Another weekend dysgu Cymraeg

I’m sure as you all know , learning Welsh is full of ups and downs / high moments and low moments and full of challenges and personal goals. I thought I would update you all on the latest weekend of my learning journey.
On Saturday I attended an Eisteddfod Cylch to watch my daughter recite a poem . She did well considering she gets very nervous doing it and narrowly missed out on getting through to the stage in the afternoon. I knew it would be a day where I would be surrounded by Welsh and opportunities to practice so I had a good night’s sleep Friday night and was looking forward to it. It went pretty well from the off. When entering I was asked for “tir pint” to which I replied "doni ddim yn sylweddoli bo fi angen talu " to which the woman smiled and replied to me in Welsh , "don’t worry even I have to pay to get in " I went to the canteen and bumped in to a few people I know and had a chat with them in Cymraeg . I enjoyed these conversations as they are people who know that I am learning and this really takes the pressure off. I then went outside for some fresh air and saw my daughter’s head teacher . My daughter wanted to go and watch some of her friends take part in their singing event and the head teacher said that was fine but I was trying to explain that the times of the singing and poem reciting overlapped . This was quite frustrating as I really couldn’t find the words to get my point across properly but things were explained well enough in the end and we worked out that there was someone who was singing who was also reciting a poem so there would be no issue with missing the poem reciting if she went went to watch the singing. This was all done through the medium of Welsh . It would of course have been a lot easier to slip back in to English but for a while now I have absolutely refused to speak English with Welsh speakers and they , especially my daughter’s teachers are very patient and respectful of this and will never slip back in to English with me when things get tough . On the way in to watch the singing I said a few brief words in Cymraeg to the woman on the door and sat down. A few minutes later , the same woman asked me something from the other side of the quiet room , full of people . To my horror I didn’t understand . She asked me again and at this point , everyone in the room turned round and wondered why I wasn’t answering . I just replied with a rather sheepishly "sorry " it turned out she was asking me to pass her something . This was definitely one of those moments where I would have loved to make myself invisible and get out of that room as quickly as possible , every learners nightmare ! Surprisingly this had no lasting affects and didn’t affect my confidence too much for the rest of the day . I think I must be becoming very thick skinned after all of the times I have made a complete fool of myself these last 11 months. When leaving the room I got a sympathetic smile and a " dal ati cariad ". The rest of the day went with only a couple of minor glitches.
This morning I woke up to the standard Welsh rainy weather and wondered what to do with the day. I looked on Google maps and picked out Denbigh . I have never actually been to Denbigh properly , only driven through their with work a year or so ago so though why not , better than staying cooped up inside all day. I was wondering if I would get any opportunities to speak Welsh there. I thought that due to its proximity east that it wouldn’t be very Welsh but I was pleasantly surprised. Denbigh is an interesting place with a lot of history . As it was Sunday nearly everywhere was closed but when looking around , nearly all the shops had Welsh names and there were a couple of Welsh book shops , a Welsh language centre and a cafe promoting the Welsh language to name a few. Unfortunately these were all closed but we did finally find a cafe that was open. When we walked in we heard Welsh being spoken straight away. I ordered a panad o de and siocled poeth and dau brechdanau cews . On the way out I went to ask the woman at the till (in Cymraeg if course) what days the market was open . For some reason I stuttered most of the words but she understood and replied to me . I then went to ask what kind of things they sell in the market . I knew what I wanted to say but the words would just not come out of my mouth . When words did finally come out of my mouth it was just a stuttering mess. This must have been some sort of mental block but it was VERY embaressing , made worse by the fact that she was a very pretty girl :laughing:. Anyway , I made a hasty retreat and we headed home the scenic route over the Denbigh moors . On the plus side though , when listening to radio Cymru in the car on the way back I seemed to understand a bit more than usual .
I long for the day when these awkward learning moments stop or at least become less frequent. (I’m sure they will eventually but I have to admit that that day still feels a very long way off) though I suppose that when you look back on them they are quite funny :grinning:

8 Likes

The thing is i bet you KNOW exactly what to say now.

Eg

Pa fath o bethau ydyn nhw’n werthu yn y farchnad

So next time it will be easier. It kind of just seems to work like that!

2 Likes

That’s really wonderful!

Da iawn ti - so great that you just keep getting out there and don’t let the “awkward learning moments” get you down! :star2:

3 Likes

You know what this means, don’t you? When you spoke to her the first time, she didn’t realise you were a learner! So although the second incident was embarrassing for you (and we have all been there), it’s actually something really good! (And chawarae teg iti for not letting the embarrassing experience stop you!)

8 Likes

Yes, this. Which is kind of awesome! :star2:

6 Likes

Wow - this is the absolute crux of all your problems, and the absolute cause of all your success. You are no longer a “Learner”, you are a Welsh speaker with things still to learn (like the rest of us!).

Will you still have embarrassing moments? Oh yes! Will you look back at them and laugh? Possibly, if you remember them (no-one else will). Will you be falling over occasional words / suddenly finding that you completely don;t understand someone for years to come? Yes, I’m afraid so. But you are exceptionally close (or possibly already there) to being able to carry on most of your every-day activities, with most familiar people, through the medium of Welsh. You will be amazed at how quickly your new language will evolve now that you have made that step.

I have to say, it’s stories like yours that inspire me the most, day in day out: You have truly crossed the bridge from learner to speaker, which is the only real measure of success for SSiW. Diolch yn fawr iawn!

7 Likes

Stories like this are so inspiring that today i decided to go to corwen again and into Caffi Treferwyn.

Only a small conversation

“Prynhawn da, ga i banad o goffi du?”
"mwg?’
“ie, a brechdan caws hefyd”
“dim ond caws?”
“ie ond oes gen ti bara brown”
“oes…unrhywbeth arall”
“dim diolch”

sits down on table next to man who says
“Sut wyt ti?”
“iawn diolch. Ti?”
“iawn”

ok not the most difficult exchange in the world but nice all the same !

10 Likes

To all who manage such days, and noting that not knowing what was said across a room could be due to deafness,

Some days are just made for Welsh. Upon waking this morning i settled into my routine of an hour’s worth of memrise and duolingo. Then drove to Chester and did one of the Ssiw level three challenges.

After a meeting i drove to Corwen listening to radio cymraeg and had a quick welsh chat in the cafe there.

Then to wrexham with more radio cymru and an hours chat with @Bob . I find Bob easier to understand, probably as he learnt via ssiw too.

Then more radio cymru on the way home.

Phew…time for some saesneg before bed!

3 Likes