It’s our site, and a (justifiably) widely read site supporting the Welsh language - it’s important we can all post whatever we like under the terms agreed!
(And if it is in support of Aran and Ssiw, that’s perfectly justifiable and understandable!)
I’ve not read the book yet. (I have purchased it, but due to Apple being incredibly frustrating my kindle app isn’t working). The point you make though, @petermescall is important. you’re Welsh is exactly that. You’ve been learning since May. You cannot expect to be fluent after 6 months. It’s something I struggled with this time last year. I felt I should be better. Fluency comes at different speeds. Speaking fluidly will come in waves. On the bootcamp I found I was speaking quite fluidly by the end. Since I’ve felt I have faltered. I haven’t, I’ve just learnt loads of new Welsh so my brain is focusing on the new stuff that it finds harder to say, rather than the bits I am saying fluidly. In other words, I only notice my mistakes. There’s certain things we have to accept take time and can’t be rushed.
As we learn new things the old bits become glossed over, ignored. I work with children. As they acquire new skills, the ones they used to have can become clumsy. Our brains are firing new neurones. The clumsiness is actually a sign of progress. Learning new languages is the same.
Don’t beat yourself up! Your dedication to the language is commendable!
The absolutely best thing about Aran’s book - and SSiW in general (because obviously his experiences influenced the course structure) - is that realisation that the nervousness, the frustration, the panic, the self-doubt, the confusion… is a common denominator and you’re not the only one going through it! Which means that the joy, the empowerment, the fun, the confidence, the exhillaration… are not out of reach at all.
I think one of the other things the book illustrates very well is the way we tend to create our own obstacles when setting out to learn a new skill (and I think this applies to many things, not just a new language). We set our own goals too, but we don’t always realise that it’s us who put the seemingly-concrete-but-actually-thin-air obstacles in the way.
With a new language though, one of the biggest obstacles is the fear we create in ourselves that when we speak it’s all going to go wrong and how dreadful that’s going to be. Thankfully, it’s rarely as bad as we thought it would be, but I think that even after we do start speaking our newly acquired language, this particular obstacle still lingers around in a slightly mutated form as a denial that we, as second-language peeps, can actually speak Welsh. It’s almost as if the term ‘learner’ becomes our security blanket that we keep to hand for if/when we get too far out of our comfort zone or for when/if we get something dreadfully wrong.
It took me a long, long time to feel able to say ‘yes, I speak Welsh’. When I filled in census forms and questionnaires in the past, I struggled with the lack of ‘gradient’ in the question - when there is only a yes or no answer to “Do you speak Welsh”, it became a moral dilemma - I didn’t feel I could honestly tick either although ‘yes’ was of course closer to the truth.
20 years since I went to my first class, in my mind I still don’t consider that I speak Welsh ‘fluently’ because, chronologically if nothing else, it can never be my first language. However, the little devil on my shoulder that used to yell about a lack of fluency - I know he is still there - has got quieter every time I have said the words “Yes, I DO speak Welsh” louder! (note: it took longer to quieten down with the words “I CAN speak Welsh”. “DO” was the magic ingredient!)
Sorry, that was a bit of a chunk. Blame it on the book!
I had the same reaction and he deals with his own path with such brilliant humour, we can all learn from it - when we know that learning from someone else’s experience is usually very hard indeed. In my last post on his thread, I chided him (gently, I hope) for the bit of Cymraeg at the end, because it brought me up short with the horrible realisation that, many moons ago, I read books in Cymraeg and understood them and only when I saw a sea of yr hen iaith did I really realise how much I have forgotten in Aran’s life time!! (At least, I suspect I was doing that reading when he was not yet born!!)
I only read the SSIW threads here and there, since it’s another language that drives me here, but since Welsh is on my To-do list, can someone include the title of the book and Aran’s full name or where to find it? Editing the original post would be ideal.
I wasn’t brought up to buy a book with “Sex” in the title!haha. But after getting to know Aran over the past 6 mths SSiW intensive course I felt I trusted him enough to risk it. And I wanted some light holiday reading, anyway. And I am so glad that I did.
“Laugh out loud funny” is the understatement of the year! And Oh! how I recognised so many of the learner’s struggles. The reason why SSiW is so effective obviously stems from the fact that Aran has “been there, done it”and understands what we are going through. Diolch Aran, for the help and the fun!
To add some extra value to this thread … here’s the original one where @aran anounces his boo,k to be live on Amazon and there after are various links to buy the book. If I’m correct it’s now paperback version too so plenty of choices how to buy.
Ummm … it would be interesting to have audible version, narated by Aran himself
EDIT to add:
Sorry, cruising through the topic I’ve just realized we had some kind of unneccessary arguing and quarelling in the topic aswell, but it’s still interesting to read the parts about the book though.
Currently reading the book. It’s brilliant and very inspirational.
If I can just quote a paragraph from the book and leave it here for more inspiration for others
“the understanding that this language that was slowly making itself at home in my mouth and my mind was in fact alive, kicking, and quite capable of providing all the words you could ever need for your entire life…it was beautiful”
I won’t say anymore, don’t want spoil it for others.
I’ve read the book too and really enjoyed it. I couldn’t believe that Welsh wasn’t Aran’s first language, and had created all these lessons, and the forum and got so many people speaing Welsh from a standing start. Inspiring.
@aran Here’s what I just posted on Amazin about your crazy book:
As an English speaking Welsh woman, always ashamed of having more speaking ability in French and Italian that in the first language
of both my grandmothers, I was drawn to this not entirely serious account of another person’s response to a similar guilt trip/ sense of hiraeth.
I found it in a bookshop sometime before Covid and it set me thinking.
And in the time if Covid, Aran has actually inspired me to do something about my guilt/hiraeth. I am now just completing a year of ‘Say Something in Welsh’ - Aran’s brainchild and a powerful tool for anyone who actually wants to speak the language with a bit more confidence than conventional language does - for me at least, and I know I’m not alone.
Welsh may not be your thing, it may be another language, or it may be some completely different goal that bugs you, but Aran’s story of his commitment to becoming able to live in the language of his country of origin and this tongue in cheek account if the challenges along the way is indeed an inspiration.