English as Second/Other Language Speakers Learning Welsh

Hi everyone…my first post on the forum. Been learning Welsh for about 3 months now and it’s coming along. I’m using SSIW and some other resources and have been pleasantly surprised at the variety and quality of resources out there. SSIW has been quite helpful.

My question is for those learning Welsh who are not native English speakers. (And not to be short, but would really appreciate feedback only from those learners, not speculation from native English speakers…unless you have data.) Having had to learn the “[Conjugated verb]+subject+[infinitive]” construction, do you find it easy to apply that same principle to learning Welsh? For example, if you are a native Spanish speaker who learned English, you had to learn to say “Do you speak…” as opposed to simply “Hablas…” Now that you’ve gotten used to saying “Do you speak…” in English, do you find it easy to transfer that knowledge to Welsh: “Wyt ti’n siarad…”?

I ask because even though I am a native English speaker, and “Do you speak…” comes naturally to me, I’m also an almost-native speaker of Spanish and a decent speaker of French (and a linguist) and I recognize the uniqueness of the “Do you…” construction. It does not come naturally to me in Welsh, though you’d think it might naturally transfer from English. I suspect the fact that I don’t analyze the construction in English but I do analyze it in Welsh is the difference. I’m interested in feedback from those who analyze it in both languages.



Hello @Leigh and (ja it doesn’t go without it, not from me)

Croeso mawr ar yr fforwm!

Further on:
I have that fortune being native Slovene speaker that I’m used to both as we can say “Ali govoriš?” what would be equivalent to “Do you speak?” or just “Govoriš?” what would be equivalent to Spanish “Hablas?” I also speak some German where you have to ask “Sprichst du?” also and Serbo-Croatian where you have English form of question but this time in kind of two forms - “Dali govoriš?” and “Govoriš li?”.

To your dissappointment though, learning languages which I want to speak in the first place I don’t analyze structures too much, I just learn how to say.

I have more troubles though going from English to Welsh with forming sentences in general as sometimes right sentences in Welsh just don’t sound right to me. :slight_smile:

I’m sorry I was not much help here though …but, well, I wanted to welcome you to the forum in the first place. :slight_smile:


Although my first language is English and I grew up speaking Welsh in Wales, between the ages of 18 and 27 I told people I couldn’t speak Welsh at all.
The reason was that I considered French and German to be second languages to me. I am still far more confident in both of them.
It is very difficult to train yourself from using the grammatical structure of other languages.
That said, I think there are times when i feel the same about English too. There are more elegant forms in Latin languages than in English so I fully sympathise with your problem.
Dal ati! Keep trying. Your brain will adjust soon enough. It’s only a matter of practice and use.

1 Like

Well for me, all other languages that I’ve learned, or am learning, are from a totally different language family than my native Finnish. It’s been so long since I started to learn English (my first foreign language) that I can’t remember how I felt about its foreigness.

I can fluently think in Finnish, English and Welsh but I don’t compare them to each other. Some things are done one way in one language and other way in another, I don’t really care. :grin:


Not basing this on data, just personal experience. I am first language English but fluent in Italian. I find Italian grammar helps significantly with Welsh. I’m also learning French and I find Italian grammar helps hugely though that’s not surprising as they are both Romance languages. I actually find French feels less foreign, almost as if I am only learning new vocabulary, though the necessity to use Je/Vous etc. feels strange as io/Lei etc. are fairly redundant in Italian if one so chooses. Welsh feels more foreign than French but certainly I am assisted by Italian grammar.

1 Like