How being part of the community encourages me to learn Welsh
by Margaret Taylor-Hill
We moved to Wales three years ago. I had family connections with my dad’s family living on the border in Llanymynech. But my Welsh was limited to counting to ten and ‘paned o de’. I’d always wanted to learn Welsh it was always in me and I remember buying a book as a child. I didn’t like the book, so I abandoned the idea!
When we retired, we wanted to move to somewhere quieter and smaller and decided to look at houses along the Welsh coast. We instantly fell in love with Nefyn, it had it all – the countryside, beaches and mountains. Until we moved to Nefyn, I didn’t realise how much of an alive language it was.
I’ve always been fascinated by history. Someone told me about the Maritime Museum in the village, so I visited them to find out information about volunteering opportunities. “Dachi’n siarad Cymraeg?” (Do you speak Welsh?) was one of the first questions they asked, and of course I didn’t understand. This encouraged me to start learning.
I started learning with an intense introductory course at Nant Gwrtheyrn and then started weekly classes which I’ve continued with over the years.
Staff at the museum (when it was open) speak Welsh to me and help me. I also have a neighbour who is very encouraging and helpful.
The welcome I’ve had from the community is so encouraging. I remember going to the cinema in Pwllheli and I asked for the tickets in Welsh. The lady came from behind the counter and gave me a big hug! I also remember attending a meeting about the community pub in Nefyn, Tafarn Yr Heliwr. They made an effort to translate the meeting and things like that get to you. It made me think, ‘the least I can do is make an effort to learn.’
After moving here, I did an ancestry DNA test which confirmed I was 36% Welsh. It picked out parts of Pen Llŷn and I wonder if this is why I was drawn here? It most definitely feels like home.
Learning to speak Welsh has helped me feel much more a part of the community. It’s so useful in so many ways and I really am in love with it.