An endangered Language : Get a better understanding of Welsh Culture by learning Welsh Language
Welsh language lovers are campaigning to save Welsh language, why is it a language that is worth their effort?
Welsh language, the second wildly spoken language in UK after English, is facing sharp decline, Welsh language lovers are trying to save the day.
Welsh language is a unique language spoken in Wales, one of the four countries in UK along with Scotland, England, Northern Ireland. However, in Welsh area where Welsh is the official language, less than a quarter of the people could speak it. In general, people outside of the UK hardly know the presence of the language.
“In order for the language to thrive it’s crucial that we increase the number of speakers and opportunities to use the language, so we campaign to ensure that everyone can learn, use and enjoy the language in their daily lives,” said Mabli Jones, the Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the Welsh language society in English.
Welsh language is an antique language which have been existed from more than 1600 years ago until now, but it is gradually vanishing because of the domination of English language in UK.
Welsh language society is a group which is campaigning for the right of Welsh people to speak Welsh in every aspect of their life.
Mabli and fellow campaigners are originally calling for the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 in order to save the language.
They were pleased to see the last Government adopt this target.
Welsh language campaigners reckon that introducing a new Welsh Medium Education for All Act to ensure every child leaves school with fluent Welsh language is central part to the target of protecting the language.
They are also fighting for the right to have everyone in Wales learn Welsh for free.
Currently, Welsh language communities are facing a housing crisis.
This threatens the future of the Welsh language as a living community language due to young people being priced out of their local area.
Campaigners are therefore calling on the Government to introduce radical and comprehensive measures to tackle the crisis, including a Property Act to regulate the housing market and ensure everyone can afford to live in their local community.
They also aim to achieve a cap on the number of second homes in any community and other measures taken to ensure housing equality and strengthen language.
Mabli think the only reason Welsh has survived and will survive in the future, is thanks to the hard work over decades by people who have campaigned for Welsh languages rights, education and community facilities.
“The language revitalisation efforts and non-violent direct action campaigns to save and strengthen the Welsh language have been an inspiration across the world, and are the reason many of us still speak Welsh today.”
All languages have an inherent value as the medium through which we live our daily lives, communicate with each other and experience the world, according to Mabli.
“Learning Welsh opens up a whole new world of opportunities in Wales, with books, music, events and discussions in Welsh that you will be able to access. You’ll meet new people and have new experiences, and learn about a whole new culture.”
“There is a unique history, culture, and tradition to the language that people will be able to access through being able to speak Welsh. “
“We believe everyone should have equal access in order to enjoy these things!”
There are still more than 200 languages spoken in Europe.
Other than Welsh, many of the languages are facing extinction due to the passing of the last generation of elderly who masters them.
Welsh language lovers are trying to save the language in their own way.
Sarah Cooper started learning Welsh 12 years ago and now speaks Welsh every day and even lecture at the University in Welsh, she deems Welsh language as an indispensable part of her life.
Sarah is lecturer in Linguistics and English Language at Bangor University.
Learning Welsh is important to her because it renders her capable of having Welsh daily conversation with her husband who is a Welsh native speaker and his family.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes- any Welsh is better than no Welsh， “
said Sarah Cooper.
“Start using Welsh outside of the classroom as soon as you can- Welsh speakers are happy to speak to people learning Welsh,” said Sarah.
For Sarah, she thinks learning Welsh in formal language classes https://learnwelsh.cymru/ is a good way for non-native speakers.
Duolingo might be another platform people practice Welsh.
“Learning Welsh has allowed me to understand more about my local community and helped me to “fit in”. I love speaking Welsh at home (even with my cats!), with my neighbours, in the shops, with my friends and at work,” said Sarah.
“I would never have enjoyed the Eisteddfod so much if I hadn’t been able to speak Welsh (even though everybody is welcome), and I think I’ve learnt lots about Welsh people and my local community by being a Welsh speaker.”
“I’ve made so many new friends through speaking Welsh, and I am really passionate about people learning Welsh because it has been so enriching for me.”
“I think Welsh language events are vital for the language. “
“Some people who come to these events may not speak Welsh at home with their families, or some might be learners,” said Elin Owen, a Welsh native speaker.
“So they’re a great opportunity for them to use the language and practice in a safe environment where they’ll be encouraged rather than corrected and judged,”
Elin goes to Tafwyl each year, a Welsh language music festival held in Cardiff Castle.
“There’s just such a buzz seeing so many Welsh speakers gathered together in the center of the capital, to communicate in Welsh, listen to Welsh language bands and buy from Welsh language brands.”
Elin goes to the National Eisteddfod with her friends every summer, a week-long festival of singing, dancing, performing and camping.
It’s a very special event because it moves to different parts of Wales every year, so you can travel to a new place and be a tourist at home, according to Elin.
“I love the atmosphere because you’re surrounded by tens of thousands of Welsh speakers, all gathered to enjoy a week of competing and night after night of gigs. “
“Throughout the week there are hundreds of events based on different aspects of the Welsh language, so you can listen to people speak about the new Welsh novels they’ve written, you can learn how to write poems in Welsh, you can go to Welsh music masterclasses and just lots of talks about different topics.”
Silke Lesch Muller, a Germany who is an organizer and administer of the group “Duolingo Welsh Learners”.
She loves Welsh language because “it also has a connection to two of my nerdy fandoms or characters there from (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter).”
“ I have taken part in several Welsh language-related events. “
“To traveling to a Welsh learners weekend where we visited a wool mill and spent a weekend mostly speaking Welsh, attending the Eisteddfod 2019 and being a volunteer helper there, all in Welsh.
“Also, spending a week at Nant Gwrtheyrn in a full Welsh environment and speaking nothing but Welsh,” said Silke.
“The common denominator between all of these events though are the people. The learners who enthusiastically soak up the language and try to make it their own.
“And the native Welsh speakers, the tutors, the volunteer content creators, and their passion for the language as well as their joy over every learner. “
“They are the ones who make learning Welsh such a wonderful experience.”
Domestic life in Wales, I started reading this book out of interest in Welsh life and culture, and then went to the museum several times to visit these exhibitions.
Although each exhibit has two annotations in English and Welsh, after watching it for a long time.
We will find Welsh particularly cordial, because English can be seen all over the world, but only when you see Welsh text, you can truly believe these artifacts and these unique life scenes are treasures that only belong to this ancient nation.
The language rule for me is a difficult part, for example, some of it is quite opposite to English. The adjective mostly follows the nouns, but English is other way around.
Serious stuff aside, for me personally, Welsh language is quite a “brainwashing” language.
I am sure that no other languages could be much funnier to learn than this one.
The language is not so friendly to my tongue especially when I am pronouncing the syllable “ll”, “dd” and so on.
Its requirement of getting your togue and lips involved at the same time is more difficult for someone like me whose tongue is not flexible enough.
You need to stable your lips and tongue along with blowing the air.
At first, I thought Welsh might be related to English, but they didn’t overlap much at all.
If you are affected by the fixed pronunciation of English, it would be a big mistake to come to learn Welsh.
Like in English, the letter “w” was consisted of three heavy syllables, but instead, in Welsh it has been replaced by a single light syllable.
You need to flick your tongue when pronouncing “r”, as in the word “Bore da”.