My real journey as a dysgwr (learner) only began in January, but probably took root much earlier through music – but perhaps not the kind of music you’re thinking of!
In the 90s I loved my punk and hardcore – especially when it came in a new language. I had (and still have) Yr Anhrefn LPs rubbing shoulders on the shelf with Basque political punk! Fast forward to 2008 and I moved to the Basque Country, learnt Spanish and Euskera, and started a family with a local, who coincidentally had learnt some Welsh at Bangor Uni on a minority languages exchange in the 90s.
Fast forward again to this year, and I was learning to play/sing a song in Cymraeg – “Sbia ar y Seren”, a lovely ballad by Gorkys Zygotic Mynci. That’s when I picked up Duolingo, and later began making my way through the old SSIW beginner course.
Still living in Euskadi, my chances to practise my Cymraeg are few. I did bump into a bloke from Caernarfon in my local pub, who was wearing a Papur Wal t-shirt (he’s one of their dads lol) and that was my first – if very broken – conversation in Welsh. I can’t tell you how proud that made me. My only claims to Welshness are a distant Welsh nain (I’m from yr Hen Gogledd, yn wreiddiol (originally)), a love of the rugby team, and watching S4C when younger, as it reached across Morecambe Bay!
We toured north Wales in our campervan this summer, and I managed to use my ‘Cymraeg yn y gwyllt’ (Welsh in the wild) a few times using some of Aran’s set-pieces… “Paid â siarad Saesneg efo fi” and thanks to another chance encounter, I met a guy from Cardiff interested in doing a regular Euskera-Cymraeg intercambio. So, while my level is still very basic, the future looks good! I hope all my fellow SSiW learners have a great time on your taith (journey) Cymraeg!