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My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:05 am
by Gwyndaf-Christina
Just sharing my own story....

My first attempt at speaking Welsh was at a post office in a very Welsh speaking area about 3 years ago. I was feeling especially bold that day as I was standing in the line waiting my turn, and even though my dear husband was not with me, I thought, "I can do this." So, I rehearsed my line "I want to send this to America," over and over in my head as I waited. Finally, my turn came. I walked confidently to the window, plunked my parcel on the scale and said in what I thought was perfectly understandable Welsh, "I want to send this to America." To my horror, the lady stared blankly back. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough. She said the most dreaded word, "Pardon?" I could feel every eye of every person standing in the line behind me staring into the back of my neck as I mustered the courage to repeat my one, very well rehearsed, line. Again I said, "I want to send this to America." The woman looked at me for a moment, "America?" she finally asked. Crushing blow! She only understood one word - and the English word at that! I could feel my face turn red, "Isn't that what I just said?" I thought. But all I could answer in my deepest embarrassment was "yes."

Epic failure.

It was about 2 and a half years later - i.e. about 6 months ago - that I again worked up the courage to speak even a word of Welsh with someone other than my husband, but I am happy to say that having since had several reasonable and even good encounters - I'm not talking big things, I'm talking "sengl i dre, os gwelwch yn dda" to the bus driver, etc., that my confidence has improved tremendously. And thanks to this wonderful course, which I just started a couple of weeks ago, my welsh is just taking off. I know this doesn't count, but yesterday, my hubby and I and our little son went for a walk in which my challenge was to only speak Welsh from the time I walked out the door until I walked back into the house. I thought it would be a VERY short walk (I'm also very pregnant, which can limit the amount of time I can spend away from a loo. haha! :D), but we ended up walking and talking for a full 2 hours about various topics (I was surprised!) using only Welsh and alot of hand gestures. :D My confidence is growing as a result of the course as well, and today, on the bus and in dre and with my mother-in-law who I'm seeing today, I feel very ready to impose myself upon the Welsh speakers I encounter and speak Welsh. Oh yeah!

Re: My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:46 am
by Spenny
Gwyndaf-Christina wrote:Just sharing my own story....

My first attempt at speaking Welsh was at a post office in a very Welsh speaking area about 3 years ago...

...Epic failure.

One of the joys of old(er) age is learning to live with being an embarrassment! :dance: <<< dad dancing.

There are lots of little tricks to the art of practising Welsh, one is picking the longest queue at the Post Office so you have a chance to work out if anyone ahead of you has spoken Welsh. The other little trick is visiting the same place a few times and case the joint! A little baby is also a great excuse to talk to anyone, nearly as good as walking a dog.

I was watching the little Eisteddfod programme last night (currently the featured programme on iPlayer) and at least he had the humility to show himself nodding and pretending to understand Welsh when he didn't (which was part of his explanation of the need to learn - he is expected to know it, especially as he sings in it!).

Re: My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:27 pm
by llanfairfach
Deciding to just speak nothing but Cymraeg for a certain amount of time is a great way to boost learning and confidence. It's amazing how much of what we learn here can get you through a lot of situations.

Aran keeps telling us I know :roll: , but until you do it, you don't fully realise it :clap: .

Re: My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:06 pm
by Gwyndaf-Christina
It does help when the other person is fluent. I think a Welsh-only conversation between two learners might be alot harder (or alot quieter!).

Re: My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:24 pm
by DafyddyFelin
Gwyndaf-Christina wrote:It does help when the other person is fluent. I think a Welsh-only conversation between two learners might be alot harder (or alot quieter!).


I'm not so sure about that. You're less likely to be overwhelmed by a learner, and you might well worry less about your mistakes (not that you should at all - paid poeni, don't worry, as we always say here)

Re: My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:13 pm
by tehuti
Well, I've just come back from Shop Siarad in Pontypridd. We were all learners muddling along together, with no Welsh first language speaker there tonight, and it was great. The dictionaries were consulted at times, and the odd word of Saesneg crept in too, but on the whole it was a good session for all I think.

Re: My first attempt at speaking Welsh...

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:52 am
by Aran
Gwyndaf-Christina wrote:yesterday, my hubby and I and our little son went for a walk in which my challenge was to only speak Welsh from the time I walked out the door until I walked back into the house.


That's an excellent idea. Short periods of 'Welsh Only' are a brilliant way to start getting the mini-Bootcamp effect, and the more of them you do, the easier (and longer!) they'll get...:star: