Not sure what to do about learning Cymraeg

I have come away from my class tonight feeling quite demoralised. She knows I have been doing SSIW and the differences she keeps saying are slang/I should learn to speak ‘properly’/should not ask questions of people who can’t speak it ‘properly’ etc. I was made to feel stupid and a pain.

I am most interested in being able to chat locally but would also like to be able to read magazines etc. I realise that SSIW does use many shortened forms and am happy with that. However I do like the motivation of going to a class and having other people to chat to.

So I don’t know what to do - both courses, or one or the other? :frowning:

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Gosh – how immensely unprofessional of a tutor to say those things to you. I think I would be speaking to the tutor privately after the class, and if things do not improve, speaking to his/her boss. Yes, you are there to be taught, but you are not there to be belittled or demotivated.


Agree entirely with the teacher. What learners need more than anything is to be put down and told they’re not speaking properly and should limit their vocabulary, and shouldn’t try to use their Welsh. Languages are to be learned, not used.


It doesn’t sound very motivating right now!

This just sounds horrible, and I’d run, not walk, away, personally.


I am not good at confrontation so probably won’t say anything. I will probably finish the year as it has been paid for -just wish there were more lessons on SSIW- scared of finishing it and having no more lessons! (Now that Aran has shown us it is easy to do 12+ lessons a day and retain it)


When I’m in North Wales I meet Welsh tutors - well a few - and I’ve found them to be very encouraging and not averse to the SSIW approach. I think it’s possible the tutor is possibly working with in the confines of the course structure and adheres to the (my opinion) a more traditional approach…
My personal experience is that both bring something to the table although, SSIW allowed me to more rapidly gain Welsh I could use out on the street. From where I’m standing now - I have basic conversational skills - I’d attend the classes and use my own intuition when I’m out on the street.
By the way you’ll learn the short forms on the SSIW course and gain the Welsh you desire to chat locally…
Just an aside: I remember a producer on S4C saying if it wasn’t for SSIW they’d have trouble filling all the learners spot on a learners programme every week.


That’s would be my main motivation; the one that got me through my first SSIW Bootcamp. :laughing:

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Good Lord.

I must say all the tutors I have had in such courses are very much inclined to teaching and using the forms of Welsh which are used locally. And certainly do not have the attitude you describe to the forms of Welsh taught in SSiW.

Unfortunately, it does sound (from what you say) as if you have been really unlucky and just have a really terrible teacher.

Though I would normally say that going to other courses as well as SSIW is a good thing, it sounds as if this is not necessarily the best thing in your case.

However, from the tone of your question it does seem as if you realise that the lessons are - well, what they are!

If you think you can stick it and go on to the next course with hopefully a different teacher, good for you.

If contact with other people in the class is helpful to you, take that into account.

If, all things bring weighed, it is getting you down and dispiriting you, get out of the class.

Really unfortunate. I found such classes to be very useful, but can understand what you describe as being counterproductive.

Just my pennyworth of advice.

(Actually feeling quite annoyed by what you describe. Only one side of the story, and all that, but just going by what you said, the teacher is doing more harm than good. I’ve got on the bad side of a couple of teachers (of Sadwrn Siarads ayyb) in this area when they did similar things [not being diplomatic? moi?], but the great majority (in my experience) coincide with (and are impressed by) the forms used in SSiW.)

Sorry to hear about this.


Wow, I am sorry to hear about this experience. I haven’t gone through any Welsh lessons myself aside from SSiW, but this really made me angry with the teacher.

I think it’s flawed logic that we are capable of learning long forms and then picking up abbreviations but not vice versa. Personally, I have found it pretty easy to combine what I’ve learned through SSiW and map them to the longer forms (i.e. O’n i and Roeddwn i) once I know what to look for.

Your teacher may think in black and white, but I am certain that if you soak in and combine all the language you’re getting from SSiW, your course, and anywhere else you pick it up, you will develop a flexible and rich command of the language.

Pob lwc!


Every Tutor I have met says ‘have you tried SSIW?’ My FfrinDiath teaches Welsh for Bangor University. She also loves it and recommends to her students. I don’t know your Tutor and she is probably a nice person but she has got this wrong and we all do that sometimes. Keep going with both and if it happens again just let it pass and remind yourself she has lesson plans to follow. There is no proper way to speak any more. It would be like telling an English learner that unless they used RP it was slangy and not proper!!! And I cant imagine anyone saying that.


Sgersli bilîf!..:wink:

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I am shocked, Jenny, but also quite excited.

Shocked, obviously, that a tutor can complain that a student is learning to speak naturally, and shocked that a tutor can belittle a student, and make them feel bad about trying to learn a bit more than is taught in class.

But excited by two things. One that you have taken this on the chin and rather than letting it affect you over time, coming here and asking other people for advice. Thats says to me that your motivation is bigger than your bruised ego, and that is a sure sign of an chiever.

And secondly, that you are already working our how to keep on getting the advantages of class (company, conversation etc) despite this quite unpleasant experience.

I think your tutor sounds as though they are a bit unsure of themselves, and that you may be asking questions that the tutor doesn’t know how to answer. If that is the case, then it’s good that you don’t like confrontation, because confrontation would only go one way, and you would both lose out. If you are able to keep going to lessons (great advice above - if it’s upsetting you / giving you negative feelings towards your Welsh, etc, get out of there now, money or no money!), then maybe it would be a good idea to write your questions down and ask them here, so as not to challenge your tutor, and practice something that may very well help your Welsh quite a lot, which is to use class Welsh in class - filling any gaps with SSiWels of course! - and using a natural mix out of class. This will keep your tutor happy, help you with any tests etc that may be administered by your tutor, and help any of your classmates who may get confused by non-class Welsh at this early stage.

It will also be under your control, which will build your confidence in using Welsh, and mean that you get used to different forms for different situaitions, which again is an immensely important part of a first language speakers repertoire, but rarely features in early learners, or later stage learners who only speak with other learners.

In other words, use this as an excuse to improve your Welsh in different ways that keep your tutor happy. And rememerb, f some of your class Welsh slips into your lessons, don;t worry - you don;t have to use the same words as us, you just need to be happy that you’ve said the same thing as us (if you see what I mean).

Anyway, do let us know how your experiences devekop, whether that’s “no it was too stressful”, and you’ve decided to walk awa fro the lessons, or whether you’re trying different strategies in calss to still get where you want to get. I’m sure you won’t be the last to be in this situation!

Good luck, and whatever you decide, remember, it is your decision. Enjoy it!


There are quite a few big red flags here, and I’m very sorry indeed that you’ve had this experience. In particular, the bit about not asking questions of ‘people who can’t speak it properly’ is genuinely unprofessional - the more questions you ask (of anyone) the better.

It sounds as though the main thing here is to make sure that you carry on getting opportunities to use your Welsh - but if your teacher is being that negative with you, there’s a danger you’ll start to use your Welsh less in the classroom. Maybe some of the others would be up for a ‘coffee and practice’ session outside of the classroom?

How far have you got with SSiW?


Totally agree How do children learn? From hearing! And what they hear is NOT ‘correct’ but colloquial!! Is it possible that your tutor has learned her Cymraeg at school and uni and doesn’t know what ordinary people actually speak?? In the distant past when I was in school, I was taught French by teachers who had learned it and some had never been to France. A “real French ‘Mamzelle’” would come to some schools to try to improve accents, but sometimes had trouble making herself understood!! No one taught/learned anything but the ‘correct’ language in those days!! (Before foreign holidays could be afforded by ordinary people!). It is true it was a teacher of ancient Greek who asked the coach driver “Charioteer, hold your horses in check!” when her husband was late, but it almost could have been a teacher of any language!!

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Are you right at the start of your course, or has this feeling been coming on for a while?

If you know this tutor is not for you can you transfer to another course?

She might just have been having a bad day, but if she genuinely thinks you are wrong and she is right, I’d get out of there. As Iestyn says, whatever you say is right some where in Wales and don’t let her tell you otherwise.

Pob lwc hefyd


Jenny - that’s terrible! I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had that experience.

I had a conversation recently with a sort-of cousin, who’s learning Welsh up in the north. She’s now gone past Uwch and is on to Meistrioli (at least, I think that’s what it means). I asked if that meant she was now learning more literary Welsh, and she said 'Well, we’re learning the shorter way to say things, like ‘di instead of wedi’. And I didn’t quite know what to say to that, because I’ve done that for a while because that’s what the people around me say. But I suppose, to the more traditional teacher, it’s ‘wrong’.

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Thank you for the replies pawb. I am less upset now and realise that it is probably quite annoying for my tutor. The problem ( :slight_smile: ) with SSIW is that the words are right at the front of your brain, imediately available. Therefore when I am asked something I don’t always manage to ‘correct’ first. Examples last night 'wnes i instead of 'gwnes i, ‘joio’ insted of ‘mwynhau’.
I chatted with a group of girls from Menter Caerdydd today and decided that I would prefer to be able to talk naturally with them rather than ‘properly’. I am going to carry on with SSIW - about to start course 2 soon and also continue going to class for the rest of the year as I like the other people there.
Diolch eto


Glad you’ve got a way forward you’re happy with.

Sorry, I mean “I am glad that you have a way forward with which you are happy”. Can’t let those informalities slip in :smiley:


I’m probably the last who should say anything here at all, but if the tutor uses aproach like “learn for the knowledge and not to be able to speak” then I’d even throw away that money I’ve paid and go away. The language should always be learnt to speak it the more slangy the better as not even one native speaker uses totally “correct” structures of speach.

If I’d teach you Slovene I’d surely teach you how to speak the language it’s used every day among the people. The course you’re going to should only be the addition to what you learnt here (as long as you aren’t totally confused with several versions of one thing as much as I am. :slight_smile: ) so you’d have some kind of gramatical foundation aswell.

And, yes, I agree with all here, too. This tutor obviously isn’t too proffessional regarding how to motivate people to learn more, to have fun in the process no matter what way of learning choosen and most of all he/she is obviously not very happy with the fact that you already can do some chat with other Welsh speakers.

I’m afraid you’ll have to work as twice as normally to get tutor satisfied with the result as he/she will always be allerted to what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” from her/his point of view. But, I’d say go ahead and do both, be stubborn and show the tutor that you’re more then capable of doing all, learning her/his and SSiW way at once.

When I’m about to quit I always remember my online friend’s words: “Welsh is way harder then any language and you’ll never learn it.” This drives me further. My answer to him in my thoughts is always “You’ll see I can and I will do it! I will learn no matter how much I moan, how dismayed I might be and how many times I’m on the edge of quitting.” So, your answer to your tutor should be prety the same! “You’ll see. At the end I’ll do it all and more! I’ll be capable of totally chat in Welsh with whoever comes my way!”.

Pob lwc @jenny_white_378 and don’t let your tutor put you down!

And thank you for this post. It pushed me to go on again as I’ve just stucked at that (un)happy Challenge 13 of Level 1. :slight_smile:

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That sounds like an absolutely awful teacher, if I may say so - demoralising her students, and on top of that, frankly, damaging the status and prospects of the language. I would walk straight away, Jenny - and furthermore I would demand my money back, and lodge a complaint somewhere. If you feel like this, I am quite sure many of your fellow students in that class must do as well. With teachers with that kind of attitude, the Welsh language might as well pack its bags and sign out. :frowning:


SaySomethingInSlovene coming soon?

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