I’ll kick off with the down, as it came first. Our local village, Crymych is all Welsh-speaking, which serves as the perfect motivation to speak Welsh. So I went into the local grocery shop (as I do most weeks) with the plan to speak Welsh to them for the first time (except for the usual, Helo, sut dychi, diolch etc.). I had the perfect opening line, because it was a sunny day outside, “Mae’n hyfred hedi, on dwy i…” - I got in the shop, panicked, look at the assistant for too long and she spoke to me in English - saying you’ll never guess what! “It’s lovely today isn’t it!” which completely flummoxed me! I ended up leaving the shop feeling a sense of shame for not trying my Welsh. I think the simple fear underneath is that if I speak Welsh and then they say something to me I don’t know - what then! I experienced it when learning Spanish, and it took several months for it to subside.
Anyway, I went back to the shop a week or so later, and this time, it was a different person, who doesn’t know that I’m not a fluent Welsh speaker, and I asked her where the eggs were (even though I knew where!) in Welsh, and I answered one or two of her questions, and said to her "Dw i’n wedi bod yn dysgu…) and she complimented me on how much I’d learnt in 4 months and said my accent was very good! I can’t take the credit really - that’s thanks to SSiW! I followed this up last week by going into the local hardware shop and speaking to them. Only very basic. At the checkout I did the same routine of telling her I’ve just started learning etc. and asked “Gallai dalu gyda carden os gwelwch yn dda” and I did the whole conversation at the petrol station in Welsh too. Only basic conversation but it’s given me a boost.
And now after a month’s break of finishing Level 1, and I’ve now started Level 2. Which means I should probably go along to the Caerfyrddin meetup sometime soon (there’s not one in Pembrokeshire is there yet?).
Diolch am fy helpu i fi.