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I was struck by how we manage to make ourselves understood when having a few or no words in common

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! sretna Nova godina! (That’s Happy New Year in Welsh and then in Croatian). Both phrases were shared at our first language cafe at St Anne’s House on 11 January.

We also learned how to sign Happy New Year in British Sign Language.

You can learn too here!

But what’s a language cafe?

The idea came from Gabi – a local resident who is also planning and hosting the sessions. The cafe is a chance for anyone who is interested in languages, dialect and culture to meet up, chat and have a cuppa. Each week we will explore a different theme and have some activities to guide us. You don’t need to speak another language, anyone can join the session.

In the first session we looked at the words that different countries use to welcome in the new year but we also chatted about accents, swearing in different languages (Ken reflected that even if you don’t plan to do any swearing it is useful to know when someone might be having a go!), experiences of language learning and more. 

During the first session I was struck at how talking about how we speak, the similarities, the differences, the misunderstandings and the times we manage to make ourselves understood when having a few or no words in common – is a really joyful and positive way to meet new people and be together. Despite whether people spoke another language or not, everyone had something to contribute.

Everyone is welcome – come along to one of the sessions and get involved.  

The sessions are at St Anne’s House, 2pm- 3.30pm on the following dates – just turn up!