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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Big Brother pair to 'learn Welsh'
Susie Verrico and Richard Newman
Susie and Richard must learn Welsh to pass the show's shopping task
Two housemates on Big Brother will try to learn Welsh as part of a challenge on the Channel 4 reality show.

Welsh-speaking housemates Glyn Wise, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and Imogen Thomas, of Llanelli, had previously been told off for speaking Welsh on the show.

But Big Brother has set Susie Verrico and Canadian Richard Newman the challenge of learning Welsh phrases.

Luned Jones, from the Welsh Language Board, said the language's high profile on the show was a "positive step".

I think they'll find it quite easy, Richard and Susie are quite intelligent people
Hywel Griffiths, Welsh Language Society

In this week's challenge for the contestants of the reality show, all the housemates must study subjects which they chose at random from envelopes.

Imogen and housemate Mikey Dalton will study anatomy, and Glyn will attempt to master communication studies alongside Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace.

A Big Brother spokeswoman said Glyn had been helping his housemates Richard and Susie to learn Welsh for their part of the task.

The language has been a hot topic in the house since part-time lifeguard Glyn was told off for speaking in Welsh at the beginning of the series.

But the programme makers later said he was in fact free to converse in Welsh with former Miss Wales, Imogen, 23.

Imogen and Glyn
Imogen and Glyn frequently speak in Welsh on the show

Luned Jones, from the Welsh Language Board said there had been a "big change" in the programme's attitude to the language.

She said: "We've moved from a situation where the programme was unsure of its use of Welsh, to one where learning the language is a task given to competitors.

"This is a very positive step that shows that the language is relevant on a big scale for a young impressionable audience.

"Perhaps it will change people's attitude to the language in Wales and outside," she added.

'Good for profile'

Hywel Griffiths, deputy chairman of the Welsh Language Society, agreed the task could raise the profile of the language.

He said: "It's a good thing. On a programme which is watched by such a wide viewer base, I think it can only do good for the profile of the Welsh language."

Mr Griffiths said he did not think Susie and Richard would have too much trouble passing the task.

"I think they'll find it quite easy, Richard and Susie are quite intelligent people, and I'm sure they'll be fine, it's not a difficult language to pick up."

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