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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby Tahl » Wed May 15, 2013 12:50 pm

I think there are two different kinds of correction that crop up.

1. Correction of actual errors in your Welsh. For that, I like having the Welsh speaker do what Iestyn describes above, that is, either
(a) point out something I repeatedly get wrong and how to fix it, or
(b) model the right way to say it (Me: 'Mae hi yn wedi mynd i'r siop' Him: 'O, mae hi wedi mynd?')
Bonus points for then giving me a chance to use it correctly again.

2. Correction of the 'we don't say X around here' / 'that's too informal, say Y instead' / 'I wouldn't say X, I would say Y' type. I find these counterproductive -- both confusing and disheartening. The problem is, there's a lot of scope for them in Welsh, since you can say things with differing levels of formality and in different dialects.

The only place I've *really* run into this myself is with 'short form' verbs. Very early in SSIW lessons, you learn how to say 'I went' ('wnes i fynd') and 'I did' and 'I ate' and other past-tense things in a flexible, easy-to-generalize way. That's called the 'long form' past tense. It's completely fine, and every Welsh speaker will understand you perfectly -- but it's not what's traditionally taught to early-stage learners, at least in the South. The first-level Welsh for Adults textbook goes straight to the more elegant, and common, 'short form' past tense (for instance, instead of 'wnes i fynd' for 'I went,' it teaches 'es i'). The very first conversation I had with anybody after starting SSIW, the Welsh speaker raved over my Welsh, totally understood me . . . and instinctively started trying to teach me the short form ways to say 'I went' and 'you came' and so forth. I think I still have the paper napkin somewhere. I've heard stories of other SSIWers having similar experiences.

To me, what's most effective is sticking to what I'm learning, which all hangs together as a consistent whole. Some responses to help of the 'don't say 'wnes i fynd,' say 'es i'' kind are:
- 'Did you understand me? Great! That's what I was going for!'
or
- 'Oh, you say something different? How interesting!'
and then keep going with what you are learning and want to practice. You can even explain why it's useful to you to do that, rather than to try to incorporate material that you don't fully grasp yet.
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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby essenbee » Wed May 15, 2013 1:04 pm

Fantastic advice Tahl! :D

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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby Iestyn » Wed May 15, 2013 6:45 pm

Yes, great advice Tahl. Diolch yn fawr.
The SSiW mantra: "Don't worry. If you say something slightly different to me, people will just think you are from a different area / village / street / family to them, or more likely not notice at all!"

"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." Chinese Proverb
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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby persimmon » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:42 pm

What a hoot. The only Welsh speaker near me, is from the far north of Wales and has been in Canada for more than half her life so admits to being a bit rusty She asks me to say something in Welsh and I get two words out before she tells me how she says it! QUITE different. We never get any further. Her help would be invaluable if only she would (nicely) shut up.
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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby psychedologist » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Thank you very much everyone for your thoughtful replies - and sorry there is has been such a long delay in me reading them. I've just logged on today for the first time since I posted that question in May. I moved house the following week (a mild distraction, as you know) but I had also got rather disheartened with my Welsh (and probably needed a bit of a break from learning, to be honest). The good news is that I had my first Welsh conversation in three months this morning - and did get corrected, obviously! So it's probably no coincidence I'm back on the forum as the motivation's starting to come back.

I'm sorry to hear that people are feeling cut-off from other Welsh-speakers. I'll gladly talk to you, although I won't be able to offer sparkling conversation! I agree that it's actually harder to speak to people we know well (this person is, unsurprisingly, a family member, by the way). The tips that some of you mentioned for gently coaching someone who corrects you a lot sound like exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I'll try one or two next time I speak to her, and then have a more general discussion next time we meet face to face (we tend to speak on the phone, which as you know is more difficult even in your native language).

It's good to be back on the Cymraeg wagon!

Thanks again.

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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby Iestyn » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:17 am

hi Ian,

It speaks volumes to me that you have got disheartened, got busy, got into at least three of the situations that finish language learners, and yet have come back energised. To me, that is the sign of a Welsh speaker in the making!

Welcome back...
The SSiW mantra: "Don't worry. If you say something slightly different to me, people will just think you are from a different area / village / street / family to them, or more likely not notice at all!"

"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." Chinese Proverb
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Re: Welsh conversation with someone who corrects you a lot...

Postby chwaer wiwer » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:50 am

Welcome back Ian! I recently returned from 6 months away and know how good it is to come back.

Something struck me when I read this thread and that is that I think what we want from our Welsh "teachers" varies with time as well. I especially think that we are very vulnerable in the beginning when we are making our very first attempts at a Welsh conversation. I would find being corrected at that stage to scare me away rather than make me move forward. But then when we have more confidence the type of healthy corrections mentioned by others will probably be very welcomed.
And maybe that would be helpful to tell her? That right now you just want to be able to speak freely until you've learnt more and have more confidence?

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