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Hit and miss Welsh

Postby danhiggins1002 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:57 am

Bore da pawb,

I haven't been on here for a while. I'll be totally honest, I've been very slack with doing the lessons most of this year. Until yesterday I hadn't done a lesson since March :-? I've still been listening to a bit of Radio Cymru, BBC Cymru, pobl y cwm etc to keep my skills up, but not as much as I really should.

Anyway, in June, I went back home to Monmouth/Trefynwy for a month to see family and friends. I nearly always had radio cymru on in the car (much to people's amusement, they say that I've become more Welsh since moving to Australia :lol: ). I didn't get much of a chance to use my Cymraeg in Monmouth, as it's pretty much only English speaking (the only people in Monmouth I remember who spoke Welsh were my Welsh teachers in school, I didn't see any of them this visit though). Went to the the Brecon Beacons a few times, was still listening out for snippets of Welsh in conversation, but nothing :sad:
Towards the end of my trip, I went to see a friend in Aberystwyth (she studies at the prifysgol there). I thought that would be a great chance to try out my Welsh... But I just couldn't bring myself to spark up a conversation. I did manage to have a short conversation in Welsh with my friend's housemate (he went to a Welsh medium primary school, but lost a fair chunk of what he knew), but that was about it. Something that shocked me (maybe suffering from niavety slightly here) was the tension between the young english speaking student population and older welsh speaking locals. A few friends who've studied in Aber over the last few years have said they find it difficult to find work if they don't speak Welsh or are not willing to learn.
So as my friend showed me the sights and shops in Aber, I found one store that had a sign saying "hapus i siarad Cymraeg" above the counter.... But I chickened out, I was worried that all I'd mutter is "Hello, how are you?" and then be stuck for the rest of the conversation.
So apart from a few short conversations, listening to Radio Cymru (including listening to Wales losing to Australia... but that's a story for another day), and using the Cymraeg option on cash machines... I feel I wasted a good opportunity to use Welsh. But that's the only negative from the journey, going home and seeing friends, family, and having a month to relax and see different parts of Wales was such a fantastic experience.

On a more positive note....

SSiW Sydney had another meeting last night, which went absolutely brilliantly! One of the SSiW members (who I'm terribly sorry, but I'm struggling to remember the screen name of) was on holiday from York with her husband. I still struggled to start up and maintain conversation, but luckily (having been on bootcamp), her and Louis were happily chatting away. I was quite shocked that I actually understood most of what we were all talking about! There were still words and phrases that I didn't know, but I didn't worry about them and just focused on what I did know, which was enough for me to understand most things :D I managed to speak a fair bit of Welsh after building up some confidence after listening for a while.

So, da iawn fi lol :D
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Re: Hit and miss Welsh

Postby sumsmeister » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:57 am

Hi Dan, sounds like you were putting yourself under pressure to do something you weren't quite sure about, which is always going to feel a little awkward. What probably made it feel worse is that you were looking for opportunities (well done :D ) but you don't feel you made the best of them. Give yourself a bit of credit for maintaining your desire to improve and be open to new opportunities! :clap:
As far as the "awkwardness" between younger and older people is concerned, my opinion is that there are those kinds of tensions anyway precisely because of the age difference but we should try to find and celebrate the common ground as well. You are obviously proud of your heritage and rightly so: other people's concerns need not hold you back. Keep the faith, your consistent efforts will rub off on people you know and meet :star:
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Re: Hit and miss Welsh

Postby lambiek » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:19 am

danhiggins1002 wrote:I still struggled to start up and maintain conversation

Haha Dan, that is not at all how I remember it! Carys (gorwelgwynedd), you and I had a very fluent and interesting conversation over dinner, is what I remember. It was a great evening all around.

It was wonderful but rather strange to realise that we were having a conversation in Welsh in a German restaurant in Sydney, though. I think I mistakenly ordered cawl instead of Suppe at one stage....

Also, John Coombs asked me to mention the following:

There will be an advanced Welsh class starting at WEA in Bathurst St in October, running for 6 three hour sessions on Saturday afternoons. We'll be doing things like reading extracts from John Davies' Hanes Cymru and Marion Eames' Y Stafell Ddirgel, and listening to extracts from Welsh Radio Broadcasts (with transcipts to go through first).

[note to Dee: could you possibly mention this in the next newsletter please?]

....just going through the minutes of the meeting last night: a motion was carried - without dissent - that Dan will attend a Bootcamp at the earliest opportunity...
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