Doubting already

I’ve just started the 6 month course. Completed week 1 feeling ok. Week 2 seems impossible and I’m questioning if I can do this :weary: do you use the vocabulary list during the session? My recall on the sentences is terrible

From my personal experience I would suggest not to keep vocabulary list open while doing the challenge for the first time: I thought it would help, instead I found out it was worse! The next day I remembered nothing from that challenge.

But I would.also say: don’t worry. There are up and downs, but it always gets better.


Hi Lisa,
What you are experiencing is incredibly common, and I can assure you that many of us have had, and continue to have, a lot of doubts at various stages. Don’t be afraid to use the pause button if that helps - I always have. I didn’t do the 6 month course, but I do know that you can ask the tutor any questions on an ongoing basis, and they might have suggestions for you. What I would personally suggest - and I know this seems counter-intuitive, it did to me when it was first recommended - is to plough on through a couple more lessons. And only then go back over the earlier lessons and see how much you’ve taken in, you might surprise yourself.

I would try not to use the vocabulary list initially, do the sessions first.

Although my own progress has been slow I am now able to have regular chats via the Slack website, and folks tell me that my Welsh is better than I imagine it to be. I have no doubt that if you stick with it, you WILL make progress with this method even though initially it may not feel much like it.


As well as this forum you will also find lots of support on the 6monthers workplace on Slack and will also be able to ask questions,take part or just listen to the group hangouts if you wish.
I can’t see that you have joined it yet but there are various channels eg introduce yourself, how are you doing, a channel specifically for the week you are currently doing, etc.
I think you will,find we have all had rocky times with the weekly challenges, but have had lots of support.
Hope this helps and Pob lwc.


Hi Lisa - when you say ‘terrible’ - can you give us a rough idea what kind of ‘more or less right’ rate you’re getting with the new stuff?

Definitely don’t use the vocab list during the session - it’ll make the session feel easier, but it will severely damage the learning process… :slight_smile:

Also - can you tell me a bit more about week 1? How did Challenge 2 feel to you? How much were you using the pause button?


Hi Aran. I found challenge one better than I thought given I had never spoken a word of Welsh (accept for the anthem!). I started challenge 2 and felt completely overwhelmed so stopped it. I haven’t been using the pause button much. I think I probably did it when I wasn’t feeling great so need to go back to it. I will try it again after work tonight.

Thank you all for your kind messages. Diolch


Okay - that sounds as though it’s a bit too early in the process to be sure what’s happening here - if it’s just getting used to the approach, or if there are some higher repetition needs going on - I’d recommend you give 2 a go with as much use of the pause button as you need, and see how that feels… :slight_smile:

Hi Aran…have been doing SSiW for about 7 years…with little success. Got stuck in lesson 13 of old course fairly recently. I hadn’t got that far before… so began again with the new material. Been working on lesson 3 for several days, doing as much as my aging brain will cope with, but finding new material more intense and more difficult than the old. Having got stuck on this lesson, if I had any hair I would be tearing it out.!!!Dwi ddim yn cofio ve!!!..just to let you know…had to tell someone! Don’t want to give up but I find it hard work. I’m sure there are others older than me who are succeeding.

Hi Peter,

There are a couple of main possibilities here - you might be what we call a ‘higher repetition learner’ (see if this sounds familiar to you:…

Or you might be setting unrealistic targets for what you’re meant to achieve with each practice session - expecting to get all the prompts correct, for example.

Could you tell me a little about how you work on the lessons? Do you use the pause button much? How long do you spend on a session? And we can try to find out the best way forward for you… :slight_smile:


Hi Aran;
Diolch i ateb. Your use of the word “repetition” rang a bell with me! Even in Uni days, and I had 6 years yn Caerdydd, the only way for learning/swatting that worked for me was repeatedly writing out materials I needed to know for exams etc. Laborious, but it did work. As a matter of interest, I often say that I think through my fingers…I go blank in certain areas of confrontation. As a preacher, although I don’t read my text, in preparation it comes as I put my fingers on the keyboard. Mind you, it probably doesn’t help in that my brain is 82 years old!
When I do the lessons, I try not to use the pause button too much unless the mind goes blank, and very often only manage 10-15 mins of the lesson until I get frustrated. Next time, I usually begin at the beginning of the lesson and get within sight of the end, and possibly finish off the next day. This has been my practice, on and off, for the past 7 years! I know it is not recomended, but since making my comments, I have printed off the vocabs for the 3 lessons and am trying to use the repetition technique before having another go…5 times each lesson? I will try it, but it wont be fun…I do find language learning difficult, and quite frustrating. I was challenged by the video of the woman who now lives her life in Welsh after just 4 years. Like you, I would find it easier if I lived in a Welsh environment, but that wont happen now!
Many thanks…Peter


Okay, Peter - you’ve given me some very valuable insight here… :slight_smile:

First up, ditch this idea - it’s very well known now that even neurogenesis itself is a lifelong phenomenon, and neural plasticity even more so - give your brain the right input, and it will adapt, at every age… :slight_smile:

So, good news - the fact that you’re usually operating without the pause button shows that you have a very high speed of response - that’s a HUGE strength - I’ve worked with lots of people who wouldn’t be able to survive at all without heavy use of the pause button.

Then more good news - there’s one main pattern which is holding you back, and it’s easy to change - this business of going back to the beginning of the lesson/practice session. It will work much, MUCH better for you if you do the first 10 minutes, then the next 10 minutes the next day, then the last 10 minutes the day after that.

But hold your horses on the repetition - I’m not sure yet that’s what you need to do.

Could you do Challenge 3 in three 10 minute sets over the next three days, and then tell me roughly how many of the prompts you were getting mostly right?

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Hi Aran…3 days of 10 mins…Challenge 3…note that I have battled with this challenge several times already
Day 1: 27 correct, 4 0f which with pause…8 incorrect
Day 2: 29 correct, 6 of which with Pause…11 incorrect
Day 3: 15 correct, 9 of which with pause…15 incorrect… this part had longer sentences and the use of bod and bo’fi…I wasnt too disappointed with Days 1 and 2, but was with day 3. Part of the background is that about 2 months back I was working on Lesson 13 in the Old Material…with difficulty. I decided to start the new material for the 3rd. time…gap was that my wife died and I didn’t have the incentive to do much. However, back in the saddle now…more or less. Yn anffodus, dw i wedi anghofio beth dw i wedi bod yn dysgu. Hen problem, ond dwi ddim in moyn i rhoi’r gorau…Peter


Hi Peter - thank you very much for such detail - and I’m very sorry you’ve been having such a tough time.

With a hit/miss rate like that, you are definitely ready to move on. Could you do the same thing with 4, and let me know the numbers? :slight_smile:

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I always try to explain the paradox of feeling totally confused whilst actually making progress by pointing out that the subconscious mind can be way ahead of your conscious awareness of recently learned material, particularly when travelling up the learning curve quite swiftly.

The secret (and the challenge) is an act of faith which can seem a bit scary at first, very much like learning to ride a bicycle or to swim. Stopping to think about individual words can be like over-analysing hand movements on the handlebars or in the water, making you more likely to lose balance.

I can still vividly remember Spring 2015 when I was working through the SSiW old Course 2 and Course 3 and I felt a bit guilty for doing other computer work at the time whilst listening to (and responding to) the SSiW challenges in the background. I would mentally zone out and back in, catching myself talking Welsh almost like I was watching myself in the third person.

I wondered how much Welsh had actually gone into my head at the time. But I have to recognise that my subsequent progress meant the material had gone in - it just didn’t feel like it at the time.

Bottom line - trust your subconscious mind, it is a valuable and intelligent companion.


Yes, and trust the process.

Some words are very stubborn, some phrases are tongue-twisters, and some lessons are a real challenge at the time, but move on, because others all come easily and more naturally fairly quickly and revision is built into future lessons.

Whether it is 2 steps forward and 1 back, or 10 forward and 9 back—that is still measrable progress, but the subconscious is also making progress the we can only measure later.

Please do not give up—as someone who struggled (because I am deaf) I can say that the journey has been worth every step and the friends I have met on the Forum have been champion cheer-leaders.

Think of this as a heroes journey—an adventure, so enjoy it for where it leads, and keep the faith—trust yourself too and trust the process.

Very best wishes,


Dw n hen,hen ddynes. Dal ati, it does get better. avril.


When I get frustrated because I feel I’m not remembering words or structures that I think I ought to have learnt by now, I remind myself how long it takes to memorise and learn stuff in English. It doesn’t seem so unreasonable then.

After all, in learning a foreign language, you’re not just learning words and rules, but also developing an instinctive understanding of a very complex system, as well as grappling with the comprehension and production of unfamiliar sounds.

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Hi Aran,
Completed Challenge 4 as requested…3 x 10 min. sessions. the first was quite easy, the second part was more difficult and had real difficulty with the 3rd. session…especially as I had forgotten things from the previous session…had to keep consulting the Vocab in order to survive!!!..Results:
1st. 10 mins…36 correct, with 3 Pauses…4 incorrect
2nd. 10 mins…34 correct with 17 Pauses.8 incorrect.
3rd. 10mims. 31 correct with 11 Pauses…and browsing the vocab…17 incorrect
Not sure what that says. I like the idea of doing 10 min. sessions…in theory I should be completing 2 whole
lessons per week and therefore 8 per month…I did say "in theory!’…Thanks for your help so far…I will have a swat session with the vocabulary, if I’m allowed that heresy!..Peter

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That’s a perfectly good rate of progress - rather strong, in fact, I’d say!

That bit about ‘consulting vocab to survive’ - please don’t! Just press on through and do what you can… :slight_smile:

But you definitely have what it takes to go far with this, if you can learn to live with the uncertainty… :slight_smile:


It’s not bad at all. Just remember that it takes time to learn a language. I find all language learning very slow, and I just accept it. Seems like you’re in the right direction…

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