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What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Iestyn » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:58 pm

We've had loads of stories of heroism and bravery in this thread, some tales amusing, and some downright exhilirating. So, I would like to get some thoughts together from anyone who's taken the step, and anyone who hasn't yet plucked up the courage:

What, in a situation, encourages you to speak Welsh? What things do people say or do, or what kind of atmosphere helps? Could you give pointers to someone who wants to encourage learners to use Welsh with them?

And what switches you off? When you've spent hours plucking up the courage to try your Welsh, and then walk into a place and think "O, no, this isn;t quite the time for it"? In other words, what should Welsh speakers avoid (for instance, saying "O - chi'n dysgu, da iawn" and then refusing to utter another word of Welsh. :evil: ).

I think that it would be a great idea for us to put together a short guide "How to turn learners into Welsh speakers" (or something along those lines) for anyone who wants to encourage new Welsh speakers. And there is no-one better than you to tell me what you need, and what you hate.

Thank you in advance for your ideas!
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Cer » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:46 pm

I've only talked to some people over Skype and Google + but, I have had some experience with Spanish, if it might help.

What prompted me to speak Spanish "in the wild:" Being in Mexico and being the only person in the group who spoke Spanish; wanting to join in with the conversation when friends were speaking Spanish; being in a situation with other learners and wanting to practice; friends who were taking French would speak French so I'd speak Spanish back; wanting to communicate.

What made me think that another day/time/circumstance would be better: People who spoke both English and Spanish but who preferred to speak English in mixed company; people who were learning English; someone else had a better command of the language so I didn't need to translate or anything; general embarrassment and a fear that my aunt would gush too much :wink: (you know how that is!); feeling guilty for, maybe, being perceived as "showing off."

With me, the most weighty cause for speaking the language was "necessity," which I'm using very broadly here. Obviously, being the only person in a group who can speak makes speaking a necessity. But, wanting to be a part of the conversation isn't, in the strictest sense, necessary. It's necessary to me to be a part of my friends' group, though, in the social sense. When I feel like an outsider, as when the Spanish speakers preferred to use English when a native English speaker was present or, when someone else had a better command of the language, I would defer.

Also, I was much younger and a lot shier, so that had something to do with it - social conventions, not "tooting one's own horn," not "showing off," not "one-upping" other people. In those situations, it would have been helpful to me to have people insist, in a friendly way, that I join in with the language, maybe just include me without making too much of a fuss (maybe, knowing I was learning, just assume that I could follow), rather than allow me to shrink into the wallpaper.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby dinas » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:20 pm

The thing I always tend to do, even when I was learning Italian, is to converse with older people - generally pensioners. I find them invariably polite and have the time to converse. Being quite happy to stop, chat, and, allow you to ask them questions. Even with the very basics of the language, most people are helpful.

One thing that can be hard is that when you find your self stumbling a bit people tend to start speaking english and you return to your default language. This is where you come back with: "Paid â siarad seisneg efo mi plis. Dwi'n trio dysgu cymreig." (I sometimes do this in a funny voice.) But, you'll be amazed at the reaction. Most people laugh and go with the flow. Yes really.

Also, you can go along way with basic, present past and future and throwing english words in the mix when, you havn't got the voculbary.

Do not be deterred by people whom say they havn't understood a thing you've said, especially welsh speaking friends.( Freinds can be a nighmare to converse with. ) After, my first, Bootcamp I went to a pub and started talking to someone who told me they couldn't understand one word. Heart, sunk I walked to another where I was greeted in welsh, responded, and spent the next 2 hours speaking nothing but. When I told them off my earlier experience, they just laughed.

Use welsh speaking shops. If their not helpful find a shop, caffi, pub that is. Let them have your money.

Start every conversation in welsh. DO NOT, timidly say: "Excuse me do you speak welsh?"

Dividends, if you make the effort: REgularly, now, people actually come up to speak to me in the pub or on the street to thank me for learning the language. Giving me the oppurtunity to speak more.

If all else fails head to a welsh speaking pub and imbibe - after two or more you'll be speaking.

For new learners after the first six lessons your good to go. After the 25 being ready to take <Bootcamp.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Elinnia » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:40 pm

I have just come back from my first lesson in Mynediad 2 and am feeling quite depressed. As I have spent quite a lot of time over the last few months learning Welsh with SSIW, (I am on Gwers 4 Intermediate lessons) plus going twice a week to Welsh coffee mornings I am embarassed to say this but I am probably more advanced than the rest of the group, who admitted they hadn't opened their welsh text books for 3 months. After initially being the only person able to respond in Welsh to the Tutor (a stand in one for today) I got a strong impression from him that he thought I was a bit of a show off. Consequently I shut up and pretended not to know much more. I honestly wasn't trying to show off and I only responded after allowing time for the remainder of the class to speak. I hate"show offs" myself!
So although I haven't got a suggestion as to what will help me to speak welsh, I know what stopped me today. :cry:
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby dinas » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:45 pm

Ellinia, I think the tutor might have a problem.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby SJ » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:51 pm

Elinnia wrote:I have just come back from my first lesson in Mynediad 2 and am feeling quite depressed. As I have spent quite a lot of time over the last few months learning Welsh with SSIW, (I am on Gwers 4 Intermediate lessons) plus going twice a week to Welsh coffee mornings I am embarassed to say this but I am probably more advanced than the rest of the group, who admitted they hadn't opened their welsh text books for 3 months. After initially being the only person able to respond in Welsh to the Tutor (a stand in one for today) I got a strong impression from him that he thought I was a bit of a show off. Consequently I shut up and pretended not to know much more. I honestly wasn't trying to show off and I only responded after allowing time for the remainder of the class to speak. I hate"show offs" myself!
So although I haven't got a suggestion as to what will help me to speak welsh, I know what stopped me today. :cry:


Don't feel like a show off, you're there to practice your welsh and if you're like me you've probably paid a fair amount to be there! Tell the rest of your class about SSiW and get them to join you! :D

But if you've started the intermediate lessons and you're doing ok with them, it might be beneficial for you to move up to a class at a higher level. Any good tutor would suggest this if you're finding Mynediad 2 too simple/too slow. Depending on where you're learning you might be able to contact the central office and ask to be assessed to find out which level would be best for you. :D
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Aran » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:56 pm

I'm afraid we need to apologise to you for that, Olivia - after getting the first few Course 2 lessons under your belt, there is very little doubt but that you are now too good to be in Mynediad 2. I can really sympathise with this, because I can remember being in a couple of Welsh classes when I was an uncomfortable amount better than the others, and it's a very difficult and frustrating situation.

If the tutor was unhelpful (which is definitely a sign of a not very good tutor), I strongly recommend that you talk to the course organisers and see if there is a higher group that you could move to. As an SSiW speaker who actually uses the language she's learnt, you'll survive even in the highest groups - and being stretched by having a more difficult group will be much better and more enjoyable for you than sticking in a group where you stay quiet so as not to offend.

Good luck - you're obviously going to end up a very confident and successful Welsh-speaker...:star:
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Spenny » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:03 pm

Elinnia wrote:I have just come back from my first lesson in Mynediad 2 and am feeling quite depressed. As I have spent quite a lot of time over the last few months learning Welsh with SSIW, (I am on Gwers 4 Intermediate lessons) plus going twice a week to Welsh coffee mornings I am embarassed to say this but I am probably more advanced than the rest of the group, who admitted they hadn't opened their welsh text books for 3 months. After initially being the only person able to respond in Welsh to the Tutor (a stand in one for today) I got a strong impression from him that he thought I was a bit of a show off. Consequently I shut up and pretended not to know much more. I honestly wasn't trying to show off and I only responded after allowing time for the remainder of the class to speak. I hate"show offs" myself!
So although I haven't got a suggestion as to what will help me to speak welsh, I know what stopped me today. :cry:

One of the problems is that SSiW treads its own path on vocabulary which I think upsets tutors who can fall into the rut of assuming that people learn what is in a syllabus in a particular order - it can be difficult to cope with and some teachers will see this as a nuisance rather than a bonus. Hopefully your normal tutor will be more encouraging, but I would pluck up courage to have a private word after the course if things did not improve.

[and you've just reminded me of changing schools and having to forget about being able to do joined up writing as I got into trouble for it].
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Sionned » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:04 pm

Spenny wrote:[and you've just reminded me of changing schools and having to forget about being able to do joined up writing as I got into trouble for it].

I love that term - "joined up writing" - it just seems so very British! :D
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby SparkyCola » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:07 pm

I like it when, if I don't understand a word, people try and explain it a different way but still in Welsh. I am easily confused by (particularly short) English words appearing in an otherwise Welsh conversation (as Aran discovered :oops: :lol: )

It also makes you feel better about not knowing the word, because even if there was one word you didn't know, at least it could be explained to you in Welsh - just like if you don't know a word in Saesneg. It's not always possible of course. There comes a point where you just have to go for the English. But it's possible more often than not, I think.

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