Yes, I think you got tagged in my last post, as I was originally going to quote you on something like that, but decided against it as I couldn’t fit it into the sentence and I was tired! It’s certainly an enrichment anyway - I was thinking today how much more colour there is in my life when I get to speak Welsh! That sounds a bit arty farty too, doesn’t it!
To understand the culture fully, is to embrace the language.
I’m loving this thread but can I just say that the Dysgwr y Flwyddyn competition is not really all about who can speak Welsh the best, it’s also about choosing someone who does a great deal in their community to support and encourage the Welsh language. That side of it is brilliant, the “who can speak Welsh better” bit is what I don’t like. I’m not really sure why I’m adding this other than to clarify my own standing. If there was some kind of award for who does great things for the language and scrap the “learner” tag then I’d be 100% in favour.
Sorry for going all arty-fartsom. I do often wonder why we carry around this idea that competition is merely to discover who is the best at something. It’s such a naive point of view. The more interesting discussion is about what exactly makes something ‘the best’. I support a non-league football team from my London days, the mighty Enfield Town FC (the pride of North London) and at games we sing about how ‘We are the best’, indeed the team run out to Tina turner’s ‘Simply the Best’), which begs the question why are we not then playing in the Champions League and instead mucking around playing three divisions below the football league ‘proper’ I’ve always taken the meaning to be more about, the best atmosphere, the friendliest fans, coming up with the wittiest chants or just the the most wonderful match day experiences… Yet somehow we retain the idea of competition as about finding the best, it is just ridiculous. It’s just a pity that we continue to use these ineffectual systems of judging things, like exams! which always ends up with someone having the most points and the ability to swan around smugly announcing ‘I am the best’, when really we all get over this idea when we are quite young.
Terribly out of fashion now of course, but I remember we had a book of children’s party games when our children were very young, in the late 70s and 80s, called “Winners All” - i.e. non-competitive games - everyone got to be a “winner”.
If anyone remembers the series of strip cartoons in the Guardian at that time by Posy Simmonds about the Weber Family, well, we always thought that was us, basically, except that I wasn’t a polytechnic lecturer, we didn’t have so many kids, and (I’d like to think) we weren’t quite so pretentious.
Well the cold winds of the “reforms” of the 1980s and later blew away all that sort of namby pamby nonsense (officially anyway), but that’s still basically where my heart is.
I was about to say the same before scrolling down and seeing yours. D-Y-F is about commitment to expanding Welsh and it’s use by someone who has learnt. It has an element of proficiency to it. most of the time the people who win are, as henddraig said about Pete “speakers not learners” now. They’re all fluent with a level of proficiency next to none. However, that semantic debate has been flogged to death. You’re always a learner (not just because we all keep learning but because the real distinction is “learner vs first language/education through welsh”) and as soon as you utter a word of Welsh you’re a speaker. There’s obviously a rainbow of shades in between.
I was at one of the DyF events at the Eisteddfod last year, and I don’t think there was anything to choose between the finalists in terms of the standard of their language - it was all about their having an inspiring story and their work in their communities to help others learn. Most importantly, the competition is about highlighting an example of a successful learner as an inspiration to others (and to show that it can be done!)
I would love to see a SSiWer in the final.
I see! I wish it could be called by another name. 'Ambassador?", Language Ambassador? “Llysgennad Iaith Gymraeg y Flwyddyn” That would, I suppose, open it to first language speakers, but if ‘showing that the language can be learned and learned well’ is a criterion, that would imply that someone who has learned themselves makes a better LlIGF!!!
Having competed twice the experience is good but the real bonus was the chance to speak with Nia Parry who is so friendly and lively and is always smiling.
However, there is no chance of anyone winning, even if they speak perfect Welsh unless they can show that they promote it in the community, speak Welsh every day with family and/or co-workers and socialise in Welsh.
I have suggested twice that the ‘competition’ is split into two - one for those who have learned the language and live/work/socialise in Welsh every day - a second group of learners who for various reasons are not able to use the language to such an extent but still deserve to have their efforts recognised - yn Gymraeg ‘ennill eu plwyf’’.
I don’t think anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting her would disagree with you there.
If anyone is a special ambassador for learning / teaching/ promoting Welsh, she is.
Mmm not sure. Of course, we can look at young Milla from Italy/Finland aiming to be as fluent as if Cymraeg was her mother tongue, we can look at a certain friend in Slovenia and they are certainly examples of the fact that yr hen iaith can be learned and learned well, but they are totally different from each other. Milla is young, still at school and may easily end up living and working in Wales, winning Eisteddfod crowns and chairs and maybe picking up DyF on the way. Tatjana is an inspiration and great help to us, here in the SSiW community, but I cannot imagine her wanting to enter DyF. yr Wythnos, yes!!
Actually, in terms of helping others, I think Tatjana has the edge!