Photo: Martin and Sue Whitbread with Welsh learners from their class.
A couple from Wolfscastle near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire have found that speaking Welsh with their animals is a good way to practise the language outside their weekly lessons.
Martin and Sue Whitbread, originally from Sussex, are learning Welsh at Entry (beginner) level with Learn Welsh Pembrokeshire, which is run by Pembrokeshire County Council on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
After retiring, Martin and Sue moved to a smallholding in Pembrokeshire, where they keep six goats, six chickens, two pigs and a hive of 2000 bees.
Martin said, “We enjoy learning Welsh in class together. Learning Welsh is great fun with our tutor, Tomos, and it's nice to learn the language of the country where we now live.”
He added, “We have a lovely group in the class. We've made lots of friends and become part of the community that we live in.”
The pair enjoy spending time looking after their animals, and say that speaking Welsh with the goats, chickens, pigs and bees helps them to use the language in their everyday lives whilst enjoying nature and the fresh air at the same time.
Sue said, ”We have attended ‘Sadyrnau Siarad’ (one-day revision workshops held on a Saturday) that have been very helpful to re-cap what we are learning in the classes, and we look forward to attending the Summer Course in August.
“We practise speaking Welsh together between the lessons too, and over the summer we'll be having a BBQ with the rest of the Welsh learners from our class. It's nice to use the Welsh language with the animals – they are very good listeners!”
It’s gives me great pleasure be part of the learners' journey as they grow in confidence. I see them learning more of the language every week and like to see them enjoying using the language from day to day, be it with other learners, with Welsh speakers, or with the animals of course! The important thing is to use the language, and to speak it as much as possible inside and outside the classroomTomos Hopkins, Learn Welsh Pembrokeshire.
To find a Welsh language course or opportunities to speak Welsh in your area, go to learnwelsh.cymru. You can start with the free online course available on our website.