Monday, 9 November 2009

Free Online Welsh Course.

Two teachers of the Welsh language have taken it upon themselves to provide an online Welsh language learning service, free of charge to anyone wishing to learn the language. Their passion for the language and wish to use natural, spoken Welsh to teach others has resulted in an mp3-based learning system available at The creators have been so generous with their time that they have made the language course free for all users, and are busy supporting a new international Welsh language community.

A FREE internet course in Welsh has stunned its creators, with more than 3,500 learners registering from locations as far afield as Timbuktu and New Zealand. – which emphasises the spoken word – was set up by teachers Iestyn ap Dafydd and Aran Jones because of their frustration with more conventional courses.

The site has been inundated with plaudits from people across the world who decided to sign up for what they see as a more user- friendly way of learning the language.

Available in MP3 files which can be downloaded and played at any convenient time, it claims to get rid of time wasted on reading and writing in order to help people learn to speak and understand Welsh far more quickly than is possible with traditional methods.

Iestyn and Aran describe themselves as “serial language learners” who wanted to make sure that cutting edge approaches were available in Welsh.

“I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been trying to learn one language or another,” said Aran, who lives in Pwllheli and is chief executive of the Welsh language communities group Cymuned.

The course is free because it is possible to distribute electronic files for very close to zero cost.

“We realised early on that the work involved in putting the course together, the writing and recording, was something we were happy to do as volunteers just to make sure that this kind of material is available in Welsh,” said Iestyn of Maesycymmer, near Caer- philly.

“It costs us virtually nothing to distribute the course, so we thought it would be a boost to Welsh learners, and to the language itself, if we offered it for free.”