Cath's 10(ish) day online bootcamp

Noswaith dda pawb - Cath dw’i…

… and that’s the most Welsh I’ve managed to utter all day. Failed at the first challenge of greeting everyone in Welsh (apart from a lone tweet first thing this morning!) - I have no excuse other than ‘work brain’ took over as soon as I set foot in the office, whereas I associate learning Welsh with ‘spare time brain’… (I didn’t say it was a particularly good excuse… !)

On the plus side, I have managed to sit all the way through a lesson (Level 1, lesson 3 - the reboot version - not listened to any of the new ones yet) and not switch off in frustration, which is something of an achievement in itself for me.

On another plus side - really enjoying Aran’s emails - they make me laugh :slight_smile:

Anyway, Day 2 of 10 yfory - let’s see what that brings… !

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Shw mae, Cath?

Everything takes time, and beating yourself up the first time you jump out of a plane because your roll wasn;t perfect when you landed won’t help anyone! Relax - you shwmae’d on Twitter yesterday morning, and you’ve completed a lesson. You are one shwmae and one completed lesson up on where you were yesterday morning. Celebrate!

Interesting that you say challenge 3 was “not turned off in frustration”. It’s really easy to see the lessons as “something that has to be completed, completely, probably passing with merit”. It’s an attitude that is beaten into us in school. Teachers often say things like “aim for the stars, and at least you’ll hit the top of the trees”, but the system teaches us that hitting the top of the trees is an abject failure, and if we’d only done a bit more work / concentrated more / spent less time out on the mountain with the dog we could have eached the stars.

Doing SSiW lessons is different, really. Aim for the stars, and when you hit the trees, use your slight vantage point to find a better way (or the same way, from slightly higher) to reach the stars.

I’ll check two things:

One - you’ve started at challenge 1, and got to the end of that before moving on.
Two = you’re saying something in every pause. What you say doesn’t have to be right, and certainly doesn;t need to be perfect, but you are saying something.

If you tick both those boxes, then you’re doing what you need to. There’s no need to get frustrated - you’ll make lots of mistakes, and every mistake will help you speak better and better Welsh.

Now - go say “shw mae” to a couple of people. Go to some people in work and say “D**n I’ve forgotten to do my homework. Shwmae!”, Or mase some excuse about your dog’s birthday and go buy some cakes. Say “Shwmae” to everyone you see between work and the cake shop. Just do something, and you’ll be amazed at the effect it has!

Oh yes, and enjoy it. It’s the kind of “off the wall” activity that we aren’t normally allowed to do, but you’ve been told to do it in the interests of education!. You have permission. Go enjoy it!

PS - Was it you I spoke to yesterday on DailyWelshWords? I hope so, because you seemed to have the right attitude to the whole thing.


Hi Cath, and a very warm welcome to the forum! :thumbsup:

I approve enormously of people who laugh at me, or indeed at my emails - it is an obvious sign to me that you are destined for great things.

Don’t worry about the first challenge. Just do it tomorrow. :sunny:

And well done on surviving a lesson - remember, every mistake gives you an extra neurological jolt and helps strengthen the memory - yup, honest!

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Noswaith dda eto!

Diolch yn fawr iawn @Iestyn ac @aranjones am gaerau hyfryd! I was going to say ‘vous et tres gentil’ then… that’s less impressive… Chi’n wych! Much better :wink:

I think it probably was me you spoke to on Twitter (CathTwo in case that helps - I imagine you speak to a lot of people!) Thanks for the encouragement on there too - it’s all appreciated!

Level 1, Lesson 4 (reboot) under my belt and I found today’s challenge of writing a sgwrs much easier to accomplish than yesterday’s and was able to have some fun with it :slight_smile: I’m much more comfortable when writing than when speaking, even yn Saesneg! Didn’t exactly set the world alight with my verbal Welsh today either, but I did make an effort to text my husband using mostly Welsh words… baby steps…

Same time, same place tomorrow? :slight_smile:

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Lines up his target…


We really need to work on our smilies.

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Day 3 in the Big Brother hou - no, wait, wrong script.

Level 1, Lesson 5 (Reboot) in the bag and the easiest I’ve found one of those things yet - hoorah! I think the fact that I already knew all the new vocab for this one probably helped as it made the whole thing a revision session instead of having to learn anything new at the same time (Lazy Me approved!), but I’m hoping it’s also a little bit to do with my brain getting used to this way of doing things… we can hope!

As for the challenge, when my brain hears ‘two person dialogue’ it immediately defaults to Hamish and Dougal of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue fame. I’m also a bit of a scifi geek. I’ve therefore spent bits of this evening discussing the relative merits of the new Doctor compared to the old young one. In Welsh. In a Scottish accent. Go me :smiley:

(Yeah, the smilies could do with some work… :stuck_out_tongue: )

Nes yfory!

Day 3 - Supplemental.

I was browsing other people’s threads and noticed they’d posted their dialogues - wasn’t sure if we had to or not so thought I’d better (‘on i’n meddol bod well i fi’!) to be on the safe side!

(This is genuinely a fairly standard conversation topic in my world.)


Dougal! Wyt ti wedi bwyta heno?

Aye, dwi wedi! Wyt ti wedi bod yn gwilio Meddyg Pwy?

Oes! Beth wyt ti’n meddol am Meddyg newydd?

Hoffen i ‘Rhif Un ar ddeg’ i dod nol… !"

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That sounds like a useful dialogue in certain circumstances, and since those circumstances include ‘living with someone who likes talking about Doctor Who’, I can see that might have been a good move for you :sunny:

I think we do see a pattern of people getting increasingly used to the approach, although we haven’t been able to quantify that yet as much as I’d like - if it feels as though it’s happening, though, fingers crossed it is…

Day 4 - slight posting fail yesterday but I did listen to a new lesson (Level 1 - Lesson 7, having decided to skip 6). Can’t honestly say I did very well at the challenge - had a singing lesson so my brain was mainly focused on trying to breathe properly during that and didn’t see anyone else to hear them say anything, but I have been making a conscious effort to try and siarad cymraeg gyda hubby more than I normally do.

Today (Day 5) I’ve been ridiculously tired but still managed to listen to a lesson (Level 1, Lesson 8). Finding short forms difficult to grasp at the mo and I keep lapsing into the longer forms by default because they’re what I remember from school. I’ve also noticed I have a tendency to mutate verbs regardless of whether I need to or not…

Anyway, not been slacking (or at least not any more than normal!)

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That’s the best sign yet that you’re really speaking Welsh, Cath - If you’re saying stuff farily much right but not what we’re saying back, then you have already developed your own “preferred” Welsh. Don’t see that as a negative at all! You will find that the more Welsh you hear, the more your Welsh will take on the accent / patterns of the Welsh you hear. But the first step is taking ownership of the language, and having “the way you talk”. It looks like you already have that step licked. Brilliant!

As for mutations - I mutate in worng places, and don;t mutate when I should, and mutate at random in some circumstances, and I’ve been speaking Welsh since I’ve been speaking. It’s natural, and shows that your brain is getting used to mutating words. That’s a positive as well. Getting them “right” will happen more and more often the more you speak, until you get to the elevated position of getting them right quite often, like me!

Is your husband Welsh speaking? That’s a double edged sword, in that you’ve got practice “on tap” (hurray!) but it’s with the person you’ve spoken the most English with in your whole life, which makes things tough, plus when it’s on tap, it’s wasy to always put it off. Speaking a bit here and there, but regularly, is a great step forward.

:star: (When I wrote “star” I got the option of “custard” which could have given a very different message…!)

How lovely that would be, but no, her husband isn’t Welsh speaking, just keen to get there :smile:

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Aha! Am I correct in saying that her husband is Welsh speaking, but doesn;t recognise that because the topics about which he can “Welsh speak” are more restricted than those about which he can “English speak”?

Aside: This is just like a real life (as opposed to virtual) Welsh speaking community, where after a few days or weeks of speaking to a stranger, you realise that they are related to other people that you speak to every day…

Regardless, I suggest the first 5 minutes of tea time (or some other time when there’s usually conversation) are bootcamp rules. Maybe wait for the online bootcamp to be over so there’s a bit more space and a few less challenges! You’ll be amazewd at how far ranging your Welsh speaking superpowers are.

That might not be entirely unreasonable :smile:

I quite like that, thanks.

Tell me a little bit more about this - had you done 6 before at some point?

Otherwise, as Iestyn said, it all sounds good - giving an alternative answer isn’t a problem at all, and hearing the short forms will make you more likely to pick them out when you get them thrown at you in conversation :sunny:

Day Lost Count…

I’m still alive, I’ve just been a bit rubbish at posting lately and the (ish) part of my thread subject has become more accurate than I’d anticipated…

Due to factors I can no longer remember but that included choir commitments, I ended up having my own ‘bootcamp within a bootcamp’ on Wednesday, listening to 9, 10 and 11 in one day whilst driving to/from work and choir, then felt rubbish on Thursday, was out yesterday and so have just listened to 12 now. I’m finding some phrases roll out without even thinking about it whilst others (particularly old/young man/woman and the various tenses involving he/she) are proving more bothersome. I’m also confused by ‘mae gyda fi x’ when I learnt it in school as ‘mae x (gy)da fi’ so I’m tending to stick with what I’m familiar with for those. I’ll get there - had my last Aran email the other day but I’ve technically only listened to 9 so not quite finished yet!

We won’t mention the challenges…

@aranjones - skipped 6 because I could see I already knew the new vocab and I’m impatient… looks sheepish

And yes, I am Mrs @wondersheep :slight_smile:

That’s never a problem - the exposure to the different way will still help you decode it in conversation, and you never need to say it that way yourself if you don’t want to :sunny:

You might want to be a bit careful with skipping stuff - because even if you can see that the content list is all familiar for you, it still means that you’re hopping over a significant chunk of the (fairly fine-tuned) repetition of earlier patterns/vocab - and the content list doesn’t necessarily include new ways of using older material. You’ve clearly survived, or you wouldn’t be on 12, but I’d be a little wary about letting it develop into a pattern :sunny:

Great to hear that you went for 3 in a day, though - well done for getting through that! The more you get used to pushing on quickly, the more natural it will feel, and the faster the whole thing should continue to go… :thumbsup:

Dwi wedi cwpla!!!

Finally… :blush:

If you ignore the lack of any actual challenge completion anyway… but I did listen to one more lesson than needed to make up for it and have now finished all the Level 1 reboot sessions available in South Walean.

On the downside, I did 13 and 14 in one day and my brain turned to goo so I think I may need to have another listen to one/both of those if looking at the vocab guide doesn’t help the patterns sink into my brain. I did find myself wishing at various points whilst doing these two for some helpful word/letter combinations to look at, but until then I’d been coping fine without so I’d say doing the bootcamp as an experiment in conversion from classroom based learning to ‘listen and repeat’ has been a fair success :smile:

Any pointers on what to start listening to from here (North Walean reboot from 15 onwards or something else?) would be much appreciated.

And thanks for all the Twitter support! :thumbsup:

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Many congratulations! :star:

With the goo-brain - does that mean that you couldn’t say anything at all, or does it just mean that you made more mistakes than you’re usually comfortable with?

If the latter, revisit 14 when you get the email prompt in a couple of weeks, and see how it shapes up then - a rest can really help with processing, and it may turn out that more went in than you realised (which you’ll never know if you go back and do extra work on them both straight away).

If I were you, I’d push on with the northern version, so you keep on breaking new ground - it will of course be helpful in terms of your understanding of Radio Cymru and S4C - and keep using the southern listening exercises for Level 1 - but it does depend on how painful you find the process of hearing stuff in northern and answering with a southern variation (which is fine for you to do, but makes some people feel irritated at getting stuff ‘wrong’!).

The latter, mostly. I found I was having ‘brain freeze’ more often and not quite finishing in the gap provided (bit difficult to pause whilst driving!)

It can’t be any more painful than hearing words in southern and wanting to say the northern variation I learnt in school… (why do we get taught North Walean in South Wales??) :wink:

In which case, my money would definitely be on them being more successfully internalised than you currently realise - there’s a huge margin for error in terms of how many successful sentences you need to keep the learning process ticking over.

Just the same loving-kindness that makes people do missionary work in any other situation as well, I guess…:wink: