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“Alltud yw’r Cymro sy’n siarad Cymraeg yng Nghymru

            Yn strydoedd a siopau Seisnigaidd, sidét y dre,

            Mae bron mor hen-ffasiwn heddiw a sucan a llymru –

            Rhyw anachronistiaeth ac odrwydd i bawb yw efe.”

(“An exile is the Welshman who speaks Welsh in Wales, in the sedate, anglicized streets and shops of the town. It’s almost as old-fashioned today as flummery – an anachronism and oddness to everyone it seems.”)

           It was with this lament that the poet W. Leslie Richards began his sonnet “Alltud” (Exile), which discusses the state of the Welsh-speaking Welsh community in their own country. I remember marvelling, when we studied the poem for our GCSEs, at the astuteness of this observation which explores the phenomenon which was even more conspicuous to us, living as we did in the border-town of Wrecsam.

           Indeed, I had always been aware that I was from a minority community, in terms of language and culture anyway. I hadn’t expected, therefore, that I would notice much difference when I crossed the border to study my degree at Liverpool John Moores University; but I was in for a surprise!

           As Sting put it in his famous song “Englishman in New York” it was as though I: “Took [sic] it everywhere I walked”, even though it wasn’t obvious just by looking at me (unless of course I was wearing a Welsh rugby shirt!) I had a hard time adapting to living in the big city but eventually I dealt with the transition and I went on to live and work in the city for ten years, until the dubious ‘Capital of culture’ celebrations of 2008.

          It was with a heavy heart that I realised, after graduating, when I began looking for work, that I had now transformed into an alltud-zenaidd (zen-exile). I now felt that I was an exile within the Welsh-speaking community – I found it difficult even to speak Welsh properly, much less write anything in it, and I was completely ‘out of touch’ with the culture of the Welsh-speaking community. So I set about trying to improve the situation by reading Welsh novels, attending the National Eisteddfod each year, spending time in Llangollen (where my parents now live) and ‘speaking’ Welsh in cyber-space.

           At the beginning of 2009, at 30 years of age, I began a new chapter in my life, moving from the city to the rural tranquillity of the Wirral peninsular and beginning my new job as a Researcher at the University of Chester on an innovative project looking at type-1 diabetes management for adolescents.

          Here a pleasant surprise awaited me as, despite the fact that I still work and live in England, I now appeared to be living in a world which bridges the boarder. I can get S4C and the other Welsh channels on my television and there are snippets of Welshness around me every day – Bara Brith in the local Gerrard’s, Welsh house-names and Welsh accents around every corner. I have also taken to walking along the front at Parkgate, and gazing over at Wales beyond.

           Three years ago my niece, Christina, was born. She lives in Runcorn and I am delighted with my new role as a “Dodo” (Welsh colloquial word meaning aunty). In light of this I have been teaching her, and also learning with her, about the wonderful language and culture which is a part of our heritage. My hope for the future is that both of us will feel comfortable and confident about our relationship with the Welsh-language community.

(Sara is a former pupil of Ysgol Bodhyfryd and Ysgol Morgan Llwyd.)

This article is a translation of a Welsh article which was originally published in the column: Alltudion Wrecsam (Exiles of Wrecsam), in the Welsh language community magazine: Y Clawdd, July 2009 (Issue 134) and was posted here on: Tachwedd 27 , 2009 (27th November, 2009). / Cyfieuthiad yw hwn o erthygl a cyhoeddir yn wreiddiol yn y golofn: Alltudion Wrecsam, ym mhapur bro Wrecsam: Y Clawddd, Gorffenaf 2009 (Rhifyn 134) a cyhoeddir yma ar 27 o Tachwedd 2009.

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“Alltud yw’r Cymro sy’n siarad Cymraeg yng Nghymru

            Yn strydoedd a siopau Seisnigaidd, sidét y dre,

            Mae bron mor hen-ffasiwn heddiw a sucan a llymru, –

            Rhyw anachronistiaeth ac odrwydd i bawb yw efe.”

Gyda’r cwynfan yma y dechreuodd y bardd W. Leslie Richards ei soned “Alltud”, sy’n trafod stad y Cymry Cymraeg yn ei gwlad ei hunain. Rwy’n cofio pan astudiais y gerdd ar gyfer T.G.A.U i mi rhyfeddu ar graffter yr arsylliad yma am y ffenomen hon a oedd yn amlycach byth i ninnau yn byw mewn Tref ar y ffin. Yn wir yr oeddwn wastad wedi bod yn ymwybodol fy mod o gymuned leiafrifol ac arbennig, o ran iaith a diwydiant beth bynnag. Ni ddisgwyliais felly y byddwn yn sylwi llawer o wahaniaeth pan groesais y ffin i astudio gradd ym Mhrifysgol John Moores yn ninas Lerpwl; ond mi ges i sioc!

Fel Sting yn ei gan enwog “Englishman in New York” roedd hi fel pe bawn yn “ei chymryd hi pob man y cerddwn”, er nad oedd yn amlwg wrth edrych arnaf (oni bai fy mod yn gwisgo crys rygbi Cymru!) Ges i amser caled yn addasu i fyw yn y ddinas fawr ond mi lwyddais ddygymod a’r trawsnewid ac yno y bues yn astudio ac yn gweithio am ddeng mlynedd, hyd nes flwyddyn y dathliad broc “Capital of culture – ‘08”.

Drist iawn oedd sylweddoli, ar ôl graddio a mynd ati i chwilio am waith, fy mod wedi trawsffurfio i fod yn Alltud-Zenaidd. Roeddwn y nawr hefyd yn teimlo’n alltud o’r gymuned Gymreig – yn cael hi’n anodd siarad Cymraeg gweddus, heb sôn am ei hysgrifennu, ac roeddwn yn hollol ‘out of touch’ a’r diwydiant Cymreig. Es ati felly i ddarllen nofelau Cymraeg, mynychu’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, treulio amser yn Llangollen (lle mae fy rhieni bellach yn byw) ac i ‘siarad’ Cymraeg yn y byd-cyber.

Ar ddechrau’r flwyddyn, a finnau’n nawr yn 30, cychwynnais bennod newydd yn fy mywyd, gan symud o’r ddinas i Gilgwri (Wirral) a dechrau ar fy ngwaith newydd fel ymchwilydd ar astudiaeth Clefyd Siwgr ym Mhrifysgol Caer. Yn ddigon ysmala, er fy mod yn dal i fyw a gweithio yn Lloegr, rwy’n teimlo fy mod yn preswylio byd sy’n pontio’r ffin. Rwy’n cael S4C a’r sianelau Cymraeg i gyd ac rwy’n mynd i gerdded ar hyd Parkgate, gan edrych allan ar Gymru ar ochr arall i’r foryd. Ac o’m hamgylch pob dydd y mae tameidiau o Gymreictod – bara brith yn Gerrard’s y dre, enwau tai Cymraeg, ac acenion Cymreigaidd o gwmpas pob cornel.

Tair blynedd yn ôl, ganed fy nith, Christina. Y mae hithau’n byw yn Runcorn ac yr wyf wrth fy modd a fy rôl newydd fel “Dodo”. Yn sgil hyn yr wyf wedi bod wrthi yn dysgu iddi, a gyda hi, am yr iaith a’r diwydiant bendigedig sydd yn rhan o’m hetifeddiaeth. Fy ngobaith am y dyfodol yw y bydd y ddau ohonom yn teimlo’n hyderus ac esmwyth am ein perthynas a’r gymuned Gymraeg.

Cyhoeddir yn wreiddiol yn y golofn: Alltudion Wrecsam, ym mhapur bro Wrecsam: Y Clawddd, Gorffenaf 2009 (Rhifyn 134)/ Originally published in the column: Alltudion Wrecsam (Exiles of Wrecsam), in the Welsh language community magazine: Y Clawdd, July 2009 (Issue 134).

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