Level 1 Challenge 13 to 15. (was: Confused about how to go on)

In the last few days I had tried to speed up a bit, and it was going quite well, until I came across challenge 13.

A complete disaster.
At some point I felt my brain melting, and I was only able to utter one or two words in each sentence, and a bunch of unintelligible random sort-of-Welsh-sounding syllables.

I searched for tips on the Forum and saw that a few other people felt stuck at this point (that was already a bit reassuring, by the way).

A few even repeated the same challenge over and over (what I nightmare!)

It seems to me that the most common tip was to just press-on, set them aside and go on with challenge 15,16 and on. So I did.


  • here and there I heard/read to proceed to next lesson when you get about 80% right (in my case I probably got around 10% of 13, maybe 30% of 14)
  • at the end of Challenge 15 the teacher/speaker suggests to revisit the last 2 sessions once or twice in the next couple of weeks in order to settle what now seems quite a big mess in my head (he also says I deserve a double vodka, which sounds fine, at this point!)

So now I’m confused. Should I carry on to challenge 16 or wait for the previous challenges to settle?


The bit about having to get about 80% correct is not set in stone, and the general advice has shifted away from that. Just keep on, and if you do want to revisit lessons after hitting a rough patch, the usual recommendation now is to revisit 5 lessons. In this case, push on to 18, and if you then revisit 13, you should notice an improvement.
(Although I seem to remember Aran saying that challenge 13 was maybe a bit harder than others.)
As long as you’re comfortable, keep going, and let the spaced repetitions work their magic :wink:


Yes, just press on when ready :sunglasses:. I have a mathematical theor about all of the challenge 12s and 13s and 25s. They are all killers. The 6s are great fun. Not sure about the 18s, but if my theory holds, they should be ok.


Thanks, @hendrik and @JohnYoung, I think I’ll press on and see what happens!
I could’t remember #6 but I had a look at the vocabulary list, and I can tell it was a smooth one (also because I happened to know a few of those words already, which seems to give my brain a chance to cool down a bit before next set of sentences).


13 and 14 were just not very well written - sorry about that :flushed:

Push on through them, and you’ll be surprised how comparatively-easy 15 will feel… :slight_smile:

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Steady on - those two are my favourite brain busters!
@gisella-albertini - there is so much fabulous stuff in this course - keep on going as far as you dare. Yes, your brain will melt again (and possibly again), but when it glues itself back together, it will have more Welsh in it, you’ll see. :relaxed:


Yes, I agree that you might be slightly hard on yourself there, Aran. Personally, I quite like the sets of six (or whatever) approach, as it gives a sense of achievement and encouragement part way through the level.


The joys of course development - aka how dare people be different?! :wink:

Having said that, we will (I hope) start work next year on a new approach which will make it possible for people to personalise to some extent… :slight_smile:


Don’t worry :slight_smile: Give it a try and continue. If you find it really too confusing, go back to an earlier lesson. When I feel frustrated because all of a sudden all the Welsh seems Greek to me I just go back to an earlier (sometimes much earlier) lesson to find my way back into Welsh. I sometimes just listen to the challenges and all of a sudden find myself responding automatically. Sometimes I find that some things seem to have settled in my brain and memory, whereas others just won’t stick for some reason. (By the way, is there any such thing as an index of the various aspects / structures / topics being introduced in the individual lessons so that finding the remedy for a particular trouble spot might be easier?) Pob lwc!


Yes, pressing on seems to be working alright for me.

Well, if there’s one quality of those two challenges, it’s certainly that…it increases the level of frustration and brain melting I was able to suffer through. :smiley:
And the next few challenges seemed so easy and light, I’ve even become much faster at finishing them.

I also think that having a forum to ask for help and comfort was (is) essential in moments like that! Thanks!

p.s. When I was about to start challenge 14 after the catastrophic 13, I pressed play without looking. Nothing happened. So I checked the iPod and there was a full screen message apparently blocking me. At first I read it as “you didn’t make enough mistakes in the last challenge, try and get some more into this one”.
I thought “what the h*** , even the app itself is making fun of me!”
I had clicked on the sentence above the player, instead of play and now I know that’s what happen. I also noticed there was an “if” in the beginning and had a laugh.


The way I use all these challenges (I’m on level 3 now) is to repeat each one at least once, just to bed it in. Some lessons need to be repeated 5 times. If I’m still stumbling over a particular point after 5 runs through, I will leave it as it will probably crop up again later. It probably isn’t all that pivotal anyway. What I also do is after the first 5 lessons, I will pause and ask myself if I am really ready to move on to number 6. If not, I’ll repeat 5 again. I will ask myself the same question at the end of lesson 10, and so it goes on. At the end of levels 1 and 2, I repeated lessons 20-25 another once or twice just to be sure I’d absorbed them. Only then will I feel ready to move on to the next level. This may not be the recommended method of using the challenges, but with my very methodical mind, to do otherwise would leave me feeling very unsatisfied and therefore lacking in confidence. I have to do it this way. In my defence (if such is needed) I feel that using the challenges in this way has been successful and that the repetitions really help embed the information in my mind.


I certainly don’t think that all people learn a second (non-mother) language in the same way as each other. What works for you is probably correct.


I’ve noticed in my Welsh class that people do need to manage the new information in an individual way. Ironically, given that I’m a bit of a nit-picker generally, I will happily shelve some tricky stuff for later when I’ve got more background info to try and make sense of it, whereas another student would be incapable of moving on until she understood everything thoroughly. Though to be fair, that did make her a much slower learner than me!


It’s very interesting for me to read how each learner finds what works best for them and to notice it’s often very different from one another.

For example, I saw that for me not using pause button doesn’t work. There was not enough time for me to grasp what was going on, and I just felt totally confused.

At first, I tried to keep the vocabulary list open and still avoiding pause button and it was even and much worse!

Second, I tried avoiding pause button but then repeating each challenge once after a a break or the next day (that would make about an hour total to complete each challenge).
It was a bit better, but during repetitions my minds tends to wander and it’s hard for me to keep it as focused as the first time.

At last, I found the best for me is just using the pause button as much as I need/feel comfortable with and never repeating challenges.

I also realized that I started and quit and restarted Duolingo Welsh a few times I probably wrote/heard/translated the sentences in the greetings chapter about 150 times and all I remember is “Bore da” (mostly for its similarity with the way I felt - bored!) and “Nos da, draig” (mostly because it was quite funny to say good night to a dragon).

I think it’s great that everybody here on SSiW can find their own pace!

p.s. and maybe our experiments and comparisons can be useful to @aran as well…


As someone who’s just finished challenge 14, I feel your pain! Obviously everyone’s different, but a few things really helped me out…

I spent a fair bit of time with a pen and paper writing out a few of the sentences in awful pigeon phonetic Welsh to have a proper look at them and find a few patterns. The odd 5 minutes making myself say “she wanted to learn”… “he wanted to learn”… “the old man wanted to learn”… “your sister wanted to learn” (for example) really helped me get used to how those fragments were put together, and when I went back to the challenges those bits tended to fall into place more comfortably which freed up my brain to worry about the rest of the sentence. I wasn’t doing it as a grammar drill, just a way of playing with the vocab from the challenges in my own time and way. Once through the challenge just listening and feeling depressed, then once through with a pen and paper in detective mode has really helped me.

The other thing it might be worth considering is joining one of the courses on here… I’m on the two year version and the weekly video chats with the group and a welsh speaker are really, really useful. I usually come with a small list of questions I couldn’t figure out myself, and get good advice and encouragement. I have to admit that to me, the pacing of the weekly emails/tasks isn’t great, I’m well ahead of what’s being asked, BUT the structure and support you get as part of it is MORE than worth the money.

If you join any of the slack groups, perhaps we could have a video chat sometime and fail to say that “your sister met someone who knows my brother very well… he wanted you to tell me what to do” over a cup of tea if that would help?


Ha, yes!!! :smiley:

After following lessons, where these come up again a few times, and very helpful answers from @Hendrik

and @Novem

it’s going better, but it’s still quite confusing. So thanks for the tip, I’ll try that out (also for other complicated challenges in the future)
I just joined Slack, I’ll just figure it out a bit I guess we’ll have the chance to fail at talking about brothers and sisters…although if there’s nobody else who can tell us when we get them right having tea with us we might keep on failing! :joy:

It’s interesting what you say about the courses. I think for now I’m going to finish the free (or almost free) Levels - it’s quite a lot of stuff anyway - and then I’ll decide what do, and certainly consider joining a course then!


[If anyone in the future should ever find and read this thread, here’s an update]

Challenge 13 and 14 were complete brain-melting failures.
I followed the tip of just moving on to next challenges, never tried to do those challenges again.
Until yesterday (two months later).

Aaaaand…Surprise! Or miracle?..I did it all, no pause button and at least 80 often 90% right! :astonished: :grin:

The first 15-20 minutes were easier; the last part has longer sentences and maybe my mind got a little tired and slower to recall things, so I missed a few more words. But definitely very happy of the results.

“No repeat” works! :wink:


You’ve got me curious now… I also struggled with Challenges 13 and 14 and had to pause a lot and got quite a lot wrong. It’s been about two months since I did them, so I’m wondering if it’s time to go back and see if I still find them as hard as I did.


Hey it would be interesting! If you decide to try, don’t forget to let us know how it goes!

p.s. I added 14 right before posting my previous comment even though detailed description referred to 13. Challenge 14 has longer sentences from the beginning so I needed to use pause a bit more and the first half was pretty much like the second half in this case - but 80-90% correct without ever working on them again apply to both!

I agree with Gisella-albertini. Second time around was much easier. Give it a go and see what happens.