I finished my sprint of SSiW yesterday by completing level 3 after 3 months of hard (but enjoyable!) work. I now have a couple of days before I set off on holiday to Wales (Llyn Peninsula) and I wondered whether anyone had some good tips for my first conversations in Cymraeg especially as an introvert and a tourist with no Welsh family history.
I would like to make the most of my time but am worried about knowing when to speak Welsh and who to without seeming showy-offy.
If you’re going to the Llyn Peninsula, the majority of people speak Welsh as their first language, so probably best to assume that you can try speaking Welsh with everyone you come across (except maybe in Abersoch ). By the way, when people speak English there their accent can sound a bit like a Liverpool accent but don’t assume that they don’t speak Welsh
One of the first places to visit to practise your Welsh could be Caffi Meinir in Nant Gwrtheyrn, nr Llithfaen - it’s open to everyone, not just those on courses, and the staff in the cafe are all helpful and supportive of learners - you could also visit Tafarn Y Vic in Llithfaen where they’re very used to learners from Nant G dropping by.
Another place to visit close by where you could try out some Welsh might be the museum in Nefyn, or the Welsh bookshop Llên Llŷn in Pwhelli.
Some excellent advice from John above, but in addition, I’d say the trick is not to overthink this - just use your Welsh everywhere. Yes, you may come across people who don’t speak it, but that’s not your problem! (but by using your Welsh you might spur them into action to learn, so you never know!)
I know for introverts it’s never easy starting a conversation anyway, but it really is far better to start every conversation in Welsh then switch to English if you have to than start in English and then kick yourself for missing the potential opportunity to speak Welsh.
And as for showy-offy - no such thing! Welsh speakers will be over the moon that you’ve learnt and non-Welsh speakers might get the hint that if you can do it, so can they
Congratulations for the sprint!
From my experience in Wales after 6 months of SSiW (and as a fluctuating introvert with no Welsh connections), I would say:
I found it hard to convince myself to go out and speak Welsh first to strangers.
So my trick I often used to make the process smoother was asking if it was ok if I practiced Welsh or saying I’m a learner or something like that - first.
And people are always super-happy , so it gets easier after that!
I know I’m a bit late to this but I am currently staying near Criccieth, which isn’t far from the Llyn, and there is the opportunity to speak Welsh all around here. I’ve found that in a shop just ask the sales person or waiting person how they are doing and it should start flowing from there. People like to talk about themselves and I had a great conversation with someone in Portmeirion yesterday by doing this. The conversation was only a few minutes long but it was a real confidence booster.
Yes, Ive found that as well. Asking people how they are. “S’mae, ti’n iawn?”/Hi, ‘you OK?". It seems to transcend dialects and also levels of formality. What I mean is that even in say a posh hotel, shop etc the person behind the counter doesn’t often get asked how THEY are. Yesterday, even though (or possibly because) I had the "wrong’ dialect, there were six or seven times within a couple of hours when people came over to me to continue speaking to me after I had deliberately kept the original official chat fairly brief.
Hi, Liam! No-one is allowed to come within 5 miles of Cricieth without getting in touch with me for a chat! If you’re still in the area, please send me a message, to see if we can meet up for a coffee…
We came home yesterday afternoon due to the weather as we were camping and didn’t fancy dealing with the gales coming off the bay, but it’s a huge shame I didn’t know beforehand. We’ll definitely be back soon though as it’s such a beautiful place. We stayed at Mynydd Du just outside of Pentrefelin I will certainly take you up on offer as soon as I can.