Best way to watch Pobol y Cwm?

Hi pawb,

I have searched and couldn’t find a similar post, so here goes…

I watch Pobol Y Cwm each night, on Clic (S4C Player). I started watching it a wjile ago, with English Subtitles, and got hooked on the storylines!

I have now progressed to watching with Welsh subtitles…I do use pause, and rewind, and flick over to the English subtitles, where there’s something I don’t understand. It initially took me about 40 mins to watch a 20 min episode, but I have now got that down to just under 30 mins.

Any tips on the best way to watch it, for learning? e.g. would I be best to watch it as quickly as possible, pausing as infrequently as possible, in order to force my brain to work quickly,even if it means me not understanding 100% of the smalltalk etc?

Or would I be better slowing down, and trying to get to grips with each line, even if this means stopping repeatedly to think and check etc.

Also, I find my self reading the (Welsh) subtitles alot more than actually listening to the dialogue,although I guess this will change in time, and I will gradually start rely on my ears more, and eyes less!

I would be interested in your thoughts, and experiences!

Dai :slight_smile:

Subtitles are a bit like training wheels on a bike - they can help you get into the general idea of it, but at some point, if you want to ride successfully, you’ve got to take them off and live with the wobbles…

There are two things that really help expand your understanding - one is exposure to new material, and the other is exposure to familiar material at normal speed - the second one is the better place to start (which is why our new advanced content focuses on that) - then new material gets gradually easier to pick up.

In an ideal world, you can recreate a fair bit of this process by watching once without subtitles, then with Welsh subtitles, then with English subtitles - it’s just very time-consuming. The lazy approach (in other words, what I personally would do/did) is to watch without subtitles and treat it as a slow process, and look in other directions for listening exercises with familiar material… :slight_smile:


Personally I think the welsh sub-titles have been very important for me. I have been using them for over two years. However, I have found that I can normally understand 80% of the Welsh sub-titles but only 20% (or less) of what was being said. I also have a very poor understanding generally of what I hear whereas I can generally say what I want to say in Welsh. So, a month ago I decided to ditch the sub-titles (sain disgrifio is great though) and I think I am beginning to see progress.

I still do use the Welsh sub-titles occasionally after I have watched a whole episode, more as a dictionary than anything else. I also ‘micro-use’ them by finding a particularly difficult sentence/phrase and just listening again and again and again (sometimes 50 or more times). I see this as being like a child where a child would hear their parent use the same phrase to them hundreds of times. It is really revealing. For instance I was convinced someone was saying Medineud and asked a fluent Welsh speaker who said that isn’t used so I slipped into conversation and she understood it completely - it is a very fast and shortened Mae fe wedi gwneud (M’edi neud).

I think Aran is correct that falling back on written words isn’t the best way but, for me, after years of trying the old way, it is a decent compromise and has helped a lot.


I watch it without any subtitles … I now understand about 50% of it, with maybe an additional 25% being words/expressions I recognise but can’t think fast enough to make sense of. But even when I could understand much less of it, I’d watch it without subtitles and without pausing etc. I was surprised at how much I did end up understanding, so no doubt the visual aspect of it helps hugely. I would actually be really reluctant to use subtitles in an effort to understand more, because then it would feel like an effort rather than a fun and relaxing thing to do, and I expect I’d grow bored of it. I recommend the lazy approach! Having said that, eventually I will try with subtitles, just because I’m not great at reading/spelling in Welsh. But i don’t want to be relying on reading them to understand.


It’s interesting how different language skills develop at different rates! I’m best at understanding spoken Welsh, next would come reading it (which i do slowly because i often don’t recognise words until i work out how they sound … then I realise that I’ve been pronouncing them all wrong, usually by mixing up ‘dd’ sounds with ‘f’ sounds), then speaking. I can speak better in my head than in company, no doubt anxiety-related … and I’m hopeless at writing.


Thanks for answers, everyone!

Yes, I am going to try and wean myself off the Subtitles, as understanding spoken Welsh is probably my weakest point.

I am reluctant to ditch the subtitles tho, as I do really enjoy the show and the storylines, and I know without knowing the plots, I will not make the effort to watch it every night.

I think I will start watching as normal, with Welsh subtitles, and then after it’s finished start watching 5 or 10 mins from the start, with no subtitles…so I’m not missing out on the plots etc.

A good compromise…? :slight_smile:



Another option is to watch to the advert break without subtitles, then switch them on for the second half (if you still want to) - there is usually enough repetition within and between episodes to pick up on anything missed, and you could always go back and watch the first half again if you really feel the need.


That’s a good idea!

I think I’ll start , just going back and watching the first 5 minutes without subtitles, then buildup to the first half!!

Diolch! :slight_smile:

I had been going to answer the original question with “sitting on a sofa with several bottles of Welsh beer and a plate of 'sgod a sglod”, but perhaps I misunderstood the question. :wink:

Seriously, as a northern learner, I’ve always found PyC quite hard to understand.
But there again, I used to find Rownd a Rownd (a very northern soap) quite difficult as well.
I still do sometimes, especially the really fast speakers.

I think the Welsh subtitles especially can be really helpful. With Clic, you have the luxury of being relatively easily able to switch between no subtitles, Welsh, or English subtitles as you go along, if you want to. My aim is to watch without any for as long as possible, but quickly switch to Welsh (rewinding a bit), if necessary, and if it’s really obscure, rewinding again, and switching to English. (If it’s only a short phrase, sometimes you don’t even have to rewind).


Can you tell me when it’s on? Is there a catch up one with subtitles? I’ve just moved to Ceredigion so I’ve been learning S Welsh., do you think watching it from serried 1is best or can I just dive straight in…? I don’t get internet until end of September :+1:

Pobol Y Cwm is currently on S4C on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm and there’s an omnibus edition on Sundays at 6.10pm.

Subtitles are available for all of these, and once you get internet, programmes are also available as catch-up on s4c/clic (subtitles also available on that).

You’d have a bit of a problem watching from series 1 - it started in 1974! - so dive straight in. Like any soap, it’ll take time for you to pick up the characters and plots but it’s just like any other soap really, just in Welsh.

Thanks-that’s really helpful! :+1::wales:

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