I’ve been learning, or have learned Welsh over the past several years, starting on my tenth year now. So I started before SSIW existed, possibly even before it was a twinke in @Iestyn and @aran’s eyes.
So in that time I’ve met dozens if not hunreds of people learning Welsh on the way. Over the past month, as we are getting to ‘start of term’ time, I’ve been asking if they have signed up for classes.
No, I’ve given up.
No, the classes are too far away.
No it’s too hard.
Somebody told me that for every 100 people who start at Mynediad 1 only one gets to Uwch. Now I know that some get to a level that they are happy with, but so many fall off the wayside thinking they are failures.
They are not failures. The system is failing them.
Now I know I am preaching to the converted here, but by golly it’s making me angry.
I will now go and repost this in ‘The Welsh Government wants your opinion’
And this is why I keep recommending this site to people who are interested in learning Welsh (or indeed Spanish) - the classroom is a terrible place to learn to speak a language (or, in fact, most things). One can learn more in a classroom once one has a certain amount of knowledge already, but the only way to learn to speak is to learn some basic vocabulary and patterns and start using them - which funnily enough is exactly what this course promotes.
It depends on the class and the teacher- I’ve had some excellent teachers, an enthusiastic class, practising speaking Welsh in class and enjoying the lesson.
I’ve had less than good teachers, and a class of which more than a few members turned up for something to do in the evening, as happens with evening classes.
I know people who became comfortable Welsh speakers through classes, through SSiW, through both, even through no lessons at all - the difference was always how much Welsh they used outside the lessons with Welsh speakers. The classes were so variable in how effective they were. (Though the majority of teachers were good, at least.)
With SSiW you are guaranteed good teachers. It gives you confidence when talking to people and even provides a certain substitute for having a conversation with a Welsh speaker - always a good thing!
I’d say it’s all in how teachers can motivate students to learn, to go out in the wild and use what they’ve learnt etc with no pressure of course. When you’re ready you go into the wilderness telling all around YOU’RE SPEAKING the language no matter how bad or good it all is. You don’t need to tell to people how long you’ve been learning you just say you’re learning (if neccessary at all) and it’s enough. I know for once, here I found so much motivation not only by our teachers and course itself but from the “classroom” which is really huge one (don’t you agree?) and I didn’t need much more motivation apart from that to just go and speak.
So if in the classroom people are too sorted into the groups of knowledge it can be frustrating and demotivating in deed. Why making one feel bad about their knowledge of language if this isn’t neccessary and that’s what sorting, giving marks etc, often does. We will create competitive environment by giving marks and such stuff so that those who don’t learn as fast and good as the others will have kind of motivation to do more! Yes it works in short term but in long term for many it does not work at all especially if they just can’t cope with something as fast and efficiently as the others.
I, for myself can say, that if I wouldn’t sit in this huge SSi classroom, I’d probably never be ready to go out and speak. I might not even learn enough to say one simple sentence. Maybe it is time to change the learning languages system (not only in UK, Wales… but in Slovenia too as it’s practically the same) and go for more free, not so tensive classes where marks are (maybe) given only when the course finishes with exams and not before. And … grammar should really come later on when you’re already able to produce something in the target language and high grammar should surely be for those who are interested in and for those who intend to study languages in the future.
SSi and similar ways of learning really seam great aproach to me. I’m living proof … I’m speaking Welsh (and I’ve moaned s omuch in the past … ).
Yes and what really got my goat was when it became really hard to get to classes! Oh, we must have at least this many signed up and we are one short, so your village can’t have them any more. Oh, the next village is short too… no classes there! Where can I go? Oh, er… into the City in the dark nights of winter, when the last bus has left before your class even starts! Well, it’s no trouble to drive 17 miles down winding roads with the odd black cow lurking wet and almost invisible! Really encouraging!
Oh and they cancelled before giving us a chance to sign in one village and without any notice, so a group of us were hanging about with no idea why no teacher appeared!
HAHA! (In all sadness) I love this one @henddraig! I literally imagine black cows lurking around the corner when driving lonely roea at night. (err I wanted to say I love your humour no matter how sad the situation actually is.)
In Wales, surprisingly practical. They are often called “friends and family”. Neighbours or people your family or friends know if not.
In addition to that, getting people to speak with the Welsh speakers in an Anglicised (referring to language only, of course) area (is not Carmarthen) is very important- to make them realise generally how many there are even in areas where the default language is English, breaking the ice in getting them to enter into using Welsh with people around them.
[Oh, incidentally, you will find that a fair few people in lessons would regard themselves as Welsh ‘natives’. Best to use terms like “first language speaker”, “native speaker”, or, better, just “Welsh speaker” really. As long as they speak fluidly and comfortably, it will help you with your Welsh tremendously, whether they learned it before some other language or not.]
I do wonder how figures can be obtained. I mean, I never did any of the exams, so would I even appear on successful figures?
I’ve bumped into people who started off in classes, then dropped out. Some of them had dropped learning Welsh completely, others had gone on learning through other ways.
I was just talking to someone who takes Welsh classes the other day about this (a good one, really enthuses the class, enthusiastic about getting people speaking, puts the money he makes from it back into local Welsh projects), and he was saying the same thing- it’s impossible, for good or ill, to be sure who actually goes on to become a comfortable Welsh speaker if you never see them again!
First of all may I say Thank God for SSIW. Me too have been learning for a long time. 37yrs to be precise. I have been married to a welsh speaker for that long. Our sons were sent to welsh schools. I did get a little practice while helping the kids with their homework. I first went to an informal class anyone remember “Cloncian”.very basic.
However since I retired I decided to learn the language properly, as now the grandchildren are in the welsh school. I have been following classes for the past three years. But only since SSIW in 2015 that I felt any significant improvement in my knowledge. It is by far the best method. A combination of SSIW, DUOLINGO, Radio Cymru, S4C and many,many short story books written with the learner in mind, Bob Eynon, Bethan Gwanas etc…and Gareth King’s dictionary will soon get you on the road as a fluent Welsh speaker. And if there is the opportunity go to a class which fits your level… And that is what I am doing, I am at Canolrad level and enjoying it very much.
Your first theories are incorrect, in my experience. I live in an area where the language of the street is definitely English. Where Welsh speakers are in the minority. Speaking from experience, all the Welsh speakers I know well are more than happy to speak in Welsh to other Welsh speakers and to people learning Welsh. They do not belong to some confined “ghetto” of Welsh speakers which does not speak to ‘outsiders’.
Just my experience, as I say.