SSiW – a continuing journey in Welsh
When I was young I spent my holidays with my Grandmother, in the family home near New Quay, Ceredigion. Our Welsh roots are deep , farmers, seafarers and political activists, but in the 1950’s she didn’t teach me Welsh . As I lived and went to school in England I was learning Spanish, and as she was fluent, from years in South America, that is what she taught me. Sadly I was never very good at learning languages.
Years passed , I never felt rooted in England and eventually life brought me to Wales, and I now live near Llandeilo, an hour from the family home. Later I came to realise that “hiraeth” had me in its grip for all those years. In a village with many Welsh speakers, I had to learn to speak Welsh so took evening classes. 3 years later I had some Welsh but felt I was in a process where tutors were paid on results, so often would cut corners, or move on before you were ready. So I started the “Talk about Welsh” programme –on S4C. This helped me learn more, but then I was recommended to try SSiW. Slowly, the language started to come together and I found the confidence to start conversations. I have now been to 8 of the Eisteddfod , and I can measure how my confidence has improved. The welcome that you get as a learner is great, and as I’ve been told more than once “you are a learner, so you are a Welsh speaker”
I got to converse in Welsh on a trip to Patagonia – exhausting but memorable. My language breadth grows such that I could discuss a neighbours upcoming trip to Qatar in Welsh. I still find I’ve forgotten so many words, but worry less now when Welsh neighbours insert common English into their conversations.
SSiW has accompanied me on a journey and I shall be forever grateful, not only for the programme but also for the super team who have been so helpful to me over the years