Over this past few difficult months I’ve been thinking a lot more again about the loss of my dad back in June 2013 and how it gave me the drive and eagerness to push on with learning this incredible language of ours. I no longer call myself a learner for reasons which would be a whole nother thread but I am, obviously, still learning with every passing day.
My question to you, then, is this …
Do you have a specific thing that drives you on?
Something that pushes you to do one more lesson, read that extra page, listen to another hour of radio.
What a nice question.
I start learning under similar circumstances after my mum passed away.
It really gave me a focus over the next year as I learned more and more and begun to rediscover my home country.
I am now doing the Deep End course and hope to carrying on when I finished that.
What keeps me going is the wonderful world of Welsh speakers and culture that I was unaware of and I want to be a part of.
I hope my mum would be proud. X
I’m not sure to be honest. Every now and then over the years I would think about learning Welsh, but did nothing about it. But then it felt to me that something just clicked into place when I found SSIW, and even more so after my first bootcamp. Cymraeg became part of my life and I’ve never considered giving it up, even for a second.
I often feel like I’m not making progress any more. But I do feel that I have to do something every day – write in my diary, bit of vocab, reading, tv, listening. I think some of that is actually habit, I mean I would feel bad if I didn’t do it in the same way I wouldn’t skip brushing my teeth, rather than because I’m focussing on my dream of being fluent (whatever that means) or reconnecting with my heritage.
The other day I realized I was really excited to see my first Welsh grammar book in the mailbox (“Yeeeeeeh, it’s here at last!”).
One moment later, I couldn’t help but stop and ask myself:
“But wait. Why am I actually studying this language? And so seriously, even?!”
And I noticed that…well…I just wasn’t able to find an answer right away.
At the same time I honestly felt eager to see if I’d be able to clear some doubts with the book, and to make some sort of study plan for my summer holiday ahead, just like I did in 2018 when I had started SSiW.
After two days of reflections, I came to this conclusions:
The MAIN driving force is still the same that got me started: the sound.
I just want to be able to fluently speak the language which sounds like that!
But of course it’s a bit abstract, and it’s easy for me to lose motivation to carry on taking the necessary steps to reach that goal.
So I guess I get the fuel for the everyday tasks from the fact that I enjoyed so much my trips to Wales, and the people I met, and the welcoming enthusiasm and many aspects surrounding the language (like the minority vs the arrogant “it’s useless, let’s just ban it” attitude - although not the choirs and all that - oh sorry just can’t get it! ).
I probably just want an excuse to come back for more!
My motivations change over time, but one thing that’s consistent with me is that I do love a challenge. I like to give myself tasks (almost as much as I like giving them to other people ) and there’s always something new to achieve with Welsh, whether it’s something big or small: to read a particular book; to use Welsh at work; to one day actually understand what Tudur Owen is saying… I think that’s one reason I took to SSiW - lots of fun challenges, rather than lessons. As recent events show, we never know when difficult times are coming, so I believe it’s important to play whenever we can!
Btw, (setting playing aside for a moment) if the loss of your dad was a driving force for you to push on and learn, then all the things you’ve done with your Welsh since you’ve learned it, such as supporting others and bringing people together, strike me as an amazing memorial to him.
And just for the record, and I hope everyone is listening, in my mind if you can hold down a conversation then you are fluent. We all have more to learn, including first language speakers, but once you can chat you are a speaker and fluency is fluid.
I suspect that about 50% of the Welsh population have heard me name them by now, glad there’s still more people I can tell it to!
My first and for quite some time only source of Welsh has been…Datblygu songs.
About the sound, it’s hard to describe, but I can try: it has at the same time the charm of an ancient language of magic, a pleasant musicality (which to an Italian ear, Northern languages usually lack), and something modern and cool like songs in English I grew up listening to.
Oh, that’s nice.
Although maybe it’s good for my Welsh to think I need an excuse.
Hey you know one side effect of having listened to those songs so much and before anything else?
It was the same for English, and it’s that when I hear some combinations of words, I’ve got a verse or a song pop up in my mind right away.
Sdim eisiau esgus… i gael amser da!
p.s. One task I think can be motivating at any level is… speaking at BBC or S4C radio or video, or on social media!
I’m really enjoying reading the different answers people have to this question. For me, as a Welsh woman living in England since i was 18, i always regretted not speaking Welsh, but thought it was an impossibility as I live in English and there aren’t any classes. So discovering ssiw at the start of lockdown when I suddenly had time on my hands was perfect. I just absolutely cannot believe how much I’ve learned in such a short amount of time, which is what pushes me on. Every single day I learn more and more words/patterns which is so exciting! I can’t imagine not doing any Welsh every day now, I’m just loving it!
Yes, I join in with some of the slack hangouts, and there’s a lovely group that meets on zoom on a Saturday from the Leeds area. I also had a lot of fun when I went home to Merthyr a few weeks ago meeting Welsh speakers. Its one of the brilliant things about ssiw that you can talk to other people so quickly.