MEET USA's ONLY BARD; How Love of Welsh under Glare of TV Literature Inspired the Wall Show American to Learn the Language RHYS HUTCHINGS the Front Man of the Cartoonish Hip-Hop Band Goldie Lookin' Chain Age: 35 From: Newport Why Does He Want to Learn Welsh? "Wales Is My Home. I Am Welsh Tutor: Presenter Nia Parry in the TV Series Fabulous in the 1980s. She Commissioned by the Welsh Write 'Finger Food'
Byline: ERYL CRUMP
LISTENING to Jerry Hunter lecture on Welsh culture in his melodious Gwynedd accent the participants in this year's Cariad@iaith may be unaware of his deep American roots. Born in Ohio the 46-year-old was introduced to Welsh literature as part of his degree course in English at Cincinnati University.
SSttaarr Inspired by the richness of the literature, he decided to come to Wales and learn how to speak the language.
He now does so fluently and is also an enthusiastic advocate for the Welsh language and literature.
Last year he won the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal, the top prize for writers, for a volume of creative writing on the subject of "Regeneration".
CCeelleebbss ttoo He is already a member of the Gorsedd - his bardic name is "Gerallt Glan Ohio" - and at next month's Eisteddfod will be entitled to wear a laurel band on his head dress signifying a chief bard.
ccaammeerraass Jerry will be taking part in the intensive week-long course which starts next week at a campsite in Cilgerran.
He said: "It wasn't easy to learn Welsh but I wanted to understand the richness and treasures of Welsh literature so I persevered. It seems a long time ago now, more than 25 years, but I never gave up and that's one of the best pieces of advice I can give to any prospective learner.
LEMBIT UPIK Former Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire Age: 45 From: Born in Bangor, County Down. His parents were from Estonia, but they fled to Northern Ireland after Joseph Stalin annexed their country.
"It's just as important to remember that Welsh is not a classroom subject. I learned the basic rules and threw myself into it at an intensive course in Lampeter.
"But Welsh is a living language and life can be lived through it. Anyone learning Welsh should find time to use it, to find someone to practice with.
Away from politics he has also appeared on TV shows, including Come Dine With Me and I''m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Lembit's old flames include ITV weather presenter Sin Lloyd and Gabriela Irimia of The Cheeky Girls.
"Its never been easier to hear Welsh on the radio, on television, online, on CDs. Keep a list of the words you don't understand and find out what they mean. The list will become shorter as time goes by."
SOPHIE EVANS Singer, currently Jerry, who lives in Penygroes with his actress wife Judith and their daughters Megan and Luned, believes learning Welsh is a courtesy to the country's life.
sharing the role of Dorothy in the West End's The Wizard of Oz. Age: 18 From: Tonypandy Why does she want to learn Welsh? "I'm very proud of my Welsh roots, and have always wanted to learn my native language.
"Everyone should have some Welsh no matter where they live. Its galling to hear of someone learning French or Spanish because they are heading to those countries on holiday but they've never given a thought to learning Welsh even though they've lived in Gwynedd for more than 20 years.
"This gives me the great opportunity to do that in a fun way, and also enables me to sing in two languages, and work more in Wales."
"Children learn language by hearing others speak before they go to school. People with learning difficulties are able to speak so there should be no barrier to anyone learning any language, Welsh included," he said.
By MANSEL jONES A supporter or rural communities group Cymuned, Jerry believes despite centuries of discrimination and disenfranchisement Welsh is doing well at the start of the 21st century.
WHAT do you get when you mix eight celebrities, one language, two tutors and to grapple with the basics of the Welsh The answer - one massive challenge. As fair share of catfights, crying, laughter, twisting and tongue lashing along the From 10 July, we'll get to fly-on-the-wall-style on eight celebrities'pend an intense week learning Welsh in an eco-friendly chic campsite in in the S4C series cariad@iaith:love4language. …