Originally from Loughor near Swansea, but now living in London, Jonathan Davies was surprised at how quickly his schoolboy Welsh came back to him when he started learning the language as an adult.
Jonathan started to pick up Welsh again in 2020, with the Duolingo language app, before he moved to online lessons in a virtual classroom with Learn Welsh Swansea Bay Region, which is run by Swansea University on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
Jonathan says, "It's weird - so far, I don't feel like I'm learning but rather I'm making a connection between words I already know. All the words were there from school, but now I can connect them to create sentences and talk. A lot of it is familiar to me.”
Jonathan is currently following an Advanced level course for experienced learners, having started on an intensive Entry course for beginners in January 2021.
He adds, "I've now reached a level where I'm learning new things that we didn’t do in school. I enjoy it a lot and it doesn't feel like hard work.
“I take every opportunity to use my Welsh and there are many excellent opportunities to do so. I went on various online coffee mornings at the start of lockdown, and I'm part of the 'Siarad' and 'Cyfeillio' schemes which gives me the opportunity to practise talking between lessons.
"I chat with a Welsh speaker in north Wales through the 'Siarad' scheme, which matches Welsh learners and speakers for conversation practise. And then in the 'Cyfeillio' scheme, I chat to a fellow Welsh learner from Clydach who's just starting to learn Welsh - and it's a great chance for us to help each other work things out with the language.”
Both Jonathan's girlfriend and one of his best friends speak Welsh, which is one of the reasons why he started learning the language.
Jonathan explains, "I’d wanted to learn a new language and I’d tried learning German many times but with no luck!
"Then I was sitting in the pub one evening with my best friend and girlfriend, who were chatting away in Welsh, and I wanted to be able to join in the conversation and understand what they were saying.
"So, I made a New Year's resolution to learn Welsh and I haven't looked back since."
Two years later, Jonathan can chat easily in Welsh and encourages other young people who want to learn the language to go for it.
He adds, "Being able to speak Welsh is really cool. I now feel I have a stronger connection with Welsh society and culture. I also know a lot more about my culture than I ever did before!
"I'm really looking forward to spending a week at the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron and being able to speak Welsh for a whole week."