Is it just me? Feeling overwhelmed

A couple of minutes into lesson two and my head is ready to explode. Cant remember half of lesson one, and cant remember each phrase as its presented. Is this normal?! Just feels too fast for me! I know i can take the learning at my own pace but am feeling like I’d need weeks on each lesson.


Hi, It can feel overwhelming on times. I have during the early stages had to go over lessons time and time again, sometimes it takes weeks to complete a lesson. Don’t put pressure on yourself, it is not a race, we all learn at different times and stages. Learning Welsh is a challenge but should be an enjoyable challenge. I would suggest you use the pause button to give yourself time and don’t worry if you have to go over the challenge/lesson 10/15 or 20 times or even more, no one is testing you. It can help to go back over the previous lesson as this can give you confidence as well. I have reached Level 3 now but it has taken me years and I am really enjoying trying to speak Welsh and have met some lovely people during the chats on Say Something in Welsh. I hope this message will encourage you to continue as Welsh is such a lovely language, Best Wishes, Kay


take your time- everyone is different- it’s surprising how things begin to settle into our brains as the lessons go on - keep at it! :smiling_face:


SSIW teaches in a way that we’re not used to learning and it can seem overwhelming at times, especially early on. You’ll adjust to it though. And remember that you’re not meant to be perfect! It’s not a test! Getting things wrong is part of the journey to getting them right later.


It’s not just you :slight_smile:
I found one or two repeats were needed on the early lessons, but even if I felt I hadn’t “got” it, I would move on after that - everything you learn will be revised later on and you do eventually start to recall it.

If the regular lessons feel too much of a challenge at the moment, you could try the “one sentence” lessons just to get used to the method (if you haven’t already!)

There was also a conversation lesson where you say hello, talk about learning Welsh, ask about work then go to the pub. I don’t remember where that is, but someone will know. I found it really useful and I still use parts of it as “set pieces” now. Pob lwc!


A few tips which I found helpful when I first started:

  1. Don’t worry about mistakes at all. Really. The fact that you’re stumbling over something now is not a sign of failure. The course works on the theory that making mistakes is very important, if not essential. This is because when we make mistakes and then have them corrected, it helps our brains make connections, which is how something becomes lodged in our memory. Even if you make the same mistake several times in a row – I did and I still do – the corrections will help reinforce the correct version. So, it’s very important that you try to say ‘something’ in the pause, even if you’re fairly sure you’ve got it wrong. Even if you only manage a couple of words out of a long phrase, say them out loud. Your brain will notice the correction and will absorb it in time. It really helps.

  2. Use the pause button as much as you need to when you first do a lesson. The pauses are made a little short deliberately, because it’s important that you react spontaneously. This helps the learning process eventually, but sometimes there’s just too much going on. So, there’s no problem using the pause button as much as you need to, and if it helps, to use it after the first speaker has given the correct answer so you can get the feel of the correct answer in your mouth. Just try to use it less the next time you do the same challenge.

  3. For the first couple of lessons, you’re probably better off doing each one a few times, but soon you may find that it’s more effective to do lessons in chunks of five, repeating each one only once. E.g. Do L6 once or twice, then L7-10, then go back and do L5 again. It’s surprising how easy L5 will be, even if you really struggled with it at the time – you will naturally have absorbed more than you thought you have.

  4. Every single thing you learn in a lesson will be repeated many many times in subsequent lessons – by the end of level 3 you will have said the Welsh for “I want to” a couple of million times :grinning:. So it really doesn’t matter if you don’t feel you’ve fully grasped a concept at the end of a lesson. In a couple of lessons’ time it will have become natural.

Hope this helps and good luck!


Hi, I just wanted to reply as I think I posted something very similar to you early on and your post really resonated with me. I know learning takes many different patterns for everyone, but I also felt your struggles. I reached week 6 this week and the task was to go back to week one, I couldn’t believe how different it felt and how much I remembered and how little I needed to use the pause button. I know it might not feel like it now, but honestly trust in yourself and the process and you’ll be so surprised how just out of nowhere you start muttering the sentences out loud :slight_smile: Good luck with your journey


Helo, I’m so glad to read your post today, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed too. I should be on week 5 this week but I’m still stuck on week 3. I will persevere and try to learn at my own pace and hope to be confident to move on soon. Pob lwc


All of the above is great advice and let me echo something which is said in one of the recordings but is easy to miss - in many ways, translating is much, much harder than ultimately speaking in Welsh. I’m married to a native welsh speaker but you should see how slow he is if I ask him to translate something. As a human biologist I can tell you that for us (and him!) to translate actually requires activation of more brain centers than when you’re speaking/thinking/listening just in one.

With that in mind, try not to think! Try to just say the phrase without thinking it through and see what comes out. One of the brilliant aspects of SSIW is that it automates a certain amount of language so that you’ll find over time that you have more and more phrases that come out of your mouth without you “translating” which gives you more thinking time for the bits that you still need to translate;)

Hang in there, celebrate what you do get right and laugh about what you don’t :slight_smile:

I am now largely fluent, thanks both to wlpan courses and SSIW, my task now is just to pembrokeshire-ify my Welsh, the fun never ends.


That’s interesting. I’ve been learning for a couple of years and I always struggle with needing to think in English and then convert into Welsh. Sometimes a phrase almost comes out automatically but my instinct is to stop it because I have no idea whether it’s right until I’ve mentally ‘looked at it’.

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brilliant, so keep channeling that “don’t worry about it, just say it” approach and you’ll get to be right more and more of the time.

One thing I find useful is to listen when I’m driving, that way I can’t think about translating too much as I have to focus on not crashing the car - if that seems like a bad idea, sometimes finding a situation where you are listening but can only provide a limited amount of gray matter to the Welsh will again, have you going to automatic, rather than translation. I wouldn’t recommend this “half-concentrating” approach all the time as ultimately you have got to process the new information (and hidden grammar) but as both someone who’s learned this language pretty well (I’ve actually been interviewed on S4C as a successful learner, just adding this for credibility!) and a human biology professor, I can tell you it works that what we know of the brain confirms this would be likely a successful approach.
So keep on keeping on, the hardest thing was starting … and you’ve done that :slight_smile:


and oops, more than started - two years in, that’s arbennig o dda!

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