Advanced content - learners talking Welsh!

I have finally got to Advanced Content after several years and I was aghast that the first conversation I listened to in Deg y Dysgwyr was with a learner - with inauthentic accent and a sprinkling of English words. O na! I have that in my Welsh dosbarth as we all flounder. Thankfully I’ve just found the glorious Bethan Gwanas pieces. So is there anything else I should not bother with? Diolch yn fawr.

My advice is to bother with all of them.
Not everyone in Wales has what people would call an ‘authentic’ Welsh accent - I’m one of them, coming from the SE corner of Wales, my accent is a mix of Welsh, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, and certainly doesn’t fit any of the ‘classic’ Welsh accents!
Not every Welsh speaker speaks pure Welsh with no sprinkling of English words - I work in a company in a town where the majority in both are 1st language Welsh, yet they all sprinkle English into their everyday speech. It’s totally natural in spoken Welsh.
When doing listening exercises, it’s much more beneficial to hear as many types of spoken Welsh as possible, and that includes Welsh spoken by other learners.


The fact that it’s called “Deg y Dysgwyr” didn’t give you enough of a clue that you’re listening to another learner? What do you mean by an “inauthentic accent”? And sprinkling in English words is quite normal for the most of us.
Lastly, floundering is normal. We all do it, and by doing so, we learn and grow.


Diolch, Siaronjames. That was a helpful reply, but I will stick with Bethan for now, especially as I want to focus on Gog. Of course we get all sorts on S4C - and I know ‘mas’ as well as ‘allan’ etc - but at the moment I want to stick to Gog when I try to speak, especially as my Welsh neighbour here in Gwynedd doesn’t understand many De words. Unfortunately most of the recordings aren’t labelled De or Gog.

Hendrik, Hmm - you should hear some of the pronunciation in my Welsh dosbarth after five or six years of learning. I’ve just learnt a new Welsh word: you are tipyn bach nawddoglyd?! I think my point was valid. And yes, dw i’n twp ddim yn dallt Deg y Dysgwyr, dw i’n cytuno.

I never called you dumb, and I am sorry if I came across as patronising, that wasn’t my intention.

The fact of the matter is, that while of course your opinion is valid, it is also hurtful towards your fellow learners, as you were dismissing their contribution as worthless.

We are all in the same boat of trying to improve our Welsh, so excuse me for thinking that attacking the proficiency of other learners is uncalled-for.

As one of the people appearing in Deg y Dysgwyr I am personally involved, so I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but your first post left a rather bad taste in my mouth.

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That’s true. But neither are the programmes on S4C and Radio Cymru. The point of the listening exercises are to expose you to lots of different accents and dialects to make it easier to listen to broadcasts and everyday speech in general.

Sticking to Northern first is fine, but the true benefit comes from listening to all of them.

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O diar. Be ydy ‘Mr Angry’ yn Cymraeg?! Dw i’n merch neis. My feedback point was that if I was learning French, Italian or Mandarin I would not want to hear learners speaking it. I am paying money to hear authentic Welsh people speaking it. You didn’t understand ‘authentic’. Well, Bethan Gwanas is obviously authentic - she lives near me and is Welsh. I would not want Edward Heath to teach me how to pronounce French nor impart the current idioms. I have spoken emphatically great things about Say Something for over three years now and I think I will stop paying after your rather aggressive and unhelpful comments. I have no idea who you are but you make me feel uneasy and less than welcome as a Welsh learner.

Okay - this thread hasn’t been an example of successful communication so far! - let’s see if we can find a solution.

I’m not going to sit in judgement on particular comments, or make suggestions about how they could be more kindly phrased - I’m sure you’re both more than intelligent enough to look at your own contributions and see where you could have spoken more kindly.

I’d like to do something else instead.

I’d like to remind you that hundreds, if not thousands, of people in this community have worked very hard over the years to make this an unusually supportive and welcoming and friendly environment.

Both of you have made lots of valuable contributions to that effort.

You now have a rather wonderful opportunity.

You can choose to turn this disagreement into something positive, and create a model which will help make this an even more positive and friendly community, by showing others how to resolve conflict in a positive way.

That would be a superb contribution from both of you - of real, lasting value, because these threads get read for years, and they all help shape the nature of this community.

But it will only work if both of you do it!

You’ll need to team up, you’ll need to make the effort to let your emotions become more calm, you’ll need for each of you to see the goodness and the kindness in the other, you’ll need to see each other’s desire to be happy and valued and welcome, and you’ll need to find the right words to be kind and supportive and caring towards each other.

I believe that you’re both capable of rising to the challenge, and making this thread unusually valuable to the whole community. I’m looking forward to seeing it :slightly_smiling_face::pray::wales:


I can see that Hendrik might feel insecure since he lambasts me in a way that is discourteous. Of course I am not attacking Welsh learners! I am in awe of those who become fluent in 10 months or whatever. My point was quite simple and I will say it again: when I am learning another language, whether Welsh, Arabic or Swahili, I don’t (ar hyn o bryd) want to listen to a learner. To put it really politely: I am sure that your Welsh is amazing and llongyfarchiadau. My motivation for my feedback has been twisted unpleasantly in a way that stunned and mortified me. So, I will say in an attempt to make peace that I am sorry that Henrik was offended and misunderstood me; and I ask Hendrik to say something similar. I have unsubscribed after three years because of this episode, but I am still here for a week.

I’m really sorry to see this discussion going the way that it has done. Could I just make a couple of comments?

Out of all the recordings in the Advanced Content, only 12 are by people who have learnt Welsh as an adult, so that leaves a lot of other material by first language speakers. If you’d prefer not to hear successful Welsh learners, @monica-kendall then that’s fine - just listen to the others.

@Hendrik has not only learnt Welsh to a very high standard, but remarkably has done it through a language which is not his mother tongue - English. Occasionally that means that he may write in English in a way that conveys something other than his intention, but I can assure you, Monica, that he would not want to criticise you personally in any way. I think he was feeling hurt by a perceived criticism of the excellent achievements of advanced learners. There is a push on S4C to try to include adult learners more, to show that everyone has a place in the Welsh-speaking community, and we’re proud that our advanced learners feel confident enough to contribute.

And could I remind you both that it’s very easy for anyone to come across in a way they didn’t intend in a written forum, so when you initially read something, try to take a step back and don’t react immediately. Instead look for the positive aspect of the comment, and contribute in a way that supports that.


I am deeply sorry for having misunderstood your feedback. If you look at my other posts you’ll see that I usually aim to be helpful (like I did in your question regarding the Bethan Gwanas transcript).

I apologize for lashing out in a way that wasn’t appropriate.


SSiW is not only about teaching Welsh, it’s also (just as, if not more, importantly) about teaching confidence to use that Welsh, which is why learner contribution is encouraged here, and why there are tasks in the course that ask people to record themselves, to join chat groups, and to strike up conversations.

Having a small percentage of learners contribute to the advanced listening exercises has two underlying motives. Firstly, listening to and understanding a learner is just as important as listening to and understanding a fluent speaker. Secondly, there is an “if they can do it, I can do it” effect, and indeed lots of advanced SSiW learners have gone on to contribute very successfully to programmes on S4C, Radio Cymru and host various online chat groups.

The option is there for everyone to only listen to experienced Welsh speakers, or to only listen to Northern or Southern speakers, and that’s fine, it’s a personal choice. But as I mentioned before, that’s not how Welsh in the wild works - learners will pop up everywhere and it takes a special amount of patience and encouragement to listen, understand, and engage with them.
I know from experience that talking face-to-face with a learner is not the same as listening to a recording of them speaking, as that is an acquired skill that can only be gained by listening to the recordings, and that’s why the listening exercises are as they are, and not restricted to first language speakers only.


Hendrik, thank you very much indeed for your sincere and unreserved apology - you’ve taken ownership of your own behaviour superbly, which fits with your long years of support and encouragement for other learners in this community - I’ve deeply appreciated your many wonderful contributions over the years, and look forward very much indeed to seeing you the next time you’re in Caernarfon.

Monica, I’m sorry you’re going, but I entirely respect your decision. Unfortunately, I don’t feel as though you entered into the spirit that I was calling for in my previous post - that’s probably because you’re still feeling too upset, in which case I’m sorry for your distress, and I hope that you will soon feel better. Good luck with your Welsh - you’re obviously doing excellently to have reached the level you have.


Good heavens, so you end, Aran, by criticizing me. At 68, and suffering from terminal cancer, I really will not accept your comments. Tara.

Monica, I’m so dreadfully sorry you’re going through such a very difficult time. I hope you have a good support network around you, and I hope you receive the love and support you deserve.