[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 06:20 GMT 07:20 UK
Welsh learner's Atlantic crossing
Rachel and Chris Cope
Rachel Cope hopes to follow husband Chris and learn Welsh
An American who used the internet to learn Welsh has arrived in Cardiff to perfect his grasp of the language.

Chris Cope and his wife Rachel have moved from Minneapolis to begin his Cardiff University degree.

Before starting his three-year language course, he is putting into practice on Welsh soil the skills he gained online.

The former copy editor has been meeting fellow Welsh language bloggers who have helped him in his studies.

When I was learning I used to make faces. I would look a bit freaky
Chris Cope

He said without the internet and the BBC Learn Welsh website he would not have picked up the language nor gained the friendships he - and his wife - have made.

"Learning online has been kind of fun, I just found the pages and stuck with it," he said.

The 30-year-old has been in Wales a week, and plans to go to the National Eisteddfod in Swansea next month.


"I haven't actually had the chance to speak that much Welsh so far," he confessed.

"Over the past few days I have been less connected to the Welsh community than when I was back home," he said.

He admitted being surprised not to have heard more Welsh spoken in the capital.

"10% of the Cardiff population speak Welsh - but if 10% of the population in the US spoke Spanish you would hear it a lot more," he said.

Mr Cope, who had no former connections with Wales, worked as a copy editor for American TV and radio.

He honed his skills by pronouncing words using all his facial expressions, but remains concerned by the nuances of the language.

"I really worry that what I am saying is actually something else," he said.

"When I was learning I used to make faces. I would look a bit freaky," he joked.

His wife Rachel, a dietician, is also keen to embrace the language and hopes to study it soon.

He has met fellow Welsh language bloggers Rhys Wynne and Geraint Criddle face-to-face for the first time, and said their help had been invaluable when preparing for his university interview.



Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific