Sketchy Welsh joins Nation.Cymru
Nation.Cymru is thrilled to announce the addition of Sketchy Welsh to our band of contributors from across the length and breadth of Wales (and sometimes beyond).
Sketchy Welsh’s growing legion of followers are just as enthralled with creator Josh Morgan’s amusing and captivating illustrations as they are with his touching mini-Welsh lessons.
So, without further ado, we’ll let Josh introduce himself as he kicks off his first feature of many…
“Shwmae. I’m Josh and I’m illustrating the Welsh language…”
I thought that I was doing this for myself at first, to make new phrases more memorable and meaningful by sketching characters and situations to demonstrate them. I began to make a book of these which I named ‘31 Ways to Hoffi Coffi’ – a collection of phrases I was learning along with strangely imagined coffee drinking habits. I knew that I could add it to the pile of nightly picture books I’d be reading to my two young boys. That way, before long, all of us would have absorbed the 31 new Cymraeg phrases just by following our daily routine.
My wife’s learning too, so I thought that she might even like to use them…
But here we are a few months down the line. Me, my children, my wife, and several thousand other people using the books and illustrations that have been helping me on my journey deeper into Cymraeg.
In reflection, I put this quick popularity down to a few things.
Firstly, the language itself is excellent. Since it is not primarily Latin based, many of its words find themselves matching their sound more strongly to a feeling rather than following a straight logic. The foundation of Britain’s oldest mythology and King Arthur (Arthur – meaning ‘the bear king’) himself is found in Cymraeg including the stories collected in the Mabinogion.
All languages morph and change, Cymraeg being no exception, though it does still carry the structures of what feels like an ‘older’ language.
For example, 1000 times a day in schools in Cymru, you will hear ‘Ga i fynd i’r tŷ bach os gwelwch yn dda?’, meaning ‘may I go to the little house if you see it well?’.
Secondly, the Cymraeg learning community is fast-growing, enthusiastic (brwdfrydig), and extremely positive. It’s an incredible thing to meet people daily that are Cymraeg speakers or learners somewhere along the scale and to immediately have a strong common interest and share a small part in a broader movement.
Thirdly, though there are so many new and effective ways of learning a language, a strong, meaningful, visual memory link is hard to beat. Something peculiar, beautiful, new, or funny stands a much better chance of holding its place in your brain.
I am trying quite earnestly to create something worthwhile through Sketchy Welsh. Hopefully it is something that doesn’t seem just like a resource with visual demonstrations. I hope that each piece is made with enough of a spark of a visual idea and enough genuine joy in learning and discovering new parts of the language that something of that carries through.
To say the least, people have been very kind and I am excited to be working on several more Sketchy Welsh projects at the moment.
Nation.Cymru has given me a space to share some Sketchy Welsh work here. Every couple of weeks I’ll be adding a new word or phrase with a few thoughts about why they are so fascinating and worth talking about.
Maybe I’ll leave you with one of my first Sketchy Welsh illustrations…
I am learning at the moment
Dw i’n dysgu ar hyn o bryd
But I am eager to improve
Ond dw i’n awyddus i wella
Diolch yn fawr iawn!
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