Course 1 vs Level 1 - which? Why? When? What?!

Thanks to Kev, for suggesting that it would be helpful if I did a quick overview of where we’re up to with course development, to help people who are choosing between Course 1 and Level 1 (or between going on to Course 2 or 3 and kicking off with Level 1).

In the long run, there’s no comparison - Level 1 not only gives you more immediately useful conversational material, it also leads into our (currently) unique accelerated listening exercises, and that process will continue with Level 2 (northern version currently coming to the end of the recording stage). I’m expecting people who’ve finished Level 1 and 2 to sound considerably more natural and idiomatic than people who’ve done Course 3 but haven’t spent much time using their Welsh.


You also need to consider timescales. If you’re expecting/aiming to get through a couple of sessions a week (or more), then the old Course 1/2/3 route currently has 95 half-hour(ish) sessions available (including vocab sessions).

Level 1 has 25 (northern) and 16 (southern) available as I write this. The next 25 (Level 2) will be available for northern in the coming two to three months - and Iestyn and Cat are hoping to start recording again in the near future, so the southern will probably get to the end of Level 1 fairly soon-ish.

By the time we have Level 1 and 2 available for north and south, and Level 3 well under way, we’ll be starting to think about downgrading the old material - at first, we’ll just tuck it away somewhere reasonably obvious while flagging up Level 1 for new learners more firmly - eventually, after several months of warning so that anyone who wants to can download, we’ll probably remove links to it from the site (because once the full ‘Levels’ are available, the old stuff would be an unhelpful distraction).

For now, though, your choice boils down to:

Start with Level 1, and go back to some Course 1/2/3 stuff if you run out of Level 1 material.

Start with Course 1, with a view to moving over to Level 1 once you’re happy that enough material has been published.

Neither of these options is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. You’ll be fine whichever way you go. If you’re in a hurry, and would be frustrated by running out of new material, go the old route for now - if you’re happy to switch back if you finish Level 1, then go for it (even if just for the huge extra value of the accelerated listening exercises).

Hope this is helpful :sunny:

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Thanks Aran. And the current thinking is that the requirement for a bootcamp these days is either ‘old course 1 + old course 1 vocab’, or ‘new level 1’, is that right?

Is there an encouragement to flip from new level 1 to do the old course 1 vocab afterwards for a bootcamp, or anything like that?

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Ah, yes, good point. :star:

Bootcamp is a hugely valuable breakthrough for anyone who can do it, although obviously places are limited.

To qualify for Bootcamp, you need to do either:

Course 1 + the 10 vocab units, or

Level 1.

If you’ve only done Level 1, then running through vocab units 5, 6, 7 and 8 for Course 1 before coming on Bootcamp would be a valuable extra.


I’d be tempted to suggest running through all of the vocab units before going on bootcamp, to be honest - I don’t recall seeing numbers, days of the week or months of the year in the new course, and those are incredibly useful things to know if you’re going spend a week without speaking English…


Friday, Saturday and Sunday are in Level 1, and so is ‘two’ - but to be honest, ‘tomorrow’ and ‘yesterday’ (both in Level 1) tend to be far more useful in a Bootcamp scenario, while numbers are the flat out easiest to live without by resorting to gestures… :sunny:

Of course, the more you cover, the better - but I’d be entirely happy with anyone coming who’d done Level 1 on its own. 5, 6, 7, 8 of the vocabs would just be a great bonus.

Never said it should be required, just that it’d be useful (particularly if the person going has done all the others and still has a while before the trip :wink: ).

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No, you didn’t, but I’m keen to make everything as clear as possible in this thread, because it’s specifically to help people make these decisions.

I agree that extra material is always a good thing - but our official standpoint is that we will accept people on Bootcamp who have finished Level 1, and that doing extra vocab lessons (starting, I recommend, with 5, 6, 7, 8) is optional :sunny:

This thread is really timely for me. I have been stagnating a bit recently (my mother has been staying with me until recently and I didn’t have much time for doing SSiW). That’s one excuse and the other one is that I really couldn’t decide what to do next.

I finished Course 2 (Northern) some months ago. I started on Course 3 (I think I got to Lesson 2) and had a bit of a wobble - it seemed very northern. Well of course it was northern, because I have been doing the northern Course 1 and 2, but I live near Machynlleth and have been doing formal courses at Aberystwyth University (southern/Ceridigion Welsh). Sometimes (often) I am confused and just use whichever version comes into my head - north and south in one sentence!.

I also had difficulty deciding how colloquial I wanted to be. You need to bear in mind here that I am the kind of person that turns off the Starburst advert on the TV, because it says “unexplainably juicy”, shouting “inexplicable” over and over to myself…

I am up to Lesson 4 of the Vocab units after Course 2, and enjoying those, even though I’m finding them quite difficult.

Any advice gratefully received. Should I continue with Course 3 Northern, or should I change to Level 1 Northern, or even Southern or both? I have an eight-hour train journey coming up soon, so I think I could make a really good start, if only I could decide on the route to take!

I’d suggest starting Level 1, honestly - the majority of Course 3 is spent teaching the short forms of verbs, which is a thing you learn pretty much from the outset with Level 1 anyway. It might be worth doing the Southern one, just to be more similar to the way they speak around Mach and Aber, but that’s entirely up to you.


In Machynlleth, and where I live, it’s mainly north Wales Welsh, which is why I started the SSiW northern course. The change to southern Welsh seems to be a bit further down the road towards Aberystwyth, say around Tal-y-bont. My mum has just moved to Aberystwyth, so I’ve started a conversation class in Aberystwyth (south/Ceredigion) and I’m also doing a conversation class in Mach, which is north Wales Welsh! It’s not a big problem tuning in to the different accents, but the differences seem more noticeable with the short forms.

Since the Level 1 course introduces these early and along the way, that could be a good reason for doing that next.

I moved 40 posts to a new topic: Tatjana - progress reports

I finished the original Courses 1 and 2 and now wanting to do the new levels 1 and 2. Am I right in assuming that the daily practise sessions I used to do with the old courses are not going to be applicable with the new levels?

S’mae Demon?

They are still valuable to do if you want to (I use them for random practice semi-regularly), but no they are not directly applicable to the new Levels. There are new listening practices though, and these are superb. They can be found on the lesson download pages for Challenges 5,10, 15, 20 and 25. These are dialogue-based, and the last 4 are at double speed, so they are fantastic for getting your brain processing Welsh lightning fast.

Pob lwc,



Shw mae i gyd. I’m new to the SSiW Web site and Forum. I completed Cwrs Mynyddiad Un last year as an adult learner and thoroughly enjoyed it. I cannot commit to the 1hr / week this year so I started self learning using the SSiW audio course which I find enjoyable - but I miss the social aspects of the ‘tutor driven’ course. I have now completed level 3, moving onto Level 4. Presumably, from the foregoing posts is this still a good strategy for me. Advice welcomed. Mike

Welcome to the forum, Mike :sunny:

When you say 4, are you talking about Mynediad material or perhaps our Level 1? If you’ve done our old Course 3, you’re going great guns!

Whereabouts are you? It’s a shame to have to miss out on the social side of things, but maybe there’s a group somewhere near you that you could meet from time to time :sunny:

Hi Aran. Thanks for your reply. I live in Newport. I am moving on to ‘Lesson 4’ (sorry) in the ‘old’ SSiW course. I completed Cwrs Mynydiad 1 as an adult learner; this was great fun - 3 hours a week over last academic year.

I think there are (or certainly have been) some socials in or around the 'Port - @cuckoo or @theblacksparrow might know :star:

Good luck, and don’t hesitate to come on here and ask for help when you hit any of the brick walls we’ve cleverly hidden in the course…:wink:

Hi Mike, as Aran said there’s a bit going on locally if you know where to look, Saturday mornings seem to be favourite unless like me you’re retired. The next SSIW meeting in
the 'port is in March, look for a post on the forum. There lot’s of midweek meetings in and
around Newport if you’ve got time off.
Again as Aran said feel free to pm James or myself.

Hwyl am y tro.

Dave ( cuckoo )

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Hi @michaelharries - @cuckoo is definitely the man to speak to about local Casnewydd meetups since he goes to far more of them than I do!

There’s also a great Tuesday evening meeting in Croesyceiliog. There’s a good mix of learners and first language speakers to talk to.

The next one’s tomorrow - Torfaen Meetup - Tuesdays @ 1900 - The Upper Cock Inn, Croesyceiliog

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