I stumbled across SSiW a few weeks ago and love it. After several months of wandering into the Welsh language in Duolingo – somewhat accidentally for this California farm girl – SSiW has been eye-opening.
However, I am a bit confused when it comes to the advice given by Aran in his emails about pushing ahead through the courses and what the course instructor suggests about getting things right, or redoing lessons before moving on.
I’ve managed to get through the fifth lesson in course 1 and have done the first challenge successfully. Things are definitely happening in my brain and I feel I’m starting to understand, which is a big deal for someone who has never thought of herself as having much talent in the language learning department.
However, halfway through the sixth lesson I hit the wall, and when I tried to push ahead into the seventh, I just flat out couldn’t get any words out before the instructors gave the sentences. I’m really not sure what to do now, because I simply can’t formulate a sentence fast enough. I’ve never used the pause button and don’t want to get into that habit.
Any thoughts? Just keep pushing ahead or go back a few steps and try to catch up? I’m really enjoying this, but also want to make sure I’m doing this right, and developing the proper habits.
Right. If you’re doing the old course 1, I would definitely advise going back a little if you’re having a little trouble. The new Level 1 is somewhat better in my opinion, and it’s easier to follow Aran’s advice for that course.
If you’re liking the way that the course is structured, I would finish it first - the new levels are quite different. All in all, you’ll learn a lot regardless of which course you do (I did both and would definitely recommend that), so just stick with the format you like the most.
The advice is generally to do Level 1 rather than Course 1 - you should find it gets you up to speed faster - but there’s no harm in doing the old one if you prefer. Why not try the first lesson or two of Level 1, and decide from there?
The advice on repeating has morphed over the years from “get X% right and move on” to straight “just keep swimming”, which is why you’ll find the former around the place.
Great to hear you’re off to a good start! And sorry for the confusion - we really need to get around to re-recording all the intros/outros for the older material - but yes, as others have said, what I advise has changed over the years as I’ve seen more people go through the process.
Can I just check - you talk about the sixth lesson, and then the seventh - if you’re doing Course 1 (the older material), there should have been 6.1 and 6.2 - did you say that? They are (embarrassed cough) notoriously bad, so if you’re getting on well with the ‘no pause, hell-for-leather’ approach otherwise, it might be a good idea just to chalk 6 down to me not having written it very well.
As for Course 1 vs Level 1 - it doesn’t matter too much, but Kev’s (wondersheep) idea about tasting the first couple of challenges to see if you have a strong preference either way is a good one…
And most of all - well done for coming and asking for help! People who ask for help on the forum when they run into one of the many walls almost always end up successful and confident Welsh speakers…
I cannot add to what @aran says, and not just because he is the expert! Oh, I would say, I don’t think 6.1 and 6.2 were that bad! I found Challenge 15 of the new course much harder!
I only wanted to say, Croeso, Lwc dda and never feel shy about asking for help! It makes us all feel warm inside if we can actually help someone!!
I wanted to check back in and thank everyone for their advice and encouragement. It really helped!
So, I went back and started at the beginning in the Level 1 Challenges. It was a bit daunting but gradually it started to make sense, and I saw the reasoning in what Aran advised about how to work through the course.
As of today, I’m up to Challenge 17 (haven’t started it yet) and have been averaging about two challenges a day. There are some lessons where I’m probably not getting the Welsh out even 50 percent of the time ahead of the instructors, but then in the next lesson it will come together and I’ll get it. Words or phrases that I’ve struggled with repeatedly will suddenly pop out (where did that come from?) naturally. I was even dreaming of a Welsh phrase last night that I’d not been getting very easily, and today it’s working well. Very interesting!
I’ve studied languages over the years and followed the old paradigm of “do it over and over until it’s perfect,” but sooner or later just lost interest because it didn’t seem to go anywhere. This is a totally new paradigm, but I think it’s working.
I also enjoy the fact that the course instructors know how to anticipate certain questions. I kept getting tangled up with “mae eschavi” and “mae rhaid i fi” and confusing them, and at one point the course instructor notes that have/must can cause that type confusion. That was pretty cool.
Anyway, thanks again, I’m really enjoying this experience and looking forward to pushing ahead more, and at some point getting up the nerve to start speaking it with another learner here on the site.
I’m guessing that you are following the Southern course by your use of eisiau i fi (“eschavi”), so as a fellow southerner I thought I would say helo!
To get to Challenge 17 in just a couple of weeks is fantastic! You can probably see now how the new Levels are written with speed of learning and retention of material in mind, where the old Courses did the job also, but found us all stumbling and repeating lessons along the way in order to progress (as an Old course alumni I can testify to this personally, but many of us have our own experiences of the old course here). To even be dreaming of Welsh words in your sleep shows the material is sticking and just slotting itself into the parts of the brain it needs to be!
I can’t really add to the already wonderful advice people have given you already, so I’ll just wish you pob lwc with the rest of the course, keep at it and above all, enjoy!
I had exactly the same problem - then came on the forum and saw the advice to switch to the new course (not realising there was one!). I did so and found it much easier to make progress - although I confess to repearing the earlier lessons treeless confident in the following ones. I have just done the ‘challenge’ of running through lessons 11-15 without pausing or repeating and have hit the wall again! But it’s fun and I’m surprised at how much just comes out of nowhere!
I would definitely switch to the new course.