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4th June 2008
North America may be thousands of miles from Wales, but that's no barrier to learning the language, thanks to The Big Welsh Challenge. The online course has attracted learners from across the Atlantic - who can practise the language in the comfort of their homes.
Poet and singer John Thomas from Newburgh in New York is second generation American. His name - and his gut instinct - tell him that he is descended from Welsh genes, although he has yet to track down the connection.
"My paternal grandfather was from County Durham. The other side of my family came from Northern Ireland," he explains. "I always thought I was a Saes. Not until I got into Dylan Thomas and Edward Thomas did I realise there was hiraeth in the midst of the other traits and feelings."
"I have been trying to learn Welsh for a long time, but without the ability of hearing how it is spoken, especially the "ll" and "rh". The course makes it so easy."
Cordelia Karpenko from Halifax, Novia Scotia in Canada has no Welsh family but loves languages. She is also using the Big Welsh Challenge course.
"I just want you to know how much I'm enjoying learning Welsh using the programme and how much I appreciate that it is available to us here in Canada," she says. "I love languages and have often been curious about Welsh, but courses are hard to come by here and time and money are in short supply for me.
"The Big Welsh Challenge resources are wonderful and I'm really enjoying using them. I find the lessons understandable, interesting and very well put together."