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Small talk with strangers!

Postby leiafee » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:35 pm

Mostly other learners to be fair, and it was very good.

Went along to the Swansea Waterfront Museum for their "Taith Iaith", a sort of mini-tour on a topic in the museum with some vocab and "coffi a sgwrs" to follow.

I'm pretty hopeless at small talk with people I don't know, even in English, but had a few good chats all the same. Mostly about the lack of sunshine this summer and people's holidays, the courses they were doing next year.

The thought occurs that "small talk" might be a good topic for one of the bonus lessons -- I had to resist an overpowering urge to ask anyone if they had a young cat ;-)

From other learners I picked up some useful "waffle" or "hand waving" phrases -- "rhwybeth fel hyn..." (something like that...) being a good fallback when stuck! As is something which sounded like "ac yna blaen" which I've also heard elsewhere and I think means something like "and so forth" or "excetra"

SSIW got a mention and cards handed out -- by Kevin not me, I must admit, though I did enthuse some!

If anyone else is in striking distance of Swansea I'd really recommend it. Very low key and with a bit of direction from the museum staff to provide a talking point to overcome that intial "what do I do now!"
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby SJ » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:47 pm

Taith Iaith sounds like a lovely way to meet other learners Leiafee. It sounds like you had a good time, used your Welsh and publicised SSIW. Well done! :D

Knowing little phrases to fill in gaps while you're thinking or just to help you along are always a god send.

A "small talk" lessons sounds like a great idea.
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Aran » Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:46 am

leiafee wrote:SSIW got a mention and cards handed out -- by Kevin not me, I must admit, though I did enthuse some!


:star:

Sounds great - and a small talk lesson is a great idea, although I think it's one for the end of the intermediate course - that's part of the problem with SSIW at the moment, of course - we have a great community here, but the vast majority of them have learnt most of their Welsh using other courses - and SSIW itself hasn't yet reached the more advanced conversation stuff - and if we start preparing more advanced units for our more advanced learners ahead of the curve of the course, we'll probably terminally confuse ourselves...:wink:

But we'll definitely have increasing amounts of stuff like that, particularly in the advanced course...:)
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Al Evans » Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:55 am

oh god yeah, don't get ahead of yourself. I guess I'm one of those rare "never did any Welsh before" people, so 99% of the Welsh I know comes from SSIW. I DID find the smalltalky stuff in 6B useful, but again, some of it was confusing because the vocabulary hadn't been covered in lessons yet (bear in mind, I'm only on Lesson 10).

I can understand people who've done Welsh GCSEs, night-courses etc, are itching to get on with it.. but spare a thought, eh? lol
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Aran » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:08 am

Al Evans wrote:I guess I'm one of those rare "never did any Welsh before" people, so 99% of the Welsh I know comes from SSIW.


Oh, that's really interesting, I didn't know that.

Iestyn's talked about becoming almost parentally possessive of 'our' learners, and I know what he means - but I must admit, I have a particular interest in people who haven't used other courses, because you are our purest guinea pigs - if people like you and Spenny can hold a decent conversation with us by the time you've finished the advanced course, we can start putting together some really interesting facts and figures for people who are not sure which way to go with their learning...:)
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Al Evans » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:26 am

yeah. I grew up with some phrases, paned o de, allan (like you see on the exit of Tescos!), basic stuff like that. And I know (basically) what words make up placenames. But no way I could string a sentence together. In the first 3 lessons, EVERY WORD that was taught was new to me. Seriously. I guess I do have a sort-of head start in that I know the pronunciation, but everything else is in your hands. So if we meet up and have a conversation, try not to deviate from the lessons too much! :mrgreen:
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Aran » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:32 am

Al Evans wrote:So if we meet up and have a conversation, try not to deviate from the lessons too much! :mrgreen:


I think that's going to be a major theme of the first SSIW meet-ups! 'So, um... have you got a young cat?'

For what it's worth, it sounds to me as though you are at almost exactly the same point I was when I started learning - had a few words in the family that were just used as part of our English, and a bit of a head start on pronunciation, but no more.

It didn't take me very long, and I hope (quite confidently) that in a year or so, you'll have finished our advanced course and be thinking 'Well, I speak Welsh, and it hasn't taken very long'...:)
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby SparkyCola » Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:28 pm

I did the first six lessons of the Big Welsh Challenge, but that's as far as they'd got in making the lessons, so while I waited for them to update, I just kind of completely left my Welsh learning for at least several months if not a year or something, I can't really remember. Uni was hectic last year. From my Welsh holidays I knew that "araf" was slow and "croeso" was welcome. From Ivor the Engine I knew "Bore Da" :lol: (I love that program). But I'd say my Welsh breaks down as:

1% random sources
5% Big Welsh Challenge
94% SSIW

But obviously the more SSIW I do that will change. I'm only on the post-6 revision lessons though (I have four weeks worth of 5 minute revision sessions).

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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Cefin Gwlad » Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:25 pm

Aran wrote:that's part of the problem with SSIW at the moment, of course - we have a great community here, but the vast majority of them have learnt most of their Welsh using other courses - and SSIW itself hasn't yet reached the more advanced conversation stuff

Very true, Aran, though I do believe that SSIW has performed an amazing balancing-act thus far in catering for both "absolute beginners" and "somewhat disappointed long-time learners" -- i.e. those, like me, who could probably mutate for the county (in writing, at least) yet still don't seem to be able to speak the Language of Heaven at all confidently: I wonder what San Pedr's oral-proficiency pass mark is!

I know that I do tend to push it a bit far here when it comes to examining the nuts-and-bolts of language (that's just my bag, as I think they used to say), but I hope that nobody's being frightened away. My feeling is that starting-from-scratch learners are probably not spending a huge amount of time on the discussions, anyway -- there's so much to be got simply from the lessons themselves -- but it's very true we need to put their needs first.

Leia was too kind to mention that although I did a very great deal of rabbiting on at the Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau / National Waterfront Museum session Ddydd Sadwrn, at least 75% of my chat must have been in English... If you're in the Swansea area on 26 Sep., do drop in to the Museum for the next session (10.30 start -- stay for an hour and a half, or less if you're busy -- and meet some very friendly museum staff and fellow learners. (Choccie biccies and te/coffi am ddim, apart from anything else!)

P.S. Aran, the SSIW cards (or, at least, my share of them) will start hitting Carmarthenshire from Tuesday 1 September...
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Re: Small talk with strangers!

Postby Al Evans » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:21 pm

on the contrary CG, you explain things in a VERY beginner-friendly way. Don't stop! :D
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