October 15 is #ShwmaeSumae Day. Shwmae and Su’mae are just two different ways of saying hello in Welsh. The initiative is to encourage the use of the Welsh language, so if you’re a beginner or a fluent speaker the idea is to use that basic greeting especially, as a starting point during the day.
I’ve been learning Welsh for some years now so I’ve gone from recognising signs such as ‘Croeso i Gymru’, ‘Ysgol’ and ‘Araf Nawr’ to not only knowing what they mean but also how to pronounce them.
Some years ago I learnt Dutch and as it is a Germanic language, like English, there is a grammar pattern that translates, making it easier. Not so with Welsh.
However, each step you take, however small it may be, is one in the right direction. Getting your head round mutations, for example, may be difficult in the early days.
You keep going though and eventually it becomes natural to know when to use Cymru or Gymru, pawb or bawb, Caerdydd or Gaerdydd.
When I first started learning Welsh, a fluent speaker said to me that I will be good for the simple reason that I wasn’t afraid to use it. That’s often a big thing, people are very self-conscious and don’t like to speak the language.
I will use it whenever possible. If there words I’m not sure about, rather than not use Welsh I will just replace them with English ones. Then I’ll check, so I know next time. It’s about growing your vocabulary.
An example was recently when I was in Carmarthen with The New Saints FC. The hotel key wasn’t working so I went to reception. ‘Shwmae, noswaith dda. My key’s not working.’ I didn’t know that exactly in Welsh so I used English.
The rest of the conversation was fine, I gave my room number in Welsh and said thank you and bye. Rather than not use the language just because of one sentence I switched to English.
For #ShwmaeSumae day I wore my Wales shirt to work and you can see that in the lead image, interviewing Scott Ruscoe and Josh Hmami (manager and player) at The New Saints FC (Clwb Pêl-Droed Y Seintiau Newydd).
I often use Welsh in the club’s social media accounts, whether in text or hashtag. We are the Welsh Premier League champions after all.
I’m very proud of my Welsh roots and although born and bred in England, I often say I’m as Welsh as the national football captain, Ashley Williams. Born in Wolverhampton with a Welsh grandmother. There’s more HERE in another blog entry.
Back to #ShwmaeSumae Day though, I love it and I think it’s a great way to promote the language. Diwrnod ShwmaeSumae Hapus indeed. Happy Shwmae day!