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Success story!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:52 pm
by karenwburdette
P'nawn da, ffrindiau!

I am just so excited to tell someone about this! :dance: I started the SSIW lessons from scratch around the first of this year, but due to my busy work schedule, I have not done as much as I would have liked. I live in the U.S. (Tennessee) and had only been to Wales once before, for a few days in June 2011, so I have never really been exposed to the language and have absolutely no opportunities to use Welsh in the real world. I just decided I wanted to learn Welsh because 1) I really fell in love with Wales last summer, 2) my great-grandfather came from Fachwen, near Llanberis and Caernarfon, and 3) I just think Welsh is a very cool language. :D

Anyway, a couple of months ago I signed up for a week-long Welsh course at Nant Gwrtheyrn, and I have just spent a week there. It was fabulous, and I highly recommend it! :smile: I signed up for level 2, fully intending to finish the SSIW Course 1 before getting there, but that just didn't happen. I had only gotten through lesson 21 of Course 1 before coming to Nant Gwrtheyrn. I REALLY figured I was in over my head when the teacher started the week by saying that since this is level 2, she assumed that everyone had already had a full year of Welsh classes. OMG, I thought, I'd better just check out now, pack up, and go home. :cry:

BUT... it turned out that I knew a lot more than I thought I did, and, in fact... would you believe... I even knew more about some things than a lot of other people in the class, including people who live in Wales and hear the language all the time! :faint: The ONLY exposure I have ever had to Welsh (other than the little I heard in the 5 days I spent in Caernarfon last summer) is SSIW. That's all. And just 21 lessons at that! And, as I said above, I have not even been able to listen to Welsh radio, since there seems to be no station I can get in the U.S., even online.

Anyway, would you believe, the first afternoon I even had to start pretending I didn't know stuff I actually did know, just to keep from looking like a show-off?! :wow: One thing I did particularly well was when we had a bunch of scrambled sentences (individual words on slips of paper) and had to put them together in the right order. I was able to put them together correctly straightaway, even if I didn't know exactly what all the words meant. After I zipped through a couple of them, I had to back off and let other people in my group try it, and I had to restrain myself when I knew they were wrong. :wink: There were even lots of verbs I knew that other people didn't know. Also, nobody else knew anything beyond the present tense, nor did anyone know "Mae gen i..." and "Does gen i ddim..."

The only thing I have taught myself outside of the SSIW lessons is numbers. I just sat down and learned those one day on the train several weeks ago when it was too noisy to listen to a lesson. I should mention that in doing the SSIW lessons I DO always look at the written guide to the lessons and try to learn the spelling, but, as per Aran's initial instructions, I only look AFTER listening to the lesson.

I am also amazed at how much I actually know about mutations, even though I have not formally studied that, and even though the SSIW lessons do not dwell on that at all in the lessons. I was even explaining mutations to a fellow student who grew up in Wales! :shush: I do think it helps that the mutations are so much like Spanish (I teach Spanish at the university level), although in Spanish the "mutations" don't change the spelling of the words, just the pronunciation. Oh! And I seem to know more about forming questions and answering in the negative than some other people as well, since the SSIW lessons stress that a lot.

Well, dw i wedi blino, and besides that, I am absolutely knackered, and I'm beginning to sound like a swot. :geek: (I'm learning a few new English words as well as Welsh...)

SO... I just thought Aran, the rest of the SSIW crew, and other SSIW learners would like hearing this great success story. I think Aran should give himself a little pat on the back. Oh, what the heck, I think he should give himself a BIG pat on the back! :clap:

Diolch yn fawr!!! :star:

Karen :dance:
Cookeville, Tennessee
:llongyf:

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:06 pm
by Tahl
Wow! Croeso nôl to the fforwm, Karen, and what a return! Great story. You must have been over the moon. :D It is really, really interesting to hear how a 'pure SSiWer' fit in classes structured around people who've been learning through other methods.

I'd noticed you hadn't posted recently and wondered if you were continuing with Welsh. Silly me. :oops: Looking forward to hearing more about Nant Gwrtheyrn sometime when your feet are back on the ground.

By the way, you *can* get Radio Cymru online here. About the only thing we can't listen to is the weekend-afternoon rugby or football coverage. There's also Pigion, an edited-for-learners Radio Cymru podcast with vocab sheet; you can download it (including through iTunes) or listen online.
- Radio Cymru: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radiocymru/safle/rhaglenni/ (hit green speaker icon to listen live)
- Thread with more info on Pigion: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3552&p=39242

ALSO -- You've posted this thread in The Lounge, which is visible only to SSiW Members. I think it would interest/excite lots of other people doing Course 1 who aren't Members yet. Do you mind if I or one of the other Moderators move it to one of the more visible areas, like Monthly Progress Reports, so everyone can read it?

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:18 pm
by JeanB
That's a brilliant story Karen. Thank you for sharing it and congratulations on your achievement! Your ancestors would be very proud of you!

:dawnsio:

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:49 pm
by louise2cv
Fabulous story!

I'm spoilt by being surrounded by Welsh speakers and having the ability to have Welsh TV and radio on when ever I want it, I'm always amazed at how people who live away from Wales or even strongly "Welsh" areas can be so brave and throw themselves in to conversation and courses like that.

You're an inspiration!

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:59 pm
by Dee
:llongyf: That is a really inspiring story, Karen. I hope you don't mind if I share it in the newsletter. People often wonder how they would go at a more traditional course if they just learn with SSiW, and I think you've given everyone the perfect answer!

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:59 pm
by Lurch2
"SO... I just thought [........]other SSIW learners would like hearing this great success story."
Oh yes!

And on your "Oh my God, one year! Time to pack up and go home" comment, as you probably realise by now, time spent on SSiW is like dog years. Every month on SSiW is worth at least a year of Human learning.

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:20 am
by Cer
Great story, Karen! I've been wondering where you were, too, but thought it might have to do with end of semester and summer schedule things. What a fantasmagorical experience for you! Sssss - mokin'!

:tan: :dawnsio: :clec: :ardderchog:

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:57 am
by jstetson
Wow! Great, great story! I'm dancin' (as I'm sure you are too!)

:dawnsio: :dawnsio: :dawnsio:

Skype sometime? We might be one time zone out of phase, depending on where you are in TN.

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:56 am
by ianto
Wow a very good story here Karen. Sounds like very good anecdotal evidence to anybody who wishes to compare SSiW to more classroom-based courses! What's even better is that you haven't really had the opportunity to spend much time in Wales nor had access to Welsh being spoken around you whether on S4/C or until reading Tahl's comment, Radio Cymru! I have nothing but praise for your effort!

Despite me being quite pleased with your own progress it has disheartened me slightly to hear that the other traditional courses hasn't got their students at a stage past present tense verbs and possession after a whole year and there you were with the present, the future and the past (the three: did, was and have). Maybe the classes should look at other methods to help get people with a good grounding on grammar like by using SSiW and then teaching additional vocab in their own classes?

All in all, da iawn! What a great experience to help boost your confidence and eagerness in Welsh. Maybe next year you will return to do the next level of the course or have a holiday even in a Welsh speaking area! :clap:

Re: Success story!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:32 am
by Aran
Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic story, Karen - I'm sure a LOT of people will find it enormously inspiring...:star:

Lurch2 wrote:Every month on SSiW is worth at least a year of Human learning.


Now that I rather love...:D