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Hay Festival 2020

Amongst the many interesting speakers and experts this year was Professor Mererid Hopkins who posed the question ‘What’s Wales in Welsh?’. Morwenna, Year 13, reports:

Mererid explained how language holds much more than simply sentences: the culture, the history, the untranslatable feelings or moments that have no equal in the English language. Being bi/polylingual does not just mean you can name an object twice; it means you can see the world through multiple windows - each language granting you a different view. For example, in English you say, ‘I have’, whereas in Welsh you say ‘... is with me’. It’s a different mindset about possession and truly makes you think. I learned that ‘Wales’, roughly means ‘foreign’, whereas ‘Cymru’ roughly translates as ‘the together land’. Mererid spoke about the music of language and gave an entertaining demonstration of how mixing the intonation of one language with the words of another results in a dissonant tune. I finished watching with a small fire of Welsh pride burning within me and very glad that I have the ability to speak, at least a little, Welsh. I sincerely recommend that if you come across a talk by Mererid, or her poems, that you tune in. Even if you don’t learn anything new, you’ll certainly leave with a smile on your face. I’ve now had the nudge I needed to pick Duolingo back up and expand my knowledge of ‘the together land’ and to find a little more courage to try and converse more with my ‘cu and ‘gu!

03 June 2020

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