Why would someone who hated Welsh at school so much she dropped it at the earliest opportunity volunteer to be a Welsh Subject Advisor? Wn i ddim/dim clew* etc. Well, actually, I do have some idea. After fifty years the memory of the Welsh mistress from hell dimmed a little and nostalgia set in. I miss Wales and still regard it as home even after living in England most of my life.
Towards the end of her days my mother had dementia. She couldn’t remember her late husband and son or what she’d had for breakfast but, come March 1st, she would belt out Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau** for all she was worth. Agreed her melody didn’t quite harmonise with Bryn Terfel’s rendition playing in the corner but that’s neither here nor there: being Welsh stays with you. My daughter did her post grad at Cardiff on the topic of Wenglish, a language I learnt from my father and inadvertently taught to my daughter. Its idiosyncrasy is celebrated on the Taffywood website and temporary wall in Cardiff.
I would love to improve my welsh skills and that’s really my mission for myself and others. There are a lot of Welsh conversation groups around the country but they mostly cater for those who already have a high level of Welsh fluency. I would like to set up a platform on Zoom for absolute beginners so watch this space. Otherwise, I can direct you to existing groups meeting online who accept beginners. If you speak some Welsh but have no groups available there are also groups that will accept you on Zoom, so please get in touch with me.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and remember to keep telling yourself: Dw i ddim angel ond dw i’n siarad iaith y nefoedd.***
There will be a resource page added soon and details of online groups who will accept members and details of the fluency level required.
*Dunno/dunno. **Old Land of my Fathers (National Anthem). ***I’m not an angel but I speak the language of heaven (iaith y nefoedd is a common nickname for the Welsh language).
Welsh Online Groups
The following groups are available to any u3a member at no cost. Although they are not IGO groups, they are equally available to IGO members.
Starting from January 2024:
Mondays, 9:00a.m. Beginners and Intermediate Welsh.
A tutor-led group conducted in English, which encourages writing in Welsh. A basic knowledge of Welsh pronunciation and the odd phrase would be useful.
Tuesdays 10:30a.m. Absolute Beginners Welsh.
A new course led by a fluent Welsh speaker but obviously conducted in English, this is very much intended as a ‘course’ in Welsh covering all the basics starting with the alphabet.
Alternate Wednesdays 2:00p.m. Intermediate Welsh
Led by a native speaker this group is conducted in Welsh and uses contemporary and classical literature to give a deeper appreciation of the complexities of the language.
1st and 3rd Fridays 2:00p.m. Reading and chatting in Welsh for Beginners
This is another new group which will primarily use contemporary novels but also perhaps songs and ‘Cymru Noir’ TV to aid understanding and expression in everyday situations.
For more information about these groups or anything else about where you can find Welsh groups, please contact: Cher Palmer at