So over the past nine months or so I have gone all through the courses up through level three… I’m far from perfect but I’ve been more or less hitting the 80%-correct-threshold (give or take a few mutations). So, first of all, many thanks to Aran and Catrin–I’ve studied a few different languages in conventional classes in my day and this was much more fun and more successful. I started on a lark because I was going to visit Wales for the first time and because I have always liked the sound of the language… And now I can fluently tell my children that they are a real handful and that I wish I could trust them to play together without arguing–which is pretty cool. (The histrionic coffee-making threat has yet to produce a decent cup, however…)
But what do I do now? Although I’m branching out into reading and listening to Radio Cymru (and, naturally, learning Welsh songs) I will miss speaking Welsh aloud, and I would like to keep moving forward with it…
I should mention that:
a) I live in the U.S., and I don’t know of any Welsh speakers yn yr ardal hyn.
b) Although I’m hoping to visit North Wales briefly again this summer, I won’t be able to do any boot camps or intensive courses any time soon.
c) I have never been much of an internet-community person, and I’m not sure if I want to embark on the self-recording-and-uploading practice track… Also, I haven’t posted to a forum of any kind in many years, so my apologies if this post isn’t quite the way it’s done.
Any advice for an isolated learner would be welcome!
Never had much luck with it myself, to be honest…
On the one hand, we’ll be starting to produce a lot more practice stuff for our advanced learners in the next two or three months, as part of our aim to take people above and beyond Level 3 - but most of it will focus on listening and reading.
I’d say it’s a straight choice between two things - find a Skype partner (or several!), or grit your teeth and get into the recording-uploading slow-mo conversations.
Or, ideally, both…
The thing is, you can carry on getting a lot further with listening to Radio Cymru, and to the new stuff we’re planning (and there’ll be the tail-end of Level 3 and at least some lessons in a kind of Level 3+)… but the only way you’ll get the real joy of using the language will be by building the one-on-one personal connections that either Skype or the slow-mo stuff lead to.
If it feels out of your comfort zone, that’s probably confirmation that it’s the correct next step for you…
Oh, and LLONGYFARCHIADAU - that’s a heck of an achievement in 9 months…
Thanks! And thanks for everything you do here.
I will have to prepare myself for some tooth-gritting, soon. What’s the best way to find a Skype partner?
Thank you for such kind words…
Skype partner is hit-and-miss, I’m afraid - we’re starting to do more organised stuff for our 6 month course, but you’re too advanced for that - if you stick ‘Skype’ in the search bar (top right) you should find some threads where you can put your hand up…
When I finished, I did two things - that you can also do depending on how much punishment you like…?
Do the “old course” in full. Everyone has a different name for it, but by “old course” I mean the old levels. They’re still really really useful material - and the subtle differences between the “new” course teaches and what the “old” course teaches will give you that natural variety in language that fluent/since birth speakers have. Plus it teaches short form in a really sharp and slamming way. You don’t say if you’ve done it or not, but if your head isn’t blended after old Course Level 3, then you are a real sucker for punishment.
If you’re learning on your mobile device using the app, or listening to the downloaded MP3s - try re-doing the lessons but with the lessons “speeded” up.
Once I did the course once or twice around, I started doing it at about 1.5x the normal speed - it works wonders for the listening skills and it really sharpens up your response skills - however it needs insane amounts of concentration. Doing SSIW at 1x speed I find I can still look on Google while doing it, carry on eating my lunch etc - but at 1.5x speed I have to be doing ONLY ssiw, nothing else.
Did I mention three? If you’ve gone the Northern course, pick out a couple of Southern lessons and do them for a laugh! Or vice versa.
I never did the old course, reckon it’s worth it?
If you’re at a loss for things to do - I would recommend it. I’m not sure what Aran and Iestyn’s view is on the old course, but I really enjoyed/enjoy it.
It adds some vocab that isn’t in the new course and it is quite hot on the short form (Course 3 is JUST short form, pretty much).
You will find some bits that will make you swear (because you’ve learned the new course word for something!)
As Nicky says, it depends. The new levels will have made you progress more quickly to where you are now, but if you consider it as extra input in a ‘throw as much Welsh at yourself as you can’ frame of mind, then it’s worth it. The Bonus lesson at 6b on Course 1 is fun and the vocab lessons have useful extras. There is also the dreaded lesson 6 itself, which was split into 6.1 and 6.2, two days after I completed it (@Aran still owes me a drink). In there somewhere is the very useful phrase, “I will have to think about that”. I use it all the time - really handy to give yourself breathing space!
There are some parts you’ll find really easy and you’ll wonder why the short form was introduced so late (Course 3). I found Course 3 not so much fun, because it slips into going over things in a more traditional way.
However, if you would be doing the old courses instead of something else such as listening to things at double speed, then no.
I kind of alternated between them – after doing Level 1 I tried an end-of-Course 1 thing and found it really incomprehensible because there was loads of vocab in it that Level 1 hadn’t covered, so I went back and did roughly every second lesson of Course 1 till I felt I’d caught up; I then did Level 2 and the start of Level 3, but when I ran out of Level 3 I went back and did Course 2 and 3 and the extra vocabs. I think having done the old course is part of why I keep hearing things on the new Gog Level 3 lessons as they come out and thinking “but we know that already, don’t we?”
I really like the old course and some of the speaking gaps can be insanely short ond cha i ddim cwyno am y peth as Iestyn says in the old course 3
Or, if you stick to the new Levels, you could go through them intensively again. I have been through all the levels again since just before Christmas. But the thing that has made a real difference to my speed of response when speaking, has been that I did the 20 challenges of Level 3 in 4 days (7 the first day, then 6, 5, 2), plus some double speed stories for listening practice. I was talking to someone on the third day and I was just talking - without thinking! It was the same at the Merched Y Wawr Beetle Drive last night.
Of course this binge on Welsh was inspired by the videos that have been recently released - particularly in relation to motivation and beating the plateau.
It’s been a real boost to my confidence (which had a huge knock last year, when I had a panic attack while filming for Codi Pac on S4C - I couldn’t breathe, let alone say anything in Welsh). Not everyone is like you @Nicky But I’m still here. So my advice is do whatever you enjoy doing that will keep your motivation up.
Thanks everyone for these suggestions… I did the old course 1 initially, then realized I was doing old material and switched to the new level 1 (I still say “dim byd” instead of “unrhyw beth” and I remember the grim days of lesson 6!) but I can go back and do the upper two courses of the old system, or try high-speed drilling…
But I am hoping to expand my vocabulary, somehow, and will have to look into skype chatting, once I get over this cold…
Hold on to your dim byd - very useful!
So I tried this today,driving to and from my partner’s parents’ to pick up the kids. Got through Level 2 Challenges 24-25 and Level 3 15-19 and part of 20. That’s seven and a half challenges at 1.5x and, it turns out, I can manage to drive at the same time. It was… exhilarating? A rush? A bit much? A good job some of it was already fairly familiar? All of the above, I think!
Wow! Very, very glad you were able to drive safely at the same time… !
There’s a really good Welsh drama called Y Gwyll. It’s fab. There’s a Welsh language version - Y Gwyll, but also one that’s English with a bit of Welsh, called Hinterland. I’m sure it’s on Netflix, but you can probably get it online- it’s BBC WALES. If you watch that you’ll keep improving.
Yes, I am watching Y Gwyll. I was able to buy series 2 and 3 on DVD, but not series 1. That’s a bit of a shame, but maybe I can get hold of it later. I watch it with the subtitles, but there are quite a few words I recognise anyway. There’s minimal dialogue really, and lots of brooding camera work. I agree that it’s really good.
It’s a bit of a surprise to find myself at the end of the available Level 3 South. Probably I need to go back and do the latter part again, but meanwhile I am starting the old course 2 again. I did some earlier, but I can’t remember how far I got before giving up in favour of new Level 3. Using my newly discovered toy (Audacity) I have taken some level 2 challenges, cut out the English prompts and the pauses, then doubled the speed. That’s for listening practice while I wait for the official ones. Then there is Duolingo for some extra vocab and for spelling. (Ouch!) Plenty to do.
LOL! No luck here, either.
Best way to find a Skype partner is ask right here. I’m willing. PM me, if you’d like to give it a go.
Yes, I did the old course once I’d gotten as far as I could go with the new one, and I found it helpful.