By Rhiannon James
There are many reasons to learn welsh, it could be that you are after a new challenge, wanting to enhance your job prospects, or just be part of the welsh language community – whatever your reason, it’s never too late.
The rise of welsh speakers is a trend across Wales and the Welsh government are supporting this by aiming to reach 1 million welsh speakers by 2050. According to a survey by StatsCymru in 2018, 21.8% of people in Cardiff speak welsh. Although this may not seem like a significant amount, this is an improvement from 19.1% in 2008. These are encouraging statistics as previously the welsh language’s future was threatened due to young people not practicing the language or moving away for work. But, due to schemes such as Welsh for All and Learn Welsh the language is on the rise.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to learn welsh whilst at school or you would like to build upon your existing vocabulary, Cardiff University has options for you. The programme Welsh for All which is run by the university and it provides students with the opportunity to learn Welsh whilst studying. The programme entails weekly sessions and resources on Learning Central. As the title suggests, this programme is available to everyone, even if you’re not from Wales but are interested in its culture and language then this is available to you too.
The internet is your new best friend when it comes to learning welsh, there is an array of online resources available at your fingertips. Apps such as “DuoLingo” are useful for learners as they are accessible anytime, anywhere. The app breaks down the language into lessons and consistently tests you in order for you to improve and progress. Additionally, there are a range of free online courses only a quick google away.
Watching S4C, the Welsh language TV channel, is an easy and enjoyable way of learning the pronunciation of words, the more you watch the more you’ll start to understand the language. S4C also promotes a scheme called “Siarad”, by The National Centre for Learning Welsh. Siarad recognises that it can be daunting to learn a new language and a common concern for many is that their Welsh isn’t ‘perfect’. Therefore, the schemes matches Welsh learners with fluent Welsh speakers allows both parties to practice and hopefully improves the confidence of the learners. Learning Welsh provides an opportunity to widen your circle as you are able to get involved in a new community. Cardiff University has a society called ‘Y Gymdeithas Gymraeg’ meaning The Welsh Community, this society aims to bring welsh speakers of all levels together to socialise and have fun.
As I mentioned previously, learning Welsh can also enhance your career prospects, if you intend to stay in Wales’ to work, learning the language could benefit you. Bilingual applicants for jobs in the public sector and customer orientated services are favourable because they are able to provide an extra service.
As a fluent Welsh speaker myself, I am an advocate for learning Welsh, there isn’t a negative to learning a new language and expanding your knowledge. Also, as a fellow Cardiff University student I urge you to embrace Wales’ culture whilst you study here. Embracing the culture doesn’t have to be as drastic as learning the welsh language, it could just mean appreciating a good welsh cake. I am not expecting everyone to learn Welsh but I hope this has inspired at least some of Gair Rhydd’s readers to give it a go. Pob lwc!