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.
Gymnasium, by the way, is GYMNASIWM or CAMPFA in Welsh.
Healthy smiley face 🙂