Losing the will to learn!

I haven’t been able to motivate myself to learn Welsh at all for the last week. Before that I had to try really hard! I have had an email today giving me 2 options; do nothing and hope for the best or come to the forum and seek help. I’m seeking help. I reminded myself that I really want to learn Welsh. I just dont feel like I’m getting anywhere at all. If I’m completely honest, I’ve only been doing the lessons and not the extra practice.
I’m level 3 lesson 19, I haven’t been doing the 2 hour conversations a week, now I feel I’ve held myself back and ruined the technique. I occasionally listen to the chipmunks but no offense, the sound irritates me, I would rather listen a little longer to have it a little slower! Sometimes I listen to Radio Cymru too, not often though.
I’d love to speak with someone who is as introverted as me, no easy task!

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Kelly, you have done marvellously to get to level 3 as it is, so don’t be too hard on yourself - everyone hits a plateau at some stage, and it’s totally natural to feel you’ve ‘stalled’, so please don’t feel you’ve brought it on yourself in any way.
The extra practice and conversation tasks are there to purposely push people into ‘speaking-mode’, (because, honestly, that’s the most difficult bit, and it’s all to do with confidence, not what level you’ve reached) and while many learners have no problem, I can guarantee that there are plenty of learners here that find those tasks almost impossible because of course the most difficult thing with learning a language as an introvert is always going to be the conversation part, no matter how you approach it.

Talking a new language out loud is a very important step, though, hence the encouragement to record and post sentences and questions, etc, but yes, it’s not a one-size-fits-all and some people really do struggle. If you don’t already, I’d recommend talking whenever you can - to your pet is you have one, or to yourself, or even reading articles on the web aloud in Welsh - you may feel a bit daft announcing to the kettle that you’re going to make a cup of tea, but the kettle isn’t going comment!

My suggestion for the time being would be to see if having Welsh on in the background (tv/radio/podcasts/etc) while you do something else but DON’T actively listen to it - just let it be there and wash over you. Even doing that, with absolutely no effort on your part, things will seep in and those brain-connections will get stronger, I promise.

We also have a Welsh Speaking Group on Slack where there are extremely patient people of all ability levels happy to chat with you on a one-to-one basis even if it’s only for a couple of minutes to start with (you certainly don’t have to jump in with an hour’s worth!), so although it will be a huge step for an introvert, please consider giving that a try sometime (it’s free, friendly, with no obligations - just an opportunity to take a deep breath and fledge the nest!)

It may not feel like it now, but you have done, and are doing, very well, so dal ati! :slight_smile:


I’m nowhere near level 3 yet but I’m a certified 97,5% introvert and I find Slack awesome. People there are very friendly and supportive so I always want to learn more after a chat just to be able to tell them more silly things next time.

If Slack feels like too big a step at the moment, you and I could chat via WhatsApp for a few minutes… if you’ll forgive my not understanding all of what you can already say. (No pressure tho, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to.)


Thank you for your kind words. All of that makes sense, I just need to get myself back in the zone. It’s difficult at the moment but I do try to use what I know.
We are an English family living in Wales for just over 10 years now, my children are fluent and when they allow it, I speak to them in Welsh. I just don’t feel as if I know enough to speak to a real Welsh person, what if they talk about things I don’t know?!
Listening to Radio Cymru sometimes makes me cheer because I understand bits but then other times I have no clue and wonder If they’re speaking he same language that I’m trying to learn…
I’ve been on slack a few times and they are great but I never know what to say so just sit and watch!


I learnt Welsh as an adult a long time ago, so it’s now my 2nd language but…

yes, the people I talk to often talk about things I don’t know. I smile politely :wink:

yes, this still happens to me. Frequently. :slight_smile:

Yes, that is how you feel, but it’s not really true, trust me. You have the words, the structures, everything you need language-wise. What you don’t have is the experience that comes from having lots of conversations, and that’s what’s making you feel like this - and I know for introverts it’s a painful situation (I prefer to listen than to talk - though I have kidded enough people for long enough that I’m a confident speaker that I doubt lots of people believe me.)
If you try and “wait until you know enough to speak”, you never will - it’s kind of like saying “I’m not going to try swimming 100m until I can keep up with Michael Phelps” :wink:


Hi Kelly,

I basically had a year away from “learning” formally. I used my Welsh a bit (but it did slip, I let other bits of life take priority). Then in the summer I challenged myself to speak Welsh everyday. I started with 30 days and I wrote about it on the forum. That way I had to do something to tell people about, so it kept me accountable. Now it’s a part of my daily life again.

It’s ok to have a break. Just step back for a bit. Focus on something else. You’ll feel rusty when you come back to it, but you really will be much better than you think you’re going to be. Set yourself a challenge when you’re ready and then tell someone about it (always add some accountability).

Don’t beat yourself up. Your Welsh now, maybe not your confidence, will be at a level that you can leave any formal learning for a while and it won’t suffer. Then focus on the confidence side later on down the line.

I hope that helps :slight_smile:


You’ll be fine, the vast majority of conversations are followable (that is a word I promise :see_no_evil:) when you’re actively involved. You’ll surprise yourself how many different situations you can get by in. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you won’t have the foggiest but that’s ok too!! Fluency is fluid. Sometimes you’ll feel natively fluent in your comfort zone, sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve only just begun. The truth is, we tend to focus on the bits we don’t know and ignore how much of a conversation we’ve just understood and how much more that is than when we started!

As Siaron has said, listening to the radio and the advanced content and passively hearing Welsh will help you no end too! Speaking is always the most daunting bit but you will be fine.

As I said before, have a break, revitalise and then set yourself a goal/challenge. That worked really well for me. Posting on here about it was also invaluable!! The days I felt I hadn’t done well there was always someone there to point out that I’d done far more than I was giving myself credit for.


Oh, and one other thing about “not knowing enough (yet)” -

Even after almost 25 years since my first Welsh class, there are plenty of things I don’t know how to say in Welsh. There are also plenty of things I do know how to say in Welsh which escape me just when I need them and I end up saying them in English. And there are also plenty of times I chicken out of saying anything in Welsh at all.

Yes, I do kick myself.

But switching to our 1st language is fine. It’s allowed. We just have to remember to switch back as soon as we can.

There are also plenty of times I can and do stick to Welsh, and the thing is, those are not the times that stick in the memory so well - unfortunately our previous learning experiences often make us naturally tend to focus on our (perceived) failings rather than our achievements.
Anthony is spot on - we never give ourselves the credit for successes that are blindingly obvious to others!


Hi Kelly, it looks like you’ve done great with the lessons, so close to finishing Level 3!
And to be honest, I didn’t do 2 hours of conversations a week, and just did what I felt like doing - and the technique worked anyway! :wink:

Of course if you do more, you get more results and faster. I think the main purpose of those e-mail tips is to push us a bit out of our comfort zone, where we all naturally tend to dwell, I believe - but not to the point of beating yourself up and discourage you to learn!

However I’m sure each learner can find their own balance, between challenging themselves and still and enjoying learning. You’ll certainly find yours.

I felt a lot of resistance to go out and say something in Welsh to random people. I found that introducing myself as a learner first, and asking them if it would be ok for them to help me practice or something like that is a great way to break the ice.

From my own experience I have to tell it might take quite a long time before you can understand every single thing a native, fluent speaker of any language says.
The good news is that it doesn’t really matter, because you can have very interesting conversations at any level. Especially in Welsh, because Welsh speakers are usually very nice. :slight_smile:

And in worst case, if you really feel lost you can always switch to English, ask a few words maybe and then go back to Welsh later or some other time! :grin:
Edit: I see @siaronjames just reminded this to you as well in the meantime!


Well, reading the title of the topic and then onwards that you’re at the level 3 already I was surprised expecting you’d write you’re somewhere at the level 1 or 2. In that stage the people are the most exposed to such things as loosing motivation or even feelling that they’re not going anywhere.

Actually I have nothing to add here but advise you to go through the @AnthonyCusack’s Daily Challenge topic and a cupple of posts written allover the forum by @MarilynHames at least and you’ll surely be motivated again.

Challenge yourself with whatever comes to your mind and try to reach the goal of the forth set challenge but don’t dispare if it wouldn’t come out as you expected. Remember: it’s always another time to do it again and you’ll do every challenge better and better the further you go.

I believe in you so comming this far as to level 3 you have to believe in yourself aswell.

And as always, remember:
“Dysgu Cymraeg
Siarad Cymraeg
Paid â phoeni
a siarad Cymraeg …” :slight_smile:

Tatjana :slight_smile:


Hi Kelly, I’ve just posted something similar too. I have done the basics (almost through level 2 now) but haven’t done the extra speaking practice either.

I am going to try the local meet ups (Milton Keynes for me), but I’d be really happy to speak eith someone on the same confidence level as me, and we can spur each other on. We CAN do this, we have done well so far, the missing piece needs filling in and WE CAN do it.

I have radio Cymru on in the background at work (via headphones), and love listening to Sian Cothi in the morning, I find her really easy to listen to and I find I can pick up a lot through that eveni if I don’t feel comfortable enough sp speak it.
I’ve got a Slack account but again, not really used it, so I will make more use of it. Please do feel free to get in touch if you would like to practice.

Keep going, or think of a reboot as your resolution!



Have you thought about reading (to yourself) aloud? Provided that you understand at least some of what is written means that you get to speak, bypassing the need to think about something to say. Its not conversational but it is active. I ve found ti very useful - settles in new vocab too.


Diolch yn fawr i chi gyd. It’s really reassuring that I’m not struggling alone and your support means a lot and I will get back on it. I love the Welsh language, I just wish I knew it all, right now!
I will definitely give some of these suggestions a go. I may just wait until the New Year. Finding time to sit and concentrate at the moment is a challenge in itself.


I only really do the lessons. Occasional exchanges in Welsh with my mum. Radio Cymru some mornings. Yeah, I’m probably not properly doing the course as it should be done but hey! Up to me innit!

I did a degree with the Open University and I didn’t do all the things I should have for that either. But I got where I wanted to be some shape or another. Studying between work and family commitments, distance learners are heroes.

Which reminds me, I haven’t done this week’s challenges yet…


I love this comment @matthew-lewis
We are heroes!! I’m doing my best at the moment but it’s not good enough for me, I’m quite tough on myself, I’ve been listening to a bit more and will pick up where I left off in the new year :blush:


Sorry to hear you’re having a bit of trouble but hey you must still want to learn otherwise why post! So yay, just need to get you out of this little issue. You ask about speaking to a real Welsh person & what if they talk about things you don’t know! Well that’s easy, just say you’re learning & sorry don’t uderstand! If you’re nervous of joining in group speaking sessions then don’t do it! I normally arrange to log on the same time with someone & do 1-1 conversations. I’d be happy to do this with you. I’m on level 2 challenge 20 ish! I do slip into English for words I don’t know. Hey really glad you can understand some of what is being said on the Radio. I’m listening to it now & just picking out 1 or 2 words. Would love to be able to understand more. Good Luck & hope you get the mojo back soon X


I have a question and am ashamed just asking it. What is Slack? It sounds awesome.

I’m afraid I have not used the other resources outside of the challenges like I should have. I have just discovered the advanced challenges, and though I haven’t started them, I plan to soon. My life has been so busy that just taking the time to do the challenge daily was about as far as I got. I finished the 3rd level some time back. I do take an additional Welsh class online that I’m enjoying and it gives me a chance to speak and listen to Welsh. But I would love to be able to sit in on these Slack meetings if I can.


Slack is an online platform that you can utilise to have audio and video chats with people. We have two groups on Slack, one is for the people who have subscribed to the 6min/6month courses, but the other (Welsh Speaking Practice) is open to anyone, even those not doing any learning with SSiW. You can make calls with individuals (one-to-one chats), or you can join group hangouts where up to 10 can join in together.

It’s all free, and there are people at all levels from all over the world - and it’s just as friendly as this forum!

The invites for the 6/6 group come (I think) automatically when you suscribe, but If you want to give it the open group go, just send an email to admin@saysomethingin.com with WSP in the title for an invite to the group. :slight_smile:


Anthony! Your reply has certainly helped me… I find I go through phases when I just have to regroup, and find out what I need to do in my own situation in life. Keeping a few smatterings of languages on the back burner, I find it hard to prioritise and concentrate, but being very much motivated by keeping contact and an overview of at least one of the Slack workspaces, and seeing what piques my interest among offerings/postings that Welsh-speaking/learning friends or the media show me, guides me back repeatedly.

Glancing, at least, at sources of interesting material means I can keep returning. Forging relationships online with Welsh speakers, and discovering Welsh-language life is important, it is just an ongoing thing I do not wish to give up, even when I am feeling phobic about social contact in the flesh (& the attendant expenditure).

I look forward to a future time when I can speak/study Welsh daily all through a long spring/summer/autumn season… @Kelly-Barber, I am glad you shared your experience. I live in England - not right among Welsh speakers - and I still manage to feel overwhelmed. I have found - and still find - that when speaking another language, learned as an adult, I can develop a braver/more relaxed version of me. “Using the script provided” launches me until the people who are getting to know me & my interests etc, can help prompt me to participate and search out new things I want to learn to say, and say well & ever better.

P.S. I have just come across the above as a draft reply, never sent, till now. I realise that peaks and troughs in my language learning must have some relation to peaks & troughs of self-confidence, and to my emotional availability for facing difficulty and new and unfamiliar experience, in the rest of my life (although I’m not sure quite what that relation is!). Either can be either a useful or a less healthy distraction from the other, at times, but then “otherness” gets harder to define as being able to immerse myself in Welsh becomes more central to my sense of being as I go along…

Finding a minimal achievement as comforter can help. (Duolingo helped me through 72 days between late November & February - to save a streak meant being at least aware of midnight and the passing of days). Now by contrast I am “maxing out” via The Deep End and every Monday morning will become one of trepidation as I repeat those bits of Lefel 3 I’d already done, but now with added backbone, I hope… Language learning is a long haul, but with surprises…

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