Level 3 Southern -continued

Still no Level3 Southern? - yet ANOTHER month gone by and I’m still asking the same question.

Would I be right in thinking that this section of SSi takes a very low priority or is it STILL something with the software?

If the latter, then could I suggest looking for another software application or at least putting (more) pressure on the developers of the current one.

Software development isn’t easy, as it requires lots of design, implementation, and testing, and this is just for adding new features. Sometimes development requires reimplementation or redesigning past features to make for a better product. Seeing how SSiBorg is largely experimental and pushing the boundaries of software never before implemented, you can and probably should expect a lengthy time period. Because this summer is the time SSi wants to fully polish and begin to finish or wrap up SSiBorg, you can expect maybe just a tad bit longer.

Nothing worth doing right is worth doing in a shoddy manner.

I am sure adding Level 3 to the Southern course is one of THE highest priority items for SSi. But, I am fairly certain SSiBorg is the highest priority, as it is the driver of implementing all future courses. Aran once said that in an intensive 6-hour section, a whole level can be churned out with exceptionally high quality (I hope I spoke accurately on that Aran! lol)

If I am not mistaken, the development is almost, if not completely, being done by our very own Ifan. My hat is tipped to the gentleman, as he has done an exceptional work so far. As for looking for another software application, I can pretty much assure that this would not happen as, Iestyn once said, SSiBorg is imminent and WILL be completed within a reasonable amount of time from this point. Also, moving to a separate platform would deteriorate the quality of producing SSiBorg at present, and would unnecessarily prolong completion of the project.

SSi is doing A LOT of very wonderful things, and we’re closer than ever as a community to be able to reap the rewards of our lovely SSi team (to include some extraordinary forum/community members). Things will be wrapped up sooner, much sooner, rather than much later, and you’ll be in for some very wonderful treats when this arrives. And, I am so excited for the enrichment of our community once things do start hitting 1.0 quality for SSiBorg.

Until then, some patience is needed. I know it sucks, and I know you are frustrated, but we must work together with SSi and not against. They are literally working at speeds that are extraordinary.


I was intending to update the original thread on this, so thank you for raising it.

There was a set of sentences missed out that neede recording. These have been done.

It then transpires that there was 1 small section still not recorded, we I am hoping to get done with today.after an important meeting, but before the kids come home.

Thanks naltun - I hope it will be considerably less than "longer"But you’re right about the development of the SSiBorg. The problem has been that we are shortcutting the system so that L3 South can be out earlier than it would other wise be (if we waited for the developments that will make it even better), but trying to short curt a system that you are unfamiliar with using, in a way that it’s not desigend for, and for a task that will prbably never have to be domne again, is that when things go wrong, ti’s difficult to work themn out in a timely way, and when things go right, you sometimes find, as is the case here, that other things are pushed out of line because the system isn’t designed to be used as we are using it in this one instance.

However, when Ifan tried produicing the first lessons over the weekend, one section was thrown up as incomplete. I need to arrange slots for recording the one small section, and then we will hopefully be on our way.

Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.


I had goofed when I was writing the original post (happens when multi-tasking I guess :stuck_out_tongue:) and had edited it so that it didn’t imply longer , but that it would probably be only a little bit longer. Makes a massive difference. Funny enough, when you quoted me it didn’t use the edit (which I had made immediately after rereading the post).

But, I’m looking forward to all new changes to SSi, as usual. Keep up the good work guys, you have so many thrilled learners cheering on.

Edit: I had to delete my previous post because I accidentally replid to myself. :sweat_smile:


We could look at it another way: level 3 is a polishing section. If you’re at the stage of level 3 then you’re a very good Welsh speaker :slight_smile:

Also, there’s always 10 lessons of the Northern course. It’s not that different.


I’ve edited it myself now. The quote function copies the text that’s there when you read it, and just puts it in quotes. so I was obviously copying as you read!

In fairness to @daibanto I fully understand his frustration, and he is no doubt the tip of an iceberg when it comes to b=people frustrated by the non appearance of the southern level 3. Believe me, I am frustrated myself because I genuinely thought that there was one set of recording to do, and that the launch would be imminent when he asked a month ago.

Unfortunately, because of the way we are trying to shortcut the system, and because Cat’s potential recording hours are very restrictive (particularly this month, when she has been away in London), we have found unexpected issues that have then required finding new recording slots, that in some case just aren’t there.

I’m pretty sure that this new section will be quick, which means that Cat should be able to fit her bit in ASAP, and we should be producing very soon. But I’ve said that before, and I hate letting people down…


Since it’s a custom tool which is designed to specifically fit the method we’re using to create the material, and is entirely unlike any other software that exists, it’s not simply a case of swapping it out for an equivalent off-the-shelf tool I’m afraid - because there isn’t such a thing!

I’m afraid your plural there is an incorrect assumption, as there’s only one of me - and I can personally assure you that the delays are not due to insufficient pressure :wink: @naltun and @Iestyn have already done a great job of explaining what the reasons are - but the bottom line is, I’m trying to use an experimental piece of software to produce material while simultaneously working on making a parallel version of that same software become less experimental, and juggling that with managing all the other computer-related aspects of keeping SSi running.

That, and there’s been a bit of back-and-forth between me finding stuff that needs fixing, Iestyn and Cat finding the time to record the resulting bits, and then me finding more stuff to fix as a result of the recording! But it genuinely is a matter of precisely four missing snippets to record now - and if any other unforeseen technical problems happen after that, then I swear that by hook or by crook I’ll find a way around them without requiring any more recording! :slight_smile:


Thanks for your explanation, and I’ve no wish to start a slanging match with anyone involved with the production of SSiW: However, from my point of view its difficult to understand why ALL of course 1 (N and S), course 2, course 3, many vocabulary and bootcamp sessions, Level 1, Level 2 and more than half of Level 3 sorthern have been produced to a high quality, yet Level 3 southern has not appeared at all!

Is this the right place to use experimental software, as it is obviously causing delays? Cannot the software that produced all the other courses and levels be used whilst the software developement continues off-line as it were?


That’s a very good thing, because we don’t allow slanging matches on this forum.

Actually, although it doesn’t feel like that for you (because you can’t compare it directly, I suppose) the experimental software is already saving us from huge delays.

If you were waiting for me to script these lessons by hand, and for Iestyn then to adapt them to the southern versions, you’d be waiting a LOT longer - go back and look at the publication schedules for Level 1, or Course 1, even.

It’s taken us NINE YEARS of work to build the other lessons you refer to - those courses were not built with ‘other software’, they were written, line by line, by me. Only after they were written did we use software to help put the actual recordings together.

The new software changes that, by dramatically reducing the amount of writing each course requires - we’re almost half-way through northern L3 in just a matter of weeks (and we’d be further ahead by now, too, if my computer hadn’t decided to die temporarily). This rate of progress will be matched by the southern course in the next few weeks - so you’ll have a significant body of L3 material available in the next couple of months, instead of in the next couple of years.


Thanks for the explanation, I’ll hang on a little longer.

Stepping back and taking a wider view here, there is a mis-conception at play that I see very often in emails and other discussions. It’s a misconception that I am very pleased about, but can be a bit of a nuisance when we trip over it as here.

SaySomethinginWelsh, and the SaySomethingin project generally, is basically an amateur project, run by two people from their living rooms, with a third person, paid peanuts, taking on the software and web development / maintenance duties.

Worse than that, we are trying to do two opposing things simultaneously, which is to give the opportunity to as many people as possible to learn Welsh, and develop the SaySomethingin method and company to be a world leader in language learning, so that we can finally start to develop the eco-system / structure / practise hubs / online chat functions that will allow normal people, rather than our current trail-blazer clientele, to learn a new language. this will allow us to totally change the situation of the Welsh language, but also allow others to use our models and products to turn around the fortunes of other minority languages in similar, or in most cases much worse, situations to Welsh.

The former needs us to keep the prices down, the latter needs us to spend eye-watering amounts of time (our own, and that of our amazing volunteers) and cash developing the background systems that will allow us to get on with the big plan.

The misconception that I talked about at the beginning of this post, is that we are a professional big-company outfit, possibly making lots of money, who really ought to be getting on with stuff, who really ought never to make mistakes, who really ought to be producing the material that we need to learn.

And the reason I’m pleased about that misconception is that it shows how good our web developer is, how effectively Aran has managed to crystallise his research into language acquisition into language courses that work, and how professional we have managed to be despite our personal challenges, and the realities of working for a small and cash hungry start-up.

You are all pioneers and trail blazers, but because you can see that people have gone before you, it doesn’t feel that way. In 20 years time, though, I hope you will all be looking back and saying “wow, I remember that early days of that course…”. You’ll occasionally come onto the forum to tell people how you managed to learn despite there being no practise function, no formal network of first language speakers to ease you in to the Welsh speaking world.

You will reminisce about how it took real commitment and self discipline to learn “back in the day”, that the essentials were all there for you, but that you had to trust, had to work through on your own even when you came across problems and road blocks, had to use a text forum to ask questions (who knows where that will be in 20 year time!)…

You will look at what you achieved, and be amazed that you ever managed it, because what you have at the moment is really poor compared to what people will have in the future.

We also will look back on these days and laugh… (and if we’re going to laugh then, we might as well start now…)

So, I totally understand your frustrations at the delays - if you didn’t have the drive that leads to frustrations, then you wouldn’t have done as well as you have with the course! - and I am, or rather we are, trying to get my end of the project up and published so that you can get on with your learning as soon as possible.


That is a beautiful explanation @Iestyn. I remember developing much simpler software at work and being told, by a furious user that I was terrible to tell her she had made a fatal error, because that meant her whole computer was broken!! I hurriedly ensured that no automatically generated messages could reach users!! I did not point out that she didn’t have a computer, just a terminal sending messages to and from a computer in another building across the square. I just said “sorry” and made certain that my error messages were along the lines of “I am so sorry, but…”
It is good to have your explanation of what is actually going on behind the scenes, as I had presumed Aran still wrote everything and SSiBorg generated material makes more sense to me with things I have heard more recently!

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I still remember when I joined the SSiW method 4 1/2 years ago. The old course was still being built even then - Course 3 was just a blueprint!! The Spanish course was only a few lessons, as were the Dutch and Cornish lessons. By the time I caught up with the process, Course 3 was near completion, the new ‘Levels’ were starting to be produced and Spanish had also been rewritten, with new levels also!
Now, we have more lessons on the Cornish course, an Manx course, a comprehensive resource for Welsh learning, despite the old course being marked for removal once the new Levels are complete, and we’re also on our 3rd forum provider (having tried to build our own version of that in the past before SSiBorg became the priority build). In half the time of SSi’s existence, even I’ve seen some amazing progress being made here, thanks to our 4 tutors, 1 programmer and 30,000 plus members/learners/forum users.
Oh, and I’m a Southern learner too.
And while I wait for new lessons, I also follow the the northern course lessons which are available now, and have very few differences to the south course, use as many resourses I can find available to me, whether online or physical, attend meet-ups as often as I possibly can to practice my Welsh - even Skype ones. I’ve even moved to Wales in the last 2 years so I get more of a chance to use my new language. And I’m lucky enough to get to use it every day - even if just a few words spoken, but I’m always listening to Welsh media, be it Welsh bands, or S4C!

Given all the hard work that goes on in the background, especially with the amazing boot camps that take place every year (no less than 4 times a year in fact) where our very own @Iestyn and Cat host these fundamental weeks of fun-based Welsh immersion, the delays in the southern course isn’t really a case of low priority, but offering opportunities to all who choose to further their SSiWelsh learning experience with these unforgettable weeks living in the medium of Welsh. I’ve only done one of these, and I’ve promised myself to do another when time off work permits me. I would highly recommend doing at least 1 week.
With this in mind, as well as the other developments happening in the background as mentioned before, I think it is easy to forgive the delays in the production of the Southern Course. I too am still following, even though I consider myself a speaker now. There is always more to learn and room to improve, and the resources and opportunities are out there ready to take advantage off in the mean time. :slight_smile:


Thank you Iestyn - at last a real explanation!

Ummm … I hate to hear/read word poor so shall we rather say “very different” despite I understand exactly what you mean by that. It’s like remembering the beginning of techy era where there were massive computers with even more massive storage rooms for all those data but yet I don’t feel it was poor … it’s just so interestingly different and that’s what SSiW in the 20 years time will be!

I even now am often saying this “Oh I remember 4 years ago when …” thingy as even now SSiW developed and advanced a lot in comparrison with 4 years ago.

However, even if I knew and could imagine all this, thank you for this brilliant explanation @Iestyn.