My Bobsled fun thread

I meant to type “bobsled run” but my fingers slipped and I like the typo, so I’m leaving it. :smile:

I’m doing the 10 week version, so for this week I’m concentrating on making more of an effort to greet people in Welsh. Disclaimer: I am not a beginner. I’ve been learning Welsh for years and have been stuck on the “competent learner” plateau for ages. I retired last year and I’ve therefore got more time now to devote to learning and practising Welsh so this time I’m determined to get to the stage where I’m able to function with confidence in social situations using Welsh.


You might want to take the suggestions in the Bobsled Fun (a definite improvement!) and at least DOUBLE all of them, then… :slight_smile:

That is my cunning plan!

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So… It’s Week 2 of my Bobsled run and as I’m not a beginner, I’m going to riff off the basic challenge whilst sticking with the theme of it.

First, however, I have to say that doing any kind of language challenge as an introvert is not always easy. An awful lot of my social life is online and typed rather than spoken. Now I’m retired, the person I mostly have conversations with is my husband, but they’re not entirely normal conversations by most people’s standards! :smile: Otherwise the people I go out to speak to are the Welsh conversation group in the T.H. Roberts cafe in Dolgellau. But as those conversations are already in Welsh, I can’t translate them.

I have therefore combined Week 2’s challenge with an idea I saw on a language learning blog once. I have kept a LiveJournal for many years, so I copied a number of old posts and put the text into the online Word Cloud generator. This creates a graphic showing the words you use most often. I’m going to translate these words and use them to write the dialogue. I hope this is acceptable?

Sounds like an excellent idea - good luck, and let us know how it goes! :slight_smile:

Okaaay… I’m now on Week 4 of my bobsled run challenge and I haven’t posted about it for a while.

I’ve had a couple of short trips away, so I’m still working on learning my dialogue from Week 2 off by heart. I wrote more than was suggested, owing to not being a beginner. In order to help me practice, I have recorded each part of the dialogue with gaps, so I can have conversations with myself. :slight_smile:

This week, I’m focusing on thinking in Welsh and finding that I can mostly shift all verbal thoughts into Welsh. I often have to simplify, using less complex grammatical constructions than I would naturally do in English, but it seems to be working.

Oh, and the triumph of this week is learning to get my tongue around Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol so I could talk to people at the informal Wednesday morning Welsh chat about staying in a National Trust holiday cottage near Betws-y-Coed .

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That sounds as though you’re at a very impressive stage - llongyfarchiadau! :star: :star2:

And pushing yourself harder and further is bound to pay off… :slight_smile:

I have been neglecting to update my Bobsled Fun thread, though I’m pleased to say that I have not been neglecting the challenge itself. I have been doing well with both the normal Level 2 challenges and the special Bobsled Run ones.

For Week 5 I wrote the 3 long sentences and memorised them (70 words in total). For Week 6, as I didn’t have anyone to say them too (and I couldn’t work them into the conversation during the Wednesday morning chat in the cafe), I videoed myself saying the sentences at the start of the week and then again just now. Though I hadn’t consciously been practising in between videos, the second one is much more fluent than the first. I find that really interesting.

And now, onwards into Week 7…!


Superb, well done! So, are you going to share those with us?.. :slight_smile:

I thought about it, but the videos are a bit wobbly (experimenting with my new selfi-stick!) and I look far from my best as I didn’t even comb my hair. But I’ll see if I can work out how to share just the audio. :slight_smile:

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OK, I’ve managed to make an audio file from the videos, so here it is. (Let’s hope the link works!)


Excellent! Really superb - well done you :star: :star2:

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I have been a bit remiss about updating my Bobsled Fun thread, but I have been doing the challenges. Here’s a quick summary of my progress to date.

Week 7: Because I’m an advanced learner, I actually tried transcribing the 3 minutes of the podcast rather than just picking out the words I recognised. This was interesting exercise, though rather time-consuming, so in future I’ll stick to just noting and looking up the words I don’t know! Expanding my vocabulary is actually what I need to focus on and that will help.

Week 8: I made a conscious effort to spend more time thinking in Welsh. It does help to pinpoint the bits of missing vocabulary.

Week 9: I really enjoyed this. I will definitely use recording myself speaking extempore in the future as a tool for improving my fluency. It definitely shows up where I run out of words! I reckon that I’ve made at least 4 mistakes.

  1. It should probably be “ar gyfer y Bobsled Run challenge” not “am y …”
  2. “elusen” is feminine, so it should have been “elusen leol”, except that it should have been “elusennau” in the first place!
  3. Probably should have said, “Mi wnes i gyrraedd” or “cyrhaeddes i” not “O’n i’n cyrraedd”.
  4. Not a mistake in the Welsh, just a mistake, the charity is Tŷ Hafan, not Tŷ Hafren.

And here’s a link to the monologue, should anyone care to listen.


Gwych - da iawn ti! Have you done a Bootcamp? You’d fly through one… :slight_smile:

I have thought about it, but for all sorts of reasons, I don’t think an intensive residential Bootcamp would be right for me. The main reason being that I’m very much an introvert and need space on my own away from people or I get extremely stressed. I do, however, attend all the one day and week long intensive courses at our local college or Glan Llyn. Once you get to higher levels these are almost 100% in Welsh and these days there is much more emphasis on speaking Welsh with activities to promote using the language rather than formal lessons.

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Great - that means you’ve had the opportunity to spend extended periods of time in Welsh only - so I’d be very confident that the only remaining pieces of the jigsaw for you are regular one-on-one conversations (ideally 2 hours a week) and plenty of radio listening - because you really have learnt the core of the language, and it’s all really about usage from here on in… :slight_smile:

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My main problem is lack of vocabulary. I’m fine at mentioning things superficially, but when I try to explain things in more depth, I rapidly run out of words. But the Bobsled Run challenge has been very useful in helping me pinpoint exactly where my weaknesses are and it will help me going forward because I can focus on activities that will strengthen those weak points.

As you said, conversation is one such activity and I go to a regular Wednesday morning chat session in the T H Roberts cafe in Dolgellau. This helps me respond promptly and generally join in the flow of a conversation and add interesting anecdotes. For vocabulary expansion, I’m going to make sure I listen to Pigion regularly (noting down the words I don’t know) and also do more reading and writing.


One-on-one conversation is a superb cure for this - there are only so many times you can run into a ‘can’t say this!’ before it starts to stick. Group conversations will eventually have the same effect, but much more slowly because you get to talk so much less in a group…

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Well, I am one of the chatty ones in the group. :smile: Also I learn interesting words like “dodwy” and “boncath” as one of the native Welsh speakers relates the latest news about her small holding.

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Well, the time has come to wrap up my Bobsled Run challenge and here is my final update.

I am currently arranging at least one Skype chat with an SSiWer in Australia, but for the 1 hour chat for Challenge 10 I’m going to count yesterday’s Ysgol Undydd. The class was much smaller than usual, only four of us plus tutor, and we spent the whole day speaking Welsh, even through the tea breaks. As almost all the activities were designed to get us talking, I must have talked for at least an hour during the day, so I’ll consider that task ticked off.

Regarding the final review. Because I’ve been doing more than 1 challenge a week, I calculated that at the start of the 10 weeks I was probably at around Challenge 13 of Level 1, so I did the final ten minutes of that challenge to see what happened.

My first thought was how much slower it seemed. When I first started with SSiW, everything seemed too fast. I’m still blanking on the occasional sentence as I forget what the English was, but when I do get the Welsh out in time (which is most of the time), I’m speaking quickly and fluently.

The point I’ve reached now is Challenge 18, but that hadn’t gone well and I’d already decided to step back and repeat from 15 onwards, so I considered Challenge 15 to be the final challenge I’d done on the Bobsled run. This time through I did much better than the first attempt. There were a few stumbles and a couple of moments of blankness when I (yet again) forgot the English, but overall a much more satisfying feeling on finishing this time.

So to sum up, I have enjoyed the Bobsled Run and I will definitely do some of the activities again as part of my Welsh learning and study. In particular:

  • Translating some of my blog posts to pick up the sort of vocabulary I normally use and then make sure that I know the Welsh equivalent.
  • Listening to Pigion to pick out useful vocabulary.
  • Thinking about things in Welsh to help me spot gaps in my vocabulary.
  • Recording myself speaking Welsh about random topics and listening to myself to spot mistakes.

Obviously I will also continue to take part in as much conversation practice as I can, both in the weekly class I attend and the Wednesday morning informal chat group.

So thanks for the challenge, @aran, it has been useful. I will now carry on with the normal SSiW challenges until the end of Level 3, but I am starting to feel more like a Welsh speaker and less like a stumbling learner. :smile: