At last, i spoke welsh!

Hi all, I returned recently from a short holiday in North Wales, and I just wanted to share on the Forum my first attempt at speaking Cymraeg!

I was staying in Llandudno - lovely place, but seemingly an almost Cymraeg-free zone. But I made a day trip to Caernarfon to do “touristy things”, and I knew that if I didn’t make an attempt to say something - anything - in Welsh in CAERNARFON, I never would, and I’d never forgive myself. But I had no idea what I was going to say, or to whom.

Anyway…I was queueing at a well-known tourist attraction in Caernarfon, and I thought to myself, “Now or never - go for it, mate!” Here’s the short conversation.(excuse my mis-spellings)…

“Bore da, dau tocyn os gwelwch yn dda. Dw i’n hen, a mae fe’n yfanc” (indicating my younger travelling companion)

Friendly smile and nod from man on desk - handed me two tickets, one full price and one “age concession”.

Him: “Diolch”. Me (handing him the money): “Diolch yn fawr. Dw i’n trio dysgu siarad dipyn bach Cymraeg”. Him: “A’chi’n siarad yn dda!”.

Well, needless to say this gave me a real boost, so much so that later in Y Tafarn I had the confidence to order lunch in Cymraeg from the bilingual menu (and I didn’t end up with the wrong meal either!) Of course, at this point the cwrw helped no end!

It sounds silly, but I was really, really nervous about trying Cymraeg for the first time, but now I seem to have broken through some sort of psychological barrier. As I got on the bus for my trip back to Llandudno I kept saying to myself over and over again, “DW’I WEDI SIARAD CYMRAEG!!” Diolch, SSiW.

Sadly, I am now back in deepest Kent, and back to practising my spoken Cymraeg on the long-suffering hen ghi.


That doesn’t sound silly, that sounds normal…:slight_smile:

HUGE congratulations - that’s an enormous step you’ve taken right there… :slight_smile:


Da iawn, @gavinM! Llongyfarchiadau! Really happy to hear about your experience :slight_smile:


Da iawn @gavinM.

Someone, somewhere on this forum said something to the effect that no one ever drowned by getting out of their depth in a Welsh conversation. You have just proved this!





Now you should never be nervous again!

I am always more “irritated” and kind of “nervous” about doing lessons then just going out there and saying soemthing in Cymraeg, something, anything … :slight_smile:

You’ve made it, now just don’t let yourself to be nervous again.


Tatjana :slight_smile:


Llongyfarchiadau mawr i chi . A great story to share with everyone and as HowlshedhesServices said ,very inspiring to others who are also looking to speak Welsh for the first time . Caernarfon is always a great place to go as Cymraeg is so dominant there . As you say such a contrast to Llandudno which is relatively close and almost fully anglicised


Oh well done! As people have said, this sort of story really does help others - it has helped me - I am so nervous of speaking welsh to others - even friendly folk who know I’m learning… can I ask, how did you get over your fear? What went through your mind that made the difference this time?
Once again, good for you, and no wonder you felt a boost - it’s a very vulnerable-making thing and you braved that and came out OK :slight_smile:


Llongyfarchiadau @gavinM! A real, face to face conversation is always scary the first time, but it sounds like you did wonderfully. Da iawn ti! :smiley:


Ah. He addressed you as ‘chi’. I keep wondering about SSIW’s exclusive use of ‘ti’ until pretty late in the game.

With me it was in Caernarfon in what must have been about 1980, in the little gift shop on the corner where the big car park is next to the castle. Always stuck in my mind. Fast forward to this year I was surprised to see it all there. Vivid memory. I bought a miniature axe, which went down the back seat of my grandad’s Toyota Corolla :frowning:


The thinking there is two-fold - that in most cases, people will initially start to use the language with people they already know - and that very few Welsh speakers will respond negatively to a learner using ti instead of chi (or the other way round).

Also, of course, that it’s pretty easy to switch from one to the other… :slight_smile:

which is the lesson for everyone!

You had an unmissable opportunity, so the barrier slithered. It’s harder, I think, when more chances offer! e.g. when I lived in London, I missed all sorts of exhibitions because of the, “Oh, I’ll go next week when the queues are shorter…” sort of thinking. When I had to travel there, then I had to go to as much as possible in the time available. I suppose the answer for those in the, “next week will be better” situation is that you cannot know what the future holds, so best take the leap now!
Does any of that help @Samantha?


To be fair, most courses I have been on and most tutors I have had go for the “use ti from the off rather than ‘chi’” attitude.

What Aran said.

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I think this sums if up perfectly, @henddraig and @Samantha. I live a long way from Wales, I don’t know when I’ll be able to visit again, and I felt that if I missed this opportunity (especially in Caernarfon, the heart of Welsh-speaking Wales!) , I’d never forgive myself. As to how I overcame my fear, well I didn’t. I just fearfully dived in!


Thank you everyone, for your very kind comments.There’s a _postscript to this hole thing…

My visit to Caernarfon took place on the Friday, and the following evening I had a ticket to BBC “Proms In The Park” at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay (Apparently the first time this annual event have been held in North Wales - it’s usually Cardiff). To my delight, a terrific evening ended with Welsh songs, music and the National Anthem, just before the fireworks.

There I was, standing in a field in Wales, singing my heart out in Cymraeg - especially Calon Lan and _Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau _(I already knew the tunes and lyrics, courtesy of Bryn Terfel and his fabulous CD _We’ll Keep A Welcome) I really enjoyed it so, so much - belting out the Welsh National Anthem with fireworks flashing and bursting all around. Wow!

Then, at the end, the taxi for the short run from Colwyn Bay back to Llandudno …the driver was quite friendly and chatty and spoke English with what seemed to me to be a Liverpudlian accent. Just before we arrived back in Llandudno I asked him “Where are you from originally?” His answer: “Don’t be fooled by my Scouse accent - I lived several years in Liverpool. I’m a Welshman, and my home language is Welsh”. _Well, I certainly drew the long straw there- Colwyn Bay/Llandudno is not exactly known for its huge number of native Welsh speakers, and I get one of this rare breed driving the taxi!

Of course, no time for any attempted Welsh conversation - but when I paid him his fare I said “Diolch yn fawr, a nos da”. He answered, “Croeso. Nos da”. Somehow, a fitting end to two terrific days.

Needless to say, I found it difficult to get to sleep that night - I was still singing in Welsh at Parc Eirias _Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos!

Hwyl, Gavin


Ah you are entirely right - I live quite close to Wales and think, ah I can go again another time. I was the same when I lived in York and didn’t do all of the things I wanted to because there would always be another day…

@gavinM - I think my problem is that I don’t just want to assume that Welsh people can speak Welsh, and as they usually seem to speak English first in shops and so on, that is an added dimension of the unknown. If I knew someone spoke Welsh, I might be more tempted to go for it! :slight_smile:

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I personally have another tactic when I’m in Wales - either ask from the off “Ychi’n siarad Cymraeg?” or just strike up the conversation in Welsh and only change when they tell me they don’t speak it. It can be scary at first, but I think it opens doors, especially because a lot of people use English as their default ‘street language’ and only speak Welsh with the people they know.


You may be on to something here! I suppose if they said ‘No’ and we switched to English, they would never suss out that my Welsh is fairly basic :wink:

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I know…people in general are very friendly wherever you go… and I’ve never encountered hostility in Wales as a tourist. It’s that fear of freezing! Such respect for @gavinM for having a go!


And so say all of us!