Language AND attitude “problem”

March 2, 2015

Just read an article stating how Welsh culture and people has a “language problem.”

But having read the article (and nodding accordingly) I stumbled across the following thought;

Is it ONLY a language problem from which Welsh people suffer?

In Wales, the following happens;

  • Massive influx of thousands unwilling to allow locals to embrace our own culture and language,
  • Water and electricity taken away and sold back for profit,
  • Our country labelled as a retirement home and an ex-con paradise,
And our response;
Ah, we’re used to it.
Welcome to Wales.
Or Cymru, as they used to call it.
Sure, we have a “language problem,” but, Duw annwyl, we don’t half have an attitude problem.
Smiley face :-)

Help le mo Ghàidhlig….

February 21, 2015

I was watching BBC Alba last weekend and heard a beautiful song in Gaelic.
I have no idea as to its name nor writer etc but it was beautiful. Bha i glè-mhath!

The lyrics were displayed at the bottom of the screen and as I read them, I was pretty sure I could notice the Welsh poetic style of cynghanedd.
Overwhelmed and excited I quickly attempted to write down as much as I could read before the next line came on.
This is all I could manage:

Le fiamh air do
Mi mo bhát air an tiùrra
Cladachean
Bhuan thu don chridhe
Gaol sinn
Sheall thusa nam shùilean

Each new line is a different line from the song but some were repeated too.

It’s been bugging me since last week as to whether cynghanedd was present but after a Google search of the lyrics I have, I found nothing. I don’t even remember the name of the show I was watching!

If anyone can tell me from which song these lines are sung, or even show me a full set of lyrics, I’d be extremely grateful.

Tapadh leibh,

Smiley Gàidhlig singing face :-)

Dear Britain First,

January 29, 2015

Exibit A:

IMG_7977

Now you could either agree that this picture explains fully the hypocrisy of the United Kingdom (and therefore your very own xenophobic mannerisms) or….

You could set Wales free and independent from your ideal Britain.

But if you let us leave, you’ll only have an approximately 1% claim to be British.
(50,000,000 population of Saxon England / 500,000 population of British Cornwall = 100.
Saxon:British; 100:1).

Maybe you should just call yourself ‘Ignorant-Parts-of-England First?’
I anticipate that it won’t involve too many changes for your day-to-day regime.

DILEMMA!

Am y tro,

Smiley face :-)

PS (That’s Latin)
RSVP (That’s French)
Either choose to heighten your ignorance and avoid a response or reply with genuine debate (and / or argument).

I await.

#CelticDay2015

January 18, 2015

Each year I wait patiently for the coming of Dydd Gŵyl Ddewi – Saint David’s Day.
Why? Because, aside from Hallowe’en (which shows off far more of Welsh culture than one might think), it is the only time of the year where one can show off their pride in being one in a mere three million who can say ‘I’m Welsh’ …. without being branded a nationalist and a weirdo, anyway!

Each year, the school in which I ply my trade of teaching Wales’ ancient tongue to English-speaking learners goes mad for Welsh-ness. Where everybody says ‘diolch‘ instead of ‘thanks‘- rather than just a handful.
And this goes in every school or establishment across our fine land.

It’s a wonderful day for me personally who spends 364 days of the year as just another nutter-Welshman who’s probably too passionate about teaching the old lingo.

These special days happen in all other Celtic lands too. Saints and heroes are remembered for their pride and honour towards their homelands as well being respectful to those with whom they also share the world.

And despite being a proud Welshman, I’m also a proud Celt.

I love to share stories of our shared Celtic heritage and histories as much as I do my own Welsh heritage and history. I learn each language whenever I can and practise them in the rare free time I find myself possessing.

Then I thought…. why not also have a special day to celebrate our Celticness? Yes, Celticness is now a word!

And my creating skills don’t stop at merely coining new terms. I’ve been hard at work collecting and collating ideas for a Celtic Day.

Any date must be established on, at the very least, a time that relates to the event and what’s being celebrated. I suppose it’s sort of like a legend that begins with an inkling of solid truth before the magic meat on the bones is added. And it didn’t take me too long to decide on a suitable date.

Edward Lhuyd, of whom I’m sure many are aware, was (aside from dabbling in botany and hanging out with his pal, Isaac Newton) a Celticist (new term alert…. again!). His journey around the Celtic lands collating information on the ancient British and Gaelic languages was the first collection of the languages in one neat and tidy reference.
It was Lhuyd who first scientifically proved the languages’ similarities orthographically, verbally and grammatically. The great man also coined the term ‘Celt’ …. well, he wasn’t going to let me have all the fun with coining new terminology, was he?

As no date of birth is known for the Shropshire-born adopted-Celt, the date of death seems like an appropriate time to remember the man – 30th of June.
A tad morbid? Maybe!
Following from the link with Lhuyd, I think the logical move would be to ensure the plant first documented by (and named after) Lhuyd be used as a symbol for the day – Lloydia Serotina – the Snowdon Lily.

#CelticDay2014 attracted a great many Tweeters discussing the newly-established event from casually yet meaningfully taking pride in their Celtic-ness (there’s that term again!) to discussing ways of promoting the date in future.

And how might we celebrate this wonderful day? Well, my Celtic chums, that’s up to you.
This day needn’t be forced on every international calendar to prove its worth – however nice that might be. This day is for each and every one of us to decide our own ways of connecting our solid and shared histories with our forward-looking ideas for a better future.

And for the 30th of June…. Happy #CelticDay2015.

Smiley Celt-face :-)

IMG_9089-0
Instagram: SteCymru14

01/01/2015

January 1, 2015

Bloavezh Nevez Mat
Bledhen Nowyth Dha
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Bliadhna Mhath Ùr
Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Dhuibh
Blein Vie Noa

What’s ‘gymnasium’ in Welsh?

November 2, 2014

Going to the gym is rather selfish.
Fine, it prolongs your life through the want of being physically fit and healthy but it’s more often than not for personal and æsthetic gain.

When transferring the benefits of a personal fitness regime to the needs of a populous as a whole there is nothing that supplies a collective of people with the successes of health and fitness than the vitality of their language.

There are many who care as much for the continuation and vigour of their language as those who care about the continuation and vigour of their personal health. The late Irish poet, playwright and translator, Seamas Heaney, here explains his reasons behind both learning and utilising the Irish language:

“Not to learn Irish is to miss the opportunity of understanding what life in this country has meant and could mean in a better future. It is to cut oneself off from ways of being at home. If we regard self-understanding, mutual understanding, imaginative enhancement, cultural diversity and a tolerant political atmosphere as desirable attainments, we should remember that a knowledge of the Irish language is an essential element in their realisation.”

Imagine if everyone spent the same amount of time as they do sweating buckets on treadmills on learning their national language. Not just for our own personal gain as individuals, but also for the continuity of a shared vision for cultural dignity.
In truth, we probably find ourselves in the situation where if people merely spent their time driving to and from their gym learning Welsh (or any local / minority language) in the car etc., the language would be in a considerably better state.

I may be heading for dizzying heights of optimism here but, dare I say, even just saying ‘diolch’ as you leave the gym can be considered to be re-grasping at linguistic recession.
Why not count your repetitions on gym equipment in Welsh? Ask whether classes or apparatus are available through Welsh. Be as proud of yourself as part of a linguistic and cultural collective as you are as a healthy individual.

IMG_8308.JPG
It would be a shame for gymnasia in Wales to offer bilingual services and for their users to not reap the benefits.

Gymnasium, by the way, is GYMNASIWM or CAMPFA in Welsh.

Healthy smiley face :-)

“Attention. Fall in line!”

October 27, 2014

When I was a kid, my brother and I were always rather mischievous. One always blaming the other. Breaking each other’s stuff. Eating each other’s snacks. Bursting each other’s footballs.

Thankfully, nowadays, were a tad more mature…. mostly – but it was always something else that caught my eye during our times of mischief.
Each time my mother would give one of us a huge bollocking for something, the other one of us would be extra good.

“Ok, mum.”
“No problem, mum.”
“Of course, mum.”

As a teacher, I see this happen on a regular basis. One student forgets his or her homework or exercise book, receives verbal punishment, rest of class are silent.
It’s a rather interesting phenomenon that I won’t even begin to analyse psychologically, but I’m more than happy to explain where I believe modern society mirrors this mentality.

Apparently, some dudes are currently dossing around with (incorrect) flags around the Welsh capital this morning. They go by the name of the ‘Welsh Alliance’ (no Welsh translation provided by ‘group’) and are an amalgamation of various fascist groups including the English Defence League. Cool, huh?

Also, as the media (mainly the BBC) fuels more coverage for groups like the BNP and UKIP, more and more ordinary people turn to the radicalism that will, in my view, destroy the openness and welcoming nature that makes Wales and other nations in the British Isles so awesome.

Yet to those who oppose the above dirt, what do we do?
Well, aside from the fact that some of us openly oppose these groups in public or on social media sites, the vast majority of us sit around hoping someone else will be the hero.

We know that groups like the EDL, the BNP and UKIP are wrong. We know their agendas are damaging to present and future cultures. We know that, thankfully, the vast majority of normality in our society criminalise these groups.

We are the good people here. We are those who do not cause a fuss.

And just like the good children who fear the bellowing voices of authority, we cower in the face of own dignity – our own right to say what we believe and what we perceive to be just and fair.
We promise that we will never stand up for our beliefs. We’ll leave that to the fascists and xenophobes of this world. Those who aim to harm.

The rest of us will fall in line.

Smiley face :-)

Iâr.

October 15, 2014

Dwi’n gwybod bod 99.9% o’r amser dwi’n hunanol – e.e. bod ti’n d’eud dy fod ti’n mynnhau mynd i’r pêl-droed a ddim yn meindio Doctor Who.
Dwi’n gwybod bod 99.9% o’r amser dwi’n ffeindio ffordd (yn hollol anfwriadol) i ‘neud ti deimlo’n euog am bethau gwirion.
Dwi’n gwybod bod pob lle ‘den ni’n mynd yn gorfod cael rhyw gysylltiad Celtaidd neu ‘den ni ddim yn mynd.
Dwi’n deall pa mor anodd mae’n rhiad iddo fod i ti symud ochr yma – dwi’n trafod hyn efo lot o bobl ac maen nhw, siŵr o fod, wedi blino efo fi’n d’eud pa mor lwcus dwi i gael rhywun fel ti yn fy mywyd. Dwi methu dechrau meddwl sut ti’n teimlo am symud ochr yma. Un peth dwi yn gwybod ydy ‘swn i methu ‘neud o. Ond nai neud yn siŵr mod i’n trïo ‘ngorau glas i ‘neud ti’n hapus yma – yn hapusach (gobeithio) na ti’n ‘neud fi.

Ond dwi wir yn dy werthfawrogi. Dwi methu rhoi mewn i eiriau beth ti’n feddwl i fi – ond yn bendant mae’n fwy na phob bydysawd sydd.
Dwi’n caru ti hyd at UMa56 (aka Seren Angharad) ac yn ôl…. dwywaith.

Ond, d’eud y gwir, ti ‘di clywed hyn i gyd o’r blaen. Ond un peth dwi’n siŵr mod i heb amlygu i ti eto hyd at rŵan ydy’r ffaith dy fod ti’n ‘neud fi’n well berson na’r hyn oeddwn i o’r blaen. Dwi ddim yn trïo d’eud mod i’n dibynnu arnat ti ac dwi angen ti bob eiliad o bob dydd fel rhyw faban sy’ ddim yn gwybod sut i fyw (er mod i’n siŵr dwi fel yne weithiau!). Dwi’n jyst trïo d’eud bod fy mywyd a phopeth amdana’ i’n well oherwydd dy fod ti ynddo ac yn rhan ohono.

Gobeithio dy fod ti’n iâr i fi am weddill yr amser sydd yn y bydysawd.

xxx

Teimlad wedi’r Reff’

October 8, 2014

‘Roedd yn anodd i mi ddisgrifio’r teimlad wedi canlyniad y refferendwm ar Fedi 18fed.
Aros ar ddeffro trwy’r nos ond i glywed nad oedd canran y bobl oedd yn dewis annibyniaeth yng Nglasgow yn ddigon i sicrhau dyfodol newydd.
Chwiliais am gysur ar Drydar wrth weld cymaint o bobl yn ymddiheuro am bleidleisio dros aros fel rhan o’r Deyrnas Unedig.
Dau ddiwrnod wedyn ces wahoddiad i siarad ar ran Cangen Cymru y Gynghrair Geltaidd wrth ddathlu cred Glyndŵr a’i ddilynwyr a’u ymdrech am ennill dyfodol gwell i Gymru.
Yn fy araith oedd negeseoun o obaith y bydd, ryw ddydd, Cymru, Yr Alban a gwledydd eraill heb lais ar draws Ewrop yn ennill eu lleisiau – heb anghofio am ddewrder ddangoswyd gan bobl y wlad hon dros chwe chan mlynedd yn ôl.
Ond, er fy ngobaith, ‘roeddwn yn methu cael gwared o siom y refferendwm.
Yn Rhuthun, wnes gyfarfod Mike Chappell – aelod o Gangen Kernow y Gynghrair Geltaidd – ymhlith llawer eraill ddywedodd wrthyf y daw tân o ludw cof Glyndŵr ac wneithon nhw dyfu’n fflamau rhyddid. Nid ond i Gymru, ond i bawb. I bawb sy’n credu mewn hunan-lywodraeth a gonestrwydd.
Dangosodd Mike i mi fod y 1,617,989 bleidleisiodd dros annibynniaeth wedi sicrhau nad oedd tân rhyddid wedi oeri o gwbl. Ac mae’r fflamau’n boethach nag erioed.
Yn ôl y BBC, mae ond 3% o drigolion Sir Benfro yn credu y gallai Cymru lwyddo fel gwlad annibynnol (er y ffaith ddywedodd 49% y dylai Cymru hawlio mwy o bwerau i greu cyfreithiau – ystadegyn na hawliodd le ym mhrif-benawd yr adroddiad am ryw reswm). Profodd polau piniwn eraill fod 27% yn cefnogi Cymru rydd mewn mannau eraill.
Wrth gwrs mae’n anodd cyfri cefnogaeth go iawn dros annibyniaeth i Gymru ond yr hyn sydd yn galonogol ydy’r medrwn drafod annibyniaeth heb neb yn chwerthin am ein pennau am fod yn genedlaetholwyr di-bwynt sy’n byw mewn breuddwyd.

Mae amserau’n newid.

Fel un sy’n credu mewn hunan-lywodraeth i bawb, ‘rwy’n troi fy sylw at Gatalunya lle mae’i phobl yn mynd at y polau ym mis Tachwedd i amlygu’u cred mewn rhyddid ac annibyniaeth.
Gobeithio bydd llygaid barcud a chlustiau eryr y Celtiaid yn cael eu gludo ar ein cyfeillion yng Nghatalunya i ddangos i’r byd, drwy drafod yn unig, y gallwn greu tonnau.

Gobeithio pan glyŵn ni SÍ y Catalaniaid dros Ewrop, byddwn ni yn ddigon dewr i alw am ragor o ystadegau sy’n dangos y caiff ein gwlad ei rhedeg gan bwerau estron. Gobeithio y safwn yn uwch na’r rhai sy’n gwrthwynebu sosialaeth a thegwch. Gobeithio, wrth basio ar y stryt, ‘rydym ni’n anghofio clecs am y tywydd ac ‘rydym ni’n rhannu’n breuddwydion am sut bydd Cymru annibynnol yn edrych ac yn teimlo i bawb sy’n galw Cymru eu llain nhw.

Owen Llai

Moving to or visiting Wales?

October 5, 2014

S’mae a chroeso i Gymru!
Hello and welcome to Wales!
We hope and trust you find this land as wonderful and magical as we do.

Wales, although only being an entity as an actual nation for about a millennium, has always been a place of magic, myth, story and song. A land of friendship and company.
The name of our nation, in our own language, is Cymru – meaning land of fellow compatriots.

We believe that our land is very special – as have millions of people who have visited us across countless centuries.
We are so proud of our country that we regularly tell (and conjure up) stories about what’s happened here. We write poetry and sing songs that tell of brave men and women who fought to defend this land. We write about loss and of sadness. We write about failure. Don’t ask – we just do!

One of the things that ensures we remain a distinct nation in a quickly-evolving world is our language. We are extremely proud of the fact that, over the course of some 2,000 years, the people of England, Cornwall and Wales have all spoken a language that is still spoken here today.
The last national census showed that the number of Cymraeg (Welsh) speakers had fallen in Wales to 19% of the population. Even though some 40% of children here receive their education through the medium of Welsh and that there are nearly 200,000 speakers outside Wales in England, Cornwall and Scotland, the fact the number has fallen in the last 10 years worries a great many of us – Welsh-speaking or not.

We love our distinct cultures too. We love dressing up and eating griddle-fried ‘cakes’ on the first day of March. We like to remember our rebellious national hero, Owain Glyndŵr, in mid-September. We also like to remember our last native prince (Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf) in December and enjoy putting up a giant pink tent every year in early August. We even celebrate new year when the rest of the western world celebrates Hallowe’en!
And we think you’d love all this too!

Some people find it hard to understand why we care so much about our language, culture, heritage and tradition. I guess it’s because their own language and traditions have never battled with the threat of disappearing or of being forgotten. We pray that this never happens to the traditions that people of this land have looked after against all the odds for many, many years. We’d hate to be the generation that forgot what it meant to be Welsh.

When people speak of “keeping a welcome in the hillside,” it is not just for those who consider themselves Welsh. It is for anyone and everyone. We genuinely hope that you find in Wales what we too find so wonderful.

All we humbly ask, is that you have a go of wrapping your tongue around some of our native-British words and phrases – we really appreciate everyone who gives it a try. We ask that you start your conversations with ‘S’MAE’ (hi) and end them with ‘DIOLCH’ (thanks). It’s NEVER too late to pick up and use a few phrases.
We pray that you read or ask about our culture and throw yourself into what it means to live in such a fantastic place.

And once again, we hope you find this patch as heart-warming as we feel about it.

Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Ac, unwaith eto, croeso i Gymru!


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