Nervous Beginner

Hello All

Well I’ve just signed up. I really hope that I can make some progress with Welsh, even if I can gain some understanding of conversations it will be a massive pleasure for me. I’m a very proud Welsh woman with a very Welsh name and ever since I was a child people have automatically spoken to me in Welsh as soon as they hear my name and it’s sort of ended up with me being absolutely paralysed with embarrassment each time it happens. So much so that I think it’s actually a real hindrance to my learning Welsh. I just freeze up. I spent all my schooling in Wales but for some terrible reason my primary school didn’t teach any Welsh at all and my secondary Welsh classes were full of pupils that were disruptive and no learning took place because it was bottom set. I live on the coast and it’s an English speaking area. My Dad was first language Welsh and moved to the coast at 16 and could barely speak any English. He didnt speak Welsh to us as he thought we would struggle the way he did at 16 and I can’t be cross with him for that as he had our well being at heart. It’s always been a real ache in my heart to even understand Welsh but every course I’ve taken hasn’t lodged it in my brain and clearly I’m one of those people who needed to learn language as a child. My 3 children were placed in Welsh medium education as toddlers and are fluent and my husband can’t speak Welsh but he can watch Welsh shows and understand conversations perfectly. I can’t even manage that. This really is my last hope. Has anyone here got some positive stories to encourage me as I start this course? I’m not what I’d consider unintelligent but language learning isn’t my forte so to speak. The only thing that I have as a small hope is that the one Welsh speaking teacher I had in primary school spoke nothing but Welsh to us for the whole year she was our teacher and I do have a memory of being able to converse well and understand Welsh but that was in 1985 and I was 5 at the time. :rofl:. I’m just hoping it’s still in my brain somewhere. Anyway that’s my story. Thanks for reading.



A very warm welcome Nia! :slightly_smiling_face:
You’ll find lots of positive stories to encourage you on this thread:

Yes, it’ll still be in there, just waiting to be revived :slightly_smiling_face:
Good luck!

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Thank you so much for replying. I think that once I get some confidence I’ll be over my biggest hurdle. I mean, I’d even be more than happy to get to the point of comprehending others speaking Welsh so being able to hold a conversation would be absolutely amazing! I’ll probably start any conversation in Welsh with an explanation that I’m a learner and hope that I get a bit of patience. I’ve always just frozen with shame when people go off in Welsh when they hear my name as quite a few times I’ve had some quite nasty remarks when I’ve had to stop them. A lady in work once told me I should be ashamed of myself! To be fair to her she did apologise once I’d pointed out that she hadn’t made the decision to be a welsh speaker anymore than I had made a choice not too as that decision was made for us and I told her my kids were fluent and how important that was for me. She was really surprised by how upset I was but praised me for making sure my kids spoke the Language. Then the question that everyone asks came, why don’t you learn then. I’ve tried and tried over the years but like I’ve said, it’s just never clicked in my brain. I’m hoping this course and it’s different approach will be the difference. Here’s to hoping ey? Diolch. :smiley:


Well, I suppose it might not work for everyone - but I do think this is the best language course I’ve ever done, by far, in any language. I think if anything is going to get you to conversational fluency, SSiW has a very good chance, and you’ll find everyone (staff & other learners) hugely supportive - so here’s hoping :slight_smile:


@nia-roberts I hated languages at school (we are talking late 1970s) and scraped a French O Level but then that was it for me. Until 40 years later and I decided to learn Welsh with SSiW. It is amazing! You do have to persevere when you feel like you’re struggling to say ANYTHING in a challenge, but I can assure you it is worth it. The only thing I would say is that it is a LOT easier to speak Welsh than to answer a question posed to you in Welsh! At least that’s what I found. The first time someone asked me a question in Welsh I froze/panicked and said ‘oui’! So maybe my French O Level wasn’t a complete waste of time! :rofl: It’s getting slightly better now as I participate in more video hangouts, but hey - Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Very touched by hearing your story @nia-roberts but I can assure you that with SSIW you WILL learn to speak Welsh if you’re willing to apply yourself to it. Many of us have likewise gone many decades never expecting to have the opportunity, and some of us not even living in Wales - but we HAVE succeeded in speaking Welsh, albeit to varying degrees. I’m not suggesting that everyone learns at the same rate or becomes fluent overnight, but over time it is possible to constantly improve and grow in confidence.

You are only just setting out at present, but one key factor in overcoming that initial hurdle is to start practising speaking as soon as possible, even if only one or two simple sentences at first, and even if you’ve only done a few challenges. When you’re ready, the Welsh Speaking Practice site hosted on Slack is where you can meet up with other beginners taking those first fraught steps, whether in online group chats (hangouts) or 1-to-1 chats. You’ve already shown courage in sharing your background here, so it shouldn’t be too big a step for you to do that too. You will meet with great support from other learners there, as you will here on the Forum if you have more questions on your learning journey. Pob lwc!

Bore Da Nia. See, there’s a sentence you know already!
Croeso to SSIW! And there’s another sentence!

This course does work, if you put the work in. Doesn’t mean it’s easy, and your brain will feel like it’s exploding at times. But don’t worry, it’s not going to break and your children will be so proud of you.

SSIW is SAY something in Welsh. It isn’t read something, write something, or even, really, understand something in Welsh, although of course that will come. It’s brilliant at teaching you the first bit, the SAY bit. I would recommend that every time you are asked to join a conversation, you go for it. Even if you only say half a sentence the first time. I firmly believe that, in this process, ability is much less important than confidence. You know you have the ability, the course will give you the confidence, if you open your mouth, to SAY something to real people.

Pob lwc. See, another sentence you already know!


Hi ive just started too

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Bore da, nia etc good morning :grin: I have just started the first week. Please let me know if you, or anyone else, wants to practice together or anything. I’m not very good with technology but sure I could figure out how to chat to you online, via zoom or Skype or something. Best wishes for your journey, pob lwc :blush:


Helo @nia-roberts - really want to give you a hug! - I’m sure you can do this!

Different people learn at different speeds, even with SSiW - and while some find launching into hangouts right near the begiining works best, others of us have found 1:1 an easier/ less stressful start-point. So go with whichever comes more naturally to you. But don’t stress over how it’s going - treat it - as they say to you in the Intro bit that comes before your first challenge (DO READ that) - treat it like a game. Just listen, give it your best shot, and be prepared to cheer/aagh! at yourself - because, as you will soon come to learn, mistakes are your friend (though it can take a while to believe this!!). Have fun.

And if you need to, talk to someone - Slack makes this much easier - ultimately, talking to people is what really gets this going. And if you want a particular person to know you’re responding to them/ trying to get their attention, just type@ and then their name(no space between @ and name). As you start on their name, you should get ever closer options to the name you’re looking for offered.

Look forward to talking with you some time. And remember - laughing is good for you :slight_smile:


All i can say is you’re in the right place with SSiW Nia. Pon lwc!

Sori, Pob lwc (oops).

Dear Nia!
I was just trying to find some advice on how to get started and came across your story. First thing: I think you are so brave for not giving up learning Welsh even after your hurtful experiences! If it gives you joy I hope you will be able to stick with it and be proud of yourself! You shure deserve that.
Im good at learning languages but for me singing is pure horror, i love it so much but from an early age on I felt I did it wrong and couldn‘t bring myself to sing even in front of close friends. I started taking lessons a year ago, understanding and patient teacher, still sweating from stress during lessons hahaha. Im really working hard, and there is improvement, but it‘s slow. But! Because I‘m singing regularly I‘m relaxing, having fun with it and even singing together with my friends. And the times that I‘m most relaxed when singing and just going with it, are the times I get best feedback. Maybe for you it could be a similiar experience with learning Welsh?
However it goes I hope you will find a way to enjoy it, to do it for yourself and not to please someone else. I mean, come on who are they to judge you by your language skills?! You said you are a proud Welsh woman and that‘s it.
All the best for you! Hannah

(I would be so interested in getting updates how you are doing!)


Helo @jez-jones, and croeso (welcome)
I hope you enjoy your journey into the Welsh language.

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Hello Nia and welcome to this wonderful community of learners. What you are feeling is the same thing we all feel when we try to learn a new language. Most of us know some French and some German because the roots of English can be found in the origins of those languages but Cymraeg pre dates these modern languages and has evolved slightly differently in different parts of Wales (and again in Argentina). I am learning Welsh because I have family links with Wales and I’ve always been fascinated by yr iaith but I’ve always believed the propaganda (even from my own Welsh relatives in Gwent) that Cymraeg is a dead language. That James almost a year ago when I discovered the DuoLingo app and the Welsh course there. I was hooked. Then i found SSiW. This really is the best language course I’ve ever taken. I think you should pay great he’d to Aran’s words of wisdom : there’s no need to learn copious amounts of vocabulary and try to gain out verb conjugatioms etc to learn a language. If you have access to YouTube if recommend putting aside an hour to watch the linked video. It is coming from the same strategy adopted by SSiW and I find it very encouraging and motivational (you do have to keep skipping ads unfortunately, ond dyna YouTube eich chi!). I live in the middle of Hampshire where Welsh speakers are very rare indeed, but with SSiW there is a great network of people to help you get along.
Give it a year and reassess your feelings. I’m very impressed and very happy with how things are going. I’m not fluent, i struggle to understand much that’s going on on BBC Radio Cymru, but I’m going to learn this language!
As i say, if you have time, please check this out
All the best. Pob lwc, Gareth Mitchell

Hello Nia
I’ve been trying to learn welsh off and on for quite a while now but since I’ve seriously taken up doing SSIW again I decided to take the bull by the horns and get stuck in
What I’ve been doing for a long time is watching the two welsh soaps Pobol Y Cwm
and Rownd a Rownd with English sub titles of course and I didn’t really progress but although it didn’t seem to sink in…I believe your sub-conscious takes it in and since I’ve
restarted SSIW I’m started to understand things and also on Radio Cymru
If you take the course nice and steady trying to understand it with the vocabulary which is mighty useful indeed…If I was you I would try and aim for 1 challenge a day…maybe 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 in the afternoon and force yourself to keep to that discipline
I’m coming to the end of Level 3 now but there’s so much to go over with again and again ….I’ll probably settle for at least two a day unless something important turns up as it does…It seems the more you learn the more you want to learn…it is tricky but
then its like a game which will bring us all lots of happiness…Thank you for reading this…I am excited as you will be ….Nos da

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I’ve also just started. I’m nearing the end of my first challenge as I’m doing the 6 minutes/day.
Pob lwc with your dysgu!


Hello Nia. I have just signed for 1 sentence a day. I’m not even from UK. Moved to England (North West) from my home country almost two years ago(personal reasons) and I have fallen in love with Wales and Welsh language. It is so beautiful. and this is totally crazy as I am 41 and not even perfect in English. I really would love to learn this beauty. Absolutely amazing language. A bit similar in some sounds to my language but of course different in general. I hope to find here some friendly people as well. Hopefully you’re doing well and are happy with Welsh improvement. Regards.