Thanks a lot for this great course. I tríed studying before with several books and I was not really successful. But with this audio course I feel that I am advancing. I already start to recognize small phrases while watching S4C and that makes me feel proud.
I live in a small town founded by the Welsh 150 years ago. So although I do not have any Welsh blood in my veins, I believe that as a person interested in history I should learn at least a bit of the language of its founders.
I live in Puerto Madryn, which was founded by the barón of Madryn. That would be about 70 kilometres from Gaiman the closest bigger Welsh community. There is no Welsh school in our little town and the ones in Trelew or Gaiman are private schools.
So as an outsider this audio course is really a great opportunity for me. And as we are more living next to each other than with each other.
Our contact with the Welsh world would be limited to a Welsh tea in Gaiman on a rainy day. things are not as romantic as in the documentary by H. Edwards. People tend to go to the tea room that was visited by Lady Diana shortly before her tragic death and this place is run by a family of Spanish descent. And after a visit to Wales, I have to admit that I really miss the famous welsh cakes there. But I found a good recipe and make them myself!
As our lucky or not so lucky founder was from Llyn Peninsula I decided to go for the North Wales version of the course. After hearing all those romantic stories, the visit to the art gallery in Llanbedrog was quite shocking. Having to learn that basically the queen threw him out, because of his sinful life style… And that he did not arrive to the extreme South with the higher purpose of saving the language. At least the one who gave his last name to our lovely town.
I really enjoyed Wales and I just fell in love with all the castles and the coastal path! And I hope to return soon and to continue venturing on the cliffs.
In the meantime every morning while I walk along the coastline to the place where the Welsh arrived in 1865, I listen to my iPod and usually one lesson takes me from my place to the caves where they first used to live…
I have reached lesson 11 by now, so I am slowly starting to talk Welsh to my Welsh toy dragon!
Thanks a lot for the great work and greetings from the far South.
Shwmae Sibila, croeso i’r fwrwm! I find the history of Welsh Patagonia fascinating, personally. I myself live in Australia, and you’ll find that there are a lot of us on the forum who live in places where Welsh isn’t commonly spoken. We tend to practice on Skype and similar such applications.
Good to hear that you’re enjoying the course - if you have any questions just ask us here, everyone is very friendly and happy to help!
Shwmae Sibila a chroeso:) Thank you for your post, very interesting! As Karla said, the history of Welsh Patagonia is fascinating, and I’ve always been curious to know how the Welsh language is doing there nowadays.
A very warm welcome to the forum, Sibila - it’s always a delight to have people from Patagonia using the course - we’re hoping/intending to make the full course available through the medium of Spanish in the next year or two, which we hope will make it possible for us to help more people in Patagonia…
One of these days, I’m determined to make it out for a visit to Patagonia. When were you in Llanbedrog? We live five minutes up the road…
A couple of years ago or so, I met a gentleman from Patagonia at a Welsh gathering near Oxford, England. Similarly, he had no Welsh blood but had learned Welsh (as a young man I think) for similar reasons.
It’s good that Yr Hen Iaith is being kept alive over there.
Croeso Sibila, and, since you watch S4C, may I ask you to consider signing the petition from people outside Wales, who are not counted in viewing figures, asking for proper funding to be maintained!
So far, we got a stay of execution for threatened cuts, but I don’t trust the current Government at Westminster to maintain funds after the Senedd election in May!! Giving your location in Argentina will add a nice place on the Map!! (NB Are you on the SSiW Map?)
Again, croeso, it is great to have a Mimosa descendent on the Forum!
I travelled to Llyn Peninsula chasing the history of our founder in June 2014. I went to Nefyn our partner city, climbed up Garn Fadryn, went to the campsite nearby where the castle of our founder used to be until it was destroyed by a fire. And then in the gallery I learned all the gory details of the family history. They had me read “sir love’s adventures in spain”, in sumary a tipical bachelor’s trip that resulted in an unvoluntary deportation to Patagonia. I also went to Caernarfon to see the church where they used to pray before setting sail.
There was a total of 150 people on the boat arriving to our shores and some of the more intelectual leaders of the group were from Bala. So I went there in 2015. And I did not find the famous monster of Lake Bala.
The weather conditions on Llyn Peninsula seemed a lot harsher than in other Welsh áreas. Ir lust be pretty tough to live there. With all the mist, the extreme wind… I was about a week in the area and mist every day. I could see and feel why they had pirate movements in the area. It would be really great for people to get access to SSIW in Spanish, as the majority speaks very poor English. And honestly sometimes the so-called false friends get me confused when doing the excercises. Good luck with that big project.
Have a great day. I will head to the caves now and the statue of our friendly indiginous man who used to make friends with the welsh. It was a peaceful exchange, the indiginous showed the Welsh where to find sweet water and they just loved Welsh “bara”.
And just for clarification, I am not a descendant of the Mimosa people. I just happen to live in that place and I like our local history. Argentina is a country of inmigrants. With people from all over the world. But I have friends who are direct descendants from the Mimosa, although they do not speak the language. It is very difficult for us to hear Welsh around here. It is not like you walk down the street and hear people next to you talk in Welsh.
My family is of German background and I personally find it a lot more common to hear German spoken on the street in our communities. But I might be mistaken there.
How wonderful to have someone on the Forum from Patagonia. I was born in North Wales, not too far from Rhuddlan castle and Denbigh castle and Caernarvon Castle, talking of castles. My wife Eirwen’s family are Celtic for as many generations back as it is possible to search - so Welsh is Eirwen’s mother tongue. I, like you, am learning my Welsh via SSiW and Eirwen tells me SSiW is doing a fantastic job. One day, if I keep it up she promises to make me an honorary Celt! Quite a few of us on the Forum are also learning Spanish also through SSi.
Do you speak German also? I occasionally do utter some words in German and hope to be speaking German slightly better by next year.
Eirwen and I dream of visiting Patagonia one day. Our daughter Tamara speaks Spanish after attending some University courses in Chile. She visited Patagonia, as she loves Argentina, and she told us Patagonia is beautiful.
Croeso, Sibila! I enjoyed reading your story. I’m in the US, no connection to Wales other than being intrigued by it since I was a child. I started learning Welsh with SSiW in May, and I didn’t know about the Welsh communities in Patagonia until last summer, when I watched a program about them. It was really interesting, and it is exciting to hear from someone who lives there! Pob lwc with your Welsh!
Diolch yn fawr iawn!!
I saw your signature and your place on that map!! Here there is a thread, “The Please add me to the map” thread, I think. You see the map by clicking on FAQ and then on Map!! @tatjana can you send @sibilazachrau an easy link to where she can ask to go on the map?
Sorry I got confused about the Mimosa. If you tell your friends about SSiW, we may have a few descendents on here yet!! There was a very sad story on S4C about an old lady in Patagonia wanting to know about her people back home. The young people brought her to Cymru and they finally found the right place, but it was the village drowned in living memory to give Liverpool water the English city didn’t really need! I cried!
I think I have seen that movie, too. You are right, a really sad story.
I wish I could still share your enthusiasm about people around here wanting to learn about Wales. But I sense it is disappearing with the generation of that old lady. And it happens with all the inmigrant groups. People just want to fit in and look to the future. Many traditions are simply forgotten. Like lent, in Spanish “Cuaresma”, so you even have the ancient root with the number 40 there, but although this is a catholic country people are convinced that lent starts the thursday before Easter.
After returning from my two trips to Wales, I felt really anxious about sharing my experience with friends who do not have the means for long distance travel. I took a lot of pictures in Wales, bought books and I cooked Welsh food. The idea was a Welsh evening with food and stories about the land of the settlers. I believed it to be a good idea. But for two years now, no single friend has taken me up on the invitation!!!
For me it is really difficult to understand that lack of interest, as in a regular day I walk past a Welsh flag several times a day. So it raised at least my curiosity. But well I guess I am curious by default.
Just as a reference. I am 37 and my friends would be between that and their late 50, but zero interest. And we are talking about middle or upper class.
I guess it is just the sad reality of inmigrant nations that the traditions of the nations that make them up get lost without being replaced by anything. Resulting in a cultural vacuum.
That is a sad story indeed, Sibila. The idea of the Welsh evening sounds really wonderful, maybe it could find more success with very young people? I believe Gumilyov in his theory of ethnogenesis remarked that they are those who have the most passionarity, thus more curiosity and energy to pursue their interests. It’s been my experience that in the countries where there are some endangered languages - Ireland, Bretagne in France, well, even Belarus, - the middle and upper classes and older people are those, I think, who are the least interested in languages that are not “useful”. But very young, passionary people are often those who feel a great need to find their place in history and they are those who will ensure the survival of languages and cultures, I think. As the young German “golden youth” did at the beginning of the 19th century, when all those rich and talented young men went around the country to write down stories, traditions, songs - and they saved them for us. How are things in Patagonia among younger people, do they show interest towards their Welsh heritage?
Patagonia is really nice and definitely worth a visit. I live close to the UNESCO world heritage site “Peninsula Valdez” where you can actually watch killer whales.
And in the winter the southern whales (franca austral) come to our little bay and have their babies here before heading into the open water. So you can actually watch them while walking on the beach!!!
In the Trelew area some big dinosaur bones have been found and there is a big dinosaur museum in that city!!!
And a little further south we have some big penguin colonies where you can walk on a signaled footpath between the little animals. But be careful, they have priority on these little paths!!!
I do speak fluent German and I am also familiar with german costums and traditions. I consider it very important to know your own roots. But here the same applies not everybody who is of german descent would still be speaking the language. Customs and traditions are dying out. Should I one day happen to have children, I hope to pass things on.
This is such an interesting thread - thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Our national orchestra and youth choir last year went over to Patagonia (I watched a very interesting documentary about it at Christmas time), and as well as putting on concerts went to play with elderly people whose parents had been on the Mimosa, to share traditional Welsh music with them. They also went into a Welsh-language school at one point. More projects like this could be helpful, but of course they are very expensive