Bad Accents

So, my partner and I have been plugging away at lessons on and off for a few months now and we’re currently on Lesson 5 of Course 1 (we have some consistency issues, but we’re working on it). Not that the lesson is hugely relevant to the question at hand…

I’ve been noticing lately that neither of us are pronouncing words exactly as we hear them. We try, and mostly end up with both of us coming out with the same sound, but often it’s a different sound than what it should be.

Is this usual? Have all of you awesome people struggled with accents? Are we doomed to be labelled as Aussies the second we open our mouths for all eternity?

The thing is, there are variations in pronunciation in every language, even amongst native speakers. I find that sometimes my vowels sound slightly different to what I’m hearing in the course, too. As long as it sounds mostly similar, I wouldn’t worry too much.

I’ve been to 2 bootcamps with Australians in each and honestly I could only hear their accents when they spoke in English, before or after the Welsh only rule. What your Welsh person hears I don’t know, but probably someone who has gone to the effort of learning their language. Paid a phoeni.


I would so love to go to a bootcamp, one day.

That’s slightly comforting though! We’re trying really hard to echo what we’re hearing, but it’s so tricky! Nice to know that it may not ultimately be a problem.

I do need to find more places to listen to Welsh though, eventually, so maybe I have a better idea of how it sounds in conversations.

Have you tried Radio Cymru? You can listen to it online via their website.

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I also did a bootcamp last year with an Australian. She later became a Skype partner for several months, and while I could still slightly hear her Australian accent when she was speaking Welsh, she still spoke clearly, confidently and was completely understood.

Also, when I lived in Kent, England, I used to meet with another speaker who didn’t use a Welsh accent at all - only his own! Despite this, he also spoke clearly and confidently, and was completely understood too. I think I remember someone on here saying that they found hearing people from outside Wales speaking Welsh with their own accents such a joy, and really interesting (was that you @aran?), so as Margaret said, Paid â phoeni!

Good luck with the rest of the course :blush:


I’ve gone to the website a few times, but haven’t worked out how to listen to it. I don’t know if I’m missing something or am as technologically inept as my brother has always said I am.

This might be silly of me, but it only recently occurred to me that we could have easily identifiable accents in other languages… I do enjoy hearing accents in English, so I can see how it might be thoroughly interesting hearing accents in Welsh

And thank you! Diolch. :slight_smile:


Here’s the link to online Radio Cymru via TuneIn from where I tend to listen. BBC Radio Cymru. If you register on TuneIn for free you can also save your Radio stations to play them whenever you want. Their phone app is also great. So, you don’t need to bother with Radio Cymru website if you have problems with this.

Enjoy listening.

When I did my first Bootcamp it was pointed out to me that I that I was stressing my words in the wrong place - on the last syllable instead of the next to last one, making what I was saying unintelligible to welsh speakers. This being pointed out to me made a massive difference because in days people could understand what I was saying: even without a native accent.

“The rule in Welsh is that the accent, or stress, goes on the penult (the next-to-last syllable). There are a few exceptions to this general rule, to be noted in the lessons. A regular exception to this rule is that words ending in “-hau” are accented on the last syllable.”


… I have absolutely no idea what I’m stressing. But that’s helpful! I’ll try to keep an eye on that and see what’s coming out of my mouth.

Thank you, Tatjana! I’ll check that out now. Very helpful!

As everyone else has said, accents are slippery things - and if you pay close attention, you’ll probably start to hear that it’s fairly common for the two speakers to pronounce things slightly differently from each other (that’s certainly true for the northern version, anyway!)… :sunny:

Just a very quick comment here - that sounds as though you are probably either repeating sessions more than you need to, or making dramatically heavy use of the pause button (or both!).

You might find it interesting to do lessons 6 to 10 on a ‘no repetitions’ basis - particularly given that 6.1 and 6.2 are famously the worst lessons I wrote, and can lead to unnecessary pain and distress if you try to ‘get them right’… if you push on through to 10 and then revisit 6.1, you should find that it has magically become easier :sunny:


Oooooooooo yes, believe him. I’ve done repetition on that famous lessons 6 until I’ve got a bit angry I can’t cope with them and went forward ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF COURSE. Then … I did some pause inbetween all (I admit) and humbly returned afterwards to those 6-ies. The question arised in me: “What in the name of God I’ve struggled that much about?” It was way easier that second time. (shhh, don’t tell anyone I went through the whole course 2 times afterwards … :slight_smile: - hehe).

But siriously don’t repeat those Lessons 6. They’re equally hard in both versions but if you push through it pays off. Magic of @aran works (even for me, stubborn and perfectionist as I am).


Eep - that sounds scary! But we can definitely give it a shot… and I’m always willing to try new things.

I think, thus far, we’ve done each lesson about three times… and we try to use what we’ve learnt as much as we can between times. Part of our problem is that we do Welsh daily for a few days and then get busy and don’t do it for a month… which I realise isn’t the best way to learn stuff! My former clarinet teacher would be appalled that I didn’t learn better practice habits from her. :wink:

And you’re right, of course! We had noticed different pronunciations in the lessons too… not so much at the beginning, but the further we go, the more I hear!


The using what you can between times is brilliant, and will make a huge difference. :star2:

The triple repetition is a very common pattern, but what is actually happening there is that you are letting your need for conscious control overrule the learning system - your brain is telling you that you don’t know it all, so you’ve got to repeat the lesson. With experience and trust you’ll get to the point where you know that the repetition which builds the learning will come from the way in which we revisit every word and every structure as you keep on going through the course.

This runs counter to most traditional norms of learning, but it’s actually not a bad thing in and of itself.

The problems come from the way in which you respond to this kind of structure - for most people, the month gap (or however much it is) convinces them that they have to start again (from the beginning or near the beginning) - and that of course means they get stuck, and never progress significantly - their own little Sisyphean endeavour…:wink:

But if you push on with new material each time you get going again, the first new session will feel painful, but after that you’ll be back up to speed.

Look at the difference.

If you do an hour a day for three days, repeating each session 3 times, and then a month off, and then repeat from near the beginning:

Step 1 - sessions 1 to 2. Month off. Step 2 - sessions 2 to 3. Month off. Step 3 - sessions 3 to 4. Month off. Step 4 - sessions 4 to 5. This is something like your current approach, right?

Now try:

An hour a day for three days, with no repetition, pushing on with new material after each month off:

Step 1 - sessions 1 to 5. Month off. Step 2 - sessions 6 to 10. Month off. Step 3 - sessions 11 to 15. Month off. Step 4 - sessions 16 to 20.

This second approach will feel much more scary - much more out of control - but it will get you to conversational ability massively faster. We regularly see people who’ve done the 25 sessions of Course 1 (plus the vocabs) getting through a week with no English…

Our record so far for a break, by the way, is 14 months - @louis did 10 sessions of Spanish in a day, then took 14 months off, then revisited the last of those sessions - and said that he got about 40% right straight off, but could sense that he would have been back up to 80/85% if he’d run through it a second time.

So you really don’t need to worry about the breaks… :sunny:


As long as the pronunciation is right I don’t think it matters about the accent, If I visited Australia I wouldn’t put on an Australian accent, and I wouldn’t expect someone from another country visiting England to disguise their voice by trying to speak English with an English accent. The main thing is that the pronunciation is near enough to be understood.


You might try finding the “Dal ati” or “Hwb” Welsh learner programme videos on Youtube. This may be slightly more accessible than Radio Cymru (although I would also recommend the latter when you feel ready for it). I believe there is no geo-restriction on BBC radio (as there is on TV and on S4C TV), and I find the easiest way of finding programmes is via the schedule:

Look down the schedule and choose a programme that has the “play” icon next to it and select that programme, e.g.

Then hit the “play” triangular icon on the programme page. Some programmes are also downloadable as podcasts, and if so, that should show up on the programme page.
However, there is also a list of them here:


This ^.

I was watching some random things on S4C yesterday and came across “Calon,” which was a short video where the producers asked the kids to say something they know about XYZ subject. This particular episode was “Prif Weinidog.”

Anyway, there were a batch of three kids whom they interviewed together all wearing school uniforms and all clearly fluent speakers, and one of them did not trill her R’s when she spoke. I have a horrible problem with rolling my R’s, so hearing her speak naturally even without the perfect R made me feel A LOT better about my own struggles.


It is an ongoing battle :wink: What @cap said, and keeping in mind that unless one takes elocution lessons to acquire the desired target accent (like Dylan Thomas was made to do, to get rid of his Welsh English accent and substitute it with a ‘cut-glass’ accent), it is very likely that traces of one’s native accent will remain, and one’s Welsh will be the more exotic for it!

I strongly support @mikeellwood’s suggestion re the Radio Cymru podcasts, these are excellent for getting exposure to spoken Welsh