Advice and tips before going to a Welsh language group?

I am going to try a group for Welsh speakers soon (I’ve been told it’s OK for learners “Of all levels” to go too).

Does anyone have any advice (topics to prepare etc.) before I go? I really want to make it a positive experience for me as I think what in lacking compared to other learners is speaking practice; Covid, a six month break and other life events aside, I’ve been learning Welsh in some capacity since January 2020 and I really want to go for it now!

Bit of an open-ended question but just thought I’d see if anyone has any ideas. :slight_smile:

There are certain questions which you can almost guarantee you’ll be asked, so you could prepare for those,

e.g. are you from Wales?, why are you learning Welsh?, do you get to use it very often?, do you have friends that speak Welsh?

If you imagine yourself being asked those questions and think about how you might answer, that COULD help, but be aware that it’s very common to get brain freeze and go totally blank, no matter how much you’ve prepared. If that happens, just try to relax and say “Sorry, I’ve gone blank. I’ll be right in a minute.” and give yourself time. Honesty is the best way.

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Thank you, I’ll think of answers for those things and some things I could say about myself as well.

The interest in where I come from used to unsettle me a bit thinking I had a bad accent but I know now it’s generally a benign question everyone is asked!

Thanks, this time I am going to be more up-front and make sure it’s known I don’t have too much experiences speaking yet

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Definitely think of and practice asking and answering those kinds of general questions. They can fill up a few minutes particularly if theres quite a few people to ask.
Also don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Mistakes are inevitable, don’t worry if you’re a bit shy with new people. It’s ok to just listen for a bit also.
If you can introduce yourself and ask someone else a couple of questions that’s a big success. If you just turn up and listen thats fine too, but if you can at least say one or two things it’ll be easier next time.
Try and see this as a process. You don’t need to get to 100% at the first go, one step forward is progress.
And if you can (though not always easy at the start) try to have fun!!

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Absolutely everyone! First language Welsh speakers alike! I’ve stopped being surprised by conversations between first language speakers who start with where are you from? Where were your parents from? Did they know Dai who had the farm at the end of the lane? Ah, well, he was the cousin of my sister’s brother-in-law!

And after that has been established, the conversation can proceed :joy:

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In our chat group, we generally talk about things we’ve been doing. This might be a walk we’ve been on, a place we’ve visited, how our garden is doing etc. Most of us are retired, but they’ll probably want to know where you work and what you do. Any hobbies or interests are also something you could prepare a little piece about (just a few sentences), in particular look up any vocabulary you might need. But usually people are happy to provide any words that you don’t know.

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It’s the same in our group. Conversation can range quite widely, depending on who is there, but this is a safe bet when nobody can think of what to say next. Alternatively, “Are you doing anything special next week?” or “Is anyone visiting Wales soon?” (We are in England.) “Where are you from?” is of course the obvious question for new recruits. We are not being nosy - it’s just that most people can answer this one. We are also happy to listen to sentences that people have prepared for oral exams etc. Even the old hands get stuck on words and the others help out. (Today I forgot how to say “Monday”. Oh dear.) It can be hard for a new person to start a conversation, so questions are a way to get them talking. There was one occasion on Zoom in lockdown when someone turned up and said in English “Just talk among yourselves while I get on with my homework.” I admit that I was reduced to silence by that.

At least we don’t say what my relations invariably said “Lovely to see you. When are you going?” They were not intending to be rude. Just trying to plan the catering.

Sue

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Well in case anyone wondered, I went to the group today and I am so glad that I did!

Everyone was welcoming and patient and it was a completely different experience to the group I had been to before elsewhere.

I felt relaxed, so I tried speaking more, had ‘brain freeze’ less and even didn’t feel bad when I spotted the mistakes I had made. I am so glad I gave it one last shot!

After months (probably more like a year) of feeling unsure of myself and whether I should continue, it really feels like things have turned around.

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That is really good to hear! Llongyfarchiadau! Keep focused on these moments of success! :clap: :clap:

Amazing. Hopefully the right group of people will work wonders. Good luck and all the best!

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I’m so glad this group is more helpful. The key to gaining confidence in speaking is finding somewhere where you feel relaxed, and it looks like this is the group for you.

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