I’m on day 2 of the bobsled run and already Aran has browbeaten me into starting a blog. Why I can’t be allowed to suffer in silence is beyond me but perhaps it’s his sadistic steak coming to the fore!
Anyway, off we go. I had done course 1, course 2 and the new level 1 and had been revising for around a month when I thought that perhaps there is a better and more productive way of using my timetime, especially as I’m going to Bootcamp in July, which is when I remembered reading about the Bobsled. “That’ll be useful” I thought and signed up on Wednesday.
I’m sure it’s been said before but, if anyone wants to start the bootcamp, order it up at about the time you would like each lesson to arrive, ie at 9am if you want all day to work on it, as the arrival time of each day’s work reflects the time of the order.
Day 1: Say “bore da” to everyone you meet. Outcome? failure! Well, more or less, so not a good start… The lesson turned up at 11.45 by which time my wife and I had just returned from doing the supermarket shopping and I didn’t go out again so I had only her to say it to! I should explain that we’re retired and so, although it means I’ve got plenty of time to do more or less whatever I want, I’m not out and about mixing with lots of people on a daily basis as I was when I was working. Sadly, no friends or family rang and no-one called. I was hoping for a cold caller, but life’s contrary so I didn’t get any. I was rather looking forward to replying to someone in Calcutta in Welsh. That wouldn’t come up on their computer screens!
Day2: Create a dialogue with someone about things you often say. (This is asking for trouble!)
There we are then. Done that.
However, I’ve got to remember it for tomorrow so I hope I won’t live to regret it.
Day 3 and I knew that what I had to do yesterday was a two edged sword and that I would need to be careful what I thought up as it would probably come back to bite me today!
And so it proved, but it was hilarious as my monoglot English wife had to read the part I had written for her as best she could. I know welsh can sound incomprehensible to any non Welsh speaker but it’s even more incomprehensible when spoken by a non -Welsh speaker! Not only that, but we then had to swop places, she reading my part and I hers.
I have to say I was quite eager for the latest challenge to arrive this morning so no doubt this air of anticipation will prevail to the end.
But now a plea. would anyone like to volunteer to chat with me next Saturday afternoon? It doesn’t matter what standard you’re at, (preferably not too good or you might have me struggling) so, if someone in the throes of battling with Course 1 or 2 would like to give it a go, feel free to volunteer. Don’t all rush at once but please form an orderly queue; first come first served.
See you tomorrow
Day 4: translate any conversations you have into Welsh, as best you can.
Sort of a day off today as I try to do that already, as well as speaking Welsh to myself during the day. However, I feel it best not to do this when I’m out and about as passers by might wonder who the old fool is who’s muttering incomprehensibly to himself, and send for the men in white coats to lead me away, kindly but firmly, towards the padded van.
What’s “a bientot” in Welsh? Gwela i chi yn nes ymlaen, I suppose.
Have a nice weekend
Day 5: write three long sentences and learn them
Day 6: for various reasons it was not possible to speak them to someone so I repeated them out loud to myself several times, which I hope had the same effect.
Day 7: more challenging. Listen to a suggested radio programme for three minutes and write down all the words you can recognise. Tried this and couldn’t write fast enough so I gave up and listened to it several times instead, which, as Aran said it would, became more understandable with each listening.
Sorry, looking at what I have just written, it may appear that I was claiming to have recognised so many words that there wasn’t time to write them all down. What I meant to imply was that there wasn’t even time for me to write down the considerably fewer that I did. Clear now?
Day 8. Not far to go now and a really useful task for today, namely thinking in Welsh for ten minutes and then writing down anything which I found I couldn’t say.
I was able, if not to say precisely what I wanted, to find ways to get around the problem, so that the main problem I had was with vocabulary, easily got around with the dictionary.
What was really interesting though was that the exercise threw up several other aspects, mainly of colloquialisms; for example I couldn’t work out how to say “without getting wet” but a look up in the Modern Welsh Dictionary gave me “heb cael fy nwlychi”. Also," from time to time" led me to “o bryd iw gilydd” and other useful variations of “pryd”
I won’t go on, but would recommend this approach to finding out what you don’t know how to say, on an everyday level.
It’s a great sign that you understood too many words to write them all down, whichever way you cut it, so well done!
And it sounds as though you’ve done an excellent job of starting to build your own personal set of handy phrases, which is a huge part of feeling more confident in conversations - keep at it, you’re doing superbly
Thanks for the encouragement Aran but wait until you hear my three minute Welsh chat( Day 9 of bobsled challenge) which might make you change your opinion. There’s an awful lot of dithering and it’s painfully slow, and despite that it contains the best part of a dozen errors, mainly to do with tenses.
In the interests of personal public humiliation it’s on email@example.com/three-minute-chat
@aran maybe you should invent a course to learn how to be less “cruel” upon ourselves just for me and @bryanroberts and us alike … - LOL I’m the candidate here too, maybe the first one. because I believe I wouldn’t do as half as good as @bryanroberts did. Well done!
Well I’ve reached the end, didn’t fall off and, on the whole enjoyed it. Comments have gone to Aran via the questionnaire.
However, day 10 challenge, to go and speak either ten minutes, or, if you can do that, an hour, speaking Welsh, has not been done yet, but it will be. I’m hoping to get up to Saith Seren in Wrexham during the week, so that should do the trick. I’m hoping I can do the ten minutes but an hour looks rather too much of a challenge! I don’t think I could talk for an hour in English, but who knows what might happen after a few beers!
Anyway, thanks Aran for producing the challenge and thanks also to tatiana and mikeellwood for your kind comments.
Everyone should do this, preferably when you first feel you’re getting somewhere with the language.
That, I think, closes the thread, but if anyone has any comments or queries please feel free to contact me directly via a private message
Now I’m sorry I can’t speak that much Welsh because if I did an hour wouldn’t be a problem of speaking what concerns me. Ask @brigitte or @owainlurch. I’ve eaten their precious time like a cake for more then an hour - sadly almost nothing in Welsh but rather mixture of English the most then Italian came to my mind (regardless I didn’t speak it already for more then 15 years) and some German and even Slovene … Dwi dim yn gallu gofio … was constant phrase …
Otherwise I’ve followed this thread with interest wondering if I’d manage to do this kind of challenge. Yes and no, both at the time is my answer what concerns me right now but one day … might be prety soon I might try. No doubt I’ll be much more bitterred doing this then you were as I don’t meet Welsh people every day …
If you’ve done either of the level 1 courses, tatiana I’m sure you’re ready for the bobsled
How wonderful to be able to speak all those languages. All I can manage is some French, initially learned in school but topped up by annual visits since 1990.
You will be aware I’m sure of the reluctance of the British (English?) to learn other languages; we seem to think that everyone should learn to speak English and that everyone will understand us if we speak loudly enough!
I’ve finished Course 1 including all vocab lessons, reached half of Level 1 and being now on 9th lesson of Course 2 but somehow I just am not able to produce much or it might be I’d like to tell to the people too complicated stuff for the knowledge I’ve gained so far … Hard on myself as I am I believe there’s much more to be done to be able to do this though.
I’m not sure if I can call this speaking anymore as I didn’t speak any foreign language properly in years (15 years or even more) but at least I have some knowledge of them though. And - for the record - I can’t speak French though.
The fact is in Slovenia almost everyone speaks English so even if you don’t speak loud enough you’d be heard and understood and not only that. It might easily happen the World will dance around you just to get your attention.
I should think that it would boost your confidence if you were to do the bobsled tatiana. It’s not that difficult to begin with but the last few days are more challenging,so, as you’ve more or less done the same work as I have, you should have no problems with it.
As you say, I think we all have a tendency to be over ambitious in what we try to say to begin with, but I’ve found that, if you keep trying you will soon discover what you are capable of and will begin to tailor the way you make up what you say to use what you know. Also, of course, the more you are able to practice, the more you will find you are able to say.
Sorry, I’ve got no right to preach at you, but, from what little experience I have of using my Welsh, I believe I’m right in what I say.
I’m sure Aran would agree with this, so if he sees it, as I’m sure he will, he will probably add his views to mine.