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Ask Elizabeth

Ask Elizabeth

Elizabeth Liney was raised in Scotland.  She moved to Merthyr Tydfil when she was 14 years old.

She lives in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, about 20 miles north of London.

When and why did you start learning Welsh?

In Merthyr Tydfil, before going to university in London, I spent four extremely happy years immersing myself in Welsh culture.  The people of the valleys were very friendly and there was a strong Welsh ethos at Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School.

I longed to learn Welsh but unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to learn the language in the 1960s.  Speaking Welsh was just a dream for a long time.

Then, 10 years ago, I started learning Welsh with a tutor, for an hour a week, over Skype, with the occasional weekend with Learn Welsh Gwent.

When lockdown came, Learn Welsh courses moved online for everyone and I joined a weekly class.  Learning in a classroom situation was completely different to learning with a tutor over Skype.  I had to gain confidence to speak in front of people I didn't know well.

What’s the best thing about being able to speak Welsh?

The warm welcome I have received from Welsh speakers is the best thing about being able to speak Welsh.

How has your life changed since learning to speak Welsh?

My life has changed in many ways.  I have made good friends in Wales and beyond.

I enjoy visiting Wales to meet new friends and get a taste of life through the medium of Welsh.

I also enjoy being a member of the London Welsh society - celebrating, for example, Y Fari Lwyd, Plygain service and singing assemblies as well as meeting to walk and have a chat.

Learn Welsh courses and chatting with my ‘Siarad’ partner, Dr Elin Jones, have increased my interest in Welsh history and I love finding connections to Wales in unexpected places in England.

Welsh has also introduced me to a completely new world of books and authors.

What is your advice to someone who wants to learn the language?

Go for it!

Check out the website where there are courses for beginners on Zoom or face to face throughout Wales.

After that, keep going, take advantage of everything on offer and talk and read as much as you can.

It’s a journey worth taking.