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The Americans who are learning Welsh

Darrell Owens, with his wife and daughter. Source: Darrell Owens

by Tomos Evans

Since Geordan Burress came to Wales to visit the home of the language she’s learned, her story has garnered a lot of attention in the media. Gair Rhydd spoke to some others who, like Geordan, live in America and who have taken the decision to start learning Welsh.

‘I would like to teach Welsh to my daughter’

Darrell Owens lives in San Antonio, Texas. He told Gair Rhydd: ‘I’m starting to learn Welsh because the language is helping me to discover my routes.’ He added: ‘I enjoy the rhythm, the sounds, the culture of Wales. I see myself in Wales’.

Even though some people were incredulous to begin with, Darrell says that the response he’s received has been positive. ‘After people understand the “why”, they’re curious’, he said. ‘Now, my mum has started learning with me’.

But how do you go about learning Welsh in America? ‘I listen to Say Something in Welsh and use Duolingo, but I don’t speak it yet’, he said. ‘My mum isn’t learning quickly, but we practise speaking a little. Twitter is my best opportunity’.

Darrell says that his aim is to be fluent in Welsh. ‘I’m going to Wales in September, I must be fluent enough by that time’, he said. ‘In time, I would like to teach Welsh to my daughter. She likes Yws Gwynedd and Swnami already’.

‘I’ve wanted to learn Welsh since my childhood’

Another American who is currently learning the language of the heavens is Meredith Rose. Meredith is an author from Austin, Texas. She told Gair Rhydd: ‘My great great grandfather and grandmother were Welsh and I’m proud of my Welsh heritage. My mother told me that Welsh was beautiful like music. So, I’ve wanted to learn Welsh since my childhood’.

Meredith Rose has also decided to learn Welsh. Source: Hooton Images

The thing that Meredith likes the most about the language is its sound. She said, ‘It’s very melodic and it can be light or powerful. I particularly like how the Welsh language has survived despite many attempts to thwart it’.

Meredith has begun learning Welsh with a friend which gives them the opportunity to practise with one another. ‘Also, I do things like this or write messages in Welsh to my Welsh friends on-line’, she added. ‘But I need to converse more [in Welsh] because I’m not very confident and I need to remember more vocabulary’.

Ultimately, Meredith would like to ‘speak in Welsh whilst visiting Wales’.

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