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You Don't Speak Welsh! [Paperback]

Sandi Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Y Lolfa (10 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862435854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862435851
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,593,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This work follows Sandi's struggle to learn Welsh on a Wlpan course in Aberystwyth. It gives an insight into the people and the culture of Wales through the eyes of a learner.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ms. Thomas has put together an excellent support book for those learning Welsh or any foreign language. She chronicles the emotions and frustrations that a learner goes through while learning Welsh and reminds us that we are not alone as we go through the same feelings. Several of us in last years Ulpan Awst class at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth gleamed needed support to continue our studies in learning Welsh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Must Read' for Welsh learners 27 Jun 2004
By A Customer
You MUST read this book if you are learning Welsh and place it beside your Welsh dictionaries. Sandi penned in clear, witty English what I had been thinking all along about learning Welsh. I caught myself smiling and nodding vigorouly as I read. The account of her encounter with Dafydd Iwan, a music shop owner and sheep trials competitors is so vivid that I can see what is happening before my eyes. She is extremely encouraging too. I re-read this book recently when I was feeling discouraged by the difficulties of learning this learner-unfriendly language by myself. Now my resolve is renewed and I'm eager to continue. A million thanks to Sandi! Bendigedig!
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5.0 out of 5 stars hi there 24 July 2012
By audrey
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book easy to follow and by having the cd does help to understand the following of the book I would recomend this book to my frend
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four weeks learning to speak Welsh 12 Dec 2007
By John L Murphy - Published on
This Californian writer gives an unpretentious, straightforward, if occasionally vague account of her month in Abersytwyth studying from the absolute beginner's stage at an "Wlpan" intensive course. Most of the brisk narrative relates this with lots of meticulous self-reflection, in a manner that seems as if reworked from a journal she kept. Nothing wrong with this, but you do tend when reading to lack the wider context. I wondered how much the course cost, how more specifically the other learners and she bonded in and out of class in relation to the more advanced students, and especially the account would have been more useful if she had provided more about the exact tapes and lessons. Such details about learning materials might have helped curious learners understand more vividly how the grueling drills or entertaining lessons played out in class each day for six hours.

The middle of her story follows her as she dashes off on weekends for quick visits to the countryside. She's observant on how Americans appear to stand out without intending to do so, and as she notes, while she never was made to feel unwelcome, she was often treated with extreme scrutiny for her attempts to speak the bit of Welsh she knew or for her justification that she possessed as much as any Welsh native the right to reclaim an ancient heritage and vibrant tongue that many in Wales denigrate. This complexity reaches its peak in the incident that gives the book its title, when she meets her idol, folksinger and activist Dafydd Iwan, who tells her-- not meaning to insult her, but acknowledging the sad fact that so many of his countrymen and women lack their inherited language-- the damning phrase.

Thomas discusses this episode, and explains the tangle. One can reside in Wales but be regarded as a Saxon, "Saes," for not speaking Welsh. One can be from abroad yet learn the language to become one of the "Cymry"-- and a part of the fellowship, the people themselves. Out of such intricate markers of identity, as Iwan emphasizes, the Welsh have managed to convince not only half a million of their fellow citizens but intrepid intellectual adventurers such as Thomas and her cosmopolitan classmates. While she does tend to gush and overuse capitals in attempting to share her enthusiasm for the nation and its language, one may forgive her this bond, which pulls her through considerable challenges as mutations, strange sounds, shifting structures, and twisting orthography all threaten to daunt her initial optimism. For any language learner, the discipline and frustration she relates breathlessly, caught up in her own energy and its own rush and ebb, will be very familiar.

(For an Irish-language learner's memoir of a somewhat parallel travelogue and adult school stint, see my Amazon review of Steve Fallon's "Home With Alice.")
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