Dwi’n dysgu Cymraeg (I’m learning Welsh)

The National Eisteddfod is being held in Denbigh this week. It will be my first Eisteddfod and I’m really looking forward to going. We will be visiting Maes D (the learners field) to see what they have on for the many Welsh learners who will be visiting, and to have a go at practising using my Welsh. As my use of Welsh recently has mostly been baby talk, I will be concentrating on not accidentally asking someone if they need their nappy changing!

Babi bach (little baby) and I went to our first ‘Cymraeg o’r crud’ (Welsh from the cradle) class when he was 3 weeks old. We walked into the class which is held in the library, maybe looking a little dazed and confused, it was our first ‘baby thing’ since he was born. The other parents were impressed that we had made it out of the house!

The classes cover things like greetings, colours and numbers, toys, food and drink, and use short phrases that you would often use with your baby. There are a lot of little songs which use common nursery rhyme tunes with Welsh phrases, to help us use them at home with our babies and to help them stick in the mind.

A few of the phrases I’ve picked up and use at home:

Wyt ti’n iawn babi bach? – are you ok little baby?

Amser newid clwt – time to change a nappy

Amser llefrith – milk time

Wyt ti’n gwenu? – are you smiling?

Wyt ti wedi blino? – are you tired?

Amser cysgu – time to sleep

I have really enjoyed the classes so far, and in contrast to when I have been to classes in the past, I am actually using the Welsh outside of the classroom. It’s great because you are speaking ‘baby talk’ it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong and it has given me confidence to start to speak Welsh. I have started 3 different Welsh courses over the past 10+ years of living in Wales, but I’ve never got further than the first term… I realise now that I didn’t have an aim or belief that I would be able to learn Welsh and use it in my everyday life. Well now I have Babi bach I have the biggest motivation I could get to learn to speak Welsh, after all I can’t have Babi bach and his Dad able to chat away without me understanding what they say!

The Welsh language is a massive topic, a personal and political issue for many people living in North Wales. I love living in a country where people speak more than one language, I like to hear people talking in Welsh, it doesn’t matter that I can’t understand it (I like to pick out the bits that I can and wonder about the rest!). I’m really pleased that my husband and I can bring up Babi bach bilingually, speaking the language of the country he will grow up in as well as his parents’ first language.

Are you bringing up your child bilingually or have you learnt Welsh alongside your child? Got any tips for me?!