IF you've ever fired off a gracias, s'il te plaît or ciao while abroad on holiday, you'll know there's a certain confidence needed.

Have you said it correctly, in the right manner, or should you just not even try?

But speaking so much as one word in a language that isn't your own should be celebrated.

And that is exactly what one Wrexham high school teacher and rising social media star is aiming to do for Welsh.


Stephen Rule, AKA Doctor Cymraeg, and his son.

Stephen Rule, AKA Doctor Cymraeg, and his son.


Stephen Rule, originally from Leeswood and now in Caergwrle, teaches Welsh at Maelor School in Penley, and is passionate about helping people at all levels, shed their inhibitions about speaking it.

Beyond the classroom, the 35-year-old has built up a considerable online following under the guise of Doctor Cymraeg, offering fun, bite-sized insights into the Welsh language and its use.

The married dad-of-one said: "I'm very proud of where I come from and I know the Welsh language could do with a bit of a hand now and again, and I thought I could perhaps help with that.

"So to show it off, share it and push it on my social media, is my little way of thanking the place that's forged me."

Across Instagram and X, as Doctor Cymraeg, he has almost 75,000 followers from all over the world, with more discovering his entertaining style every day.

Surprisingly, Stephen didn't grow up in a Welsh speaking household but it was his past that ignited his love of the language.

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He said: "The only Welsh I was exposed to outside of school was my taid, who would say things like 'dwi wedi blino' ('I'm tired'). After we lost him I did my family tree, and on the census he was down as a child as a Welsh speaker, and I'd never really had the opportunity to express that, falling in love with Welsh after we lost him.

"I often think about it, how if he was still with us just how wonderful that would have been to bring Welsh back into my family."

Stephen's bug for Welsh kicked in at about 12-years-old, when during a Welsh lesson he heard of golden tickets for a trip to a jamboree, where children sang Welsh songs together.

He said: "There was an invitation for the three best people that performed well, of which I was not one!

"In my young naivety and cheekiness I said to my teacher 'have I not been doing well?', and asked to go. I was told I was first reserve.

"But as it turned out someone pulled out and true to their word, my teacher gave me that golden ticket. It meant a lot to me."


Stephen Rule, AKA Doctor Cymraeg, and his son.

Stephen Rule, AKA Doctor Cymraeg, and his son.


Through high school he thought Welsh made him unique for a while, and believed that was all it was ever going to do.

But as time went on, that changed. He added: "I learnt it to a really decent grasp, and I found this beautiful community of people that did everything through Welsh, it was like a door opening.

"People wanted to know you because you spoke a different language. You could go round the world and hear people speaking English, and you'll never think 'wow, they're speaking English'.

"But if you hear someone speaking Welsh, you do go 'wow'. It's something that links you, and I really felt that.

"It was a long journey, it was tough. Some embarrassing bits, some frustrating, some anxious but I'm so, so glad I did it. I'm so proud of it and I just want to share it."

Within Wales the language has been in the spotlight, and close to home, that spotlight came via some famous faces who bought a certain football club.

Wrexham AFC owners Ryan Reynolds and Robert McElhenney embraced Wales, including the language, even dabbling in it for their documentary series, Welcome to Wrexham.

A lifelong Reds fan himself, Stephen said: "To see them do that, to see them take it along with them, to bring it on the ride and really make it a prominent thing, they've done something wonderful."

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Welsh was officially cool, and Stephen has seen that reflected in his students.

He said: "I hear less and less children asking why are they learning it, more seem to see the value in it.

"At the very least I wanted kids to find it fun and see the point of it, I promised myself I'd do that.

"If they can walk out of my room with a little bit more Welsh than they walked in with, I've done well and I'm happy.

"There's a monumental change in attitude to Welsh, and I want them to leave with positivity around a language."

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Stephen's own positive attitude around Welsh beams, none more so than as Doctor Cymraeg.

This online window to Welsh was born from an unexpected place - covid.

Stephen, who was invited as a moderator for Duolingo Welsh, said: "I was traipsing around Facebook like everybody else, as we all did at that time, and I'd see groups asking questions about the 'whys' of the language.

"What would follow was 20 answers in different dialects, some grammatically correct, some not, others saying they wouldn't use a certain word.

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"By the end of it, the person asking the question would just say 'oh leave it then', and it broke my heart. Because we were overwhelming people, it was turning them away.

"I thought, I've learnt the language, come from an English speaking home, it means a lot to me and I've been a teacher for years. I've tutored adults, written books, I speak Welsh at home, am raising my son through Welsh, why can't I be the person to answer some of the questions?"

And so Doctor Cymraeg was created.

Stephen said: "It's as important to talk about Welsh as it is to speak Welsh. I wanted to help people enjoy and be proud of what they had.

"And it just took off, I couldn't believe it, the reaction has been incredibly positive. People enjoy it, I enjoy it, a match made in heaven."

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If there was any doubt his efforts were making an impact, a few moments scrolling the comments section of his sites online will prove what a force of good his work is. Followers share their enthusiasm with him, let him know his given them the boost to not give up on learning.

Ultimately Stephen gives people the confidence to not only attempt Welsh but to know its ok to make mistakes too, all while enjoying it.

He adds: "Wherever you are in your language journey, what you have belongs to you."