Long-term vs short-term memory--whatever works!

‘A funny thing happened on the way (back) to the Forum’…

Having been absolutely ‘gung ho’ about learning Welsh, thanks to SSiW and the encouragement from everyone on this Forum, I dived into the deep end taking on some heavy-duty university Celtic Studies, so fell off the wagon part way into both Course 2 and Level 2. Then I got sick,… Then work got in the way,… Then we went on vacation (with a crash course in German to prepare for that),… Then I came home, did the laundry and the outside house repairs that need good weather,… Then,…

Then I ran out of excuses, so dipped my toe back in the water, figured I would race through Course 1 by way of revision (not using the ‘Pause Button’ so I could power through it), and that’s when a funny thing happened–I started responding spontaneously–instinctively. Wow, neat!

Did the ‘time out’ help? Maybe. Did racing through everything? Maybe. All I can say to those of you feeling like you’ll never get the hang of this–trust the system, because whether it is long-term memory or short-term, or some magic combination, somehow the words and phrases get bedded in. So keep going.

Getting involved on the Forum also helps because there is a wealth of first -hand knowledge here, so plenty of tips, a load of encouragement and good friends ‘out there’.

They say everything old is new again. Yes, this topic has come up before, so if the website guru wants to redirect it, I am happy. Or, perhaps I can throw out a couple of questions by way of conversation starters:

What word or phrase just refuses to sink in and stick? (For me they are the Welsh for win and lose–I wonder why?). How did you eventually nail it down?

I’m open to suggestions and promise to give them a try.

All the best,



You’re correct. I did Course 1, then Level 1. Towards the end of Level 1 I started revising all the 10 vocab units in Course 1 and yes, a lot came back instinctively, far more than when I first did these lessons. There was also quite a bit that needed refreshing, but a lot was indeed “bedded in” to quote you above.
I STILL get mixed up with “gwneud” and “dweud” from the very first lesson, even though I know them perfectly well. Go figure…


It could be worse - where I live dweud is usually pronounced gweud, but even though on paper they are virtually the same (only an “n” difference you would be unlikely to mixing them up if you heard them spoken, probably because of context or that the “n” seems to make all the difference.


@Deborah-SSi - could we stick this in the next email?! It’s a great piece of encouragement for anyone going through the ups and downs of SSiW… :slight_smile:

Ah, yes, good one!

I finally solved the particular problem you mention by singing a silly (Flanders and Swann???) song to myself–do you know ‘I’m a gnu’? But I added a line… ‘I’m a gnu and therefore I do, oh wahoo, wahoo, wahoo, I’m a gnu, a gnother gnu…’

It got that ‘g’ well and truly embedded. That’s one I did ‘enill’

Thanks for reminding me about that–good one!


I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one, Baruch!


Hi Gavin–join the club! And try the ‘gnu’ trick I wrote about in response to Baruch.

The other confusion I still have occasionally is between the use of dweud and siarad, mixing them up. Any bright ideas on that one?

Lastly, who knows how to stop the automatic English spell check infiltrating my attempts at writing Welsh? I’ll buy a drink for anyone who can help me out on that, but oh, did I mention you have to come to Vancouver to collect it :blush:

Enjoy the weekend,

Glad to be of help Aran–it’s payback time from my end!

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Don’t tell me - speak to me siaradwch!

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Brilliant Sandra!

Diolch yn fawr iawn,

Alas Marilyn! My problem is not remembering the difference between ‘dweud’ and ‘gwneud’! As I said above, I know them perfectly; I have done from the very first lesson! But when they come out of my mouth they seem to take it in turns to mix me up - seems they’re having their ‘hwyl’ with me… :slight_smile:

You don’t do, Gavin!

Sorry, I meant You don’t say, Gavin!


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Gnus can do that Baruch :grinning:

OK, what is Welsh for gnu? No, let me guess… Gnw?

How did I gwneud ?

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My particular bugbear is confusing “Pam” and “Sut”. Ridiculous really, because it’s such elementary stuff.

My wife has a cousin called Pam, and it’s only a matter of time before I call her “Sut” by mistake!:grimacing:


Mmm, Gavin…I have no problem with Pam and Sut. But ‘Beth’ and ‘Sut’ join forces with Dweud and Gwneud to tease me. Then again, I also get words mixed up sometimes when speaking my native English…

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Fatal…if you know someone called Beth, you could end up calling her “Sut” :grimacing:, just as I’m sure to inadvertently give that name to my wife’s cousin Pam…!

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OK folks, here are three more words I keep confusing, especially when two of them ‘mutate’ so sound very similar to me:
Chwerthin–to laugh
Gwerthu–to sell and
Gweiddi–to shout

Any suggestions how to fix them in my noddle please?

And while we are at it, how can I force my computer to stop correcting my Welsh to the nearest English guess? For example, I typed Gwerthu three times and it corrected Gwendolyn.


I mix up ateb and gofyn all the time, when replying to the lessons. It makes no sense at all, but I do it all the time. I wonder if it’s because you might get a run of a particular construction using gofyn and then out of the blue, perhaps by design, just to check that you’re thinking or listening properly maybe the same or similar construction pops up with ateb and I just fall into the trap of using the wrong one.

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Dweud and siarad - my problem is that I know perfectly well what they mean, but I tend to use say and speak, in some contexts interchangeably. I cannot, of course, currently think of an example. Oh, “He had a word with me!” I don’t think I’d translate it literally, so, siaradodd or dwedodd?
In another thread, I mentioned seeing 10² 10³ and thinking of 10²³ and thus Avogradro’s Number 6.022 x 10²³ for the first time in about 40+ years. Others had the same experience, but what causes things like that to lodge deep in the memory and others to be forgotten, none of us could hazard a guess.
Mainly when I say the wrong thing yn Gymraeg it’s because I’m not listening properly and react to what I expected to hear![quote=“MarilynHames, post:17, topic:5714”]
how can I force my computer to stop correcting

Can’t you turn off the spell corrector? My computer just underlines words it thinks are wrong, like ‘realise’ and most geiriau Cymraeg!

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Exactly the same has happened to me in similar situations. I suppose the brain secretly keeps practising in a little hidden corner somewhere. It’s the same with choir practises, I find. You try to get to grips with certain passages, then leave them and try something else; and a week or two (or three) later it’s simpky there and no problem anymore. Our former choirmaster used to say: “Leave it to soak.” (Like dirty socks.)

Lois Arnold wrote a “Baled y Dysgwr Dryslyd” (In: Ffenestri. Storiau a Cherddi i Ddysgwyr. Was Gomer, Llandysul 2015)
dealing with the problem:

“Dw i eisiau dysgu Cymraeg,
ond mae problem gyda fi -
pryd dylwn i ddweud
‘oes’, neu ‘ydy’?
‘gwnaf’, ‘baswn’ neu ‘bydd’?
Dw i’n trio ac yn trio
ond dw i 'n drysu mwy bob dydd. …”

It’s a nice little book, by the way. I recognised many of the phrases from Level 1 and instantly understood them.
Dw i’n teimlo 'n hapus iawn nawr :wink: