Speaking Welsh | Being Bilingual
Hello friends! This is a guest post by Niamh from Niamh R Blogs. As with all guest posts, they're here to share some a new perspective, hot tip, or something different that you wouldn't get if you were just reading my voice all the time. All views expressed here are theirs and may differ from what you are normally used to from me. Please be kind and open - there is always something for us to learn when we step outside our normals. - Until next time, Soph
This guest post is the first in a 4 part series titled, Being Bilingual, which aims to explore different perspectives on how language impacts our sense of self.
I'm very excited for this post, not only because I'm guest writing for Soph, but also because I'm writing for a new audience. I really love finding new people to share my writing and stories with which is one of the main reasons that I agreed to work with Soph and to share this post. My name is Niamh from Niamh R Blogs and I write about all sorts of things, from lifestyle, to fashion, to entertainment and everything that comes in between. I was particularly excited when Soph mentioned this post idea about being bilingual as I'd never really ventured into writing about culture before. This is a new area for me so as much as I am excited, I am also rather nervous.
I've lived in South Wales all of my life and was taught Welsh as my first language. My Dad had learnt the language whilst in school and has spoken it ever since, which is why him and my Mum (who's from Northern Ireland) decided it best for me and my brother to go to Welsh speaking schools*. It was from learning the language at a young age, and being taught and aware that not many people in Wales speak the language, that made me so passionate about keeping up my skills and speaking it to whoever I could.
The language is one of the oldest languages in the UK and is similar to Gaelic and Cornish in its sounding as it also derives from Latin. Many people around the UK "don't see the point in it" and describe it as a "dying language" which isn't the fairest of comments when there are so many Welsh people pushing for it to become so much more.
I often see comedians using the language as a tool for their comedy and to an extent what they're saying is actually rather amusing, especially to the Welsh. But, when this kind of influence is taken as more than a joke on a stage and people start bashing the language when they know nothing about it, it can really affect the progress that we're trying to make. But enough with the negative ranting, I want to share with you the reasons why I'm so in love with the language and why I will never stop speaking and supporting it.
Firstly, it's because it's my first language and also the native language of my home. I will carry this language everywhere I go and educate people on its history and meaning. When I’m meeting new people and they find out I can speak the language they almost always ask to hear me speak some, which would then turn into me teaching them a phrase or two which is so cool as they start to learn about a language that, sometimes, they never knew existed.
We know that Wales is a small country anyway and I remember on a few occasions being abroad that people didn't even realise that it was a country and instead was just the "West of England". But instead of getting angry and annoyed that people don't know where my home is, I just enlighten them. I get to share my pride and joy of being a Welsh woman with others and share stories of my home with them too.
Being able to speak this beautiful language is honestly one of the best aspects about me. It makes me feel different and proud of where I come from, and I know that I get to carry the history of my country every time I speak its language.
To me, it's crazy how all of this passion had built up within me because of the single decision that my parents made to send me to a Welsh speaking school. This isn't to say that Welsh people who don't speak the language are any less Welsh in anyway, just that with my personal story, it's speaking the language that makes me identify with being a Welsh woman because I feel like wherever I may travel to, I will always carry the mark that Wales has left on me by speaking its true language, Welsh.
Hopefully I have done this post proud as it deserves nothing less and hopefully you guys enjoyed reading of my experience of being bilingual. Thank you again to Soph for letting me guest post!
* A Welsh Speaking School is a school where all of your subjects are taught through the medium of Welsh.
Hi! I’m Niamh from Niamh R Blogs and I’m based in South Wales. I’m a Lifestyle, Petite Fashion and Entertainment blogger but enjoy writing about whatever it is that comes to mind. If you'd like to check out more of my content and to read Soph's guest post on my blog, then please hit me up on any of the following socials!