Advice Please re Advanced Course

Hi folks,
I could really value some advice on the advanced material. I have finished Level 3 but am really struggling to engage with the advanced content. I know that huge effort goes into it - so real praise for Beca- but I can’t feel I’m making any headway with these very long pieces of dialogue. I really want to succeed and develop and I do get into real life conversations here where I live in Llan Ffestiniog but I am currently feeling discouraged. Any thoughts as to how to work with the advanced material would be much appreciated.

Diolch Simon


Hi Simon!
Don’t be discouraged - you’re not the only one who’s experienced this. You might find the comments in this thread useful.

In the meantime, well done for jumping into conversations in Llan Ffestiniog - that’s an excellent way to progress!


It seems to me as though the main thing here might be how you’re assessing your progress - by this stage, you’ve learnt a huge amount of Welsh, so every extra step forward is a tiny percentage of what you’ve done so far - easy not to notice.

How are you working through the material? Are you doing listen, read Welsh, listen, read English, listen? Or something else? :slight_smile:


Just thought I would comment that I too for a long time felt quite discouraged and like I was making little progress with the advanced material due to the sheer volume of new words/constructions.
But then, after changing how I engaged with the advanced material, now feel much better and like I have made a lot of progress.

So I would just like to recommend listening to the whole conversation, then reading a word/phrase/sentence at a time (first the Welsh, then the English, to learn how they correspond to each other), then listening to the whole conversation again.
I have to be honest, this seems to be helping me improve my reading a great deal more than my listening, which is still much worse than my reading (there are still some points in the conversations when I can pick out few words among the sounds) but feel an awful lot better about the whole process and motivated to continue.

Maybe worth a try?


Thanks everyone. Will keep on going and take my time with it. I’m following Aran’s suggestions as to how to use the material. I really appreciate this forum. It’s brilliant.


Thanks Aran. I’m following the method you’ve suggested for the advanced content. Mastering advanced welsh is going to be a lifetime’s work for me but I’m pressing on with it and hope I will notice changes over time.


@andersons002 Simon I feel exactly the same, I’ve just finished #2 and the level is far too hard for me. I’d be looking for something a bit more intermediate and I find it demoralising, also I find it hard to concentrate on virtually one person speaking for a whole half hour and I got bored, especially as I understood so little - I recognised plenty of words but couldn’t convert them into anything. I might “dal ati” or I might make more use of S4C catchup instead as the programmes are shorter and although the subtitles are not as good as Beca’s transcriptions you get the added benefit of seeing something, which I feel aids comprehension because you get more clues on what’s being said.

Good luck anyway and please post back if you do find things improving!


I have found the advanced material challenging - but having ‘hung on in there’, found it to be extremely beneficial. My level of understanding on the first listen at the start was extremely poor (I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it).

Personally, I found that using Aran’s method but tweaking it when ‘reading’ the Welsh to work through it and translating it - I couldn’t read it without. This was hard work(!) - but absolutely unlocked the door on the Sgwrs - when listening afterwards suddenly I could understand.

Now after six months ( approx I think?) I use the transcript occasionally to look up the odd word or phrase I can’t catch. I have also been doing other things too of course - reading books and trying to listen to Radio Cymru too.

So I think the timescales are a bit longer on this activity.

Getting to the point where I am able to understand anybody, saying anything, any way they want is my ultimate goal…and whilst that will take a very long time to achieve completely, I have made very significant progress based on my starting point.

( Beforehand I had got that ‘boiling the ocean’ sensation when listening to Radio Cymru where I wasn’t at all sure I was making progress. )

So personally I would recommend the advanced Sgwrs based on experience because it gives a means by which you can reel in this very tough objective (via transcript and translation).

Rich :slight_smile:


That is the strongest clue in here that this is exactly the work you need to be doing - keep at it, and your brain will start to process faster, and in larger chunks - are you also doing the accelerated listening exercises on a daily basis?

Half an hour is a long run - it’s also pretty much gold standard for getting you there and widening vocab - but there’s nothing stopping you from eating it in 10 minute chunks… :slight_smile:


One thing that might help you with this would be to keep track of when you listened to each piece, and revisit one 3 months, then 6 months, then 9 months and then a year later - giving it a longer gap between revisits is more likely to highlight improvements… :slight_smile:

@aran no, I don’t know about the accelerated listening exercises. Sorry! There is so much on this site now that I find it rather overwhelming. Where will I find those?

They’re on the download page for the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th challenges of Level 1 and 2…:slight_smile:

Yes, it’s hard to find the best way to present everything - it’s something we’re constantly thinking about, though, and trying to improve… :slight_smile:


Right @aran well I’m going to do the whole of Beca a’i Phobl straight through, I’ll try and do one every day using your recommended method of listen, read the transcript, listen again, read the translation, listen again, move on. As a starting point I listened to #4 this morning and knew lots of words but didn’t have any comprehension so no idea what was said or what they were talking about at all. I’ll report back when I’ve done #27 and we’ll see whether there’s any improvement! :slight_smile:

Wait whaaaaaat?!

That sounds like a heck of a cold shower if you’re already finding this a bit demotivational! It’s a huge time commitment, too… I mean, I’m a huge fan of intensity, and you’ll be giving your brain massive valuable exposure - but it will NOT feel easy, so you need to be braced for that and ready to ride out the BIG emotional ups and downs…

Alternatively, you could do #4 once a week for the next 3 months, while also doing one new one each week - that would give you an interesting comparison, without looking as much like torture! :slight_smile:


“try” - as in that’s the target :slight_smile: today - target not achieved! Hopefully I’ve done this week’s emotional down though :slight_smile:


Can someone tell me which of Beca’s conversations are with people who speak South Welsh, please? I find the North Welsh ones very hard to get into and all the ones I’ve tried so far seem to be North. Thanks

To start with, here’s the ones I can remember because I had taken note of: 13, 19, 20, 24, 31

By the way, from my experience, it’s true that being used to Southern accent (even just from the course and a few accidental other sources like me), Advanced material featuring Northern are really tough - if speed and vocabulary wasn’t enough.

However it’s also true for me that unless one expect to never go visit the North or meet people from there, it’s better to get used to both I believe. Just like with English language accents by the way which are so different and sometimes almost impossible to understand to me!

It all gets easier with time and the Stori 2 Eisteddfod are short, on a specific topic and every clearly spoken, so if you haven’t tried them yet, they might be a good start.

Pob lwc!

Thanks Gisella - that’s very helpful! I live in Carmarthen and have Welsh-speaking family in Cardiff and West Wales so need practice in Southern Welsh rather than Northern. I have been to North Wales for short breaks, but most of my time is spent down here in the south!


Hi Coralie. Gisella s list seems spot on. Also, Siaron (forum member and Slack leader) is number 26 I think. Although Siaron is living in the North, she is from Monmouth. So to me she very clear and had retained her Gwent accent. Also a nice gentle way to learn some Northern terms.

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