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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby TygerC » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:45 pm

Iestyn wrote:I wonder what other bootcampers feel?


I think it's a good idea. It's much easier to talk when there are only few people and also with people that are close. And don't let the bootcampers to choose where to sit, some kind of ramdom order every night. :lol:
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby dinas » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:50 pm

Random order sounds good, TygerC.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby SaraR » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:14 am

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:


Congratulations on your progress! I did about 5 years worth of Welsh courses in my first 4 years in Wales. The "5th" year was a one-month intensive course after my second yera here and it caused me similar problems with fitting back into the system. What I did was jump around a bit. I was too advanced for the one I should have gone on too and new too much of the grammar to fit in with the people in the next one up (plus the day didn't suit me), so in the end I went for the next one up again. It was a slightly different type of course (more focus on literature and history) and most people's spoken welsh was better than mine, but overall it suited me the best.

I have usually had the opposite problem to you, most people speak better Welsh and have a better vocabulary than me, but my grammar is better and I can keep up with the listening. I've never let that put me off though and you shouldn't either! I would suggest trying different levels and days (if more than one is on offer) until you find a group that works for you. Just make sure that you don't go on the level of spoken Welsh only! You might be behind on the spelling and grammar front, and too much of a gap would be very disheartening.

Also, you are not a show off, you are keen. There is a difference. People progress at different paces. We had some who became confident speakers in 1-2 years because they worked hard on it and practised at any opportunity and we had those who did each year twice or even three times at higher levels and were content with that. The course provider should be happy to let you move between levels as needed. (Remember, you count as one of their success stories.) And if you chat to them in Welsh they will be thrilled, I'm sure. :)

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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby SaraR » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:29 am

Iestyn wrote: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?

When people address me in Welsh (knowing I'm a learner or not). Even if we switch to English eventually it is a small victory.
People who know I'm a learner and are fishing for me to speak Welsh or just patiently give me some time to get the words out.
Rephrasing words when my brow furls! :)

Iestyn wrote: And what switches you off?

People who swap to English as soon as it is clear that I'm not a fluent speaker.
I can often keep up with a conversation even when I am too tired to speak Welsh myself, or when the topic is too complicated (e.g. politics and government in my case). I'm happy for poeple to carry on in Welsh and I'll mix English and Welsh as I need to. It is annoying when people then still go over to English, eventhough I've just said "Na, na mae'n iawn. Cari ymlaen. Dw i'n deall."


The best thing is to get to know people in Welsh! It means your brain is somehow expecting Welsh and it makes it much easier for both parties to stick to Welsh. Some Welsh speakers I know have said that it's very hard for them to switch language becasue they see my face and English comes out. Luckily most of them are now use to speaking Welsh when I am around (they know I can keep up) and that makes it easier for me to use my still limited Welsh.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby debw12 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:18 pm

dinas wrote: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.

I discovered this too when I used my Welsh after bootcamp in Pennal, where I stayed for 5 days before returning home to Wisconsin. I visited a wonderful place called Cefn Caer, and the older gentlemen owner/guide broke into a wonderful smile when I spoke in Welsh and said dw ''n tri dysgu" but with the young folks in the pub it was different altogether and I only tried once there and became discourged. I think I expected too much from them really, after coming from the supportive environment of Bootcamp. After all, I'm sure its not in their job description to help other people learn their language, and perhaps it seems odd to them. Anyway, its good to think about who you are speaking to, a few quick words with one person, maybe a whole conversation with another.
I had some really nice short chats with a few people that spoke to me in Welsh when I told them I was trying to learn and I didn't find it disconcerting at all if I didn't know a word and they said it in English...I just continued on in my limited Welsh and then they continued in Welsh too. After all, we can't expect everyone to have the skills of a language teacher.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby crystaltipps65 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:09 pm

I'm finding it difficult to express what is positive or negative in my experience in speaking Welsh. :-? It has been a rather organic process for me.
Overall, I am surprised how nice and accommodating everybody is when I use my faltering Welsh out in the wild! Though the 'wild' goes from comfortable social evenings for welsh learners and welsh learner walks to speaking to random people in my workplace, which is far from comfortable and more challenging in a hectic environment!

I don't think I'm at the stage of fluency where the use of English is a negative thing yet, though one day that may come!
The most important thing though comes from within and that is confidence in using what you know and allow yourself to make mistakes, as you will definitely learn from them and also have a laugh. :lol:
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby debw12 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:08 pm

crystaltipps65 wrote:The most important thing though comes from within and that is confidence in using what you know and allow yourself to make mistakes, as you will definitely learn from them and also have a laugh


Exactly. With that attitude it doesn't matter how the other person responds. And I know that is why my experience in the pub didn't go so well. Because I didn't want them to think 'why is this crazy American woman trying to speak Welsh' and if I had taken the attitude, ' I know a bit of Welsh and I'm going to use it because I love this language', they would have sensed my joy and been totally delighted I'm sure. :D
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Cer » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:11 pm

The most important thing though comes from within and that is confidence in using what you know and allow yourself to make mistakes, as you will definitely learn from them and also have a laugh. :lol:

I like that. :D
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby crystaltipps65 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:37 pm

Chwarae teg, your experience in the pub would be a challenge. I don't want to be disrespectful to young people as I think it is wonderful that the Welsh language grows stronger with them and may it continue.
I think though they may be less appreciative of any welsh learner where ever they are from as they may not be aware of the history how the Welsh language could have died if not for some very determined people who fought against the tide and keep this language alive. That may include the parents and grandparents of those young people. So I think they could be a tough crowd!

Anybody born in Wales in the earlier part of the 20th Century would have seen the rapid decline of the language and therefore more appreciative of any attempt of Welsh spoken now and that makes it a tad easier for us learners to get out there and siarad Cymraeg!
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby SparkyCola » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:43 pm

I've been thinking about this thread recently...

Actually I thought of it when I got totally blasted with techno-jargon from a colleague and my brain crashed- it made me realise it isn't just a Welsh related phenomenon :shush:

Sometimes, even in English, my brain just feels overwhelmed and rebels by glazing over like a krispy kreme doughnut. :shock: Possibly just me. But sufficed to say the best thing for the other person to do in that situation is just to wait it out really (and not revert to English).

Definitely best to let the learner decide when they need to speak English, imo.

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