Dysgwr y flwyddyn ... my wrap up

Hello Everyone,

I had my interview last night. I didn’t get through to the final round (sorry, Aran, Iestyn and the two Cats). I didn’t expect to get through but I couldn’t help hoping for the impossible. So, a little disappointment here in Melbourne this morning.

Overall it was an interesting process and I will give my impressions for those who choose to tread this path in the future.

Doing the intensive day of preparation was amazing. I felt my brain switch gears and, as a consequence, I spoke quite fluidly in the interview. I scheduled five Skype chats through the day. I had sent people my application beforehand and they asked me a range of interesting questions based on what I had written. It was soo…helpful. Their questions were actually more interesting than the ones asked in the interview.

The Skype hook up wasn’t brilliant. Three people sitting away from the screen made the sound echo. I saw half of Alison Layland’s face and Sian’s hand. A couple of times I had to ask for clarification because I simply couldn’t hear properly. I don’t think this would have affected the outcome. The interview went as well as could be expected with my standard of Welsh.

I am still not sure on what basis the five finalist were selected on. Maybe this is my lack of local knowldedge? I guess if I’d been there on the day I might have heard this in the judges summary. Perhaps, I’ll get sent a copy on Monday. As it was, I found out the results on Twitter. :frowning:

The outcome - competing has given my Welsh a kick start prior to coming to Wales, which, when it is all said and done, is what it is all about. I would recommend doing it for that reason alone. But it was hard work and took heaps of time and from a distance it wasn’t as much fun as it might have been in Wales. But I’m not sorry I took part. :smile:



Not easy to do via Skype Liz and it was an achievement to make the semi-finals, so llongyfarchiadau. I’m sure that you’ll reap the benefits of all that work when you go to Wales. Profiad da, dwi’n siwr ac roedd hi’n ddiddorol iawn sgwrsio efo ti ddoe.

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Full credit to you for participating - and letting us join you in your journey, Liz!

The effort and energy you have put into this will stand you in very good stead! This year in Wales, or something like that. :star2:


I fully endorse that.
Da iawn ti a diolch yn fawr


You are all too kind.

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Were any of the finalist from SSiW? Does anyone know?

Dysgwr y Flwyddyn/Learner of the Year 2015

@dinas says everything here. :slight_smile: (if it helps in a way)


Thanks. I didn’t see that.

That sounds like first prize to me right there :sunny:

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It was amazing and well worth the experience for that alone. :smile:


Liz, I felt the same way. My interview was through Skype. Sketchy sound, echos, sound delays and words that were just cut out. I would have had as much trouble understanding someone in English.

I really didn’t expect to be chosen either. From what I can tell (from looking back over the last 25 years of winners) the down side for me is that I don’t live in Wales. All the winners since 1990 have lived in Wales apart from two which were from Patagonia. I was very disappointed, but oh, well.

In a way, it “kick started” my attitude to the language as well. I may not have made it to the final round, but I will continue studying, writing, and composing in Welsh. Hope to have several works to show for next year.

One think I would love to see happen is for the competition to be in two categories: Learner of the Year - Wales and UK, and Learner of the Year Abroad. I would so love to see those outside Wales get more recognition for their efforts - not for myself, but for so many friends around the world who, like myself, are learning the language without the chance to go to a meet up or pop over to the local pub for a chat in Welsh (not a soul in this area, other than myself, speaks or is learning Welsh). But that is something we can work on for the future.

Oh, I was going to try to keep my accent “moderate”. Instead, I’m sure I sounded like a hick from north Wales. Then again, I am a Gog at heart :wink: Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible at the Eisteddfod. Have a few more competitions to go. Should be interesting :slight_smile:

Again, thanks for your post, Liz!! There might be times when you think “what’s the use?”, but keep at it.

Eris Culpepper, Meridian, MS, USA…on the outskirts of Mordor…lol


Hi Eris,

A number of times during the interview when the sound cut out and Sian’s hand waved across the misty screen and Alison’s half head nodded, I thought this is a joke. I’m not even in this competition. I have been trying to work out how to feed that back to the organisers without sounding negative. I have not yet come up with a way to do so. But they should have had blue tooth headphones and microphones. Failing that one person close to the microphone doing that talking.

I would love to see an overseas learners’ competition. Or failing that, the number of finalists increased with at least one person from outside of Wales (including England) in the finals. I didn’t waste my time competing. I did it to fly the SSiW flag and to improve my Welsh but I was never a true contender for the prize. I see that now and feel foolish for not realising it beforehand.


Maybe, this year Debora from Rome will win and will make my comment redundant… but it does seem if your not in Wales or Patagonia your chances of winning are zero. To my mind with people learning throughout the world that’s a serious short fall in promoting the language. I hope, Debora, wins…

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I can’t remember the judges names, but the two women were no really visible for me. I agree with you about how the set up should be. Also, one of the main reasons I wanted to compete was to show the Eisteddfod organizers that there are lots of people in the world who have learnt and are learning Welsh through SSIW.

I only remember them asking me one question: How are you learning Welsh? I was actually surprised how fast I was speaking. But they never asked me anything else that I can remember. I thought that was odd. Like you, I didn’t really feel as though I was in the competition.

I definitely wouldn’t say you were “foolish for not realizing” before hand that you (like myself) were not a contender. We learn. I’m very proud of you for going for it!!!

Honestly, the more I think about the competition, it is easy for me to think negatively about it. Like you, I want to write up a feed back letter to email to them, without coming across as negative. I think it’s good to point out what we found distractive, and ways to improve. I’m still thinking it over, too. By the way, I never thought of the bluetooth idea. That’s brilliant! And I would like to have seen all three judges. One thing that threw me off a bit was that they were all looking at the top left of my screen. One would have to assume that’s where their monitor was located. I don’t know about you, but it made me feel as though they weren’t really listening. There may have been a logistics reason the monitor was placed there, but would have been better to be looking “face to face”.

Have to say it again, don’t feel “foolish”. Those of us outside Wales and the UK as “nuts” to learn Welsh (in a way). It reminds me of what we were told when I was studying acting at university: you have to be nuts to do it. :slight_smile: So join the crowd. We’ll show’em :slight_smile:


It’s wonderful to hear that people from all corners of the world are still motivated to learn Welsh and fascinating to hear the background stories which drive that motivation. Hearing new(ish) second language speakers (not learners) like Debora and Kim interviewed on national radio through the medium of Welsh does help promote the language and the inclusion of Debora in the final five will help secure some good publicity. I had the opportunity to speak with Debora last week and heard myself that she fully deserves a place in the final based on her Welsh and the fact that she sat through the second half of the game against Wales in Rome this year taking her punishment with grace.

The battle to secure the future of the Welsh language will not be won in the piazza’s of Rome or plains of Patagonia - nor, indeed in the suburbs of Surrey. More than eighty per-cent of the population of Wales claimed no knowledge of the Welsh language at the time of the last census. What we need to see are more candidates like Joella Price, last year, and Deiniol Carter, this year - second language speakers with the potential to raise families in Wales through the medium of Welsh (no immediate pressure, then, but we’ll be watching!). The real fight is to ensure that Welsh is used beyond the school gates and more generally in communities throughout Wales - especially amongst second language speakers.

Everyone who has taken part in this competition has helped to strengthen the Welsh language. The adjudication and processes surrounding competitions like this will never be perfect but I have no doubt that just taking part will have boosted skills and confidence of all competitors which should be additional reward enough.

As for feeling foolish, the obvious answer to sceptical questions is “Pam fod eira yn wyn?”


I’m not the relevant person here to say so BUT I WILL anyway.

You have written so beautifully here in this thread what really bothers you and you didn’t sound even a bit (really) negative so: you have e-mails to where you can write, why don’t you just gather some courage and write to them? State it as a feedback and that’s it.

If they don’t get the feedback they wouldn’t know what is (let’s say) wrong or what might be better (if you want to sound less negative).

I can not write as I never competed and I probably won’t ever reach the stage in which I would speak so fluently to go to any competition at all, but if I would attend one and the things would be (regarding Skype etc) as you say, they’d surely hear from me.

For the sake of the learners abroad (among who I belogh too) who don’t have much chances to (really) speak in Cymraeg in their daily life (just like mentioned above) I hope Debora wins, too.

And to those who competed @elizabeth_j_corbett_ and @erisculpepper especially - whatever you reached on this competition, is more then excellent. To gather a courage and participate can be acheavement of its own what even to go there and do so (no matter if online). So Elizabeth, don’t feel stupid in any way. You’re jsut great doing whatever you feel needs to be done for your Cymraeg to improve.



I will write once I’ve processed my thoughts sufficiently. Thanks everyone for letting me do that here. In a way it was a mixed blessing to not realise beforehand, as I wouldn’t have worked so hard if I’d known. As it was, I achieved a great deal and, although I can think of ways I could have improved, the interview, I was happy with my Welsh. But we Aussies are notorious for demanding a ‘fair go’ and, when all is said and done, we didn’t get one. :smile:


Not only Aussies, believe me …

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And a well meaning Aussie is not going to help with that process. So let’s call the competition what it is - a form of marketing the Welsh language. And if if it helps to have ‘token’ overseas contributors so be it. I’ve done my bit. Now they can write in the newspaper ‘this year as always we had a number of competitors from overseas.’ :smile:

The key is to find an easy way for non-middle class-go-to-night school-and-learn-through-books people to learn Welsh. That in my opinion is SSiW. :smile:


Again, that sounds like the most valuable possible prize right there… :sunny:

I think that is an absolutely excellent idea… :sunny: