark of respect to try to speak the language of the country in which you live. It also helps me to understand the people better. Many of the people in our village are native Welsh speakers and again I respect the welcome that they have given me. I feel much more engaged and part of the community. I hear the language every day!
Oh, and learning any language actually helps the brain to stay fit and active! That’s a bonus too…
Whenever I meet a Welsh speaker I always say something in Welsh… Whether they continue in Welsh is up to them… and of course, that is their choice. Dal ati :slight_smile:


#121

I’ve recently got to know a small village in North Wales which is becoming increasingly anglicised. However, one woman I speak to regularly (80 years old, Welsh speaking but lived in England most of her life) speaks to me in Welsh (mostly!). I never speak to her in English and the other day she thanked me for always speaking Welsh to her as she had little opportunity to use it in the village and just simply spoke English anyway but I had enabled her to be more confident in using Welsh. Obviously I am a learner still but my heart skipped a beat and I was so proud that I made the effort with her and totally humbled.


#122

Yes, acts of kindness or giving something of ourselves is powerful and has a positive effect on us too. If for that reason alone, it’s worth the effort but it also gives others a feeling that they are valued for who they are :blush:. All this from the simple enjoyment of language learning!