Shmae, hello! Well, I have always had a love for languages since I was five in the 1960s, and fortunate to have been taken on holidays most years in my childhood, travelling in the car with Mum, Dad and my older brother, on the continent, picking up bits of French German and Italian.
I’ve since learnt that if you can be exposed to languages before the age of twelve you can make little compartments for each of them more easily. That may or may not be true but what it did give me was an understanding that you do not have to be stressed learning a language. You will learn it all the better if you just relax.
I’ve been lucky as these early experiences taught me to enjoy having a go and not to worry about making mistakes, I know this is something you highlight and I so agree. You get so much more out of communicating with someone in their language if you really don’t mind making mistakes. It somehow goes against the grain of how we are all normally taught but is just the best thing if you can just relax and let go.
I have studied French Spanish Italian and now Welsh and Greek and can get by quite nicely in the first three but the main thing is that I am not perfect – who is fluent? I just love having a go and I find that the native speakers really appreciate your efforts to speak their language and will help you all the more even if you make a hash of it!
Regarding Welsh, in the war, my Dad was first evacuated as a child and then billeted, strangely enough to the same place in Bangor, North Wales. I presume the family he stayed with must have been Welsh speakers as often during our family meals he would suddenly come out with some Welsh and his ‘pièce de résistance’ was the famous long place name Llanfyrpwyllgyll … sorry, I cant even spell it! Anyway, I think this is where my interest in the language stems, that, combined with our weekend days which we often spent in North Wales, and my friends who were taken to the Eisteddfod every year, but to which I never went and always wanted to.
I think I have always had a little Welsh language compartment in my brain waiting to be filled. I had thought of learning it of course but couldnt imagine where I could find lessons. I caught the end of what I now think must have been Arran on Jeremy Vine’s show some years ago and was thrilled to see a different approach to learning with similarities to the Michel Thomas method, which I had found and recommended to friends a few years before. I didn’t know how to find this course though and didn’t follow it up. Then during the Afghan evacuation, I found myself in bed recuperating after chemotherapy treatment and watching sky news and an advert came up for DuoLingo – I couldn’t believe they did Welsh! I literally signed up seconds later. I was absolutely thrilled to bits. I had a long period of chemo and of course for most of the time it was during Covid so I wasn’t able to do anything or go anywhere but I could learn Welsh.
Twelve months later I found myself medically retired from work and sharing with the director my Welsh journey. This is when I heard about the SSW app as he had been using the app himself. It was absolutely brilliant, I was so excited to find it and I’ve just now discovered the AutoMagic which is even more brilliant. It really covers all the bases you need to be able to speak Welsh and is the ONLY course you need, I seem to be on the right side of things now but am still finding lots of time to learn Welsh every day on your course. I am going to a family event in August in Wales so hope to have the opportunity to do some practising! I’m quite determined to “ get by” in Welsh very soon. Thanks so much for developing such a brilliant and easy course that literally gives everyone the opportunity to speak Welsh. Diolch yn fawr!