Lack of progress/enjoyment getting me down

Firstly I’m sorry for such a negative post - I just can’t seem to get my spirits up about learning Welsh.

My speaking abilty has taken a huge dive recently. I had got to Lesson 23 of Level 2, then gave up after a few attempts at it. I can’t wrap my head around the different versions of the conditional tense. I went back to the last challenge of Level 1 today and did worse than ever.

I used to force myself to listen to Radio Cymru 2, to try to talk to people at work who speak Welsh and also to read the Lingo Newydd magazines. Forcing myself to do all those things didn’t make me interested again, so I decided to leave all Welsh learning till I felt like it…but so far I haven’t, and it’s been months!

I think the main problems for me are:

1.) No confidence. I sometimes get confidence and try talking to people or going to groups, but I end up regretting it as they then use too complicated/fast Welsh with me and it ends up dashing my confidence.

2.) Comparing myself to others. I read so many posts on SSiW where people are living, breathing Welsh all day every day and enjoying it. I don’t understand how they can get so fluent so quickly. I want to be happy for them, but I just end up frustrated and jealous.

3.) Not feeling like I have a good ‘reason’. I didn’t grow up in Wales, I don’t have any friends/family who speak Welsh, and the colleagues who I’m closest to didn’t get the opportunity to learn when they were growing up. I also might be leaving Wales soon as I just can’t afford to live here (Cardiff) anymore- added to the fact I have no social circle here outside of work!

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Also just to add - from my outsider perspective, and something echoed by my Welsh born-and-bred colleagues who didn’t get the opportunity to learn Welsh growing up- the Welsh-speaking community can be quite insular. I know there is historical reasons for this but there’s a huge ‘class divide’ between speakers and learners, as well as Welsh and non-Welsh.

I could throw all kinds big words for the things you’re facing at the moment - most of us know the main culprits: perfectionism, often with its accompanying fear of failure, a sense of loss of control, etc etc. Been there, done it, worn the t-shirt (I’m galloping towards my eighties, so I’ve lived a lot). I now focus on the little joys, a word I did remember, a short sentence I pronounced quite well, allowing myself to have super short sessions on Automagic whenever I feel too challenged. The best kind of motivation comes from within. It’s not a competition. Finding joy in a single word is the key for me. What would be your trigger? Good luck!


To me, this is probably the biggest issue. You have a lot more going on in your life than just learning Welsh. You’re dealing with doubts about where you’re going to live, which I imagine would involve looking for a new job, and you’re not enjoying a social life outside work. With all those factors combined, you’re not really in a great place to be able to throw positive enthusiasm at your Welsh, and you need to ask yourself whether it’s actually a priority for you at this moment in time. Perhaps you would be kinder on yourself if you gave Welsh a break and focused on other issues first. When you’re in a better place emotionally, you may find that learning Welsh is suddenly a lot easier than you’re finding it now. And we’ll still be here to welcome you back when you reach that point :hugs:


I used to be an Open University tutor. Sometimes students would contact me saying that they were struggling and list all the other things going on in their lives. My advice was that sometimes you just need to drop the course and come back to it when the time is right.

I also sympathise regarding finding it difficult and slow going. I have been learning on and off for decades (so didn’t learn with SSiW because it didn’t exist!). I did find the course very valuable, once I’d found a way to cope with it, bearing in mind my very poor short-term memory.

A few years ago, SSiW seemed to be emphasising how quickly you could become a Welsh speaker. Also awards like the Welsh Learner of the year were very demoralising to me because it seemed the people shortlisted moved to Wales very recently and before you knew it, they were living their entire lives through the medium of Welsh. It made me feel stupid and inadequate, but I did continue and eventually became a confident speaker. However, if anyone asks when I first started learning, I always reply, “You don’t want to know!” Besides, I “started” half a dozen times over the decades.

So my advice to me would be stop stressing about it. Right now other things are more important. But never give up the idea of “starting” again. Sometimes the time is just not right, but that isn’t to say that you won’t want to pick it up in the future, and next time you won’t be starting with a blank slate. Even if you think you’ve forgotten everything, it soon comes back when you start learning again.


Hello Snufkins,love the name by the way.l totally get a lot of what you said.learning a new language is really difficult once you are an adult.It takes a lot of effort and a long time.l think unless you are fortunate enough to live with a welsh speaking partner or are in an area of wales where welsh rather than English is the default language it’s a real challenge.l do think that there’s a real gap for learners who can say a little but aren’t yet conversationally fluent.We need to practice speaking but don’t yet have the speed,vocabulary,grammar etc to cope with “normal” conversations.l am often in the situation where a welsh speaker says something to me which l understand but because l don’t instantly respond they assume l haven’t understood and therefore translate it for me and start speaking in English whereas what l need is a little time to respond.lts a real skill being a first language speaker who can encourage beginners and not everybody who can speak welsh has this gift.
I also agree that there is,unintentionally l am sure,a feeling being promoted that one can pick it up quickly if only you apply yourself. .l think that this can be the case but only if you have the time to devote yourself to it and as l have said are surrounded all day by the language in your normal everyday life which a lot of us learners aren’t.
I liken learning Welsh to learning an instrument.For the first few years you practice away on your own feeling like you are getting no better then one day you realise that instead of walking away when you pick up your instrument somebody stops to listen and say how nice it sounds.l really think that you have to learn Welsh for yourself and nobody else so go at your own pace,10 minutes a day then walk away if that’s all you can face.Regard it as a hobby rather than a chore and gradually overtime you will realise that you are better than you were last year.
I don’t really have strong reasons to learn Welsh either but regard it as a mental exercise abit like doing a crossword every day.
Whatever you decide to do l wish you all the best.


Thanks everyone for your advice.

@margarethall and @Deborah-SSi to be honest I hoped someone would day this- I have been wanting to give myself ‘permission’ to give learning Welsh a break, for however long that ends up being, for well over a year!


Take your time, however much you need, and we’ll be really happy to see you back when you’re ready :hugs:


Isnt it odd, we spell out for ourselves what our heart is saying but find it so hard to accept, as we feel like we’re failing. Being understood by someone else is such a relief. There are innumerable aspects to our lives, and we’re always developing insight into our motivations and rationales. Its better to put our evergy into aspects of our own lives that are going to give the biggest payoff in the shortest time, and quickly see benefits, which gives a more positive outlook on other things. Good luck and joy in 2024 :muscle: