The National Centre for Learning Welsh and the Welsh Language Commissioner are calling on young people to share the informal Welsh words they use with each other, as part of the Centre’s programme to provide free, Learn Welsh training to 16 – 25 year-olds.
Vocabulary can vary from area to area and within social groups, and words such as ‘hercan’ (hair cut), ‘sgiliau moethus’ (great skills) and ‘bifish’ (moody) have already been shared.
The aim is to share these words and phrases in Learn Welsh lessons and resources designed specifically for young people.
The National Centre has been delivering free courses to this audience since 2022, including face-to-face and virtual classes, pilot schemes in schools and Further Education colleges, and access to digital resources such as SaySomethingInWelsh.
With the Centre’s emphasis on speaking and enjoying the language, the Centre’s aim is to share the everyday Welsh words young people use with their contemporaries.
Dr Dylan Foster Evans is the Head of Cardiff University’s School of Welsh. His interests include the different types of Welsh used in contemporary Wales.
Dr Foster Evans said, “A language never stands still. It is therefore vital we pay attention to how Welsh is spoken by younger generations.
"It will be fascinating to see the variety of words and phrases collected during this campaign. I’m sure we’ll see a mix of new phrases and some that are more familiar, but which are used in different ways by young people.
"I'm looking forward in particular to seeing the ones I’ll have no idea what they mean!"
Welsh Language Commissioner, Efa Gruffudd Jones, added "Since starting in this role at the beginning of the year, talking to young people and gathering their views has been a priority. They are the ones who will ensure the future of the Welsh language.
"I have already met a number of them and have been delighted with their enthusiasm for the language. For a language to thrive, it needs to be able to exist on many levels, both formal and informal, and I'm really looking forward to hearing the vocabulary that comes from this campaign - vocabulary that will enrich our language for the future."
Dona Lewis, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said, “We are continually reviewing our resources to ensure they stay relevant and suitable. As we extend our provision to younger learners, it’s important we use contemporary language, to help them feel more confident speaking Welsh with other young people in their communities.
“We held a similar campaign last year, with Mudiad Meithrin early years specialists, when we collected Welsh ‘parentese’ (baby talk) words. These words are now used in Welsh-medium nursery groups, Ti a Fi toddler groups and Cymraeg for Kids activities for parents and carers.
“We are now calling on our young people to let us know the words and phrases they use.”
Young people can contribute words on the National Centre for Learning Welsh’s social media channels using the hash tag #FyIaith or on the Centre’s website – learnwelsh.cymru.
New Learn Welsh classes for young people will be starting in September, as well as classes for adults of all ages. For more details go to www.learnwelsh.cymru