What about the English?

[Yes, my finger still hurts when I type. No, I don’t think I can allow myself another utterly self-indulgent post…;-)]

So today, by request, it’s ‘What about English people?’

Most of my posts focus on the relationship/s Welsh people have with the language – because I’m Welsh, so that’s what I know about.

Some people (a bit daftly, I think) see that as ‘exclusionary’ (is that even a word?!).

But others – with warmth and friendliness – just ask for some stuff that pays attention to English learners of Welsh – and they deserve a response.

After all, we have about as many learners in England as we do in Wales – which staggered me when it first started to become clear.

And a lot of our learners in Wales are English people, too.

***

So here’s the thing:

English people who learn Welsh are some of the most outstandingly wonderful people on the face of the planet.

***

That shouldn’t really be the case, of course – it should just be normal for anyone who moves to Wales, or anyone who lives next door to Wales, to be interested in the language.

But it – currently – ISN’T normal.

Which means the people who do it ANYWAY – when it is a DIFFICULT thing to do, when there is no practical need for them to do it – when almost NOTHING they see in the press makes it seem like a sensible, normal thing to do…

Those people are comparatively rare and utterly brilliant.

They’re paying attention, you see – and showing respect.

They’re noticing the reality of the language – which means they’re talking to people and listening, because they sure as hell don’t see it in the media.

And then they’re making a very serious cognitive effort to join in – to become part of the community – to help nurture and protect this very beautiful thing that you can only fully understand when you become a Welsh speaker.

Oh, and many of them are some of the fieriest and most passionate advocates of the Welsh language – they often bring what rural Wales calls ‘hyder y Sais’ (the confidence of the English) to the whole debate.

Londoners in particular, for some reason…;-)

I’ve thought for some time – based on what I see in the SaySomethinginWelsh community, and on social media in general – that English learners of Welsh are going to be one of the most important parts of revitalising the entire language.

So no – SaySomethinginWelsh is NOT exclusionary.

In fact, we’re the opposite – we’ve got learners in dozens of different countries, which is one of the things we love most.

And our English learners are very, very dear to my heart.

So yes, in the next few days I’ll have a few more things to say about the experience of learning Welsh for English people – based on what I’ve witnessed and heard, rather than on my own experiences – because although they don’t have the in-built pain about it that many Welsh people do, they have some equally complex issues going on.

More tomorrow.

Short posts for now.

Finger still hurts.

And if you know any English people who’ve been thinking about taking the plunge – whether they live in Wales or not – do please point them at our location-doesn’t-matter courses…:-)

Our brutal 6 month course:

http://www.SaySomethinginWelsh.com/6mws

Our leisurely but effective ‘6 Minutes a Day’ course:

http://www.SaySomethinginWelsh.com/6min

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5 responses to “What about the English?

  1. Thank you for this, I really needed to hear it. I’ve nearly made it to the end of challenge 2 and I’m so pleased with how I’m doing- I tell anyone who stands still long enough how wonderful your course is! But this week, life in general has been a bit exhausting and I found myself wondering why I’ve put so many hours and emotion into learning Welsh! I’m a GP and I have been managing for 6 years in my surgery (in North Wales) with very little Welsh, like all my colleagues. Your post has helped me to remember that firstly, I don’t need a specific reason and secondly it’s ok to be a staunch supporter for the Welsh language even as a learner!! Thank you

    • Really, really glad it was timely for you – because if there’s any added brilliance, it goes to health professionals who make the effort – you’re busy enough already, but at times of stress or fear even just a few words in the first language can be utterly priceless, particularly for the very old or young – I’ve seen that with my own kids – I’m sure the difference impacts on clinical outcomes, too, if some of the things being dug up in neuroscience are on the right lines. So on behalf of my kids and others like them, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart… 🙂 ❤

  2. Hi there – does the fact that I ave paid in to SSIW (what was recommended at the time for full access) for the last 5-ish years qualify me for access to the 6 month/6 minute courses?

    • Hi Kathy – if you’ve been with us for that long, you should be quite a way past where the 6month/6minute would take you – how far have you got with the challenges? 🙂 There may be better ways forward – including the fact that you have access to Beca’s advanced listening work… 🙂

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