In the aftermath of all the fuss around Jeremy Vine’s Welsh lesson on Radio 2, I saw someone saying ‘He only learnt one sentence’.
Well, that’s both true and not entirely true – because, importantly, he also learnt how to move around most of the bits of that sentence to make a lot of other shorter sentences, which is a huge part of why the SaySomethingin Method sees such fast early results.
But let’s take it as just the one sentence – and ask, as Garry Owen did quite reasonably on Taro’r Post, how much difference it really makes?
Single sentences, after all, can change the world dramatically – as you’ll know if you’ve ever heard any of these:
‘Oh my God, it says I’m pregnant.’
‘Will you marry me?’
‘I’m sorry, there’s nothing else we can do for her now.’
or even just
‘Hi there! What’s your name?’
So what difference does learning to say a single sentence in Welsh make?
I think the most important point of all is that it creates a connection.
Jeremy Vine has an awareness of Welsh – a connection to the language, at a synaptic level – that wasn’t there before.
No, he’s not going to move to Caernarfon, join Cymdeithas yr Iaith and start showing up at language protests.
But he’s also not going to dismiss Welsh as ‘silly’ or ‘pointless’ or ‘made-up’ or any of the daft (but damaging) stuff we see from time to time. He’ll respond much more thoughtfully to stories about Welsh from now on, because he has a connection – he has a little bit of Welsh tucked away in his brain.
And what does this mean for the rest of us?
I think it tells us something important about friendship.
Jeremy decided to learn a bit partly because he and I were getting on – and it seemed like a friendly thing to do.
It *was* a friendly thing to do.
So maybe – instead of being a bit quiet about our language, a bit shy about it, a bit ‘speaking Welsh isn’t polite to English speakers’ – maybe we should be telling our friends who don’t speak Welsh that we would really appreciate them learning ONE sentence.
And they can learn it in exactly the same way as Jeremy Vine did (but without the extra pressure of an audience) – entirely for free – by going to:
[They’ll learn all the stuff Jeremy did, and a bit more besides, in just a handful of very short sessions – the first is only 5 minutes!]
‘You’re a good friend of mine. I speak Welsh. Or I’m learning Welsh. It would mean a lot to me if you’d learn just one sentence, and I know a place you can do that for free.’
How many more good friends to the Welsh language could we uncover?
And imagine if Welsh people who move in celebrity circles did the same thing.
We could change the way most people think and talk about Welsh in just the next few months…
With a single sentence.
If you think that’s a good idea, please start asking your friends to learn one sentence as a favour to you, and please share this post… 🙂