Recently, I’ve been struggling for inspiration as to what to write. I’ve also been finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate as my anxiety is really getting the better of me at the moment.
This led me to discover daily writing prompts for blog posts. First one:
If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?
You would think with having been born and brought up in Wales that I would be fluent in Welsh. Far from it unfortunately.
My parents moved to Wales in the 80s from the West Midlands. They don’t have the Brummie accent though before you ask!
I went to a pretty English school. They had Welsh lessons a couple of times a week but that was it really. You would throw yourself in with all your energy with any festivities though. St David’s Day was a good one where you would get extra points for dressing as a Welsh Lady.
In the area there are schools that teach through the medium of Welsh. I would definitely have struggled with that. I found it hard to keep up normally, especially with Maths. That is like a foreign language in its own right.
With language you generally have to immerse yourself in it to be able to learn it and really make sense of it. Want to learn French? Take a gap year in France and be a teaching assistant in the schools there. Your English will be a great foreign language for them and you will learn more French in return. It is a win win situation.
The difference with Wales is that a lot of English people have moved here over the years due to the idyllic life and the beautiful countryside. It isn’t like you have to speak the language to get by. It is a completely bilingual country. All the letters you receive in the post are in English and Welsh, the signs are in English and Welsh. All of my friends at school were also from similar backgrounds as myself with not being truly ‘native’. So when we met up to play we couldn’t just converse in Welsh as we all had English in common. We couldn’t just ask our parents for help with Welsh homework as they knew less than us.
Looking back it is such a shame Welsh isn’t encouraged more. Obviously you want the kids to understand what they are being taught but you also want to keep this ‘dying language’ alive. It shouldn’t just be kept as a language that the hill farmers know. A language gives a country its own unique identity. The more who know it the more vibrant and alive it will become.
Now if I wish to apply for any other jobs ‘do you speak welsh’ is literally one of the first questions. It really limits your options for the future.
There are of course evening classes I could attend, but again with having no one else in the family I could use it with I think my newly learnt skill would soon be forgotten.
It would be worth it though for my future as you never know what is around the corner. Just before Christmas there were a number of redundancies so you can never really be certain what will happen.
Plus there is the humourous side in that all English people will think you are rude and saying derogatory things about them! You might just be with your girly friends saying ‘that guy is a bit of alright’ and they think you are bad mouthing them just because they don’t understand what you are saying! But you wouldn’t immediately jump to that conclusion if you were abroad surely?!
It would definitely be useful for me to learn Welsh. It would also give me something to focus my time and energy on to take away all my worries about anxiety and the panic attacks I have been having.
One day. We will see!