How to speak Welsh for the first time?

Shwmae, pawb?

I am currently in Wales (for the first time) and I’d really really love to use my Welsh.

The problem is that I’d feel very rude if I started speaking to someone who doesn’t speak the language…

I have been here for 3 days and I haven’t heard anyone speak Welsh yet (have been to Caerdydd, Y Fenni and Merthyr Tudful).

Does anyone know how (or where) to find the Cymry Cymraeg (in Merthyr/the Brecon Beacons)? Or how to find the courage to speak for the first time?

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Croeso i Gymru!

Option 1, Just speak Welsh, then revert to English when people say that they don’t speak Welsh. It isn’t rude!

Y Fenni a Merthyr are not areas with lots of Welsh speakers, but there will be something if you know where to look.
Generally head West. The problem is how will people know you want to speak Welsh, unless you speak Welsh, or buy a t-shirt with Welsh on it?
Where are you planning on going? Maybe someone who know of something in the area you are heading to.

Good luck!


Diolch yn fawr iawn for your quick reply!

I will be staying in the Merthyr/Brecon Beacons areavso finding Welsh speakers will be more difficult than in Ceredigion or Gwynedd.

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‘Ga i siarad Cymraeg’ usually works if you think that a direct approach is … too direct

And also, all youngish people, say 30-, understand at least a bit. I met a chap working in a cafe in Dolgellau finally submitting to speaking Welsh after first accusing me that my Australian accent made my Welsh unintelligible. But he apologised in Welsh for not speaking Welsh because he had forgotten so many words since he uses it so rarely, and to top it off he then said a few words in Dutch to me.


Whilst you probably won’t hear as much Welsh on the streets as in some other places, there are quite a lot of Welsh speakers in the Rhondda Valleys (just over from Merthyr) - places like Treorchy, Porth, Tonypandy and the smaller villages in between, so you should certainly try those.

Without knowing what your interests are, it’s hard to direct you to anywhere specific but if you see this guy around, you should definitely speak Welsh to him (and say Siaron from Cwmni Da says hi!). He’s an artist and presented a series for us recently :slight_smile: - and he’s a lovely guy who’s very up on the importance of hearing Welsh in the Rhondda Valleys!

The most important thing though, as has already been said, is for you to start in Welsh - even if it’s only the first sentence, because it it really, really isn’t being rude and almost every Welsh speaker down that way will probably default to English without that hint that you speak Welsh too. :slight_smile:

Oh, and just a couple of other points -

  1. if you do happen to offend one of the tiny minority who do think it is being rude (they pop up everywhere from time to time), shake it off and carry on - it’s absolutely not your issue, it’s theirs!
  2. chances are you may come across someone who doesn’t speak Welsh, but also doesn’t think it’s rude that you did, that might say something along the lines of “I wish I could speak it” or “I’ve always wanted to speak it”… and that’s your cue to plug SSiW!!! :wink:
    Pob lwc :slight_smile:

Would you consider meeting up with some SSiWers? Just write a post on the forum telling us where you are and when you’d like to meet, and I’m sure someone in the area will be keen to catch up for a sgwrs over coffee. :slight_smile:


Canolfan Capel Soar in Merthyr: includes the friendly Caffi Cwtsh.
If you’re on facebook, there’s a group called Dysgwyr Brycheiniog run by Malcolm Llywelyn (a native of Merthyr, funnily enough) who may be able to help you find events during your stay.


Plenty of great advice in here already - also, how far have you got with the course?

Bear in mind that using your Welsh with a stranger is the deep end of the pool, and the toughest thing to do - so don’t beat yourself up if it goes a bit hiccupy. The stage it would be ideal to have happen first would be getting regular weekly practice with a friend or fellow learner, until you build the kind of speed of understanding/response that makes it easier to survive Welsh in the Wild… :slight_smile:


Syniad grêt!
Anyone up for a sgwrs with me between Aug 16 and Aug 20? :blush:


I have just finished cwrs 2 vocab 10 and I’m halfway through lefel 2 so (I think that) speaking is the easy(/-ier) part even though I’ve never had a conversation in Welsh before… :smile:

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Where in Wales will you be? I would be happy to meet up if I’m within easy reach of you. :slight_smile:


In the Brecon Beacons Ystradgynlais is a good place. Lot of Welsh spoken in the cafes etc. Good public transport links as well.


My club has booked a 5-day holiday in Abermaw (Barmouth) next year. Am I likely to find Welsh spoken in the hotel or in shops and cafes? Or is it too touristy and seasidey? I am learning the South version because that’s where my family came from. Should I attempt to change to North? Any thoughts? Diolch.

Excellent - with all the hard work you’ve put into it, you’ll find that your first extended conversation (an hour or ideally more) will go from ‘ohmygodthisisdifficult’ to ‘I seem to be speaking Welsh’ - and leave you much, much readier for diving in at short notice with complete strangers… :slight_smile:


Makes me sad that it might actually appear rude to speak Welsh here in Wales-it is after all really the default language . We are in Wales after all. We who have taken the time and effort to learn the language -(even though I am indiginous Welsh was not taught bilingually sadly,) realise it is the heritage of Wales and should be spoken widely. You would learn any foreign language if you started to live in that country , so why not here. So dont apologise - just revert to E as in any other country… Speaking is the hardest challenge as takes effort to find local speakers I find…


Absolutely - I couldn’t agree more :slight_smile:


Never apologise - never explain! Well not for you Welsh in Wales anyway!

That said it is easier in a widely Welsh speaking area. It was glorious on Anglesey - I started in Welsh everywhere and in think in the whole week I only had one “Sorry, what?”


You could buy a “I’m learning Welsh” badge( see link)
That way others will hopefully approach you.


I’ll be in Merthyr; unfortunately I can only travel by bus (can’t drive yet and even if I could - driving on the left side would probably be way too scary :wink: ).

Ah, I’m near Aberystwyth until Sunday…it’s on the West coast, so a bit far unfortunately! Pob lwc though, I hope you get some chances to practise while you’re here! :slight_smile: