"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."



('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)




Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dysgu Cymraeg

Last year, and probably a bit before that, Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, and other Assembly Ministers were chatting over a cup of tea and wondering how they might fill their days during the coming months.
"I know," said one, "Why not reorganise Welsh for Adults."

"Syniad da!" (Good idea!) was the response, so they set to drawing up plans on the backs of any old envelopes they had to hand.

"Hang on," one of them said after a few minutes, "That's South Wales done, but what about North Wales?"

"Oh yeah! Forgot about that," was the reply. "Do they even speak Welsh up there? After all, they're nearly in Liverpool ... OK, well, we'll draw a line down the middle. Bangor university can provide for everything to the left and Coleg Cambria can have everything to the right. Of course they'll have to submit bids for the contracts but, well ..." (Taps side of nose and winks.)

When I started learning Welsh, five years ago, I had the choice of two providers, Coleg Cambria and Bangor university, each providing their own courses and until last year, I was able to follow both and go to three classes, which I found very useful as although each course covered much the same ground, it was presented in different ways so that each reinforced the other.

The rot set in when Coleg Cambria decided not to run the Canolradd course, which I was due to move on to, citing low numbers as the reason, which might have been acceptable had they had the grace to tell us without us having to contact them several times before they grudgingly admitted that the course wouldn't run.

Then came the reorganisation, with the result that we now have one course provider for our area, Coleg Cambria, so there will now only be one course and far fewer classes running. Instead of three,  I now only do one. Also, the classes run by Bangor were quite a bit cheaper than those provided by Coleg Cambria, which means that, even if they wanted to, some people who had previously done a couple of classes, can now no longer afford to do more than one.

How this contributes to the avowed aim of the Welsh Assembly to have one million speakers of Welsh by 2050, I am not quite sure. In the meantime, I am wondering about learning Swedish, so that I can follow all those brilliant Nordic Noir dramas on TV without the subtitles.

10 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I might be wrong but I suspect you are a little annoyed about Welsh language education in North Wales.

Seriously though, it must be frustrating when you have made pretty good headway.

Dale said...

Pob lwc, Jenny! (Is that right?)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

No need to swear Dale!

Jenny Aspin said...

You're right,YP, I am annoyed and I don't think we learners have been treated very well by Coleg Cambria. (I had an ongoing argument with them about withdrawing courses with no notice last year). And how is it an improvement to have fewer courses and classes to choose from? Yes, I am definitely annoyed! ;)

Jenny Aspin said...

Dale, full marks and a gold star! :)

Graham Edwards said...

I was brought up in Liverpool. My connection with Wales is a grandmother who was brought up in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Liverpool was a very multi-cultural city. When I was a youngster it was always said that its inhabitants were Liverpool Welsh, Liverpool Irish, Liverpool Scots, Liverpool West Indian, Liverpool Chinese, Liverpool West African or Liverpool Jewish. It was rumoured that there were Liverpool English but no one had ever met one.

Jenny Aspin said...

That's probably about right, Graham. :)

ZACL said...

Half the the fun of the Swedish dramas is being muulti-functional, i.e reading the subtitles before they disappear, watch the physical interaction of the characters both silent and verbal. You have to admire the plasticity of the co-ordination of the eyes and the brain, when you get up to speed.

I was always given to understand that the North Waleian sector was the main Celtic speaking one of the country. Has that changed?

Jenny Aspin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny Aspin said...

It's probably true, ZACL but in pockets. Here in Wrexham, it's very difficult to find people to talk Welsh to but move further west and it's much more prevalent. I was once told that the purest Welsh is spoken in Bala.

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