Bore da pawb,I’ve just completed level 1,and if I’m truthful I’m a little underwhelmed at where I am with my conversational Welsh I’ve practiced long and hard used my Welsh at every opportunity bestowed upon me,I’ve listened to listening practices as well,but the thought of starting level 2 is filling me with dread.
Perhaps my expectations are too high,has anyone else felt this way.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Andrew Rowberry


What exactly is it that is making you feel underwhelmed? Is it a lack of vocabulary, a lack of speed, or something else?

It’s very easy for us to make our expectations too high because it’s only natural to want to speak a second language as fully as we speak our first, but it’s a bit like learning a new musical instrument - even if we could play a Chopin piano concerto to a good standard, I suspect very, very few of us could launch into a Paganini violin concerto after grade 1 violin!

If it puts your mind at rest a bit, I’ve been a second-language Welsh speaker for 20 years but there are still certain conversations I find very difficult to have in Welsh. If I’m talking about rowing, swimming or tap-dancing, health matters, legal matters…
This doesn’t stop me having conversations - ok, so I have to chuck in a lot of English terms, but that’s fine, chuck 'em in and get back to Welsh where I can!

The view from further down the mountain (level 1) may not be what you’d hoped for, but the only way to get the best view is to carry on up (level 2, 3 and beyond). At times it’ll be a hard slog, and at times the mist will come down and you won’t see a thing. It’s all part of the journey. Don’t be too hard on yourself - you’re on the right path.


I think we’ve probably ALL felt that way, at one time or another? I can certainly remember some pretty despondent days.

But…we know that the method is sound, and that we just need to trust it, and ‘dal ati’.
It’s also good to tap into the joy of the language without necessarily feeling the pressure to understand every word (Cymraeg songs always help me to access this feeling, and spur me on).
Maybe change it up a bit and try reading something (loads of good novels for dysgwyrs out there).

Finally - remind yourself of the reason that you wanted to do it in the first place, and also remember it’s not a race, just a journey. Enjoy & pob lwc.


Diolch yn fawr,for your reply what I’ve done and continue to do is I work part time in a garage and I give myself 3 tasks a day where I engage in Gymraeg with 3 customers,which really helps,I feel I just want the conversations to go on,because I enjoy it so much,but my vocabulary won’t allow me,it’s just me no drama.
I was hoping maybe face to face teaching to resume,fingers crossed hey.


You’re doing everything right - and that’s a great plan to work to. When I started, I used to wear a “dwi’n dysgu Cymraeg” badge, and that really helped starting conversations and keeping them going (because it helped allow for hesitations and mistakes).
It will take time to build up vocabulary but it will come. There will always be something you want to say and don’t have the word for (even when you know you’ve come across that word before!), it happens to everyone.

Have you tried our ‘Welsh Speaking Practice’ group on Slack? It’s a great way to get more conversation practice - and no need to worry about holding up customers!

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Diiolch yn fawr I lawn,no I haven’t been on slack to practice speaking,however if it helps “I’m on it”,but I really enjoy the face to face conversations however challenging and I’m sure I’ll get there.


Something that may help is to try to comment on things (silently in your head) as you go about normal life. This reveals the gaps in your vocabulary. You can then look up and memorise the words. I found that was better than just trying to learn vocabulary lists compiled by someone else.


As a language teacher I would say that the intermediate stage of learning a language is harder than the beginner stage. It’s like going over a hill. Perservere, and the view from the top is superb!