Category Archives: Cymraeg

Looking Forward

So 2016 didn’t really turn out to be what I was expecting.

“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition”, as they say, but no one expects to get cancer either, so to say that I was stunned by a mammogram result back in May showing I had breast cancer is an understatement. Still, if I hadn’t gone for that mammogram I would have had no idea – it’s a very sneaky illness – so I’m glad I did, and I’m glad that we have amazing treatment that can knock cancer cells on the head. OK, the treatment kind of knocks everything around for a while, but you just cling on to the thought that, no matter how I feel right now, this is making me better!

I’ve made it through surgery and chemotherapy. Just a course of radiotherapy to go and I’ll be ready to tackle 2017!

So did my plans to become a polyglot get put on hold? Are you kidding? What better way to while away the hours in the Chemotherapy Unit than lots of language revision with Duolingo. Yes, while others were doing crosswords or listening to music on their iPods, I was blasting my way through lesson after lesson in French, Spanish and German.

I found my concentration wasn’t good enough to let me learn any new material, but revision was fine – especially languages that I had once been fairly confident in, such as Spanish or French. I doubt if anyone can actually say they enjoyed their chemo sessions, but I came close and felt I was making good use of the time.

All this concentrating on getting well has put my plans to become location independent in terms of work behind though, so that has to be my focus for 2017. I still have to have Herceptin injections every three weeks through to September, so I won’t be going a great deal of travelling this year, but I can certainly get myself in a position where that is more of a possibility.

My language-learning has carried on right through my treatment; in fact, it’s probably done more than anything else to keep me going. I set up several regular Skype conversations through Speaky so I’m gradually improving my conversational skills in German and French, and the people I chat with are starting to feel like friends. I enjoy Esperanto phone conversations from time to time, and I’ve started listening to news and podcasts in French, German and Spanish.

As I suspected, I can understand quite a lot of the French and Spanish, but German is still hard for me. I’ve completed the German ‘tree’ in Duolingo though, and more and more I hear those words being used in the Deutsche Welle Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten (news spoken slowly). I’m also working through a Deutsche Welle interactive online course which is building my everyday vocabulary and adding to my cultural knowledge of Germany.

Did you know that in Cologne you can stand next to a parking machine, pay for the ticket using your mobile phone, and the ticket prints out of the machine? So much better than searching your pockets for the correct change!

But what about Welsh? Have I forgotten about Cymraeg? Of course not! I had just qualified as a Welsh tutor for adult beginners when I received the diagnosis, so no chance for me to leap into working in a classroom. I’m interested in doing online teaching though, or perhaps some translation work in the future so, with the help of a friend in Cardiff, I’m working my way through an old text called Cyflwyno’r Iaith Lenyddol. It gives practice at using the very formal Welsh of traditional literature with translation exercises, and I’m enjoying doing those.

So that’s it. 2016 is behind me, and after the radiotherapy, the cancer will be behind me. 2017 is the year I come a lot closer to my goals. Bring it on!

Colonial attitudes live on

I read this blog post – The Curious Case of An English Historian – yesterday and it really reflected the way I feel about the Welsh language.

I love the Welsh language. I love its history, its expressiveness, its connection to the country, the culture and the people, and yes, I even love its mutations! Time and time again I learn a new word or phrase and delight in its aptness and logic. It’s just so right to speak Welsh here.

So why do so many English speakers have a problem with Welsh? I’m lucky to know many people from outside Wales that share my love of the language and either speak it already or are learning it, but there are so many that seem to think they are somehow entitled to run it into the ground. They wouldn’t do the same about French in France or German in Germany, so why?

And why – for that matter – are there Welsh speakers that feel that if there is a single person within a 100 metre radius that just possibly might not understand Welsh, they’d had better speak English just in case? It’s NOT RUDE to speak your own language in your own country!

If you are dealing with customers, and one comes along that doesn’t speak Welsh, fine – speak to them in English, or French, or Polish, or whatever language that you might have in common. The idea of customer service is to respect the customer and give them the best service you can, isn’t it? And if they speak Welsh, then Welsh it is! Too bad if the customer standing behind them in the line doesn’t understand. What business is it of theirs anyway?

I’ve had Welsh speakers tell me that they couldn’t speak Welsh to me in the workplace because there were English speakers there – not visitors to Wales, but people who were born and bred in Wales, or had lived here for many years. My attitude to that is simple. If they are living in Wales and they have chosen not to learn Welsh, then they have chosen to exclude themselves from an important part of Welsh society. If they’re happy with that, fine. I would be the last person to force someone else to learn a language, but they must understand the consequences of their choice.

THEY have chosen to exclude themselves. THEY have chosen to remain outside the wonderful cultural experiences that open themselves to people that can speak the language. And having made that choice, they can’t insist that other people change their way of speaking just for them!

Cwcis – unrhyw un?

plate-of-cookies-clipart-2

Oes ‘na unrhyw un yn y byd ar lein sy ddim yn gwybod am gwcis? Unrhyw un sy ddim yn deall bod bron pob gwefan yn eu defnyddio i gadw tipyn bach o wybodaeth ar eich cyfrifiadur neu liniadur neu ffôn symudol clyfar er mwyn iddyn nhw wybod pwy ydych chi pan ewch chi’n ôl i’r un wefan?

Neu ydyn ni môr dwp bod rhaid i ni ddarllen tro ar ôl tro, gwefan ar ôl gwefan, bod nhw’n defnyddio cwcis, taw rhywbeth bach a diogel ydyn nhw, a digwyddith dim byd dychrynllyd os derbyniwn ni’r cwcis ‘na?

Wythnos ‘ma es i i un wefan ac yn syth daeth neges am y cwcis defnyddiwyd ynddi. Roedd rhaid i fi gau’r neges er mwyn darllen y wefan ond yr eiliad nesaf daeth neges arall i ddiolch i fi am dderbyn y cwcis! Pam?

Beth am i ni i gyd llofnodi rhywbeth sy’n dweud “Ydw, dw i’n derbyn cwcis arferol” fel rhan o ddechrau defnyddio porwr am y tro cyntaf, a chreu rhyw ddeddf sy’n mynnu bod rhaid i’r porwyr eu hunain sicrhau bod y cwcis yn ddiogel?

Dw i wedi cael llond bol o’r cwcis ‘ma!

Sioe Amaethyddol Llandysul

Pa liw yn gwneud y sedd tractor gorau?

Pa liw yn gwneud y sedd tractor gorau?

Pan ddihunais i’r bore ‘ma roedd yr awyr yn llwyd gyda glaw mân a thipyn o wynt oer. O na, meddyliais i, dim heddiw, dim dydd y Sioe Amaethyddol Llandysul! Ond diwrnod sych oedd rhagolygon y tywydd, ac ar ôl cwpl o oriau, diwrnod sych gawson ni!

Dw i ddim yn gwybod yn union ym mha flwyddyn dechreuodd y sioe, ond ffeindiais i un hysbyseb ar lein ar gyfer y drydedd sioe ar ddeg a oedd yn digwydd yn 1937, felly mae’n debyg bod rhyw fath o sioe wedi bod yn digwydd ers 1924 o leiaf! Yn y sioe honno doedd dim defaid neu wartheg, neu hyd yn oed ceffylau, ond cŵn ac ieir! Mae sioe heddiw yn dal i gael categorïau ar gyfer cŵn, ond yn anffodus dim ieir. Dw i’n dwlu ar ieir, felly mae hynny bach yn siomedig, ond dw i wrth fy modd i weld yr anifeiliaid eraill.

Ceffyl Gwedd

Ceffyl Gwedd

Wrth gwrs, nid sioe amaethyddol fyddai fe fod heb gystadleuaeth o gynhyrchion a sgiliau pobl leol. Blodau, ffrwythau, crefftau, teisennau, gwin – pob peth gall rhywun gwneud, mae categori arbennig ar gyfer nhw.

Dyw llysiau ddim yn tyfu fel 'na yn fy ngardd i!

Dyw llysiau ddim yn tyfu fel ‘na yn fy ngardd i!

 

Dw i ddim yn gwybod sut mae pobl yn tyfu llysiau fel yn y llun ‘ma, ond dw i’n hapus nad ydw i wedi ceisio cystadlu gyda beth dyfais i yn yr ardd!

Rhywbeth i anelu at ar gyfer flwyddyn nesaf!

 

 

Bisgedi wedi'u addurno

Bisgedi wedi’u haddurno

 

A pheidiwch ag anghofio’r plant!

Mae llawer o gyfleoedd iddyn nhw fod yn greadigol hefyd, fel bisgedi wedi’u haddurno ac anifeiliaid wedi gwneud o lysiau.

 

 

 

Heno, ar ôl y holl gystadleaeth wedi gorffen a phopeth wedi clirio o’r babell fawr, bydd y gerddoriaeth yn dechrau.

Pum mlynedd ar hugain mae Bryn Fôn wedi dod i ganu yn y sioe a bydd e yma eto eleni. Es i’r llynedd ac roedd e’n wych! Fe wnes i ddawnsio fel peth gwyllt, ond eleni croesi bysedd bydda i’n gallu clywed y gerddoriaeth o’r tŷ. Gyda gwesteion yn aros trwy AirBnB bydd rhaid i fi aros gartref, ond dw i’n gwybod bydd pawb yn mwynhau dros ben unwaith eto. Ymlaen i’r chwarter canrif nesaf!

Ffracsiynau yn Gymraeg

FfracsiynauDw i wedi sôn yn barod am y ffaith fy mod yn gweithio trwy llyfr “Welsh Rules” er mwyn fy atgoffa am bethau bach nad ydw i’n defnyddio’n aml iawn yn Gymraeg. Heddiw des i o hyd ffracsiynau.

Dw i’n gwybod am ‘hanner’ (yn bwysig iawn mewn tafarnau, wrth gwrs) a ‘chwarter’ ond beth am y gweddill?

Yn yr ymarfer roedd rhaid i fi ysgrifennu mewn geiriau ffracsiynau fel 3 7/9 a 8 5/6. Sylweddolais i fod dim clem gyda fi! Felly, amser i ofyn i Gareth King – Modern Welsh, A Comprehensive Grammar.

Ar ôl beth ddwedodd Gareth, yr atebion i’r cwestiynau uchod yw:

  • tri a saith nawfed
  • wyth a phump chweched (neu phum chweched ar ôl pob tebyg)

Ond ar ôl Heini Gruffudd, yr atebion yw

  • tri a saith rhan o naw
  • wyth a phum rhan o chwech

Felly, fy nghwestiwn i yw – ydyn nhw ill dau yn iawn?

Beth mae’r plant yn dysgu yn ysgolion Cymraeg y dyddiau hyn?

 

 

And then the Eisteddfod – Part 2

How to describe the National Eisteddfod? There’s a question.

Yes, it is a Welsh cultural festival that includes such traditional Welsh entertainment as harps, male voice choirs, folk dancing, and poetry, but it’s much, much more than that. It’s like getting a pass to another world – one where Welsh is the language of the majority, and everyone feels like part of one big community.

The Pink Pavilion

Pink PavilionThe Pink Pavilion is where most of the formal programme takes place.

A newcomer like me might think that the main performance pavilion has always been pink, but in fact it first appeared in its current alluring shade for the Eisteddfod of 2006, in Swansea. In early times it wasn’t even a tent, but took place in various different structures, sometimes tent-like but other times wooden structures of varying shapes and sizes. Over the past ten years though people have become rather used to the Pink Pavilion but the current contract came to an end with this Eisteddfod in Meifod so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

There are some who spend most of their time in the pink pavilion, avidly watching all the competitions and discussing whether they agree or disagree with the judges’ decisions, but I tend to just pop in there occasionally when there is something on I particularly like. The rest of the time I divide between volunteering in Maes D (the learners’ pavilion) or wandering about the rest of the Maes, the extensive area that the Eisteddfod covers – and it is extensive. Ceredigion is considering a bid to hold the 2020 Eisteddfod, but first we have to find a location that offers 140 acres of flat land … not an easy task in a hilly country like Wales!

Maes D

Every year I try to spend some of my time helping out in this special area for learners of the Welsh language. There are taster sessions for those that haven’t tried learning before, and other activities to encourage people to use their language. There is also a pod off to one side with a stage and the special competitions for learners are held there. Yes, the Eisteddfod is not just for the top class performers! It caters for all, and learners come from far and wide across the world to have a go.

Volunteering

This year my first task was as a llysgennad, a sort of wandering ambassador tasked with trying to encourage visitors to Maes D. I tried surreptiously listening in on conversations to see which language they were in, then bowling up to English speakers with what I hoped was an engaging smile and not the look of a lunatic. I would start with “Bore da! Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg?” and if they looked blankly at me or replied “Er, not really but I’m trying to learn”, then I would give them a little spiel about Maes D and encourage them in that direction.

Occasionally I found they were Welsh speakers who just happened to have slipped into English for a phrase or two, as bilingual people commonly do, and then I explained in Welsh that I was there to encourage Welsh learners. They were generally very helpful at that point, trying to think of any learners they knew that might be on the Maes, and one even immediately phoned his non Welsh-speaking wife on his mobile to tell her there was a lot happening in Maes D and she should get herself down there!

But it wasn’t the easiest of tasks, especially when I was only wearing a tiny identity badge that you had to be one foot away from me to read! A nice big Maes D t-shirt would make a difference!

I had the most success when I loitered near the main entrance and watched for people who looked a bit lost or bewildered when they came in, immediately going over to nearby tables to sit and study their Map of the Maes. A reasonable number of these turned out to be first-timers at the Eisteddfod, so I had a few successes, including a conversation with a very nice student from the Basque Country. He confessed he was really in the UK to improve his English but he found Welsh a fascinating language so he was soon on his way to Maes D for his first taster lesson.

Sali MaliMy other main duty in Maes D was taking care of the children’s corner – chatting with Welsh-speaking children while they coloured in pictures of Sali Mali, and characters from Cyw. I enjoyed that, and had some interesting conversations with their parents, some of whom could speak Welsh, but others who were learning in order to support their children’s education – a very positive sign for the future.

On the Maes

The rest of the time I spent visiting the various stands that dot the Maes – some selling their wares, but others giving information about Welsh services and organisations. I deliberately didn’t go into the Teithio Tango stand this year as I didn’t want to hear “You again! Are you ever going to go to Patagonia?” for the third year in a row – I will get there one day! – but I stood and listened to a great performance by a young choir called Mimosa who were leaving very soon for the 150 year celebrations of the founding of Y Wladfa, the Welsh colony in Argentina. They were introduced by Rhys Meirion and quite a crowd gathered to listen to them.

I dropped by the Tŷ Gwerin which is often bulging at the seams due to the popularity of the folk music and dancing that happens there, and I browsed the art exhibition. I attended a talk on the need to ensure that ALL children in Wales are confident in Welsh hosted by Cymdeithas yr Iaith, and I met up with lots of people that I knew through SaySomethinginWelsh.com or that I had previously met at other Welsh events.

For me the National Eisteddfod represents a wonderful week where everywhere you go speaking Welsh is normal and there are too many places in Wales where, sadly, that is no longer true. The Eisteddfod brings people together from across the country and beyond and, no matter what their background and where they come from, very soon everyone feels like family.

 

 

 

Cymraeg, Gymraeg neu Nghymraeg

Cymraeg

I’ve been working my way slowly through the Welsh Rules exercises by Heini Gruffudd for months now. I quite like the translation exercises as they make me think about how to say things differently and not just stick to the phrases and structures that I know well and tend to use all the time.

Occasionally I come across something completely new to me. Either I didn’t study it at all when I was doing Welsh for Adults courses or I wasn’t listening in that particular class, but somehow the point completely passed me by.

This week I realised that I didn’t have a very good grasp on when to use Cymraeg or Gymraeg, and when it should become yng Nghymraeg.

Spot the Difference

A quick hunt in my Modern Welsh – A Comprehensive Grammar by Gareth King and a search on Google didn’t turn up much, so I had to try and deduce the rules from translating the examples below:

  • The teaching of Welsh should be compulsory in the west of England.
  • What is ‘milk’ in south-Walian Welsh?
  • What is ‘grandmother’ in north-Walian Welsh?
  • Welsh is one of the small languages in Europe.

And from correcting the following examples containing errors:

  • Beth yw hynny yn Nghymraeg? Mêl?
  • Beth yw ‘nain’ yn Gymraeg y de?
  • Roedd y nofel wedi’i hysgrifennu yn Gymraeg da.
  • Rydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg dda iawn.
  • Dysgodd y myfyrwyr Cymraeg mewn mis.

The Answers

The correct answers to the examples above are:

  • Dylai dysgu Cymraeg fod yn orfodol yng ngorllewin Lloegr.
  • Beth yw ‘llefrith’ yng Nghymraeg y de?
  • Beth yw ‘mam-gu’ yng Nghymraeg y gogledd?
  • Mae Cymraeg yn un o ieithoedd bach Ewrop.
  • Beth yw hynny yn Gymraeg? Mêl?
  • Beth yw ‘nain’ yng Nghymraeg y de?
  • Roedd y nofel wedi’i hysgrifennu mewn Cymraeg da.
  • Rydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg yn dda iawn.
  • Dysgodd y myfyrwyr Gymraeg mewn mis.

Suggested Explanation

Perhaps someone else can find a proper grammatical explanation, but for the time-being I have surmised the following:

Cymraeg – the name of the language in its basic form. Cysill tells me that adjectives after the name of a language don’t mutate so you get ‘Cymraeg da’.

Y Gymraeg – an alternate way of saying the above. Cysill won’t let me get away with ‘y Cymraeg’ telling me that it’s a feminine noun, but it still wants an unmutated adjective – ‘y Gymraeg da’ … hmm

Yng Nghymraeg – used when there is something else qualifying it, e.g. ‘y de’, ‘y gogledd’, making it a particular type of Cymraeg

After ‘yn’ it seems to be always Gymraeg and after ‘mewn’ it’s Cymraeg.

Of course the best way is to just get used to using it in phrases and let it come naturally, which is what I’ve been doing until now, but interesting to think about it.

 

 

 

Ynni Niwclear

Mae’n hen amser i fi ddechrau blogio yn Gymraeg. Felly, dyma rywbeth dw i wedi “paratoi’n gynnar” – erthygl sgwennais i ar gyfer fy Nghwrs Graenus ar-lein. Hoffwn i ddarllen beth mae pobl eraill yn meddwl am y pwnc.

Ynni Niwclear: y Ffordd Ymlaen?

Llaw Niwclear

Un o’r pethau sydd wedi fy mhoeni ers roeddwn yn blentyn yw ynni niwclear. Gyda damweiniau fel Chernobyl a Fukushima, mae’n amhosibl dweud ei fod e’n hollol ddiogel, ond ar y llaw arall nid yw e’n cynhyrchu cymaint o garbon â dulliau eraill. Mae hynny’n bwysig iawn os rydym eisiau brwydro yn erbyn cynhesu byd-eang, felly yw e’n well nag egni adnewyddadwy?

Beth am yr holl wastraff ymbelydrol sydd yn mynd i fodoli am filoedd o flynyddoedd a does neb yn gwybod beth i’w wneud gyda fe? Oes hawl gyda ni adael problem enfawr i genedlaethau’r dyfodol?

All y metel thoriwm fod yr ateb? Yn India, erbyn y flwyddyn nesaf, dechreuir adeiladu’r adweithydd niwclear thoriwm cyntaf yn y byd. Mae thoriwm dairgwaith mwy cyffredin dros y byd nag wraniwm, a bydd yr adweithydd yn defnyddio llawer llai o ddefnydd i redeg y broses ymholltiad niwclear.

Mae thoriwm yn fwy diogel nag wraniwm hefyd. Os bydd rhywbeth yn mynd o’i le mewn adweithydd niwclear thoriwm, mae’r broses yn dod i ben ac mae popeth yn oeri’n raddol – dim ffrwydrad, dim colled ymbelydrol, dim peryg i bobl neu’r amgylchedd. Mae’r broses yn cynhyrchu gwastraff ymbelydrol, ond llawer llai nag wraniwm ac mae’n colli ymbelydredd mewn dau neu dri chant o flynyddoedd, nid miloedd!

Dyw e ddim yn rhywbeth newydd chwaith. Yn y pumdegau a’r chwedegau roedd gwyddonwyr yn yr Unol Daleithiau’n gwneud gwaith ymchwil i greu ynni trwy ddefnyddio thoriwm. Roedd y broses yn addawol iawn, ond roedd un broblem fach. Cyfnod y Rhyfel Oer oedd yr adeg hon.

Roedd diddordeb mawr mewn datblygu arfau niwclear. Dyw hi ddim yn hollol amhosibl defnyddio thoriwm ar gyfer arfau, ond mae’n anodd iawn gyda mwy o risg i’r bobl sy’n ceisio ei wneud e. Trwy ddefnyddio wraniwm roedd yn bosibl datblygu bomiau niwclear, a dyna ble rhoddodd y llywodraeth a lluoedd arfog eu holl gefnogaeth ag arian.

Heddiw mae’r blaenoriaethau wedi newid. Yn hytrach na ffocysu ar arfau a gelynion mae’n bwysig canolbwyntio ar y pethau sydd yn well ar gyfer y blaned i gyd. Mae Tsieina hefyd yn gwneud ymchwil i greu egni o thoriwm, ac wrth gwrs mae gwyddonwyr yn yr Unol Daleithiau, ym Mhrydain a gwledydd eraill sydd yn diddori yn y syniad.

Fel unrhyw beth newydd mae’n eithaf drud i ddylunio ac adeiladu adweithydd chwyldroadol ond dyma gyfle da i Gymru ddangos sut i’w wneud e. Yn hytrach nag adeiladu adweithydd niwclear traddodiadol yn Wylfa gyda’r holl broblemau o ddefnyddio wraniwm, beth am arwain y byd ac adeiladu un yn seiliedig ar thoriwm?

Mwy o wybodaeth (yn Saesneg):

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