Formal learning level, post SSiW course 3 - ideas?

I’m not far off the end of the SSiW courses and have been toying with the idea of going back to the formal education route in September to help keep things moving (and to plug the gap before I can go on a Bootcamp in the spring). The problem I’m trying to think through is which level to go for. I’ve just done the BBC level finder and it (amazingly) suggested I should either go for uwch, or accept that I’m fluent. This is great for morale, but is obviously nonsense. I’m guessing that there is a lot of stuff in sylfaen and canolradd that I haven’t covered, quite apart from the fact that I know that I need more practice listening and a lot more help with speaking.

Wondered if anyone else has faced the same dilemma. If you, have, what level did you throw yourself into, and how did you find it? Or did you consider trying formal learning and end up doing something else? Any thoughts welcome!

Honestly, you’re basically fluent. Sure, you’re lacking certain bits of vocabulary (names of some jobs, and certain things you can do on your holidays), but that can be learned. Doing lots of reading is usually a good way to pick up more vocabulary (if you happen to like reading). Films and television are another good way to pick up more vocabulary; kids TV will pretty much everything from Sylfaen and Mynediad that you haven’t already done (other than using certain verbs in the past and future tenses, but they’re pretty easy once you know how that works). Canolradd apparently includes methods of speaking that are more suited to telling a story formally (such as on the news, or in a newspaper), and also has more of an emphasis on reading and writing. Uwch, so far as I can tell, is basically the equivalent to doing one’s English GCSE.

That said, we don’t yet know what the new Level 2 will contain - the new Level 1 contains stuff that isn’t even in course 3 (at least, the first half of course 3), such as Hoffwn i (I would like).

Hi Steve,

I haven’t yet got on to course 3 seriously. I had a quick whip through it, but didn’t do it justice, and then Level 1 came along, and I thought that was worth going through first, but I’ll hopefully do course 3 properly next.

But what I’m also doing now is seriously try to learn more vocabulary. There are loads of ways of actually learning it, so I won’t go into the way I’m doing it here. I think in a way it’s more important where you get your vocabulary from. Reading is potentially good because you will see the word used in context and see the mutations and how it is used.However, if you have to look up a lot of words in the dictionary, it could be a little tedious, unless it’s an e-book and you have a pop-up dictionary. That’s potentially a great option, but I don’t know if pop-up dictionaries for Welsh are readily available.

Another option is to use learners’ books such as the Novelau Nawr series. (This is what I’m doing at the moment). There are footnotes with vocabulary in. I still have to look up a few words per page, but not as many as would be the case with a “proper” book. I put all the words I don’t know into my vocab learning system.

Another approach is to use translations, if you can find them, and parallel translations are even better, but there don’t seem to be many of those in Welsh-English, so far as I can see. I do have 2 actually, but I’ve put them on hold in favour of the learner books for now. The learner books I have so far seem to be close to the modern spoken Welsh that we learn with SSiW, and they include a lot of dialogue.

I’m not sure that I want to get into literary Welsh any time soon, so I’m not sure how I will go on when I want to move on from learner books. If I lived in Wales, I’d be browsing around the libraries to see what’s available. Audiobooks would be a great idea, but I don’t know what is available in Welsh. Again, I think libraries could be a good source, for those in Wales.

I think a large vocabulary, plus the confidence in speaking that SSiW gives you is a potentially winning combination, and I think one can increase one’s vocabulary by oneself, and fairly cheaply, without the need of a class. A class may give you other things - especially those who need certficates for work purposes of course, but for those who don’t need those things, I’m not sure there is any point.

I reckon when it comes to reading, it helps if you’re read the book in English. For a lot of people, that makes Harry Potter a pretty good one for picking up vocabulary in a lot of different languages. Part of the reason it helps, is that you know the context ahead of time - if you already sort of know what’s happening around that point in the book, it’s far easier to avoid getting lost in all the unfamiliar words.

Shwmae Steve. I’m currently midway through Cwrs 3 so, like you, have been thinking about what to do afterwards to pick up more vocab. I agree with the reading suggestions above, but I also want to focus on getting lots of listening practice too. So my plan is to listen much more carefully and repeatedly to the Pigion podcasts with the accompanying vocab sheets, and also do some of the courses on the BBC Catchphrase site. For example, they have 110 episodes of a soap called Ysbyty Brynaber and a nine week course on the news called Dyma’r Newyddion. All audio based with either transcripts or notes.
That’s my plan anyway, along with doing the new Level 1 course. Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

Have you run through the new Level 1, Steve? Sorry, I can’t remember. If you have, then we’ll have more (northern) material available before too long - might be worth waiting to see. For someone who’s done such a full speed job so far, I’d be concerned that you might find classes a bit slow going - but having said that, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t jump in and see how it goes…:smile:

As for deciding level - just get in touch with the provider, and have a chat with them, and let them decide…:smile:

@Aled: Please regard this as a temporary and partial answer, until an expert comes along and answers it properly:

As I understand it, (with the help of Gareth King) the “wn” ending in the first person is the so called unreality ending and usually indicates the conditional.

In the case of hoffwn i (liciwn i in the north) that’s an inflected tense (aka short form) which means it doesn’t need another verb (e.g. bod or gwneud).

The byddwn (or baswn) is a conditional form of bod and is used to form the conditional tense pf other verbs periphrastically (i.e. the long form).

gawson is a soft mutation of cawson which is a form of cael, which is one of the 4 irregular verbs. It seems to be the preterite (simple past) and that form is only used regionally, it seems, the “regular” form being caethon (3rd person plural - they plural got).

This is basically from Gareth King, Modern Welsh, Routledge. Very good in small doses.

Now to lie down in a darkened room.

Steve - It really depends on what you think you’ll get out of a class. I haven’t done all of the SSIW materials, but you’d be wasting your time with Sylfaen. Even if there are bits that you’ve missed Canolradd was essentially just a review of Mynediad and Sylfaen. (Well, at least with the Cardiff & Vale centre)

A lot of things that we covered in Canolradd have come up in the first few lessons on the New Level 1 of SSIW. You might pick up some bits and pieces, but you could easily do that by picking up a copy of the WJEC text.

Ultimately, the quality of the courses really depends on the individual tutor.

Catflap, not sure whether your listening kit has the option, but have found it useful (challenging) to rerun the course material at a faster speed, my little MP3 player can run at 1.5 times normal. I finished Cwrs 3 about a month ago, dabbled with Pigion, along with the new Cwrs 1; and then reran Cwrs 3 at the higher speed.

Could I make a plea for bedding in material for Cwrs 3, vocab. units or practise sessions, something to fill a SSIW shaped hole….

1 Like

“Byddwn were the same thing and with so much of cwrs 2 using the baswn i hwylio ar y nor etc phrase, i cant really understand why the pennny never dropped. Will have to buy a book like Hareth King that you mentioned” @aledfinnlear

Have had the same experience on multiple occasions… sometimes just seeing it on paper is helpful.
Lwc da i chi!

@Aled fin: Well, I remember being confused about all that area as well for a long time, and I probably haven’t got the full story even now. Even Gareth King (at least in the old edition I have) doesn’t fuilly explain when you would use one rather than the other, or if it’s just a regional variation, and he rather skates over “taswn”. From the examples given, and other examples I see, you use “taswn” for the “if” part of a conditional construction, and that’s how we learn it on SSiW Course 2, but I don’t know if it has other implications or uses.

Some quite useful examples of taswn (etc) here:

although I’m not sure it really explains the full grammar behind it.

Could I make a plea for bedding in material for Cwrs 3, vocab. units or practise sessions, something to fill a SSIW shaped hole….

Heard, and currently turning around in the back of my mind - it’s not tricky to do practice sessions for it, but I’m not sure that’s the most efficient way of helping bed it in - ideally, I’d like to have a set of interesting dialogues scripted to use all the material in Course 3, but that would take a lot of either time or money - we’ll try and get some kind of a solution before too long, even if it turns out to be a bit stop-gap…


@Aled: I believe I’ve come across swn i on the radio and/or while reading, but haven’t really noticed baswn/faswn, although I shall listen out for them all now. Come across “tas…” in Blodwen Jones e.g. in the useful phrase fel tasen nhw’n .- “as if they were…”

On sound quality: yes, course 3 is quite demanding in that respect, where you have to listen out for the endings as well as the beginnings. I’ve found that the sports earbuds I bought to go with my mp3 player come in useful also on my laptop, as the speaker quality on that is not great, and having it come right into your ear makes a big difference to those tricky “ddides i”-s and “ddides ti”-s etc.

(The box they came in has the name “KS Kitsound Enduro” on it, if that is any help).

One positive - if I’m trying to listen to someone in Welsh over the phone, while there’s a pneumatic drill going off in the background, then I should be pretty much sorted I reckon.

:smile: Every cloud …

Hi pawb,

I too am coming to the end of Course 3. As I have a a couple of hours of London tube journey each day, I have flown through the courses in about 6 months. Listened to every lesson at least twice each - and several of them more than that if I am not grasping them. I have also done the 14 New Level 1 South lessons (I’m eagerly awaiting the others).

A couple of questions, if I may:smile:

Firstly, to maintain knowledge of the 3 Courses, am I right in saying that the one to dabble in now and then are the final lessons of each course, plus the final Vocab units of each course? So that would be 5 lessons in total (as Course 3 does not have a vocab unit)? The reason I ask is that I seem to recall one of the courses having more than one lesson which we are urged to come back to a refresher (cou;d be lessons 24 and 25 of Course 2…)

Secondly, just to echo a few of the posts above, if anyone has any on-going learning methods post-Course 3 then please do share. My plan at the moment is lots of S4C; printing out Welsh news articles with a google translation on the flip side of the paper; and Radio Cymru.

Many thanks all. And a special big thank you to Aran, Iestyn and all the SSiW crew for the amazing service you have done for us. I can’t recommend this course highly enough. And you have been a big part of my life for the last 6 months!



Thank you so much for your kind words, Jason, and many, many congratulations on a huge achievement!

Pretty much exactly right, but to refresh everything you’ll want to do the last two lessons (too much to fit into just one!).

It might be worthwhile (and interestingly challenging!) for you to do the rest of the Level 1 material à la northern - which would lead neatly into Level 2, which we’ve started recording - we will figure out a way to get more southern lessons, but it needs to be without creating extra pressure for Iestyn and Cat right now. You’ll get a lot of benefit from braving the northern stuff, though, particularly for recognition of bits on Radio Cymru and S4C.

I’ve got a clear route in mind for advanced learners, but it’s going to take us a while to produce all the material - Level 3, and then a customised dialogue-based story approach to the 4000 most common words - in the meantime, your best bet is to listen to as much radio as possible.

One approach that might work would be to record a ten minute section of conversation on the radio, then get it transcribed and translated (we’ll be happy to help on here bit by bit!) and then listen to it repeatedly until it all seems familiar - at which point, save it at 2x speed (plenty of tools available to do this) and then listen to that until it becomes comfortable.

Then repeat the process with a new 10 minute section. It won’t take many iterations before your level of understanding the radio is enormously improved :sunny:

1 Like

I’d quite like to have a go at that. I wonder if anyone would be interested in collaborating on trying to transcribe something? Maybe one of the BBC podcasts would be a good place to start - if we took the first conversation in Pigion, for example, we’d have a leg up with the intro transcript and a bit of vocab.

That sounds like a really good idea - transcription teams would create a lot of value for everyone - and I’m certainly happy to lend a hand :sunny:

I’m certainly happy to collaborate on this 'mouse! :smile: Can we decide on a particular episode to try?



Fantastic. I’m working Mon - Wed, so I won’t promise to do anything until after then. If you’d maybe like to start a thread and decide on an episode, I will try and chip in when I get time to do a bit. Not sure the best way to organise it - maybe people could sign up for something like 30 second chunks they want to have a shot at? Any better ideas?