5 day intensives - news from survivors

Just wanted to say that I am back from the 5Di in Bontnewydd (Mai 2017).

First thing to say is that I and all the other delegates survived.

The closest that I can compare it to is a brain transplant without the anaesthetic… in the sense that it is not for the faint-hearted, but the results are amazing. The ‘problem’ with it is that the training is interleaved, so you have the feeling that you are not learning quickly*. Then someone speaks to you in Welsh and you not only understand, but find yourself magically answering. You develop the ‘super-power’ of listening to Welsh at double-speed and understanding it… a great preparation for listening to Welsh ‘in the wild’.

Results: In the original interview, at the beginning of the course, I could remember only one phrase in Welsh. (I knew more, but my mind went blank.)
Afterwards, the group had a conversation in the pub about the weirdness of the Ethiopian calendar in Welsh! You could not make it up. (We will try to forget the embarrassing incident when I asked the landlord of the pub where the television was, when I wanted the tŷ bach. Mistakes are part of the learning process.)

I cannot wait to try this out. (Forgot that bit… the excitement of being able to communicate in a new language.)

Thanks Aran!

I hope this is in the right part of the forum.

*(As we know the long-term effects of interleaving are better than blocking.)


@aran wouldn’t it be better to create a new topic? I’d like to hear more about this 5D Intensive, “meet” the participants etc, etc :slight_smile:

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That’s my favourite description so far… :star: :star2:

And huge, HUGE congratulations on everything you achieved. It was genuinely inspirational seeing you put so much effort into it - absolutely brilliant… :slight_smile:


Just wanted to second what John has written and say a big thank you to Aran especially but also to the other participants on the intensive course for making it such an amazing experience.


Lovely to see you on the forum, Sharon! :star: :star2:

Folks - I’m particularly keen to find a friendly Skype partner for Sharon - she feels a bit shy about trying it, but since she’s in the Hebrides at the moment it is probably the only way she’s going to get the regular conversation that is all that stands between her and real, natural confidence with her Welsh… :slight_smile:

Have you already found someone? If not, am I friendly enough? :blush:


More then friendly enough and just perfect! @sharonmonks I bet you and @Novem would have a lot to talk about! :slight_smile:


Hi Novem
I would be really happy to accept your very kind offer but I have a very busy week coming up --could we leave it till next weekend?


Of course! I’m also pretty busy until Friday so next weekend would be perfect :slight_smile:

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I don’t often use Skype but would be willing to make an exception for @sharonmonks

My wife and I have booked a holiday in the Western Isles (Bara > Uist > Harris > Lewis) in mid September. If she fancies a face to face conversation in Welsh during our visit, she should send me a PM so that I can send her our itinerary. The only thing I’d ask for in return would be a little exposure to Scots Gaelic. :smile:



I didn’t know you use it at all …


Oops! - I let that secret slip out. :smile:


Ahaaaaaaaaaaa :slight_smile:

And yes, @sharonmonks, @hewrop is great “speaking partner” especially face to face. I had that honour to meet him at the Eisteddfod last year and wander around Eisteddfod with him, talking about all sorts of things.

Diolch yn fawr iawn un watih eto, Huw

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Did I tell any of you lately how much I adore this community?!..:wink:

@sharonmonks - you could have no-one lovelier than Huw to practise with - and the fact that he’ll be in your neck of the woods in September is like a wonderful combination of magic and Providence… :slight_smile:

and in the meantime you could have no-one lovelier than @novem to test the waters of Skype - she’s a 16 year old Finn who has fallen in love with Wales and our language, and I can’t think of any better way for someone in the Hebrides to start practising their Welsh… :star: :star2: :dizzy: :slight_smile:


Just to say a huge Diolch to everyone for all your support and encouragement. I would be delighted and honoured to accept the kind offers from Novem and hewrop. Will pm later on today


I wanted to post here a little summary of my intensive 5 days in the hope that someone sometime might find it a little bit useful.
It felt a bit like swimming in huge waves --highs quickly followed by huge troughs and always the fear of “can I really do this or am I going to fail/drown”. It disrupted my sleep hugely pinging suddenly awake at anytime between 2.30 and 4.30 am. For someone who usually sleeps till about 8.30 this was a little disconcerting.
My worst day was Wednesday – found even the simplest decision making extraordinarily difficult eg choosing which knife to use-- it was as though my brain was focussed on Welsh and there was nothing left over for anything else. However Wednesday was also my best day. Realised no one can possibly remember all this Welsh so my focus changed almost instantly from how much I don’t know to and the huge mountain in front of me to well I have started and I know more now than I did yesterday. This changed my mindset from “I don’t know if I can” to “I can” because " I am" and also freed me from the pressure of measuring my progress against anyone else at all – my measure is now simply I will know more in the future than I do today.
To anyone thinking about doing this just grab the chance
It was the best thing that I have had the privilege to be part of in a very very long time.


This makes me feel faintly guilty and hugely enthusiastic all at the same time… :star: :star2:

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Congratulations to all of you! What a wonderful start to being a Welsh speaker :star2:


I had a holiday in various parts of Lloegr after the course. Now I am back in Carmarthenshire and wanting to try out my new skills. Very exciting. I am also looking forward to seeing the pre and post-course videos. I realise now that I had quite disrupted sleep, like Sharon. That may be part of the process. Is it possible that that may have been dreams trying to put in new, long-term wiring in the brain (or not, I’m not an expert). I think I would share Sharon’s feeling that the biggest change was in attitude. I now don’t feel like someone who speaks a second language poorly, but someone who wants to improve their second language and is excited. (For instance, in my hobbies I didn’t go around thinking how much there was to learn about what I was doing, but enjoyed the process of learning and learned most greatly from the mistakes.) That is not to call Welsh a hobby, but I am now doing it as someone who enjoys learning it rather than someone who is terrified of not speaking perfect Welsh.


Very interesting - yes, I bet there is some neurological stuff going on there. We’ll have to make that a gradually more obvious part of the series of warnings…:wink:

That sounds like a superb and important shift - fantastic news.

And thank you once again for your courage and cheerfulness under fire…:wink: