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...]
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...]
Britain’s “other” languages: three creators speak (report)
"Indigenous: Welsh, Gaelic, Scots, Cornish and More" was an evening event recently held at the British Library here in London. Three creators who work in some of Britain's "other" languages took part. Is it realistic to redefine "Britishness" to include some of the oldest Brits of all? What does it mean to create in these languages? What are the challenges and rewards if you … [Read more...]
Learning all six Celtic languages (with Simon Ager)
If you've ever googled just about any question about languages, the chances are you'll have hit on Omniglot.com, the "Online Encyclopedia of Writing Systems & Lanugages". Like me, though, you might not have immediately known who the self-effacing, yet immensely talented, language expert behind the site actually is. I finally met Simon Ager at the first Polyglot Gathering … [Read more...]
How I learned Welsh…and you can too
This is the story of how I got fluent in Welsh. It's the third post in my new “Dr Popkins Method?” series of articles. There posts are very much my personal history....but I'm sure you'll already see instructive parallels - or contrasts - with your own experience. That should already help you get a realistic take on this large - but not insurmountable - undertaking. At the end … [Read more...]
How to remember the gender of Welsh nouns and when it matters
This is the first in a new series: "Gender Mender" in which I'll be helping you master using gender in different languages and showing you tricks to remember the gender of nouns. We're starting with a look at how Welsh noun gender works and how to remember the genders of Welsh nouns. Learning the system can be a real headache for two reasons. First, you just have to clamp the … [Read more...]
Why learn Welsh? Ten reasons
Why learn Welsh? This is for you if you're thinking of learning Cymraeg - the Welsh language - yourself or just interested in finding out more about it. Even if the language you're eying up isn't Welsh, this post my well help you get clear on your underlying "whys". It's an important step when you're thinking of taking on a new lingo. Clarity of purpose will help keep you … [Read more...]