New year resolutions, huh?
Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say on December 31st that they’ve completed the resolution they set for themselves a whole year previously. I bet the lion’s share don’t even remember what the resolution was. I know I don’t.
Maybe we’re all just so busy with Christmas and New Year itself that by the time we actually have to set ourselves a goal for the coming year we simply end up being gimmicky and choose something easy to ignore. My annual resolution is to not have a resolution. See, gimmicky (but with a sprinkle of cheesy humour too)!
So this year I’ve actually gone out of my way to choose a decent resolution.
I’ve moaned on the terraces of Wrecsam’s Cae Ras for many reasons – more often than not due to bad results. But nothing brings about a sigh as much as when, especially after all the incredible efforts to which our local side go to increase the use of Welsh around the ground, the game’s attendance is read out. The done thing at the club nowadays is to read out the attendance first in Welsh (where you can quite literally count the number of other people applauding…. if you listen hard enough) and then straight after in English (where the whole stadium joins in applause to commend the souls of the 4,000 nutters who chose to spend their Saturday afternoon at the oldest continuously used international football stadium on the planet.
Now I’m under no illusions that English is the dominant language in Wales but I bet, had they given just a second to listen a bit harder, that more than six people would end up applauding the attendance without the need for an English translation. Pedwar mil, saith cant tri deg chwech…. like hell you didn’t work that out as being 4,736! Like hell we’ll get that many at a home game, for that matter!!
I’m now of an age (whether I like it or not) where I can look back and compare what life is like now with how it was, say, ten or fifteen years ago. When I was a kid and I heard adults reminisce about what they did 15 years ago I used to confuse my ten-year-old self wondering how the world even existed without me…. must’ve been a sad place!
The upside of such an ability to compare how times have changed is when I consider how far the Welsh language has progressed. For me the improvement can be epitomised through a hypothetical case study…. bear with me:
When I used to tell people that my favourite subject was Welsh, people would always feel the need to tell me that they themselves “can’t speak that!” and then pull a weird, confused face. Today, when I tell people I teach the language, they respond with something like “Aww Welsh, huh? My Welsh is limited” and the confused-looking face is ditched.
I’d be confident in saying that there’s no significant difference in the linguistic ability between these two types of people. They could probably both say “how are you?” and then proudly ask you whether they’re allowed to go to the toilet!
The change is not one of language ability…. it’s one of confidence in the language ability they have.
I wonder how many more fans would clap before the attendance is read out in English if they truly tried to listen and work it out….
My pessimistic realism dictates that I will never find out.
I’m guilty too, mind. Don’t for a second think that my elitist language-pedestal is prepared for my foot. How many times have I seen a comment on Instagram or a tweet on Twitter or a status on Facebook in another Celtic language and simply skimmed past it? My laziness dictates that spending an additional 30 seconds of my life to actually TRY and read something in Cornish or Breton or Gaelic or Manx or Irish (or any language) is nothing more than a waste of time. Who can really be bothered to pick up their Manx dictionary from the bookshelf in the next f*cking room? I sicken myself, in honesty.
So my resolution is to not skim over a language that isn’t Welsh or English. I shall, at the very least, give it a go.
And whether you have a resolution (gimmicky or otherwise) already set for the next 365 days or not, why not spend an extra minute for Welsh (or any language, for that matter)? Drag your mind back to those Welsh lessons in school and dig out those dusty dictionaries.
Try. Or, should you prefer…. TRÏO. See, it’s easy. And if, after attempting to read something in Welsh, you eventually admit defeat, don’t worry…. it’s probably Southern Welsh and they don’t speak proper Welsh anyway!
Pob lwc a blwyddyn newydd dda.