Hello - first time I’ve used the forum so be gentle…
I am on level 2 lesson 21 (south) and so far I haven’t tried to have a single conversation with anyone (even tho I work with LOADS of Welsh speakers).
I have ignored all of the instructions to have a 20 minute conversation building to an hour and have just cracked on with the lessons.
Now I fear I have totally messed up and will never catch up.
I simply am so intimidated to even begin having a conversation in Welsh and am starting to wonder why I am continuing. I desperately want to try my Welsh out but an overwhelming fear grips me whenever an opportunity arises,
Any advice?! I am so annoyed with myself but I just don’t even know how to start without getting totally tongue tied and giving up.
Hello - first time I’ve used the forum so be gentle…
Hi, @CJ1, there will be lots of people reading this, and thinking, ‘Thank goodness I’m not the only one!’ The first step is the hardest, and once you do it, it will get easier, and you’ll wonder what you were so worried about. Do you have someone at work who you really like and trust, so you could tell him/her that you’ve started learning Welsh, but you’re too scared to talk to anyone? You could ask them just to swap a few sentences with you for 5 minutes, and to speak nice and slowly. You could carry on doing that with someone encouraging until you got your confidence up.
Lots of people seem to find it easier to talk first time to someone face to face, but if there’s no-one at work or in your social life you can ask, I am, I promise, the least scary person on this forum, and have now made admiring responses to more than 100 (mostly terrified) learners of Welsh. I’d be happy to have a chat with you online, so send me a message if that might help.
The main thing is, you haven’t left it too late to learn to speak Welsh, but you’re right that the sooner you start using all that lovely language you’ve learned, the better. Good luck!
Where do you live?
I think it fair to say that just about everyone who has ever learned Welsh as a second language has felt the same as you about starting to speak. Thing is, it has to be done, if to speak the language is why you’re learning it.
What Bronwen has suggested is spot on I think. Find someone and some quiet uninterrupted time where you can just swap a few sentences and go from there. What you will find as you go along and your confidence grows; with those you know speak Welsh, you will start to slip in the odd word and then sentence.
Sometimes it does to be a little tongue in cheek and just throw in something when it is totally unexpected. I can guarantee the result will be amazing and your confidence will go through the roof.
Go on … do it.
Pob lwc @CJ1. Let us know how you get on.
I just want to echo what the others have said - you can do this!
Yes, your brain will try to tell you that it’s empty - but it isn’t, so don’t let it fool you!
Yes, your tongue will pretend it’s never made those shapes before - but it has, so don’t let it fool you!
Yes, your whole body might feel like it’s in fight-or-flight mode - well, yes, it is but there’s nothing to fight and nothing to fly from, so don’t let it fool you!
You’ve got this. Take some deep breaths, take things slowly and make as many mistakes as may happen - it is a big step, but we’re all there with you in spirit spurring you on because we’ve all been there, and we all know that not only can you get through your first conversation, but that the feeling of relief you’ll get afterwards will be well worth it!
Go for it!
What everyone else has said is SPOT ON, but seriously the exhiliration you will feel afterwards will push you further and further forward, and you’ll look back and wonder what you were worried about. I know 'cos that was ME!!! Pob lwc, we’re all routing for you!!
That thing about us ALL being with you in spirit, it isn’t an exaggeration. All of us really will be with you and everyone else that’s in the same boat, in spirit. That’s the wonderful thing about the ssiw community and that @CJ1 is how we are gonna bring Welsh back to being THE language of Wales!!
I did it!!!
I plucked up the courage to explain my fear of speaking my newly learned Welsh to a Welsh speaking colleague and she suggested we had a “Cinio Cymraeg” so we went to the canteen and had a Welsh-only conversation over lunch and another Welsh speaking colleague joined us and I actually spoke Welsh!
I couldn’t understand everything and I am convinced I probably sounded like a Welsh-speaking Yoda but I got through it and yes I do feel on top of the world. Diolch for the encouragement and I already feel so much more confident and actually when I came back to the office I wanted to carry on so I did!
Amazing! Diolch pawb x
Whooop llongyfarchiadau, I remember that feeling, it’s such a rush isn’t it? Savour it, you did so well x
Yay! Fantastic! You nailed it!
‘Named must be your fear before banish it you can’, Yoda. Congratulations, Yaddle.
We KNEW you could do it!!!
Now if only you could bottle that feeling!
My wife and I have done exactly the same…ploughed through the lessons but not done any or many of the additional sentences and conversations. I’m at the same place as you in level 2 and i guess we are both reviewing our ability to have a conversation and feel inadequate. We’ve decided to go back and start the additional exercises from scratch even though our vocabulary is much greater than would have been way back at the start of level 1. I have made attempts to say some phrases with Welsh speaking friends that have been met with, quite naturally, a Welsh language response…which completely throws me!! And this is the issue for me, without developing skills in a back and forth conversation, I realise my use of Welsh is always as a response to a stimulus in English (as per the lesson) and not a stimulus in Welsh. As such I really have yet to develop listening in Welsh. One other thing I have noticed is that my Welsh speaking friends expect to hear English from me, so if I have a go without forewarning them, they usually look bewildered (not expecting Welsh) which immediately makes me think I made a mistake and have called their mother a goat!! I have decided that it is both OK and amusing to be a Welsh version of the English gendarme in Allo Allo!
Da iawn! The first time is the worst so you’ve definitely broken a barrier. I still panic when someone says something to me and quite often have to get them to repeat it but so far everyone has been incredibly supportive and helpful that it’s never been a problem. Do you use the “chipmunks” listening bit on SSIW? Where it’s double speed? It seems like a bit of a weird exercise but if you listen to it consistently along with the lessons it really helps. Good luck and don’t give up! Just tell people that you’re learning and the first thing everyone usually says is good for you! Da iawn i ti! And they usually always thank you too!
This whole conversation just warms my heart. I’m so glad to be part, even if on the fringe, of this Welsh-speaking community.
Pob lwc CJ1!
Dw i’n siwr ti’n mynd mwynhau’r sgwrs, sori mae’n scary siarad yn gynta!
I can’t think of more I can say in Welsh - and this was stretching it a bit ;-), also I know there must be mistakes in what I’ve written, but one thing I am demonstrating here is the importance of just giving it your best shot, however useless you feel. It will get so much easier with practice.
da iawn ti! It’s so brilliant doing it and surviving
I have had the same experience. There is an online speaking group in Queensland Australia, and I have been on the point of joining in about 4 times now, but the anxiety is huge! However, I am going to get some sentences in my head and dive in tonight! Wish me luck.