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Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:54 pm
by catflap
Pep talk needed...

I finished lesson 23 in Course 1 yesterday and everything was going well. My day started pretty well also, and I was busy telling someone how good SSiW is on the ride into work. Arrived at work and I managed to translate a bit of a Welsh colleague's conversation on the fly - marvellous. Then I get into work properly.

I was sat down with ten things all buzzing around in English in my head and I get a phone call. It's Nant Gwrtheyrn calling to do a customer survey on the Welsh course that I did there last year. The lady on the phone was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed the course so I was happy to answer the questions. She started off in Welsh, but could I think of anything to say back - not one word! Brain froze completely.

Does anyone else get that blank startled rabbit-in-the-headlights feeling when Welsh catches them unawares? Surely it can't just be me. Any tips, tricks or words from the wise (or at least wiser than I'm feeling!) would be very much appreciated.

Steve

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:01 pm
by ianto
I suffer from that too at times, especially when talking to new people or people in Welsh language shops! What I've found that although it feels almost impossible on the spot to just force yourself through the first few sentences in Welsh until you feel comfortable so that the conversation becomes more of a breeze. Try not to overthink things and ignore any language mistakes that you run into because it usually won't make the listener misunderstand, they'd be sure to ask if it does but if you get caught up it can knock your confidence making further conversation more difficult.

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:30 pm
by Gruntius
The path to success never runs true, Grasshopper. :cool:

I've had so many of these it's ridiculous and I'm sure I'll have more. Don't lose sleep over it.

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:22 am
by Aran
This is an absolutely normal example of switching between languages, which (like everything else worthwhile) takes practice!

I switch very poorly from English to Welsh and vice versa - it's just not something I tend to do very often - but I switch very easily from Spanish to Welsh and vice versa, because I usually get a chance to do that once a week.

In other words, it's all down to practice/opportunities - English is my first language, but I honestly find it easier to switch from Welsh to Spanish than from Welsh to English.

[Needless to say, once I'm over the hiccup, my English remains several billion times better than my Spanish!...:)]

So don't fret about it. It's a separate issue, and it will solve itself as you get more and more opportunities to switch from Welsh into English and back...:)

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:52 am
by flowerpower136
Had that this morning, and was on my own, in the safety of own study, just doing practice
session. :ing:

Practice. Lots of it. Over a period of time. And then a bit more practice. There is no way round it as far as I can gweld.

I'm allowing myself 5 years, and if it doesn't flow by then, I'll accept defeat. In the meantime, I'm on a mission!
:tan: Don't think rabbit, think Dragon Cymraeg!

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:04 am
by RamblingJohn
Practice. Lots of it. Over a period of time. And then a bit more practice. There is no way round it as far as I can gweld.

I'm allowing myself 5 years, and if it doesn't flow by then, I'll accept defeat. In the meantime, I'm on a mission!


Looks a fair assessment to me, the blank times really are so frustrating.
mean while i try to imagine that in time we will be on here fretting over
some phrase at the end of course 3. (it will be nice to see you all there).
Cheers J.P.

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:40 am
by SJ
flowerpower136 wrote:
I'm allowing myself 5 years, and if it doesn't flow by then, I'll accept defeat. In the meantime, I'm on a mission!
:tan: Don't think rabbit, think Dragon Cymraeg!


If you do the SSIW lessons and daily practices, listen to Welsh radio and television programmes and use your Welsh as much as possible, you WILL be a fluent confident Welsh speaker in 5 years time. The confidence comes as an automatic bonus with the SSIW process somehow. (Aran and Iestyn should find some way to bottle it! :wink: )

If thinking about yourself as a fluent Welsh speaker seems daunting, set yourself short terms goals. They really help, even if its something like understanding once sentence on Radio Cymru, or going to a meet up and saying 5 things, no matter how small in Welsh. You'll soon build to challenging goals!

This weekend will be 5 years since I started learning Welsh by attending a weekend course in Lampeter. SSIW gave me the confidence to use the Welsh I was learning with SSIW and in my traditional class to use my Welsh. There are many SSIWers in addition to Aran and Iestyn who can tell stories of how unconfident I was for the first couple of years!!

After practicing my Welsh as much as I could once SSIW had given me enough confidence to do so, 've been working in a Welsh medium job for just over a year and after attending work meeting is Welsh I'm happy to use my Welsh in any situation. I'm not a language expert - I just wanted to be fluent in Welsh and use it day to day. My Welsh isn't perfect and I still make plenty of mistakes every day but no once notices because they can understand me! Basically, if I can do it anyone can!

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:30 pm
by catflap
Yup, those were the wise words I was looking for!

Ianto: Overthinking is definitely one of my problems. Will work on it... or not work on it... It sounds like it's going to be a zen thing.

Aran: Thinking about it I'm quite often in meetings where a Welsh speaker completely fails to find an English word. I'd never thought about it the other way around.

Flowerpower136: Really like your 5 year philosophy. I shall have to use that as my mantra. Not sure I'll ever think dragon rather than rabbit though! I'n the meantime I'll aim to work up to squirrel.

RamblingJohn: The end of course 3 may be a bit further away for me than you, but if you can work to the same 5 year timescale as Flowerpower136 I'll meet you there in the end.

SJ: Doing the maths on your email, you got a Welsh-medium job after 4 years of learning. Inspirational stuff.

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Will get back on my horse and carry on.

Steve

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:47 pm
by RobertBruce
All of this, plus: Sometimes I pick the 'phone up and utterly fail to express myself in my first language. :roll:

Re: Rabbit in headlights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:34 pm
by Iestyn
SJ wrote:My Welsh isn't perfect and I still make plenty of mistakes every day but no once notices because they can understand me!


Just like the rest of us Welsh speakers!

:wink: