An Ohio woman, ridiculed by a British newspaper has come out on top after fighting back online.

Geordan Burress from Ohio, decided to learn Welsh in order to understand the music of one of her favourite bands, the Super Furry Animals, who sing in English and Welsh.

Geordan explained:

The language sounded cool to me. And I enjoy learning languages anyway, so I decided that I wanted to try to learn just a few words or phrases in Welsh. Thanks to the online resources available, I was able to learn much more than that!

Learning a new language has expanded my horizons in so many ways. Since learning Welsh, I’ve connected with so many people that have become friends over months or years, because I’ve bonded with them over being Welsh learners or Welsh speakers, or just being interested in the same kind of music.

However, despite the positives, Geordan found her story splashed on the pages of The Sun newspaper in the UK. The tabloid newspaper is one of Britain’s biggest selling papers and has a millions of viewers online.

The paper claimed that she “found she had no-one to speak to” in an article which made fun of her achievements. Geordan explained:

The Sun portrayed my story in what I felt was a misleading and negative way by suggesting that learning Welsh was not worth the effort, and that “barely anyone” speaks the language.

I felt more frustrated than anything. The article disrespected the Welsh language and Welsh people. I also didn’t appreciate the implication that I had wasted my time learning Welsh. Nothing could’ve been further from the truth.

Fighting back

But rather than sitting back, Geordan took to Twitter:

When I wrote my response to The Sun on Twitter, I had an overwhelming response.

I feel touched by all of the support I received.

I’ve received a lot of messages from people that have said that I am welcome to chat with them anytime. Other messages said that I’ve inspired them to start or continue to learn Welsh. And I’ve had plenty of messages of encouragement to keep going. People have even thanked me for learning Welsh.

It’s very inspiring to me.

Recently Geordan, who learned Welsh using freely available resources including “Say Something In Welsh” and the BBC, went on the adventure of a lifetime. She traveled to Wales and meet many of the people that she had been in contact with for years through the internet. She adds:

On a more personal note, getting better at speaking Welsh over time has helped to raise my confidence quite a bit. And I’ve made new friends.