As I progress my Masters' studies (see my student blog), I have not forgotten my Welsh I mean ... I have forgotten quite a lot of what I learned, but I have not forgotten to keep learning. Little by little, it starts to stick in my mind - as long as I practise.
I started on the OU's free course Discovering Wales and Welsh. I keep my Welsh up by listening to Learn Welsh with Will videos while I make the packed lunch and breakfast in the morning. The side benefit of this is, my daughter can see me learning.
The main reason most children in Wales resist learning Welsh (which they are obliged to do by law), is that their parents, and also peers, are openly scornful of them having to do so.
I want my daughter to be positive about learning Welsh because:
- She will have to do a GCSE in it anyway, so she might as well do her best at it.
- It's good practice for her other GCSEs, to do the one in Welsh.
- Welsh is a fascinating and beautiful language.
- It's spoken all round us, and so it's easy to practise it - one of the most important things in learning well, and especially in learning a language.
- It's good to learn any language, as this encourages your brain in maths and logic processes. One that is markedly different from English, like Welsh or Latin or Mandarin, is particularly good for stretching your brain rather than something only a bit different like French.
(By UnknownVector graphics by Tobias Jakobs - Open Clipart Library,
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=355609)
When I was a kid, my mum stood up in school and asked why we were not able to learn Latin, and as a consequence I got to study Latin at O level. I have really enjoyed knowing a smattering of Latin. I have a better chance of eventually speaking Welsh properly, as it's hard to find someone to converse with in Latin.
I practise with the waitresses in my local cafe, and also with a friend on Facebook. (I know that if you chat about your studies outside class, you are likely to do better.) I am proud to announce I have been able to sustain a conversation in Welsh on Facebook (partly with the use of Google translate).
- My friend posted: "How are you today?" in Welsh
- Me: Gwych! Mae'n braf heddiw in Cymru. (Great! It's fine today in Wales. Luckily I had just done the video on 'weather'.)
- My friend's friend posted: "Where are you?!!!"
- Me: Caerdydd (This is the Welsh spelling of Cardiff.)
- My friend posted a GIF:
- I wrote: Ffasiwn Cymreig! (Welsh fashion - Welsh is phonetic so if you just say the first word without thinking about it, you won't need my wonky translation )