Bridging the gap between Level 3 and Advanced Course

Having seen quite a lot of posts recently from people who are struggling with the jump between Level 3 and the Advanced material in Beca a’i Phobl, I wondered if I could make a tentative suggestion that you might consider as a future addition to the site, @aran, @beca-brown ?

What if, as midway step, you did some short interviews (10-15 minutes) based on a more or less fixed set of questions that would tend to produce answers around (but not limited to) relatively familiar vocabulary, and conducted them with some of our advanced and confident learners? The learners would know the questions in advance so at least partly have their answers prepared. And maybe the recordings could be done with the technology that allows the group chats in the Hangouts to be shared?

The kind of questions I am thinking about are things like -

  • how long have you been learning Welsh?
  • why did you want to learn?
  • where did you grow up?
  • who was in your family when you were growing up?

    And then maybe there could be some tricksier things based on some Level 3 vocab,?

There could also be speeded up versions of these (which are hardly needed for Beca a’i phobl, where people are often speaking incredibly fast already).

I know there are not enough hours in the day for all the things you are trying to do already, so my throwing something else into the pot is hardly going to be welcome. But just a thought that might one day bubble up through the mix and start something off.


I think that’s a really good idea. I don’t think we could reasonably expect Beca to get one of these out every week (correct me if I’m wrong, @beca-brown! :smiley: ) - but it might be a side-project where she could do one every now and again, and build up a small library for people to work through before jumping into the half-hour ones, if they wanted…

Beca, actually - maybe it would be possible for you to do a bunch of 10 minuters with advanced learners at the party and the bootcamp afterwards? :slight_smile:


That was my cunning plan! It’s sort of like the FB Deg y Dysgwyr, but audio and with advanced learners.



Seriously folks, how awesome is it when people just think up brilliant things to make SSiW better and go off and do them themselves?

Big hand for the world’s best advanced content manager, please, ladies and gentlemen! (or Saer Cynnwys, as I’ve known her call herself)…:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:


Heh heh! The advanced learners won’t be thanking me when I swoop on them at every available event and bootcamp…!




See? That’s when a portable recorder would be handy - perfect for chasing learners around! :joy:

More seriously, I would also like to add that to me it seems easier to understand and learn new vocabulary from interviews where there are fewer topics and going more in depth.
Like last week’s with Trystan (#27).

Maybe it’s because some words are repeated and they tend to stick more. Or because I don’t have to make so much effort to figure out what’s the topic in each answer: that’s already set, and I can focus on details and probably makes it easier to guess and connections?

This style of interview is also for me a sort of intermediate-advanced. What do you think?


You’ve got a portable, haven’t you Beca? I thought I remembered getting you one when you started? :slight_smile:

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I’d like more opinions on this, as I’ve often wondered if that was the case or not. It’s quite hard to get 30 mins on one topic from the majority of people, and the more in depth you go into a subject, the more nichey the vocab becomes. But, as you say, you get the same vocab repeated over. Any thoughts, other peeps?


To start the ball rolling with more opinions, I personally like the current general type of conversation and don’t really mind if the topic changes every now and then :slight_smile:


Wow, this has taken off! Hurrah for @beca-brown! How exciting.

As for the matter of topics, I think a mixture of styles / content works well. Yes, changing subject can leave your brain hopping around. But it can also be hard work listening to (and definitely reading!) a long piece, not broken up, that goes deeper and deeper into a subject. So each type presents different challenges.


Yes I think it is great how you have it at the moment, Beca. Really good how you bring out a few facets of each guest, with each facet having its own extra vocabulary.

Also it gives us a natural break, if we want to split the study into bite-size chunks. Three for the price of one.

The glossary at the end is also really helpful. Please feel free to add more items that come out in speech but aren’t always shown in dictionaries.


I was thinking about the same sort of thing…

There is currently a big step up from L3 because there is a wide range of subject matter and specialist vocab (1), people speak very fast (2) and a range of regionalised accent/ ways of saying things are introduced (3).

These are all things you would find in the real-world of course and ultimately what you would want to test yourself on/ practice with in preparing for Cymraeg in the wild.

However if you were trying to create stepping stones presumably there might be an option to have none, or just one of the three measures above classed as difficult, then two of the three as difficult…and so on.

Having standard-ish questions reduces the difficulty of (1); having learners speaking probably reduces the difficulty of (1) and (2)…you could ask the standard questions of first language speakers and (2) would be a bit more challenging…The existing interviews would then become the full-blown, full difficulty- top of the tree… does this make any sense?? :crazy_face:

I was also wondering whether there could some sort of extension to the SSIW challenges to sort of ‘meet in the middle’.

The extras might cover the standard questions (vocab and language) and also help people break into the little pools of conversation which can join to become big pools in the real world.

I was thinking of things like the weather forecast (easy starting point) and the news - covering crime, accidents, incidents and politics (Welsh assembly, westminster) - interview type of conversation, sport conversation and so on…

Obviously this is very much in keeping with the style and building blocks that SSIW gives you anyway…just up one level in the sense of preparation more specialist material for listening to eg Radio Cymru or watching S4C

Obviously there are two things there, only one of which is related to the Sgwrs, as such. The second one probably sounds like a lot of work!

Rich :slight_smile:


I’ve followed the arron suggested way of listning for every one of your interviews and found the process helpful. Would it be posible to intetview gerallt pennant off galwad cynnar. I thought it was the subject thst was the problem till last friday. He was on the radio sharing some items out of newspapers and i was as lost as i am on his nature programe. … I do apppreciate the interviews. Thanks. Rich p


I’ll add him to my list!


Regarding the level of difficulty assigned to different accents -. Ive just been listening to Mike Jones (?) Being interviewed on the Radio Cymru art programme. I think he is from Cwmtawe so definitely Southern. Even though most people I speak to are from SE Wales/Cwmtawe, he seems to be in a different league in terms of accent. To be fair, he’d give most Cofis a run for their money on understandability difficulty.


Bridging the gap is difficult if you don’t live in Wales. - 15/20 mins would be adequate. The north or south accents don’t worry me. I have listened to four of the advanced lessons but not in chronological order so that I was surprised last night to listen to number 25 Marc James. I knew every word he said but I did not understand the conversation. Therefore I need the translation. The interaction between Becca and Marc helped and Marc comes over as an interesting person.
It would be a good idea to have two levels in the advanced course. I completed level 3 south months ago and now occasionally look at the north course to increase my vocabulary. I speak weekly to another SSIW learner on skype /or slack but I get more out of a monthly meeting with a small group of welsh speakers here in Gloucester .


At this point, also, multiple listenings will really bear fruit for you… :slight_smile:


Thanks for your reply. I will definitely keep at it.


I too would welcome any stepping stone between Course 3 and the Advanced Course. Despite a very helpful and encouraging dialogue with Aran elsewhere earlier this year, I do feel that the leap from Course 3 to the Advanced podcasts is rather too wide for me. I certainly am learning by listening to them, but it might be more efficient for some of us to have this extra step, whatever its nature.