Iaith ar Daith Series 2 - Discussion/Questions/Feedback

Hwrê - not long to wait now!! :slight_smile:


Hwrê! Iolo and Steve are first!! :slight_smile:


Loved watching Steve Backshall in the new series. What a star! He did so well and it was really inspiring to watch. I also realised how much my Welsh had come on over the last year. When I watched the first series I got by but had to concentrate a lot and I remember my head hurt a little after each episode. :slightly_smiling_face: I understood this easily and felt chuffed to see/feel that improvement.


It was great and nice to see the ups and downs of learning another language - it’s not easy but at the same time it’s very rewarding. It would be great for this to be shown outside of Wales too as I think it could inspire others to learn Welsh. I’m sure that someone not currently learning Welsh would soon pick up words and phrases just by watching the series. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series :blush:


Iolo and Steve was the best episode EVER!!! :slight_smile: Here’s some more…


Yes, we love Iolo’s nature programmes so they made an interesting combination plus they were in places I’m familiar with.


That was a fantastic, and heartwarming piece of TV. Well done to all involved.
It was also a great advert for the SSiW method, and I could tell from Steve’s phrases that he had really immersed himself in the challenges - he even got ‘gwydraid neu ddau’ in there :laughing:


I really enjoyed it. But how could I miss the gwydraid neu ddau? I’ll have to watch it again just for that! :grinning:

P.s. speaking of which it was one of the expressions I just could not remember at all, until I noticed that it was similar ti Italian vetro (glass) and got Enlightened!


The Backshall programme was excellent. He always comes across like one of the nicest people on the planet.

Interesting to see how he’d obviously worked on one of his specialist areas by learning the names of birds etc.

I think the Maggi Noggi one is going to be a hoot.

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Just a reminder of what it’s all about -

On Sunday evening at 8pm we saw the return of Iaith ar Daith to our screens! Iaith ar Daith is the Welsh language series on S4C where six celebrities, following intense one-to-one sessions with Aran using the SSiW method, are sent on a journey around Wales with various mentors, to use Welsh in the wild for the first time ever. During each episode you will see the celebrities getting involved in various activities and speaking as much Welsh as possible!

These are the celebrities you can look forward to seeing in series 2 -

  • Steve Backshall – The adventurer and presenter of nature programmes including Deadly 60 and Blue Planet Live . He is also a guest lecturer at University of Wales, Bangor.
  • Joanna Scanlan – Joanna is a familiar face thanks to roles in a number of popular television series and films including The Thick of It, No Offence, Bridget Jones’s Baby and Notes on a Scandal , along with Welsh series, Stella and The Accident .
  • James Hook – Former Wales international rugby player. He won 81 caps for Wales and is Wales’ fourth highest all-time points scorer.
  • Kiri Pritchard McLean – Comedian and writer who has won several awards for her work and is a familiar face on panel shows including Have I Got News for You and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown .
  • Chris Coleman – A Welsh professional football coach and former player. He is the former manager of the Wales international football team who led Wales to UEFA Euro 2016, their first major tournament since the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where they made the semi-finals…
  • Rakie Ayola – An actor and producer who has worked in film, television and theatre, including Shakespearean theatrical performances, playing the role of Kyla Tyson in Holby City, roles in Silent Witness and Shetland .

If you missed Sunday night’s programme, you can watch it again here - https://www.s4c.cymru/clic/programme/814794857

If you are enjoying the series and also use social media, we would greatly appreciate it if you would share your views on the series. If you do then please use the following hashtags


DIOLCH! :smiley:


@CatrinLliarJones one question that often comes up in social, and also my personal curiosity is: how much did they spend on one-to-one lessons?
Was it different for each one, like someone basically starting from scratch Vs someone who already had some knowledge?
Here and there I’ve kinda heard one day or one weekend - but is there an official version?
And was it a sort of introduction to the course or also something specific for the challenges they’d have to do in the programme?

Too many questions? :grimacing:

Spotted the gwydraid neu ddau, rewatching the programme. :rofl:


It’s such a great programme, and a really good benchmark for us dysgwyr to measure our progress against.
Also a feather in SSiW’s cap too.

Final thought - feel free to invite these celebs into the SSiW forum to continue their learning journey with the rest of us :):stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::heart_eyes:

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I thought the Steve and Iolo combination was fantastic! Iolo was a great teacher and Steve was absolutely amazing, chwarae teg iddo! He had certainly done his homework.
He was obviously genuinely interested in all things Welsh and very touchingly, looked genuinely bewildered and upset when Iolo was explaining what had happened at Treweryn.
This one and the Ruth Jones episode are my favourites.
Keep it up Steve, you’re doing an amazing job. x


If I recall correctly, two days-ish is what each celeb had with @aran. But he’ll be able to give you more details I’m sure. :wink:


As a side note watching the first episode of this series accidentally allowed me to measure my progress:

When I rewatched the episode, I turned the Welsh subtitles on.

After a while I saw they were in English, and thought “there must be a problem with subtitles, they suddenly switched to English!”

But while I was trying to get the Welsh ones back I realized it was just because… they were actually speaking English in that part! :rofl:

So I had to assume that I’m understanding so much of the Welsh now (unlike last year) that my brain can switch from one to the other, sometimes, without even noticing.
Very happy about it! :sunglasses:


Loved this episode, Steve was great and big thumbs up to Iolo too who came across as a great teacher, it’s so difficult to get right the balance of encouragement and correction. I’d love to spend the day with them both. Had to chuckle at some of the SSIW lines, (aforementioned ‘glass or 2’ among them!) Delighted that I understood more than series 1.
Great to see some local places too, can’t wait to visit for real! Bring on episode 2!


Just watched this because I’d seen it mentioned on here, but hadn’t taken in in advance the connection with SSiW. I’ve only just started learning (ten days ago), so this was my first experience of watching Welsh TV - and I loved it! That Iolo is lovely, isn’t he? And Steve - what an inspiration!

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Lots of questions! :star2: :joy: I’ll try and answer them all in one go - feel free to ask for clarity if I leave anything out… :slight_smile:

So, the deal was that each celeb would be expected/able to do 2 days, with the option to do more if they wanted - the ideal being that they have an intensive day before starting, work through as much of Level 1 as possible, and then have an intensive day before filming. But then scheduling kicks in, and some stuff simply becomes impossible.

For example, Steve wasn’t able to schedule an intensive day before he went to film on a diveboat for three weeks (which was his only window to do the work) - so we had a couple of calls, and I did what I could to prep him for what would be difficult - and he got up to 14 on the boat, and came back very disheartened and considering not carrying on. I had a follow up call to explain about the 12/13/14 effect, and he then carried on - we had an intensive day down in his garden (freezing cold!) where it all started to come to life for him, and that was it in terms of input from me. So his results are really unusual, and show that he put a hell of an effort in on his own time. Steve was starting absolutely from scratch, with no more than one or two words previously.

Joanna had an intensive day face-to-face in London, and another one (mmm, or possibly two?) online - online isn’t as good as in person, but it can still do a lot of valuable things. That was it for her in terms of my input, apart from answering the occasional question - all the rest was her effort working with the lessons and listening exercises on her own. Joanna wasn’t starting from scratch, but she wasn’t all that far off - almost none of what she’d encountered previously was available to her as active vocabulary until she got her teeth into the challenges.

Rakie had an intensive day online, then an intensive in person in London, and then a couple more online sessions before she filmed - it was in her last session that she suddenly made the switch from being able to make up sentences to being able to keep on piling them on top of each other to make paragraphs - it was really exciting being a witness to that moment of sudden change… :slight_smile: Rakie had done some school Welsh, but again it wasn’t available to her as active vocabulary, but she did start to remember extra bits and pieces as she pushed on through the lessons.

Kiri had an intro session in person on Ynys Môn, and then a combination of online intensives and one really brutal intensive day here, where she spent over 7 hours speaking Welsh - it’s a hugely, hugely important part of her identity, and she was massively determined to push as far as possible (and to carry on past the show until she gets to genuine fluency, which she’s clearly going to do) - so I think she must have had about five or six days in the end, coupled with a lot of work on her own. Kiri was starting with quite a lot of passive Welsh from having grown up in/near Bangor, but she went through English medium education and was never a functional Welsh speaker - the more work she does, the more of the passive stuff becomes active, though.

James had the toughest gig - he had one intensive in person, where he was starting pretty much from scratch, apart from a bit of faintly remembered school Welsh - and then he had only 12 days before he had to film - he got through to about Challenge 15, I think, off the top of my head, and we had a follow up online session of a couple of hours before he filmed - he really worked his socks off, but what a difficult challenge it was for him with the time available.

And then Chris - he was also starting pretty much from scratch, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone so hungry to challenge himself - I can see how he became an international footballer! We had an intensive in person day down near Winchester, and then did a bunch of online sessions, plus he came up here twice for a couple of two day intensive sessions, so 5 in total - where he just worked like a Trojan. We also did a bunch of online sessions in the week before he filmed, and he did every single extra challenge I set him as if his life depended on it - the amount he learnt from scratch in just 5 weeks absolutely took my breath away.

In terms of what we actually did in the various sessions - my first session is always about mindset and belief, and then an assessment of how they respond to the challenges, so that I can give them guidance about how to do the work effectively… it’s rare to do more than 3 or 4 challenges on the first intensive day. Follow up sessions depend a bit on how much time the person has had to do their own work - if they haven’t done many extra sessions, a follow up day will mostly be about cracking the whip and getting them through as many challenges as possible - if they’ve been pushing themselves and getting through plenty of challenges, the follow up sessions will mostly be about giving them longer and longer periods of time where they only speak in Welsh.

I can’t wait to see the rest of the series. They really were an absolutely remarkable crew of people, just an utter joy to work with… :slight_smile:


I’m pleased to say this series is available online via S4C Clic to those of us who live outside the UK.

I thoroughly enjoyed Steve’s efforts and was also delighted to see parts of Wales I remember from years ago, including some roads my wife and I even drove along! Will certainly watch the future episodes and look forward especially to seeing James Hook.

Just one remark on Steve’s learning experience: his near exhaustion at the end of days when he was immersed in Welsh is not unusual. The mental effort to follow a substantially different language really is very tiring in the beginning, both mentally and, I found when I was in the same boat, physically.


Chris Coleman has read this thread and wanted me to share this message with you all:

Hello guys
Hope your all enjoying this challenge as much as I am.
I thought I’d post something to share my thoughts on the process.
Personally I like being in the red zone when I’m trying to get better at something. SSI has pushed me hard and it’s been a great challenge.
It’s been a lot of fun also.
Getting it wrong and putting the words in the wrong order is par for the course. :rofl::rofl:
Hope your getting stuck in and make sure you enjoy the journey.
Phob lwc gyda popeth :+1::+1: