"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, August 13, 2017

Dysgu Cymraeg - eto

I have now been learning Welsh for six years. No, I can't believe it either! Unfortunately, I still wouldn't consider myself capable of stringing a sentence together with any degree of ease, probably due to various reasons, some my fault, others beyond my control. So let's see:
Reasons that are my fault

  • I have been very lax in going to Sesiwnau Siarad Cymraeg (chat sessions) over the past two years. I neglected them when Dad was ill and never picked them up again since he died.
  • I have various apps for practice of vocabulary etc but somehow, the lure of Facebook, Twitter or Ancestry are often too strong to resist and I am one who can resist anything except temptation.
  • I am one of those anoraks who actually like learning a language the traditional way, so I am more interested in the grammar, usage and history of the language than actually speaking it.
Reasons beyond my control

  • Keith doesn't speak Welsh and even when I threaten to trade him in for a Welsh-speaking model, refuses  even to entertain the notion. (Of course, he knows I wouldn't really!)
  • I have no work colleagues, being retired, and no neighbours or friends who speak Welsh.
  • The dogs don't speak Welsh.
  • People in the area generally don't speak Welsh, so there's no opportunity to pass the time of day in shops etc.
AND - and this is the big one,

On the few occasions when I have made myself take advantage of an occasion when I could have a go, it has not gone well. There are Welsh speakers out there who don't want to speak Welsh to a learner or even a non-Welsh person. 
However, I do accept that I have had bad luck in these situations, as most of my fellow learners have had good experiences of very helpful and supportive Welsh speakers, but it has meant that I am wary of even trying now.

Still, not to be deterred, I am signing up for the coming academic year, or at least trying to. The local college, now the only provider of Welsh for Adults (and that's a whole other story!), has a website with a course finder - which doesn't seem to work. Having been round the houses twice, I have now given up for today. 
Anybody know of a good Swedish course?





8 comments:

  1. It's no secret that immersion is the easiest way to learn a language. After all, that's how we gain our mother tongue. I spent two wonderful months in Germany as a boy, and although I wasn't fluent afterward, I could certainly carry on a conversation. I went to Germany to study German. It was the preferred setting for such an undertaking. You live in Wales. It seems like that would be the preferred place to study (and LEARN) Welsh. The German people I met were always happy to speak with me, especially when they learned I was an Ausländer who was keen to learn their language and culture. It's a real shame that you haven't found the same kind of help in learning Welsh. You'd think the locals would be thrilled to help an English girl learn their language.

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    1. I had the same experience when learning French, Dale and was fluent. Even now, I can still hold a conversation, although my colloquial vocabulary is still rooted in the sixties!

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  2. You make learning Welsh sound about as useful as Latin, at least in terms of everyday communication!

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    1. It very much depends on which area of Wales you live in, SP. We're very near the English boarder here and a lot of people have had a poor experience of learning Welsh in school and don't want anything more to do with it. But there is also a section of the population who, although they constantly complain when there is a lack of Welsh language provision, are also quite 'precious' about it and won't willingly speak Welsh to non Welsh or 'learners'. The excuse given is often that 'learners have the correct grammar' and so make them feel awkward. I remain to be convinced! I do have a friend who asked some people he knows if they would be willing to speak Welsh with him, only to be told that they don't speak Welsh to people who aren't Welsh.

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  3. I was born in Liverpool so probably had more Welsh friends than some people living in parts of Wales. I only had some very rudimentary Welsh though that my Dad taught me. His Mother was from Blaneau and dad Lived in Llangollen for a while. However when I came to Lewis and started learning Gaelic I quickly realised that, so long as I had a reasonable understanding of what was going on, incomers who became fluent were not always welcomed into the language. So I felt and feel far more at home always able to be regarded as sympathetic but not a trespasser. I hope that makes some sense to you. It has always been a dream to be really fluent in many languages but I accepted many years ago that I did not have the talent for it.

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  4. That's interesting, Graham and more or less mirrors what I was saying had been mine and my friend's experience.

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  5. Don't give up. You have come so far.

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    1. Thanks, YP. It's supposed to keep the mental ageing process at bay too, so worth it if just for that!

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