Are you quietly FURIOUS that you don’t speak Welsh?

I don’t often see people talk openly about this – maybe because it hurts too much – but if this is you, you’ll REALLY know what I mean.

Are you quietly FURIOUS that you don’t speak Welsh?

I used to think I was a bit weird – a bit of an edge case (or even just a headcase!) – to feel so angry about not having grown up speaking Welsh. I put it down to not really belonging anywhere – to having moved too much, lived in too many different countries.

And then, after I became a Welsh speaker, and then published the SaySomethinginWelsh method and started to help other people become Welsh speakers…

I finally met other people who felt the same way.

It was a bit of a shock at first – it’s not something people open up about very quickly – because the anger is mixed up with (completely inappropriate) shame – and frustration. Difficult emotions.

But the more conversations I had, the more people I found with this sense of anger – until I realised it’s actually quite common – we just don’t talk much about it.

It’s the injustice of it.

The bloody ‘post-code lottery’ of it.

You grow up in Caernarfon, you (probably) speak Welsh.

You grow up in Merthyr, you (probably) don’t.

It’s not YOUR fault. It’s not something YOU did. It’s the bloody system – the history of it all, the way Welsh was stamped on as deliberately as possible, the way our grandparents and great-grandparents were brain-washed and bullied into thinking their language would hold their children back.

The way their LOVE was weaponised against their own children.

Against us.

The way we had to grow up without the language that ought to have been our birthright.

You know, I’m still angry about it. Just sitting here, writing this, I’ve got that old, tight feeling in the pit of my stomach, and my hands feel tense.

It’s MY bloody language. But even though I speak it now, I will never – I CAN never – have it be as natural to me as breathing – as natural as it is for Welsh people who grew up with it.

The people who grew up with the language of the kings of Wales on their lips, as Geraint Lovgreen sings:

I’ve made my peace with that – and I’ve given that gift to my children, instead – they’ll never have to know what it feels like to grow up without their own language.

I was reminded of this recently – talking to Leanne Wood (hope you don’t mind me name-checking you here, Leanne!).

She mentioned the sense of loss at growing up without the language – and I recognised the pain immediately.

I remember thinking: ‘No way? You too?’

I’ve promised Leanne that I’ll do our most brutal intensive training days with her until it genuinely feels easy and normal for her (she’s a long way down that road already, and closer to victory than she knows).

I can’t offer that to everyone, sadly.

But our courses were built to WORK – to give this language back to people who should NEVER have had it stolen from them in the first place.

If you can put in 3 or 4 hours a week, we can have you speaking Welsh in 6 months:

Or go for our more leisurely ‘6 Minutes a Day’ approach (it still gets you there much faster than traditional courses):

Or, if you can speak a fair bit but are struggling to push on to understanding more easily and having a wider vocabulary (this is what I’ll recommend to Leanne if she can’t find time for intensive days):

And one last thing…

If you’ve been robbed of your language, and you’re angry about that – but you’ve also been hit by austerity, and you can’t afford our courses – then email us at, and tell us why it matters to you.

We’ll take a few people on scholarship entry every week (as many as we can while still being able to pay our tutors) – we’re not going to let Tory austerity block you from reclaiming the birthright that Westminster stole before you were even born.

Because we really know how much it hurts.

9 responses to “Are you quietly FURIOUS that you don’t speak Welsh?

  1. Spot on. My going though each lesson is a kick in the balls to everyone who deprived me of my language.

  2. That is EXACTLY how I feel Aran. I’m angry that my father’s, and grandfather’s, generations all failed to ensure that I too would grow up as a natural Welsh speaker, rather than having to struggle with learning it now, so late in life. I’m also sad that, in consequence, there are two further generations of my family who have also been failed.
    But I’m also angry at all those people in authority, not least Henry VIII, who banned the use of the language in official life for their actions. I reserve special distaste for those in authority in the 19th and 20th centuries who put it under suchr pressure.
    Nonetheless, there is a lot of hope for a language which has held on despite every effort by a powerful neighbour to kill it off and I am heartened that, at last Welsh is being revived by stalwarts like you, Aran, whose anger drove you to create SSiW and which I strongly believe will do more than any single factor to achieve the (modest) target of the Llywodraeth to achieve 500,000 Welsh speakers.
    Dal ati pawb, mae’r dyfodol yn eich dwylo.

  3. Loved reading this. Its me. I live in Merthyr. I cannot speak Welsh. My language. I am annoyed, angry and ashamed. However, I have given the gift of Welsh to my 3 Children. They will carry it on through their lives and pass on the language to their children. Welsh is here to stay.

    • I believe you’ve done the most important thing of all, Alex. Giving it back to our own children beats everything else hands down. You should be proud of yourself, not ashamed.

      • Da iawn ti @Alex Edwards. My greatest regret is that, by the time my eyes were finally opened, and I came to Welsh, we had lived over the border for many years and in any case my children had grown up, so it was too late for them also. Sad.

  4. I’ve always been a bit disappointed that I can’t speak Welsh, having spent most of my life in the now (but only within the last generation) non-Welsh-speaking village of Rhosllanerchrugog, just south of Wrexham. I’ve always been able to understand the gist of Welsh conversation – two of my university friends in Cardiff were from North West Wales who spoke Welsh to each other, but used to switch to English when I was around. I used to tell them not to switch to English on my account, as I could understand much of what they were saying. I just couldn’t really respond to them or hold any sort of conversation.

    Since finding the SSIW course, I’ve been making more of an effort. I’m still only on level 1, but it’s the only thing playing in my car every day to and from work, and on any other journeys. It’s a good method for the most part, but for someone like myself who suffers from an auditory and sequence processing disorder, it does make it a bit more difficult on the longer sentences, as I’ve generally forgotten what the start of the sentence was by the time you get to the end of it! But I’ll soldier on. My 2019 resolution is to learn Welsh, and it’s one I’m planning on sticking to!

    • Sounds as though you’ve done excellently – because it really is a LOT tougher when you have auditory and sequencing issues – we’re aiming to release the lessons in video form at some point, which won’t be much use for the car but might be a help particularly with the longer sentences… but keep on keeping on and you’ll definitely make progress… and do come along to our very friendly forum at any time you get stuck… 🙂

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