I can imagine this has been discussed before but I’m curious as to what inspired people on the forum to start learning Welsh, especially as there seem to be members from all over the world.
My reason is fairly boring (Welsh is my husband’s first language) but I’m nosy as to what other people’s reasons are!
Here’s my answer Me (or let some questions be answered) And if you’re even more “nosy”, go ahead and ask.
Mine’s the same as yours Eljay, my boyfriend and his family are first language Welsh speakers! Though we live in North West England, I’d like to be able to visit his family without feeling like they’re having to change everything for me, especially given I’m already a bit of a pain when I visit as a vegetarian!
I helped out at the Urdd this year and everyone was so nice they made me feel pathetic that I have never bothered to learn my native tongue. Better late than never =]
I used to say so that I could speak to my patients, and indeed I still do. However (and say this quietly) I now think, in addition, that if I live in Wales (which I do) that I should be able to speak the language and (even quieter) so should everyone else.
I said this on the SSIW FB page without realising quite how provocative this statement could be, and I don’t intend to provoke, offend or irritate anyone.
(Leaves the room backwards, with hands up, saying Don’t shoot me!)
I decided to learn it because some of my family came from Wales and I have always been drawn to the culture. Also because I think Welsh is the most beautiful language to sing in.
My reason is pretty simple - I just love the sound of the language. I have no familial connection to Wales, but I’ve always loved the culture.
Yeah, FaceAche…er, I mean FaceBook seems to be a notorious breeding ground for argumentative, opinionated, trolling, over-sensitive, easily offended/irritated, bored, but generally just argumentative people! (Did I mention argumentative??)
Thankfully, we have much nicer people here!
I know it’s provocative statement but I still think and believe that’s how it should be and I’ve stated that very clearly on twitter in my early days of learning Cymraeg. (oh, well but that’s another more “sirious” topic which maybe shouldn’t be the discussion here (in this thread I mean)).
I went to Ynys Mon every year as a child as far back as I can remember, and they were magical holidays. We stayed on a farm near Cemlyn and had long days on the beaches and long nights playing on the farm - hiding in the huge hay barn, playing with the numerous half wild kittens that seemed to be born there each year, and walking to Cemlyn down the winding lanes in the evening to see the light go down over the sea and struggling back in a dense darkness you only get in the most rural communities…I never wanted to go home. I still feel the same about Ynys Mon and still go every year, staying all over the island. I hope to get a home there in the next ten years. I don’t want to live in Wales without being able to join in completely and speak this beautiful language, which you hear all the time on Ynys Mon.
Also my gran was an Evans so surely some ancestry in the deeper past?!
My mother is Welsh, but never learnt the language (and so far I haven’t been able to find any of the Welsh ancestors who did either - in Pembrokeshire). But now I’m married to someone from Snowdonia and we have recently moved to Cardiff, so I was determined to learn.
Last night we went out to a new social group here for Welsh speakers, and there were a lot of people there who had learned Welsh (mostly completely fluent). On the way home, my wife was saying how it warmed her heart to meet so many people who had embraced the language, some of whom had made such great efforts to learn it (e.g. one guy from London). So dal ati, folks - it’s a great thing you’re doing
I have wanted to speak Welsh all my life but until I discovered SSiW I simply didn’t have the opportunity - won’t go into details here as to why -but what a great difference it has made to my life especially as I am lucky enough to have a lot of friends in North Wales although I live in the south. As Joella said at the Eistedddford last year I feel more like a Cymraes now.
This is a wonderful and inspiring thread…
I learnt Welsh because it had always been something I knew I needed to do if I was to come home properly - after a childhood and young adult life spent overseas. My grandfather was a Welsh speaker, my mother lost the language when they moved to England when she was 6, and it feels like a nice neat and tidy circle that my children are now growing up first language speakers a stone’s throw (or two) from where my grandfather’s family lived…
My reason is very much the same as Karla’s. To “culture” I’d add “and history”. I’ve lived in the UK for not far off 40 years, but have only “discovered” Wales in the past eight years or so. Listening to the Welsh language is like listening to music! - and I’m really happy to be learning it.
I’m in the US, and don’t have any family or other connection to Wales. But I’ve been interested in Wales and the Welsh language since childhood. I’m sure it started from being a voracious reader. When I was in high school (a very long time ago), one of my friends and I sent away for application information to the University of Aberystwyth, even though we knew going there was only a dream. Recently, I was reading a book that had a lot of Welsh people and place names, and I really wanted to know how to pronounce them correctly. So off I went to Google, and eventually ended up at SSiW. I thought it would be fantastic if I could learn to speak Welsh, but I never really thought it would happen. I tried Lesson 1…and here I am nearing the end of Course 1, and eager for more. Dw i’n gallu siarad Cymraeg a dw i’n hapus iawn! Diolch yn fawr iawn to Aran and Catrin and Iestyn and Cat for this amazing way to learn!
Love hearing everyone’s stories!
What do you do? I’m an occupational therapist and that’s another reason I want to learn Welsh. We’re planning on moving to Wales in the next few years, and I want to be able to speak to patients in Welsh.
I’ve always been a bit of a Welshophile even before I met my husband, I think the language and accent is lovely. Sadly he’s lived in London too long and lost his accent (it does come back when he goes home though). Does Iestyn run a Welsh accent elocution bootcamp?!
For five years now…in Tresaith.
Excellent. I’ll send him along and tell him he can’t come home until he’s got a proper Valleys accent!
That’s such a fantastic story, @annac - I adore that kind of serendipity
I don’t think you have to be Welsh or even of Welsh heritage to want to learn Welsh, but of course if you are, then you have even more reason.
I don’t think I have any Welsh blood connection, but most of the ancestors I can trace for as far back as I can trace came from northern England/Southern Scotland (with a little Irish chaser ) and at some point in time (before Saxons, Vikings and Romans) would probably have been speaking a Brythonic Celtic language which had a common root with Welsh. Well, we will never really know what they spoke because the records don’t exist, but modern Welsh is the nearest I can probably ever get to it, and it will do fine for me.
But even if I didn’t have that tenuous connection, I’d still want to study it “because it’s there”, it has a fascinating history, and let’s hope it has a great future.