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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby arlunydd » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:46 pm

Hello Iestyn,
The first answer to this question I think is having the burning desire within you to want to learn it. There are of course many other answers to the question I'm sure. My personal reason became clear to me about 6 years ago following quite a bad illness when I realised that there were a few of my long-standing objectives which had not been fulfilled - and learning to speak Welsh was one of them, so when my health returned I set about to make this right.
I enrolled in a Welsh class run by Prifysgol Morgannwg 1 morning a week - after 2 weeks I decided that my progress was going to be too slow, I decide to enrol in their intense course 3 mornings a week, this was what I wanted - After 4+ years I was getting along quite well in the class, but one day it dawned on me that I was lacking in confidence when it came to talking with people outside of the classroom - Then! I found the SSIW website and things began to happen, and I really mean happen - I began to talk with much more confidence, and to every one who spoke Welsh, not worrying at all if I made mistakes (which were/are many). My main test came in May this year when my wife and I decided to go up to North Wales for a weeks break. It was then I decided that each day I would have at least 1 conversation in Welsh - This is how it went, I would listen to the accent of the people around me and say 'wyt ti'n gallu siarad Cymraeg' and when I had the answer 'ydw' the talk would begin - By the end of the week I was totalling between 3 - 4 conversations a day, I was very excited, and gob smacked by my success.
What I now realise is - Going to a class, and following the SSIW course is the way foward. Well! for me it is.
To conclude: The SSIW will give you the confidence to use the language in an every day way, But you must put yourself in as many positions amongst fluent Welsh speakers as is possible where you will be forced to converse in the language - This is what I do now, and it is beginning to work - I realise that I still have along way to go to reach the level of fluency that I want - But each small step forward is so exciting .
It is also important to attend any group of learners who meet each week to use the language - In my case each Mon 7.00pm - 9.00pm in 'Clwb y Bont' in Pontypridd



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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby leiafee » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:54 pm

SaraR wrote: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 because they see my face and English comes out.


One of the things that utterly delights me now is that I do have mates who I only speak Welsh with - people who actively sound 'odd' to my ears when they speak English.

That sort of thing is hugely motivational.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby maldybass » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:44 am

I met a friend of a friend who's first language was Welsh. I was asking what she spoke in her house (her husband's first language was English) with her children. She said that she spoke Welsh with the children and English with her husband, even though he had picked up a fair amount of Welsh over time. She said she found it weird speaking Welsh to him knowing that it was not his first language. She also said when she first met her brother in law she spoke English to him for months (because she didn't know he spoke Welsh). Even though she now knows that he is a Welsh first language speaker, she says she can't switch to speaking English. This, as you can imagine, totally knocked my confidence in trying to use any Welsh. I found it a bit odd and realise logically that probably not many Welsh speakers think like this. However, this slight negative thought has crept into the back of my mind a bit lately.

Also, there is a bakers near where I live, that I know they speak Welsh. I have often thought of asking do they have bread?! Which when I think about it, is obvious. They are a bakers - of course they have bread! So would I say I want bread? I know how to say that, but that saying I want something seems a little odd as a conversation opener. In eglish I would ask, "Can I have a white loaf please?". Am not really sure if you would ask the same thing in Welsh, or how. All these thoughts cross my mind. And sometimes when I enter the shop, a grumpy woman serves me and this coupled with my uncertainty of what is 'right' to say makes me chicken out. :oops: So if anyone can help me to sound natural in asking for some bread, I think I will be ready to cross this barrier.
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Aran » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:14 pm

maldybass wrote:Even though she now knows that he is a Welsh first language speaker, she says she can't switch to speaking English.


It's a very common experience that switching languages is tricky - it seems that we tend to allocate people a particular language based on our first experience of getting to know them, and switching that can take a real effort. If I tried to speak English to Catrin, it would make both our heads spin.

Having said that, the perception that it can't be done is simply wrong. It just feels odd - but it actually takes very little time to make the switch, if you're focused about it. The implications for a learner who wants to speak more Welsh are that you just need to be very firm. If you speak Welsh, and people answer you in English, just keep on speaking Weslsh - you WILL win in due course, and once you have, they'll get just as locked in to speaking Welsh with you as they used to be with English...:)

For the bread, try 'Ga i dorth wen, os gwelwch yn dda?'...:) Or 'Ga i dorth frown' if you want brown...:wink:
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Soap Distant » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:49 pm

Or if, like me, you're never quite sure how to pronounce 'Ga i', you could always say 'I'd like...' instead, in which case you'd just replace the 'Ga i' with 'Hoffwn i'.

I want to read 'Ga i' as 'Gah ee', but I suspect it's more like 'Guy'.
Cywirwch fi os gwelwch chi'n dda ~ Correct me please
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Aran » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:54 pm

Soap Distant wrote:I want to read 'Ga i' as 'Gah ee'


Sounds right to me...:)

Course 3 will clear it up for you...:wink:
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby maldybass » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:00 pm

Very much looking forward to Course 3 (and am enjoying the course 2 vocab lessons). :D

With regards to the bread situation, what would be the southern equivalent?
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Aran » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:01 pm

maldybass wrote:With regards to the bread situation, what would be the southern equivalent?


You're good to go 'as is' on that one...:D
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby Iestyn » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:36 pm

Ga'i dorth wen = May I have a white loaf, so if you want to stick to vocab that you already have, you could just as easily ask "Ga'i fara gwyn" (wen vs gwyn is a feminine / masculine thing). Have a quick look amongst the cakes while you're there, and specificall ask whether they have something that you either know they do or know they don't.

Oes jam tarts gyda chi? Ga'i bedwar plîs...

You will probably get the price in English anyway (Tŵ pawnds ffifftîn plîs) - that doesn't mean you've made some dreadful mistake that marks you out as a learner or anything, it's just the way that it very often works. If by some mal-chance you get the price in Welsh, you can either check the til, give them a £20 note and wait for change, or try "Sori - tŵ pawnds beth?".

Let us know...
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Re: What helps you speak Welsh?

Postby maldybass » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:28 pm

Thanks for all the help. I will buy bread in Welsh! That is my goal - small, but achievable :smile:
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