Colin Jackson ‘frustrated’ at being able to understand Welsh but not always join in the conversation
Colin Jackson has said that he’s frustrated at being able to understand the Welsh language but not to have the vocabulary to join in with a conversation.
The former sprint and hurdling athlete who won golds for Wales at the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games said that many members of his family spoke Welsh fluently so that he sees and hears it all the time.
When asked by Female First about his involvement in S4C show Iaith ar Daith he said that while he “thoroughly enjoyed the whole series” but wished he could always find the words to respond.
“I think one of the problems is if you don’t use the language, you don’t speak it, is that you hear it and you understand some of the things of what people are saying but you haven’t got the vocabulary to be able to join in a conversation and for me what was one of the most frustrating things when I was working on the show,” he said.
“People were talking to me, and I could understand virtually 70% or 80% of the conversation fully but I didn’t have the vocabulary to speak back to them in Welsh. It is so frustrating when that happens.
“But I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series and doing it. It’s an experience I think people want to continue doing. I still live in Wales, so I see Wales all the time, I see the language all the time, my sister speaks fluent Welsh, my nephew speaks fluent Welsh, cousins of mine speak fluent Welsh so it’s around me quite a bit.”
He added however that he felt that as a Welsh speaker he felt that he could “embrace the country more”.
“I think that goes for any language, if you know the language quite well anywhere in the world you see that place very differently,” he said. “It was nice to see Wales in a different light and it was fun to do. I think people should embrace the language the way they want to.
“And I think programmes like Iaith ar Daith are really good to try and encourage people to understand the country that they live in and to potentially have a go at Welsh as a language. It’s not as difficult as it looks or sounds by the way!”
He added: “Certainly in some counties in Wales you learn the language when you’re four, you’re taught it at least two hours a week, so it’s not too difficult to get into and you see the language everywhere.”