Exciting stages of language learning

As I’ve been learning Welsh (my “first second language”) I’ve noticed that through the various ups and downs of developing my mind to process and produce the language, there have been some points where I’ve become really excited. I wanted to make a little list here to see if you lot can add your own “wow” points.

  • The first time you gain information from a Welsh speaker. By this, I don’t mean “bore da”, I mean asking a question in Welsh, receiving the answer in Welsh, and understanding it. An actual exchange of information. In another language. This happened for me at the Eisteddfod last year when I nervously asked where the learners’ tour started from and got an answer. I beamed for hours.
  • The first time you laugh at something funny in Welsh. For me, I remember making a little joke about Pobol y Cwm with my friend and we both laughed. “I’ve made it” was my internal reaction. I also just laughed at a little quip by a presenter on Radio Cymru which prompted this post (on Bore Cothi, they were talking about buying an album from HMV and quickly added “mae siopiau arall yn ar gael!”). It’s not hilarious, but I processed it instantly and interpreted it as funny without having to translate it. That’s exciting.
  • The first time a Welsh word slips into English speech. I frequently say (and think) “ond…” instead of “however…” lately.

So, c’mon pawb. Add your own. If you can’t think of one, you will experience one soon and it will put a huge smile on your face.

This could be the best thread yet on the new forum…:seren:

When I said yn nes ymlaen by mistake in work and discovered a colleague I could practice speaking Welsh with.

Great thread, Simon. One Saturday morning, fighting off a hangover and listening to the radio while getting ready to go out with the dog (late start) then making myself laugh by joining in with the opening line “Ar Y Marc, gyda Dylan Jones a chriw!”. Oh, and Mrs G yelling ‘Shut up and get yourself off now!’.

And one from a couple of years ago in the office. Office mate Meredydd Ifanc saying, ‘I see Eto’o scored eto … Is that funny?’ Me, “yes”; Meredydd Ifanc, ‘Chuck us a neidr jeli, then’.

I always find jokes funnier the less well I know the language they’re told in. It’s probably something to do with the fact that “being surprised by sudden recognition” is a big part of humour…

Ordering my lunch (and geting what I wanted) entirely through the medium of Welsh from the Deli Newydd in Criccieth, has to be up there for me. It made my day :slight_smile:

Just a little thing, I suppose, but it really made my day. I’ve been listening online to BBC Radio Cymru, and over time have been picking up on the occasional familiar word. Recently though there was an interview being conducted, and jumping out at me as clear a day the woman was saying “Beth am Cymru?” and I thought immediately “Yes, what about Wales?” Although I didn’t get the sense of the rest of the segment, still it felt really good.

I am really enjoying this thread. The steps that make you realise how far you’ve come are really exciting, and usually totally personal - thank you all for sharing, and keep them coming!

It’s so lovely reading about everyone’s little moments like this. Keep them coming! Iestyn: you will doubtless experience another of mine at Bootcamp in July. Disgwyl ymlaen. :slight_smile:

Chatting with a Welsh speaking guide in the National Museum in Cardiff in February and hearing her translate what I said back into English for her colleague.

Understanding an entire sentence on the radio.

Also, dreaming in Welsh. That’s quite a nice one :slight_smile:

Hywel John: Chatting with a Welsh speaking guide in the National Museum in Cardiff in February and hearing her translate what I said back into English for her colleague.

That’s really cool!!

At last year’s bootcamp we had a tour up Tre’r Ceiri with Rhys Mwyn and he told us all about the history of the fort, I understood enough words to kind of get the gist. This year he took us around Caernarfon and told us all about the Segontium and other things and I understood everything he was saying, not EVERY word but I understood and not worked out what he was saying. That was my Eureka moment from this year. :wink:

My most recent moment was at Bootcamp, riding back to Gadlas in the minibus after our visit to the set of Rownd a Rownd. I was sitting quietly, feeling tired, when I suddenly realised that I was thinking in Welsh. It was something of a shock I can tell you!



The first whole sentence I understood on Radio Cymru: “Mae Mel Smith wedi marw”. Only three words of Welsh, I know, but they had jumped out at me while I was driving along not really listening. Sad for Mel Smith though…

Then yesterday I was listening to Tomo on the radio in the afternoon, when a song came on that sounded familiar, but I couldn’t understand a word of it :-(. After about a minute, it dawned on me - it was the odd track yn Saesneg that they’re now putting in (Bat out of hell - Meatloaf)! Then I turned the radio off.

I saw this thread a couple of days ago and have just had my own moment literally a few seconds ago. Watching the Gweilch v Dreigiau game on S4C and just picked up the commentator wondering whether a ‘score is going to come late’ in the half (sgôr yn mynd i ddod yn hwyr). Quite exciting given that, due to needing to learn Czech, I had regretfully stopped Welsh for several months. Have only just started two weeks ago running back through the first course (now up to Lesson 18), so it is exciting to pick up some stuff on the commentary.

So many!!! Yet, I think it was when I was in the “Twt Hill” pub in Caernarfon - sat by myself - when an elderly gentleman walked over to me and thanked me for learning the language…I had no idea who he was but he had noticed me wandering round the town using what Welsh I had. Which wasn’t a lot at the time…

Finding I could understand much more than I thought I could on the first evening of Bootcamp (this year at Gadlas). But even more on the final day of the bootcamp when we visited the local primary school and I told a little story about learning the piano when I was a child, and when later on I went shopping on my own in Caernarfon and had quite long conversations about all sorts of things with shop assistants . I felt I was walking inches off the ground!

For me it’s being able to understand lyrics in songs. There are some really exciting Welsh-speaking bands coming through at the moment and being able to understand what they’re singing about is always a great moment. You get to the end of the song and realise you just followed a whole story about something and it was entirely passed to you in Welsh. I like that.

I told a little story

Anne’s being a little modest here! At one point, I thought I might have to call the emergency services to carry her, still talking at top speed in Welsh, out of the school…:wink: