I’ve decided that when my current Dysgu Cymraeg course comes to an end in May I won’t be signing up for the next level (Canolradd 1).
Im fed up with not having the confidence to speak to people anymore.
I’m even more fed up with my experience trying to speak to native speakers. Don’t learn or speak Welsh and a vocal number complain your killing their language. DO try and they jump down your throat mid-sentence for using the wrong yes/no. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I half believe that there are more than a few native speakers who don’t WANT foreigners like me to speak [butcher] their language. Then again, colleagues who grew up in this country have told me that they get judged and criticised even more harshly for not speaking Welsh.
I used to try speaking to other learners at work but I’ve run out of things to say past ‘Sut wyt ti?’ ‘Da iawn diolch’.
I’m absolutely fed up and have no enthusiasm left for this language. How anyone ever learns it to conversational level I have no idea.
I’m really disappointed in myself to be honest as I was getting on OK with it at one point. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not going to happen.
This forum isn’t the best place for a negative rant as everyone has always been so encouraging in the past (I’m certainly not talking about anyone on this forum, rather Reddit and out in the wild/at my work) but a very, VERY small part of me must want to be encouraged to carry on.
Have taken off my ‘Dysgwr’ lanyard (the ‘badge of shame’ as I call it, as it acts like a beacon to judgmental people as someone they can humiliate for not being fluent) and chucked it away today.
I’m sorry you’re feeling discouraged. Are you doing the Say Something in Welsh lessons in addition to the Sylfaen course? Finding a learner-friendly native speaker is not easy. To be fair, speaking with new learners is not easy, as anyone who has talked to someone who doesn’t speak much English will know. Work colleagues or shop assistants are not language teachers and they have a job to do. If it’s easier to switch to English, they will do.
How are you finding the classes? Classes can be a good way of finding people to practise with, but I have found that people who learn using the SSiW method speak more confidently than those who attend traditional classes. Have you tried any chat sessions with other, more advanced learners? These could be either face-to-face or online. That’s a really good way to get some conversation practice in a safe and friendly space.
I’m not doing any SSiW lessons to be honest- I tried a couple of times ages ago, but it’s way too fast for me and just makes me feel stressed and rushed, and even with pausing, I can’t remember the English prompt most of the time anyway. Seems like it works well for people who can cope with the speed though.
I really like everyone on my course and the tutor is fantastic but it’s online (using Zoom) still and it’s a struggle.
I tried joining a Discord server through the Learn Welsh Reddit page and was chatting with someone else a few times, but it always got invaded by fluent speakers who started using very complex, fast Welsh and getting extremely critical, so we both quit.
Everywhere describes themselves as ‘safe’ and ‘friendly’ but I haven’t found anywhere yet, sadly.
When you say you tried SSiW, did you try any of the tutor lead support sessions on the Slack 6/6 group? They are definitely safe and friendly conversation opportunities.
There’s also a brand new (literally - it’s still at beta stage) approach you could try which has the ability to slow down the lessons and have the words on screen. There are more details and links here AutoMagic Welsh is here!
I hate blowing my own trumpet, but I had great difficulty with the SSiW lessons at first. In fact it took me three attempts several years apart before I could make the method work for me. Since then I’ve used the Say Something in Spanish lessons successfully, though Spanish is on pause for a moment.
You might find this thread and the video I made will help you to use SSiW. Also if you sign up to the course, you will get genuinely helpful support.
I can also agree that the SSIW Slack is very supportive - I don’t use it a great deal myself but the meets there seem to be well-attended. I can also recommend Richard Morse’s Welsh chats (who used to run the Duolingo events) here. I sometimes go to the Sylfaen ones myself: Richard Morse Events | Eventbrite
In terms of getting your enthusiasm back for the language: maybe look into doing some Cymraeg pastimes that don’t put pressure on you to chat in real-time? Postcard clwb, reading books yn Gymraeg, attending a Noson Lawen? Miss O’Hare did a fantastic Cymraeg-only Spotify playlist if you like indie music (and her youtube videos are fantastic). It’s still having fun and interacting with the language - just with less people involved, which is sometimes needed!!
Whether you choose to continue or not, making it to Canolradd is fantastic and a result of your hard work. Da iawn chi!
Thanks for the link the that video- it was really interesting. I am going to at least give lesson 1 another go. SSiW uses a different way of phrasing a lot of things compared to the course I’m doing so it feels like starting all over again and trying not to say the version of a phrase I’m familiar with is difficult.
The Clwb Cardiau Post (Postcard Club) is a growing list of people who pick someone else from the list and send them a postcard with a short message in Welsh. It’s a way to practise writing and be in touch with other learners.
The Noson Lawen takes place over Zoom and is organised by Hendrik, an experienced Welsh learner who lives in Germany. This is the poster for the January one, but I’m not sure when the next one will be.
I was sorry to hear that you feel you must quit learning Welsh and appreciate it must have been so disheartening for you to deal with the problems you have encountered. I am learning Welsh and am currently doing Sylfaen 1. I was doing a combined Sylfaen I and 2 Course but found that much too quick and stressful so decided to quit that and I am now doing just Sylfaen 1. I started SSIW quite some time ago and am on Level 3 and am about to finish that. Sometimes the challenges have been hard and I have had to repeat them time and time again but it has been a very worthwhile learning experience. The SSIW chats on Slack have been amazing. I have gained confidence and with the support of great tutors now feel able to participate in the chats and my Welsh has improved considerably. Before you quit completely I would recommend you join the chats on SSIW. There are various levels to suit all abilities and the good thing about the SSIW community is everyone is so supportive of one another and it doesn’t matter if you get things wrong. Also there is a lot of humour and a great deal of fun. It is a great experience to meet people from all walks of life and from different countries as well who are joined together to talk in Welsh. I do hope you join the chats with SSIW before you quit completely, Best Wishes, Kay
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. If you don’t have a “why” you’re always going to struggle.
And you know what, if you don’t actually want to learn Welsh, that’s OK! Life is short, do things which bring you joy. Don’t waste energy on stuff which makes you unhappy.
Possibly counterintuitively I’m going to suggest taking a break. Take the “should” out of the equation.
And then, after a break, have a little pootle around and find your happy. Do you enjoy having Radio Cymru on in the background? Does “bangers Cymraeg” get you going on Spotify? How about going gigging? What about watching sport in Welsh? Do you like reading? Borrow one of the Mynediad or Sylfaen Amdani books from the library. And so on.
If any of those things make you happy, keep doing them!
If they don’t, and nothing else Welsh inspires you then drop it again until you feel the inclination.
I happen to love Welsh but there are thousands of languages I don’t speak, and dozens of hobbies I don’t have. It’s ok if this isn’t the hobby or the language for you. Do it from love, and release yourself from doing it from obligation.
Hmmm. You are probably right, although I do feel kind of sad that it’s come to this- I really wanted to make a good go of it.
To be honest, no I don’t get much joy from Radio Cymru or books as you have to be quite advanced to understand. I used to like listening to Welsh-language music (there’s lots of modern stuff that would never get played on the radio out there!) so I could try that again.