I can’t believe how much my Welsh has progressed since I started using SSiW just six weeks ago. I am so grateful to Aran, Catrin and the people on these forums for helping me smash through a fair few stumbling blocks that were imposed by my previous introductory Welsh courses. Listening to Welsh for me has gone from a fog of Welsh sounds with the odd recognised word to something where I can see structures and understand parts of the big picture. I feel as though I am almost functional, this is a huge milestone. However it is a frustrating phase as everything seems there, something is pulling me towards a fuller understanding which isn’t quite there yet, it’s like watching something that isn’t properly focused.
I’ve been doing in about an hour every day of SSiW and an hour of ‘exposure’ though S4C and C2 shows on Radio Cymru (incidentally, listening to songs seems to be a really helpful as you have space to reflect on the words. Also, C2 is amazing, it’s the right mix of music or me, that is so often hard to find elsewhere). I do need to keep practising, I need to solidify what I’ve learned with the course, it’s kind of semi-automatic now, I want it to be fully automatic. I need to keep expanding my vocabulary and continue to learn new structures and of course keep talking. I feel as though I am getting close to the ‘functional’ stage where I have the capacity to play with structures and fine tune my speaking skills.
Anyway, I am now close to the end of the main part of Course 2 (Northern), I have been using the vocabulary units for revision and practice, as my previously learnt vocab is re-surfacing from the deep archives of my mind, not to mention years of seeing bilingual signage (what a fantastic idea that was!).
It seems that I have three options!:
1/ Plough on into Course 3 and learn more structures.
2/ Go through Levels 1 & 2 for solidification.
3/ Go through levels 1 & 2, South Walian (whilst sad to not be hearing Aran and Catrin’s voices everyday). I am hearing Southern structures and vocabulary on a daily basis anyway, so this might be really useful, however I’m concerned this may be too soon and may confuse me.
Any thoughts on 1, 2 or 3 would be greatly appreciated.
I assume you chose northern originally for a good reason, so it would be good to get really solid in this before venturing into the southern lessons/challenges (which it sounds like you want mainly for passive understanding, rather than speaking yourself).
I agree that I’d finish all the available Gog stuff before looking at the southern courses. I did go through the southern level one while I was waiting for Gog level 2 to finish up, but it was a slightly odd experience. I found that in the end I would listen to the southern versions, but then respond with the northern versions. I guess that in itself was a valuable exercise.
Well, this is marvellous! Good for you and carry on!
Where are you? By the sounds if it, you are in the southern part of Wales? (Hearing it on a daily basis?)
In that case, I would definitely go for the newer Southern levels. The earlier introduction of the short form verb alone is worth it for that. (As it is even if you are in the northern part of Wales ).
Either one will be useful, so whatever makes you feel comfortable, but I would definitely say go with the newer version
Well, my trusty lucky sixpence hasn’t let me down yet! I’m from Mid-Wales, very low numbers of Welsh speakers, and they have almost all moved in from North or South Wales! I love North and South Wales equally, but Mid Wales is the best! I think I might have read somewhere that many moons ago, when Welsh was the 1st language here that Mid Wales had it’s own dialect? Really I think it really is a coin toss for people around here.
I have had conflicting advice here. Really the question is whether a little exposure to Southern isn’t bad because it’s good to be aware and you will learn it at some point, but kind of switching half way though may be too confusing.
“I found that in the end I would listen to the southern versions, but then respond with the northern versions”,
Does this mean that I may learn to listen to southern Welsh, but only really speak Northern? Is this how it works? I mean does it matter as an adult learner, will I be ‘stuck’ only speaking Northern, without going to great efforts for something not all that important. I don’t mean that this is a bad thing, being able to speak Welsh is much more better than not being able to at all, this is the main thing. I simply wasn’t aware when I flipped the coin that this would happen. I’ll probably end up living an Carmarthenshire now and people will think I’m a Gog, rather than a Mid-Walian?
I’m now leaning towards option 2 though
And I can’t comment on what the “Western Mail” thinks or prints on anything Welsh as I will not link to any story from that piece of rubbish. I just go by my experience of speaking to people from around Wales, simply speaking Welsh
However, it is always good to contribute hits of knowledge, so thank you for that! Because of that, I had a quick look at the article this time. I would say that more relevant quotes were
“Our language doesn’t really divide into boxes - South and North- and neither do our people”
And “You can’t really call yourself a Canolborthwr - a “mid- Walian””
I certainly don’t identify as being a “South Walian”, (and not only because the adjective “Walian” acts on me like fingernails scraping a blackboard!)
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cause any offence. I was simply curious as to whether the area I’m from is broadly North or South in language terms. I agree absolutely that it doesn’t matter, the language itself is what is important. I sometimes forget that the terms ‘North Walian’ and South Walian’ are often just used to try and annoy people.
Really, what I was asking is when would be a good time as a learner to focus on South Wales Welsh.
Good. . There were indeed interesting quotes though.
I grew up in Mid-Powys, virtually no Welsh was spoken, no-one I was at school with spoke Welsh, though we did of course have Welsh lessons. So, I was very used to hearing and using ‘North Walians’ and ‘South Walians’, whether simply to refer to people from to the North or to the South, sometimes saying positive things, more often in a jokey derogatory way. It’s true there is a Mid Wales identification, yet we also feel that there isn’t really! It does sometimes feel like a beautiful hinterland between the North and South, but this is perhaps an issue for the people of the middle of anywhere and probably as true for the people of the English Midlands, with the English North/South divide!
The point is that every area has a slightly different culture, and a slightly different language, whether Welsh or English, being used in a slightly differently way too. People often poke fun at the area down the road or the ability of their rugby team, but we also know that really they are no better or worse than we are and there is no spite in it.
Oh, absolutely. But the primary identity, with most people I know, is Welsh. I’m at the centre of a cobweb of identities, quite possibly infinite in number. Some relating to area, some relating to ideas, philosophies, politics or shared experiences. My identity can relate to Swansea, Loughor, Ammanford, South Wales, Europe, even Britain, but my primary identity, culturally, like most Welsh people I know, is simply Welsh. And the language is certainly one language from one end of Wales to the other. So it’s important not to worry about “which” Welsh to learn. There is no " which" Welsh! If you are able to speak Welsh, you will be able to speak Welsh with anybody from any part of Wales. Then you can, if you are so inclined, take on the minor adjustments of whatever local dialect from people around you- which will happen to a certain extent naturally without thinking anyway.
indeed, My primary identity is Welsh too. Like anything else it is better to view it as a spectrum, where things gradually change in different directions. It has perhaps only become an ‘issue’ because there is this gap with little Welsh spoken in the middle, which has perhaps created the perception of a division, though this isn’t the case in Cardiganshire, where there is this supposed dividing line. So, whilst the differences are very interesting for those interested in the language, for someone still learning the language and the bigger picture generally, they are not important. This artificial division often gives learners the impression that they have some choice in which flavour of Welsh they learn