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Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby my_cat_silky » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:03 pm

I have just come back from a wonderfully hot week in Wales, staying just outside Beddgelert, one of my favourite towns in North Wales. It was actually too hot to do much serious walking, which we normally do, so we didn't get to do Snowdon this time or any other mountain in the area, although we had intended to attempt Moel Hebog which overshadows Beddgelert and also Cnicht. It was just too hot for me, a dw i'n dod o Awstralia yn wreiddiol!! :oops:

Anyway, despite the constant protests of my 15-year-old daughter who, as soon as I started a conversation in Welsh with someone in a shop, would walk off in exasperation, I still managed to have quite a few mini-conversations in Welsh, sometimes two or three a day! The best places to try were Tesco in Porthmadog (the checkout ladies were always friendly and ready to respond in Welsh), the little general store in Beddgelert and the Tourist Information Centre also in Beddgelert. Everyone I spoke to there were so friendly and keen to speak Welsh with me and were always very complimentary about my Welsh after I told them I had been learning since Nadolig, so as you can imagine, I came out of these places feeling on cloud 9!

Sometimes people were a little reluctant to respond in Welsh, even though they were speaking Welsh to each other as I entered the shop, so I had to respect that, while others, when I asked them, "Ydach chi'n siarad Cymraeg?", would reply "Tipyn bach!" or simply reply in English that they didn't speak Welsh! A couple of others would start off in Welsh but then reverted to English, despite my attempts to interject Welsh sentences whenever I could! I didn't like to say, "Paid siarad Saesneg efo fi!" in case I sounded a little too insistent, as they were people I had just met after all!

So overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to use my Welsh at last and it was such a thrill not only to be understood but also to understand what was being said to me! My husband, who hasn't progressed beyond Lesson 4 in the Introductory Course, was even able to use his Welsh on occasion. It was also exciting being able to choose the Cymraeg options at the self-service checkouts in Tesco and also at the cash machines, and being able to understand the instructions, as well as seeing a lot of road signs that made far more sense this time round, recognising quite a few expressions from SSIW, including "yn ofalus" as in "Gyrrwch yn ofalus", as well as signs advertising car boot sales on Dydd Sul! It was a real revelation to see how much Welsh was being used in everyday situations like this and such a thrill to be able to actively partake in it all, whether translating signs for the benefit of my family or plucking up the courage to approach a virtual stranger and start a Welsh conversation!

These last few months of learning Welsh (having just completed the first five lessons of the Intermediate Course) more or less on my own with no Welsh speakers to practise with really did pay off and made the hard work so worthwhile, as it was such a thrill to be able to speak Welsh at last with native speakers after all our years of visiting Wales and not being able to say a thing in Welsh! Hopefully the next time I go, I will have completed the Intermediate Course and will be able to have more extended conversations (and without being constantly told off by my daughter for wanting to siarad Cymraeg trwy'r dydd!) So, a huge thank you to everyone in SSIW for helping to make my first Welsh-speaking experience so enjoyable!
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby Aran » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:20 pm

Fantastic! Many congratulations, and well done for grabbing every chance you got - the clearest of all markers for someone who is going to be come a very confident and relaxed Welsh speaker...:star:
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby Tahl » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:29 pm

my_cat_silky wrote: such a thrill to be able to actively partake in it all


Da iawn! :clap: You really took advantage of your opportunities -- I can hear your excitement from here. :D
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby llanfairfach » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:51 pm

WOW!

Really impressive. By the time you get the intermediate course done I think you'll be even more amazed at what you can do.

Da iawn i ti. :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Please feel free to correct my Welsh.

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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby kalenwolf » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:26 pm

i say keep embarressing the daughter, she'll get over it :lol: u've worked hard to get through the course as far as you have so more power to your usage :star:
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby my_cat_silky » Thu May 05, 2011 7:06 pm

Thank you so much for your encouraging replies - it was a wonderful experience to return to Wales being able to speak some Welsh this time round, and I can't wait to go again!
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby Iestyn » Thu May 05, 2011 8:17 pm

That's a brilliant story - thank you for sharing.

It's lovely to hear that you did so well, having conversations and natural interactions with real Welsh speakers. You've only been learning since Christmas, but the work you've put in has already been worth it. Well done, llongyfarchiadau, and as Aran says, you are on your way to becoming an entirely natural and relaxed Welsh speaker. :star:
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby my_cat_silky » Mon May 23, 2011 9:35 pm

Thank you so much for your kind response, Iestyn - it was super to be able to share my experiences and it's wonderful that I can do so on this brilliant site!! :D I would never have been able to find the courage to speak Welsh with native Welsh speakers without the fantastic help and support available right here! Thank you, everyone, for making it possible, and I'm really pleased to say that I'm returning to Wales in October to have another go, hopefully with the Intermediate course well and truly finished by then! I really can't wait - all I can say is: Cymru am byth!! :smile:
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby sumsmeister » Tue May 24, 2011 5:24 am

Wonderful to read that you've been so successful - well done! About your daughter - it's one the responsibilities of any caring parent to embarrass their offspring - in a kind way, of course! :wink: :harhar: Hopefully she will take heart from seeing you do something like this and will decide to take something challenging on herself...
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Re: Speaking Welsh in Wales at last!

Postby my_cat_silky » Tue May 24, 2011 10:39 am

Bore da, Gary,
Many thanks for your kind message - yes, my daughter is gradually coming round to the idea that I am determined to learn Welsh, no matter what, and that I will continue to embarrass her as the occasion dictates! :smile:
I have just created a Skype account and have added you - many thanks once again, and I do look forward to speaking with you some time - I need all the speaking practice I can get! :harhar:
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