For those of you who follow me on Facebook (if you don't, click HERE and like my page. For reasons), you will probably already know that last week I started learning Welsh in earnest.
Don't tell my father. I'm supposed to be learning French.
The point is, Welsh has been on my list of languages to learn since I started university and heard it spoken during one of my Celtic Studies classes. My Celtic Studies professor, Paul, was a Welshman. He still is a Welshman, but is no longer my professor. He's a good friend now. In any case, he read an untranslated section of Y Gododdin during class once. Strictly, Y Gododdin is Old and Middle Welsh, being from the Middle Ages and all; and it's about a Cumbric tribe, but I digress. This post is not about the history of Britain (however intensely fascinating I find it).
The point is, I have loved the language since.
Quite recently, Paul has started a small group of Welsh learners in Ottawa. As a group, we are currently working through the first course on the website Say Something In Welsh. It's a great collection of Welsh language lessons served to your brain via a podcast. The format is fantastic. It makes learning the language relatively easy and pressure free. And fun. The focus of the course is speech, reading and writing are for later. For whatever reason, it really works. I find I'm picking up the language relatively quickly, and it's fun and exciting. I am hoping that the people behind Say Something In will do a course for Occitan (because I also really want to learn that). And French... of course.
I am learning the Northern Welsh dialect, which, I have discovered, suits me a good deal more than the Southern one. I find it easier, for some reason, though it is technically a little more complicated than the Southern version (at least thus far). I have also discovered that I am a massive snob about how the word Cymraeg is pronounced... as in, I much prefer the Northern pronunciation to the Southern. Not being a native speaker at all, I am fully aware I have absolutely no right to my snobbery.
Dysgwyr Cymraeg Ottawa (Welsh Learners Ottawa) is coordinated via Facebook. If you're interested, you should totally sign up. Just join the group by clicking HERE. We will meet roughly every month or so, with the first meeting happening 9 Hydref (9 October) and are currently working through Course One, Lesson Three so you're not far behind at all.
Join us and learn a fantastic language!
For the record, I cannot tell you why I am so interested in the language and culture of Wales, or the pre-Roman culture of Britain for that matter. It's not like my interest in Occitan. My father's family can be traced to Languedoc in France, which is (or used to be?) Occitan speaking. I have an ancestral connection to the language.
I have no such familial connection to Wales. At all. My grandmother's family were from Norfolk and of Cornish extraction, with some Norwegian thrown in for fun and games. It's a very romantic story of ship jumping for to wed a pretty Norwegian girl... or something. I'm actually not clear on that.
Anyway, I haven't any connection to Wales which may fuel my interest. My connection to Britain is very distant and I don't consider myself British, not even when claiming descent (though I do claim Celtic descent; both Britain and France were Celtic, and since those are my dominant lineages, I call myself a Celt. Usually in tongue-in-cheek fashion. For obvious reasons). In fact, I can safely say I'm French and feel less weird about it than claiming I'm British.
Don't ask me why. I don't know.
Still, despite being in no way Welsh, the language and history of the culture have pretty much always been intensely interesting to me. For no reason whatsoever.
Since that is the case, I'm claiming a past life association. I was totally a Briton in the Iron Age in a past life.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Right, here is a techno version of a song sung in Welsh. Paul posted it to the group yesterday and it's catchy as hell. You're welcome.
Oh, and to translate the title of today's post, it reads:
I am going to speak Welsh.