Tatjana's welsh Learning Story

Continuing the discussion from Say: No to Wales!:

Long and happy story was this going back in 2009 when there was the first British and Irish Lions Tour (to South Africa) I’ve ever followed. I was one of the admins of one English teenagers forum which mostly dealt with games and gaming but also LEGO matters and as teens always have so many things to chat about and they were all from UK the subject was rugby too. It actually became asade of gaming the main discussion subject in time but not in 2009 yet. Admins went to holidays and I was all alone among members who had to do admin stuff and post all what’s new in fields of discussions and that time Lions tour, aside of E3 Gaming conference was one of the main news to be reported about. I was practically forced to learn all about rugby and happenings in few days so exploaring and learning began immediatelly and had to be swift as lightening because I didn’t want to be one of those admins who are not willing to do the work if they feel they can’t do. And besides I had to put something in our video news we’ve broadcasted regularly every week on YouTube that time too. So this was mainly the beginning of “meeting” with rugby at all. It was superb to follow the tour and the fact that so many Cymraeg players (who I slowly got the knowledge of where they play in Clubs) are in the squad amazed me in deed.

I didn’t konw where to get live streams on Internet at that time yet so I relied to pictures which were posted, Internet search and Lions page which offered me quite amount of informations I could use. Nope, I didn’t watch ever rugby before so the knowledge about how great and noble this sport is, came later on. So this is basically it about rugby.

Becomming a fan of Cymraeg team came later on when I started to really follow all happenings in 6 Nations, Amlin’s Cup (at that time) when Cardiff Blues won the title, and similar stuff. I’ve started to know who and how good some players are and started to follow some of them more carefully alikes of North who was rising star that time, Shane Williams, Jamie Roberts and later on Sam Warburton … Halfpenny came later on and amazed me with his superbly accurate kick (if he misses one I tend to say this one missed is for good luck) :slight_smile:

A friend on the forum I was admin at, told me Slovenia is also not so bad in World ranking. We were 72nd place at the time and I started to follow our guys. I’ve shared on social media every single thing happening in Slovenian rugby and tend to tell to my foreign friends that we play rugby in our country too and we are better and better in doing this. Exactly today I’m going to decider match inbetween Slovenia and Luxemburg which, if we win, drives us in higher rank of competition. Having brothers (5 of them) Skofič who play in their own club in England, aboard and kiwi coach as head coach it looks like we can win this one. So, we’re becomming better and better, yes.

I only go to watch Slovenian team matches if they’re on home ground and never was to any World Cup but monitorred that one in 2011 carefully. Maybe one day I’d be on one of those big matches watching Cymraeg team aswell, who knows.

As I said winning Grand Slam in 2012 by Cymru was my vow to team to learn Cymraeg but that was not the start of learning. The deceision was made earlier when I wanted to listen to commentary of one rugby match and it was available only in Cymraeg. Saying “I have to learn Welsh if I’m allowed only Welsh comentaries to listen too (due to geo-restrictions on Internet) I just have to learn the language” and so it began.

I found SSiW once before but about 3 years ago Dave Rogers reminded me how great this page and community is and how great is learning here so I gave it another try what made me stay and loving Cymraeg even more.

So this is it. The novel is written. - LOL :slight_smile:


Thanks! I’ve sent you a private reply!

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I Have changed the title of this thread which includes your Welsh Learning story @tatjana, so it’s easier to find and doesn’t get lost (again).

I will share this next week after the Bank holiday is over. :slight_smile:

In the meantime, if you would like to read over it to make extra sure you’re 100% happy with it and make any updates you need, that would be great!

Please also share a photo of yourself that you would be happy for me to include with the story.

Diolch! :slight_smile:

Oh, well, @CatrinLliarJones sorry. Obviously I forgot exactly what I’ve written in this “story”. I was replying to @henddraig at the time and this for there’s a bit too much of rugby and too little of SSiW and I am aware that’s a bit of what we all don’t particularly want on the page, I believe.

Will adapt this piece of writing and post it here or in the “story sharing” topic.

Sorry again. I was too quick again.

No worries at all @tatjana, I’m sorry again for not making use of your wonderful learning story earlier!

Looking forward to seeing an updated version from you and sharing it on our website!

Diolch! :slight_smile:

Here it is my updated version of my learning story, which is less of rugby (although not totally without it) and more of SSiW.

I’m from Slovenia, a little country with approximately 2 million citizens, settled in between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. My roots are not Welsh at all (not that I would know of) but here I am, learning, or at least trying to learn Welsh.

The decision I’ll learn Welsh came from two major reasons: first was because my online friend said to me it’s too hard to learn it, even harder than French and he doubted I’ll manage to learn anything at all, and the second reason was simple vow to Welsh rugby team (although they don’t even know that) that I’ll learn to speak Welsh if they’d win the 6 Nations Grand Slam in the season 2012/2013. They won it so a promise is a promise and I had to fulfil it!

But my journey has actually begun quite before that Grand Slam was won. It was at the beginning of the Summer 2009 when it all started, although at that time I didn’t even imagine this all would bring me so far. I was an admin on one British teenagers forum, where we discussed gaming, LEGO, Doctor Who and rugby. At the time I knew nothing about rugby, and even less I knew that I’d learn Welsh one day exactly because of this magnificent and noble sport. But as things happened, there was a British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa going on and being left the only admin present on the forum at the time I had to provide topics for discussion about this tour as well. Not knowing anything about rugby, I had to learn things fast, and as there were no live streams to be found online I had to use all resources I could find to educate myself. By the time when the Lions tour was over I already knew enough about rugby to get every day more and more interested in this sport. Majority of the boys at the forum cheered for Wales and so did I. It all brought me so far that I tried to find every single live stream on the net to watch Welsh boys playing or at least to listen to the commentaries on the online radios and live streams, if even in Welsh and despite I actually didn’t understand almost anything at all. But, this was the driving force which made me go on and on. Knowing more and more about the Welsh language and the situation around it, and hearing that young people in particular don’t actually care for their own mother tongue at the time, was another thing which deeply touched me. Being from Slovenia, where our own language was endangered and neglected many times in history, I know what it is all about. “I have to learn Welsh in order to follow the games and hopefully help to preserve this beautiful language. And, besides, who says that Welsh can’t be learnt! I’ll show it to those who are teasing me, I’ll learn it and speak it one day!” That’s what I’ve said to myself and the search has begun.

There was no search for rugby online streams anymore. All of a sudden there were plenty of them on the net to be found. Now the hunt for Welsh language resources I could use and learn from has begun. The beginning was quite frustrating. In Slovenia there was absolutely no one (at least to my knowledge) who’d speak Welsh, there is even today practically no books or other media to learn Welsh and if I found a book in one of our libraries, I felt like I’d hit the jackpot on the lottery. I believe I never shopped online as intensely as I did that time. One course … ah it was without audio. Another course, there was audio but all was spoken too fast to my ears … nothing really suit me. Although I’ve listened to the Welsh rugby commentaries from time to time, I wasn’t really familiar with the sound of the language so the search for the learning resources went on and on on a daily basis. I have done all sorts of silly things, like buying Ivona Welsh voices and doing my own audio vocabulary with the help of them to be able to learn at least a bit more efficiently, but this still wasn’t what I’ve searched for.
Later on, but still in the year 2009 I found Say Something in Welsh which for any other person would be lucky win at the moment they’d see the page, but not me. Seeing that Course 1 was for free at that time, it was so unbelievable to me that I went away and it took me almost 3 years to come back and look at the whole thing one more time. Yah, you can laugh at my silliness or you can roll your eyes, whatever you wish, but that’s how it all happened. The fact that there still could be something for free these days, has driven me away. I just wasn’t able to believe it.

Despite this escape from the free course I still wanted to learn Welsh, because of the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier. I’ve eventually learnt some words and I was even so bold to send tweets in my humble Welsh to the world and getting quite some response to those tweets, I was more and more eager to finally learn Welsh properly. And those poor and humble tweets in Welsh actually have brought me back to SSiW. There was one man who encouraged me to take a look at the site once again. I took his advice and did that knowing that this time I’ll stay here and learn.

But my learning didn’t go even a bit straightforward. It was hard because I was too much of a perfectionist and I was quite many times on the verge to quit and go away again. Only to all supportive staff and the whole community of SSiW I have to thank that I went on with my learning.

SSiW, their staff and community have changed my life for the better. I (FINALLY would say Aran) stopped being too much of a perfectionist and started to recognize my achievements. I’ve learned to be more supportive and kind to other learners (which was not always the case before). Learning with SSiW gave me so much more than just learning the language. I’ve got the opportunity to visit Wales and take part in one of those magnificent Bootcamps SSiW provides, where I’ve got plenty of opportunities to use my newly learnt language and have fun at the same time, encountering other learners there from all over the world. I’ve gained friends who I’d never met if I wouldn’t be here and I’ve got the privilege of Welsh to be spoken in my own beloved country Slovenia while I was visited by two of my friends, also learners with SSiW and have met with one more while he was visiting our country with his family and friends. But there was more. I’ve briefly met Simon Brooks and exchanged some words with him, exactly because of SSiW. I met Siôn Jobbins while visiting Eisteddfod in 2016 after the bootcamp. I found out that I am not alone in Slovenia who learns and speaks Welsh. There are at least 4 of us, being Slovene and speaking Welsh. I’ve participated in some things S4C and BBC Radio Cymru provided for learners to participate in. I’ve tweeted and interacted boldly in Welsh with many famous and not famous people, having numerous conversations through Skype with other fellow SSiW learners. And, I’ve done the impossible, something that I never could dream of before: I’ve written and recorded my own rap in Welsh which was brought out to the audience at the SSiW 10th Birthday party as a gift from me to this magnificent Welsh learning site and all the staff and community behind it! I know this all would never be possible without the support and help of all these magnificent people! Thank you each and everyone of you who took the time to help and support me and to walk at least a part of my learning path with me.


Bendigedig! Diolch @tatjana :slight_smile:

This will be on our website and shared via social media next week! :slight_smile: