Culture

Pnawn da! Brazilian TV show does Welsh language feature

18 Dec 2020 4 minutes Read

A Brazilian TV show has done a feature on the Welsh language.

Dr Rodolfo Piskorski, who is originally from Brazil and now lives in Cardiff, and is the first person to take the UK citizenship test in the language, was interviewed on news and live entertainment programme, Metrópolis.

Dr Piskorski, a Cardiff University lecturer, took the £50 multiple choice test in January, and learned he was the first to pass the Welsh language version when he was given the results.

He told the show about how he needed £1,500 for the next part of the application process, and that he was able to raise the money within a week, after a video campaign.

He also told the Brazilian audience about the efforts being made to keep the language alive and of the Welsh Government’s target to reach a million speakers by 2050.

The interview featured clips of the Netflix series, The Crown, in which the language is spoken. It also featured footage from The Lord of the Rings franchise because of the affinity author and linguist J. R. R. Tolkien had for the language.

 

‘Pnawn da’ 

Dr Piskorski, who moved to the Welsh capital in 2013 to study for his PhD, and decided to start learning Welsh two years later, kicked off the interview by saying: “Pnawn da Metrópolis. Rodolfo ydw i, a dwi yn byw yng Nghymru (Good evening Metrópolis, I am Rodolfo, I come from Brazil, and now I live in Wales).”

He was introduced by presenter Renata Simões who began the feature by saying: “When a language ceases existing, it takes with it the history and memory of its people. By 2050 more than half of the 7000 languages spoken today will disappear. Metrópolis reflects on these last words.”

Dr Piskorski told the programme: “I did a degree in English in Brazil and did a master’s in literary theory also in Brazil. Then I came to the UK to do my PhD.

“I already knew there was a minority language here, Welsh. Just like there are other minority languages in Europe, and I thought it was very interesting. It’s a very curious and different language.

“For me it’s a very young and fresh language as I live in Cardiff, the capital. There are many people who speak it and there are whole communities where it is spoken. There are many children who speak it.

“There’s a TV channel, radio stations, newspapers, websites. When you have that much social structure through the medium of a language, that language is considered stable.

“The citizenship application costs £1,500. I started a campaign, I shot a video explaining why I want to become a citizen, why I did the test in Welsh, and why I needed the money. And I wrote a text, all in welsh.

“After one week I had already reached my goal. It was a very special feeling. If it works out, in the future I’ll be a fluent Welsh speaker and then maybe I could be a Welsh tutor.

“The government wants to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050. I think right now there must be some 500,000. Any child in the country can attend a Welsh medium school, there are Welsh classes for refugees when they arrive here, so there is a lot of effort to keep the language alive.

“Tolkien was a linguist who was fascinated by Welsh. Many aspects of Welsh ended up in the languages of The Lord of the Rings, which he invented.

“There is definitely this romantic notion of Welsh that comes from this magical Celtic past.”

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