I’m finding myself in situations where I should be able to use what I’ve learned, but for some reason I cannot make myself do it. It is so annoying!
To be honest, I’ve always been an introvert, but this is different. Do you kind people have any suggestions to help me actually get out there and start using my Welsh?
Also, I’ve recently learned about the new Levels. Should I go on to Course 3, or start on the Levels instead? (or both?)
Diolch yn fawr
Personally, I’d recommend going on to Level 1 - as long as you don’t manage to convince yourself that somehow it’s ‘going backwards’, which it most certainly isn’t!
In terms of practising speaking - do you have any friends who speak Welsh?
Hi, if I am reading your post correctly you have finished Course 2 old? First off, congratulations on finishing!!!
Second, I would wholeheartedly recommend going back and doing the new lessons. There is new material in them but it is much better stuff for 'proper’conversations.
Lastly, if at all possible see if you can find a local chat group? My experience is that it it totally nerve racking the first time but that you quickly fit in because you all havea common interest and people are only too delighted to help. For me it was just a case pf having to jump in at the deep end, and now I look back and realise that trying to keep ‘safe’ was the thing which held me back. Good Luck!
Sounds like you’re doing really well and I think that being a bit self-conscious is just another stage on the way to being comfortable with the language. I got past this by just saying stuff as it popped into my head. I don’t think I’m the only learner walking round the supermarket muttering tatws, moron, cennin, bara, caws etc. it helped ‘normalise’ things for me just as repeating things heard on Radio Cymru did and does. When faced with a real human, it never seemed as odd as it once did to hear myself spouting dodgy Welsh in a Leeds accent. I know I’ll never be a good Welsh speaker but through talking to myself, the dog, Welsh speaking victims and anyone unlucky enough to meet me, I’m comfortable with trying. And there’s the occasional purple patch. As you’ve got as far as you have, you’ll be fine, just try having a bit of a conversation with yourself and see how it goes.
Thank you all
I will start on Level 1 today.
Actually I have quite a few! In fact my desk at the office is adjacent to a Welsh speaking colleague (Welsh is his first language), so I have no excuse really.
The idea if finding and attending a chat group is great in theory, but whether or not I can get the courage to go is another matter!
I like andygildon’s idea of speaking aloud (but not with anyone) at every opportunity. I will certainly start doing this.
Sometimes speaking to people you know quite well is actually more embarrassing!
Can you find another SSiW learner on the map who lives near you? Perhaps you could chat online and both go along to a group together?
I found the best places to practise are situations you are familiar with and have limited scope for complication e.g. in the library - there are only so many things the assistant is ever likely to ask. It can be relied upon to always go something like this… You ask to borrow a book. Assistant says yes and then tells you when it needs to be back. You both say goodbye.
At the beginning I found it much more nerve-wracking speaking to someone whose first language was Welsh. The thing about a learners’ chat group (although, obviously, going into a new group of people can be terrifying) is that everyone has been in the same boat so knows exactly what it feels like. It might be good to get up a bit of confidence with other learners before trying out your Welsh on your colleague?
Getting the ball rolling in a professional context is pretty hairy. It might be easier for you if you offer one of your friends (someone you genuinely like and feel comfortable with) a pint in return for five minutes of Welsh.
Really - that’s enough to get the ball rolling, just those five minutes. When you’ve done five minutes once, then try and make it a weekly thing - and at some point you’ll realise that it’s going over the five minute limit. Let it.
What about a bootcamp? I can’t imagine you could go a week being too worried to speak at all.
You sure? Because that’s my intention next month
You sound like me last year! So I have been breezing through new level 1, and new level two, but I keep hitting the availability buffers, so while waiting for the next installments of new level 2 I have been tackling old course three.
And while on the phone to book my summer week in Wales this year, I ‘came out’ as a Welsh learner and we managed most of it in Welsh. It’s hard making that step isn’t it?
Thank you all for your advice. I feel a little guilty for not having taken any of it yet!
So much braver than me, I’m quite jealous!
However, I did manage to ask my colleague a question in Welsh! I asked, “Sut ydy dy bengliniau heddiw?” (He plays football after work and had fallen onto his knees). He looked a bit startled and answered English. Oh well, at least he now knows I am learning.
I managed to find some time to run through the first two Levels yesterday, and was surprised to find that there were already some new words.
I’m having an annoying difficulty with “Fedrai i” because I almost automatically want to use “Medru” as soon as Aran says “can’t”, so I end up saying “Fedrai i ddim yn medru” !!
Quite amazing how some words and phrases are like they’re on autopilot. I guess that is the power of the SSIW way!
Sounds like you’ve been doing it the right way
But Wondersheep, I’ve heard you speak Welsh. I didn’t die from shock or incomprehension. You will do well, better than you think you will.
On trips to Paris for the rugby, I found myself in lots of situations where I really had to speak French. I had done it at O-level some 10+ years before and was surprised to find how much I could manage!! This was to French folk on the boat, people like gendarmes and assistants in small shops, and then the French folk around us in the crowd. Everyone was delighted that I tried to speak their language because the French are like that!!! A few, who could, tried their English on me and we had bilingual Frenglish conversations!! Most either couldn’t speak English or wouldn’t or were too shy to!! The problem in, say, Gwyhedd, is that people tend to switch to English because they all can and want to be welcoming and helpful!! You have to be willing to say, “Look, I’m learning, I’m not very good yet, but would you mind trying to Say Something in Welsh to me?”!!!
Totally agree. I was really nervous too about going to a meetup at first. I barely spoke the first few times because of nerves and taking ages to construct a sentence. But everyone there was really friendly and supportive and now I’m always banging on about one thing or another! : -)
The really valuable thing about meetups is that they provide a safe space for you to try out the patterns you’ve been learning in lessons. No one cares if you make a mistake. We just laugh about it and move on instead of worrying. Practicing your speaking and listening in a relaxed environment with fellow learners of varied ability will do wonders for your confidence. It really will. And you’ll then feel prepared for situations ‘in the wild’ that will then seem much less daunting.
So, I know that it’s really nerve-wracking to make that first step, but I’d really urge you to do it. You’ll be so glad that you did! : -)