Best way to use the lessons?

I’m new here so apologies if I’m posting this in the wrong place.

I’ve currently only progressed to Challenge 2 and seem to have ended up in a mass of conflicting instructions. The instructions given verbally in the Challenge 1 say that I should listen to the English then repeat it in Welsh using the pause button if necessary. Then I should listen to the two Welsh voices.

They also instruct me that I can move on to the next Challenge when I can repeat in Welch about 80% of the material without using the pause button.

After spending about four days getting to this stage with Challenge 1, I received an email saying that I shouldn’t use the pause button at all.This coincided with my moving to Challenge 2, where the length of the gaps is drastically shorter than in Challenge 1.

However I managed to struggle on for another day without using the pause button and didn’t succeed in doing one single phrase without over-running onto the first speaker. The result was that I usually finished the last few words at the same time as the speaker.

I repeated this several times at vast expense of time, only to get another email this morning saying that I shouldn’t repeat the Challenges, just keep going.

If I’d known this at the beginning I’d have been on about Challenge 6 by now!

So my question is : Is there anything else I should know before I continue with the course?

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And, sorry, a follow up question. Has anyone tried shadowing the native speaker (i.e. saying what she says at the same time as she says it) in place of translating from the English? It’s a language technique that I learned while using Glossika and found quite effective. It’s also considerably less mental torture!

If anyone has done that, what sort of results did you obtain?

Helo and Croeso - hello amd welcome to the Forum. I suspect you may be mixing up the old course of Lessons with tne new course of Challenges, but either way, the 80% rule was changed and mistakes are welcome as part of the learning process. We ALL chip in before Cat or Catrin! I don’t know if you are doing north or south, but @aran who devised to course, will tell you to find the Challenges, not the old material and press on with as few pauses as you can,

Thanks for your answer and for your welcome.

You are right. On investigation, I find that somehow the Introduction I listened to was the one belonging to the old course, though I am in fact definitely doing the challenges (north course). How that happened I’ve no idea, but the fact it can happen and there’s no obvious warning should perhaps be changed. Will @aran automatically pick up this exchange or do I need to write to him direct?

It’s also good to hear that everyone without exception doing this course does it exactly the way they’re supposed to!

When you want to be sure someone has seen a post you put @ in front of the Forum name and soon you get a list to choose from @hen gives five @hendd gives just me! But you need to click on the list item to activate it, @aran needs all letters but you can pick from a list if you are more dextrous than me and not using an iPad virtual key pad!

Thanks for the help

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I think shadowing like this is a good idea, and I do it myself quite often, but not instead of translating from the English, but as well as. i.e. speak yourself in the gaps, and then (if you like) say it with both speakers in turn. Gives you 3 times as much speaking practice per phrase, and you can try to make your pronunciation as close to theirs as possible. (headphones/earphones definitely help with this).


Thanks, Mike. The problem I have with doing both is that I usually don’t succeed in finishing the phrase in time to shadow the first speaker as well as translate. So I do a sort of half-shadow in which her last few words and mine happen at the same time!

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I’m sure there was a conversation on the forum about that somewhere and I think it was decided that was ok because as you learn you will get quicker anyway.

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Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll keep going!

Because I have problems remembering the long sentences and wouldn’t be able to repeat them in English, I start speaking the Welsh as soon as enough of the English has been said to allow me to make a start. It’s a bit like doing a simultaneous translation. It’s the only way I can avoid not only using the pause button but actually having to rewind to hear the English again.

I also speak along with the Welsh, both with Catrin and Aran. This either reinforces what I just said if I was right or corrects me if I got it wrong!


I’m afraid that’s a question of ‘less pain, less gain’ (see also Robert Bjork on ‘desirable difficulties’) - shadowing in addition to production is fine (I do it myself) although I don’t have any measurable evidence of it helping other than emotionally - but the production is very much the key.

Sorry about the different advice - we just haven’t had time/confidence to re-do all the intros/outros yet, based on where feedback has got us to in our understanding of the process. I’m hoping to have a booklet ready before the end of the year which I think will be robust enough for us then to start re-doing the intros/outros.

With the pause - if you’re close to getting it all out in time, then you’re probably good to press on - but no real harm in doing a split-second pause if you want to feel more certain - the only real loss there is if the pauses become long enough and/or often enough to turn a 30 minute lesson into something that takes an hour or more to finish (although even that isn’t the end of the world if it’s the only option, as it is for some people).

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@aran Thanks very much for taking the time to respond fully to my query. I’ll keep going even though it ties my septuagenian brain in knots. But since the mental exercise was the main reason I took the challenge on in the first place I can’t really complain!

This is also a good opportunity to say that I think the materials themselves are first class and superior to anything else that I have so far found available.


@margarethall Thanks for the tip. That sounds a good technique. I’ll give it a try.

From a fellow septuagenarian
, keep at it - dal at ti!

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Diolch yn fawr iawn for your kind words, Mark… :slight_smile: :star2:

It’ll definitely give you all sorts of neurological benefits, no doubt about that… :slight_smile:

@aran Well, I’ve been trying to keep to the “new” rules (don’t use pause, don’t repeat) for the last two days and I’ve just had to give up. I tried Challenge 5 after doing Challenge 4 that way and could hardly manage a single word, let alone produce any of the phrases completely. I felt at the end of the lesson that I had learned precisely nothing.

So I’m going back to the old rules (pause as necessary, repeat until 80% right) and if it takes me three days (or even three weeks) per challenge, so be it!

I’m not a novice language learner - I know what learning a language feels like. I’m a qualified French interpreter, can hold a basic conversation in German, and your Spanish course seems very easy to me. That’s not intended to boast; just to put what I’m saying in context.

If you’re not making any noise in the gap, then no, that approach isn’t working for you - I’d recommend pausing (but only for long enough to check if you’ve got something to say - don’t let it become a 30, 40 second pause while you hope for inspiration!) - but I’d still steer you away from the 80% target, which we now know is heavily over-cooked.

So I’d recommend that you pause (watchfully) but work through 5 or 10 (or more!) lessons before you repeat any of them - to give the spaced repetition time to work… :slight_smile:

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@aran thanks for the advice. I will give it a go!

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Let us know how it goes… :slight_smile: