Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg
I like a challenge. Sometimes doing something completely alien can be just what one needs, especially after a forced period of lockdown inertia. Having said that, I’ve now passed half a century in age and could also argue that post-COVID, the head fuzziness is lingering, and getting back on the bike isn’t quite as easy as it should be. Either way, I’m trying to learn a new language and I think I’m making positive steps. Welsh is a notoriously challenging language for English people as it uses a slightly different alphabet, and some of the characters, whilst appearing familiar, are pronounced very differently.
Since we bought our place in North Wales, we’ve had grand ambitions of getting to grips with the language as Llanrwst is a predominantly Welsh-speaking town. We started on the journey a couple of years ago but COVID ruined our optimistic plans, essentially wedging a two-year delay between our taster lessons and the full, week-long residential we’ve just completed at Nant Gwrtheyrn.
Nant Gwrtheyrn is home to the National Welsh Language and Heritage Centre – a secluded Victorian village located in a former quarrying village on the northern coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in north Wales. It’s an ideal environment for learning, specialising in Welsh for Adults (as a second language). It offers intensive residential courses throughout the year, last time we visited it was deepest winter so we also learned to return when the weather isn’t quite so punishing.
We’ve just spent an enjoyable week with a small but enthusiastic group of students, all keen to build on their varying degrees of language prowess – speaking, reading, listening and writing with the aid of an excellent teacher. I can’t say that I’m ready to get into deep conversations using my new found linguistic skills but I am certainly happy to quietly share the fact that I’m trying. We were each given a ‘Welsh learner’ lanyard that can be worn when out and about to encourage others to engage with us in Welsh but I’m not that confident yet and lanyards don’t suit me so I designed something more discreet of my own.
Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg translates as I’m learning Welsh and it’s something I’m going to continue to do. If you want one of these badges, they’re in my Redbubble store HERE.