I write this in the week that the Welsh protest song Yma o hyd by Dafydd Iwan topped the iTunes chart in the United Kingdom off the back of his performance in the stadium before Wales beat Ukraine and qualified for the Fifa World Cup for the first time for sixty-four years. Update 30 Nov '22. Well, Qatar didn't quite work out quite as we'd hoped ... but let's keep singing! … [Read more...]
Welsh football words
Wales supporters celebrated the Wales men's team qualification for the Fifa World Cup only a few years after the national squad did so well in the 2016 and 2020 EUROs. The national team, like the language, put Wales on the map. To bring them both together I've put together this list of Welsh football words specially for the occasion. If you're a Welsh learner or thinking of … [Read more...]
Is Welsh hard to learn?
"Is Welsh hard to learn?" If you're about to start learning Welsh it pays to know what you're taking on! For that, you're in the right place. If you're some way in to your Welsh journey and feeling frustrated, you're also in luck. In this post, I'll give you the full, no-messing low-down on what's easy and what's not so easy about this wonderful language. (Spoiler: Welsh put up … [Read more...]
Why learn a minority language?
Why learn a minority language? In the final post in the series on learning minority, lessor used or endangered languages, let's look at the rewards on offer. Throughout the series, I've drawn heavily on my own experience as a learner of Welsh and Basque but I'm talking to you, dear minority language learner or would-be learner, whatever the lingo! In the first … [Read more...]
Learning minority languages: overcoming negative attitudes
The off-putting attitudes of others don't help us language learners at the best of times. What are the particular negative attitudes you might encounter as a learner of a minority, lesser-used or endangered language and how can you overcome them? This is the latest in our learning minority languages series. Now, I'm not suggesting for a moment that the discouraging … [Read more...]
Minority language dialects: a challenge for learners?
If you've heard that your minority language has a variety of dialects, which one should you learn? How should you respond if you hear that there are lots of dialects and that "some native speakers can't even understand each other"? What does the "standardisation" of a language even mean? In this, the fourth post in the series on learning minority languages, let's … [Read more...]
Happy New Year in three languages…and more
How do you say "Happy New Year" in your target language? It'a question I've had to ask myself as I saw in New Years past in Wales, Germany and Russia. The answers remind me, first, that direct translation is not always the name of the game in language learning. As we explore a few New Year's phrases, we'll get a quick glimpse of some of the linguistic nuts and bolts holding … [Read more...]
Minority language resources: a guide
When you're learning a language, good resources can make all the difference. But what about resources for learning a minority language? That's the focus of this first post in a new series on learning a "minority languages”. Just how different is it? Here you'll find the low-down and actionable tips drawn from my own and what I've learned from many other learners and linguists … [Read more...]
What is the Eisteddfod like?
I've spoken fluent Welsh (as an adult learner) for over half my life and one way I've grown into the culture is by attending the Welsh National Eisteddfod or Eisteddfod Genedlaeathol Cymru. It's held for the first week of August each summer. The location changes from year to year. The National Eisteddfod is a huge cultural and social celebration (with a dash of … [Read more...]
Passing the upper-intermediate (B2) Welsh exam: a successful candidate’s story
Karen is a linguist and translator from the south of England. She's already shared her tips on how to become a successful translator with us here at Howtogetfluent and I'm delighted that she's agreed to be interviewed again to tell us how she passed the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)'s Upper Intermediate (B2) Welsh exam. Below, she shares not only her tips but tells us … [Read more...]