I was just reflecting on the fact I’ve been lucky enough to have some great conversations in Welsh recently with people I don’t know.
It then occurred to me there was a common thread between them all. Each of them started because I was wearing something that signified I was a Welsh learner/speaker. Some examples:
The “Cymraeg” lanyard sparked two lengthy (20min?) conversations with customers at work. This is in “Little England Beyond Wales” btw :).
A humorous, slightly acerbic, Welsh language t-shirt sparked a number of great chats at the recent Green Man Festival (I won’t “plug” the t-shirt here, but it’s genius)!
I was walking in the Preseli Hills yesterday wearing the “Urdd Gobaith Cymru” bobble hat - a nice lady and her husband commented on it in Welsh straight away, sparking a lengthy chat (if you’re reading this, sorry if I droned on too long, Budddug!).
I’ve always been a bit against clothing/items that yell “I’m from here”, citing the old adage “It’s not where you are from, it’s where you’re at”. I’ll happily make an exception for Welsh language stuff though :).
You often hear people say they have difficulty getting to hear Welsh, or initiate conversation. Those lanyards, shirts and hat have definitely been a “way in”.
My sense has always been that many Welsh became somewhat a “private” language (understandable given the history), with speakers needed to be sure they are around others before feeling comfortable. This seems like a great way to overcome that. It might be you’ll need to say “I’m just a learner” or similar, but that’s fine. It might even help a small business or organisation too!
Bit of a ramble that, but I thought it might possibly be of interest.