Now LIVE: 'Some Sex and a Hill - or How To Learn Welsh in 3 Easy Pints' by Aran Jones

I used to work in IT…took a substantial pay cut to become a teacher after being made redundant. Earn half of what i used to financially but its not about money. My car gets me from A to B. My house is a place to eat and sleep. My clothes keep me warm.

Sure they are all more Lidl than Fortnums but they achieve the same end result!

And if when i finally depart i know i helped others reach their dream that will mean a lot more than helping me line my pockets’

As for SSIW…i’m guessing it produces a modest income. I know nothing of subscriber numbers, hosting costs etc. I’m just glad its helped me and i’m more than happy to pay my subs despite finishing everything.

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Sounds similar to me. I too know nothing about subscriber numbers etc, but we are not dealing with a major language here with SSiW, which gives out a lot (so much more than most courses in terms of time given and put into it) for free. And justifiably successfull though it is, so I am basing my attitude to it on the idea it is less than a modest income, and is, indeed, being done despite the money rather than for it. I haven’t used the lessons in literally years, but am happy to let my meagre contribution keep plodding on on that basis.

Edit- And because of that great also to see him making a bit of extra money on the side through semi-related issues of course! I have bought a couple of books of his (on Welsh language issues and non-language learning issues he mentioned here, and done a couple of reviews to help partly through the idea that he needs all the help he can get on that side of things.)


Talents? What is that? :smile:

I just do what I love and that’s all. :slight_smile: But yes, thank you @henddraig.

What about “Language practicing” category? (EDIT to add: that I only saw later that @petermescall is suggesting just this, sorry) There we could have a topics for practicing not only Welsh but whatever language we’d want regardless we are able to study it here or not. I bet on this forum is so much variety of languages people are studying or people are native speakers of that it could be hugely interesting. If I can’t speak/write Suomi for example, I won’t go in that topic or I’d go out of curiousity though (curious as I am :slight_smile: ) but would gladly participate in German, Italian, Cymraeg …

I wonder how many would practice Slovene or Croatian for that matter this way … hmmmmm … :slight_smile:

Woooopppppssssyyyyyy - but I’m going very off-topic here, sorry.

I’m sure that it is so. :slight_smile:

I can’t really see the relevance, to be honest - Whether Ssiw were a business or not, and however much money it makes, surely anyone is entitled to try and make money from writing a book?


Well i would think there’s a difference between promoting something on your own website and trying to sell it on someone else’s.

By the way if anyone needs a maths tutor :wink:

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The only objection seemed to be about making money on the matter, rather than it being on this website, as it were. And over the years, I have seen other people mentioning books (and other stuff) of theirs on this forum, without anyone objecting. Indeed, if it were to be the case that only Aran were allowed to mention his works on this site, I certainly wouldn’t be supporting it in any way or form! But that has never seemed to be the case to me.

Well let’s just let @HowlsedhesServices respond if they want to.

I’m not necessarily defending the post, just defending the supportive nature of this site really. Everyone is entitled to considered opinions after all.

My apologies to anyone if i overstepped the mark.

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What makes you think you overstepped the mark? I can’t see anything on your posts which seems that myself. They all seemed very reasonable indeed. And just discussing what you said rather than anything previously myself.

Edit- but yes, it’s good to be supportive and not overreact! I remember one person came on the ssiw site and simply asked why the lessons were so expensive (he had misread the payment details, if I remember correctly.) The reaction to him was over the top and unfriendly (from several people). It’s good that hasn’t happened here.


Phew, this spiralled off in a few different directions rather quickly!

Let me try and answer some of the questions that have come up. Always happy for people to ask questions…:slight_smile:

That’s mostly about reach. It would be an easy enough thing to stick it on our site, but being listed on Amazon (even just in the Kindle section) will reach new readers who’ll then hear about SSiW - so in that sense, the book is itself partly about generating new learners.

Interesting question. I don’t feel a ‘need’ to make money out of it - as you’ll be able to see when the listing goes live again, it’s being sold by SaySomethingin, and all things being equal the income it generates will go to the company.

But it’s possible Catrin and I will take some of the income it generates - and you might, in any case, have the same question about why we charge for access to Level 2/Course 2, or for our Spanish course, so I’ll go into a little more detail.

We chose to give Course 1 away for free because we wanted to remove any barriers/excuses for people in Welsh-speaking communities not to learn Welsh. It remains my belief that for someone in a Welsh-speaking community, Course 1 is all they need to get to the point where they can become confident speakers just by committing to using the language whenever possible - I’ve met people who’ve done just that. We’re pretty proud that it’s possible to become a Welsh speaker by using our free materials and jumping in.

We chose to charge for Course 2, and for our Spanish material, because it seemed as though we had a real opportunity to grow a sustainable business. So far, we’ve got two full timers (myself and Ifan) and we pay (fairly small amounts) to a number of occasional part-timers (although to my lasting regret we haven’t been able to pay Iestyn on a regular basis yet). It also seems, interestingly, that people who pay (however small an amount) are more likely to keep working through the lessons.

We’re hoping that at some stage we’ll either learn how to market our Spanish (and English and other) courses more successfully, and be able to employ more people - and at that point we’re looking forward to being able to put more money into promoting learning Welsh, developing our software and our website in a number of ways, and supporting other minority languages.

If Ifan and I weren’t doing this full-time, there is no way we would have got to the point we have now where our course creation tool has helped generate the beginning of a Manx course with minimal input from me, has started production of Level 3 Welsh and is just about ready to start testing the production of another five or six new languages.

So that’s the context in which it feels normal for us to charge a normal/low-ish price for a book - and having a cover price on the book will also allow us to test some Facebook ads for it - we haven’t managed any successful Facebook ads for SSiW so far, because paying for an ad to encourage someone to try a free course isn’t very sustainable. If we can break even on ads, we can reach a lot more learners.

And I said that Catrin and I might ask Iestyn for some of what the book generates - we’ll try not to, but if we do it’ll be because we’re currently hitting our overdraft limit of £4500 by the middle of the month (moving has been pretty expensive, and we’re carrying a couple of big debts incurred over the years to let us carry on with the SSi project instead of packing it all in and getting a sensible job).

Welsh posts in the forum

I do of course have a lot of sympathy for people who want to be practising their Welsh here - and I agree that the occasional post in Welsh wouldn’t be particularly bad - but I don’t believe that the occasional post would remain occasional. We could very quickly find ourselves in a situation in which people feel under pressure to contribute in Welsh, and that could make new learners feel seriously excluded.

In fact, although it seems utterly reasonable to bilinguals, even the occasional post in Welsh can feel very challenging to new learners, or curious potential learners. And the same is true of people starting posts in Welsh - one or two wouldn’t be a problem, but over the years I’ve had a small number of people contact me to say they didn’t feel the forum was for beginners because they’d seen a lot of posts in Welsh - it’s easy to underestimate how nerve-wracking the early stages of learning can be.

Added to that, of course, is our long term emphasis on speaking, not reading and writing. We’re really pushing uphill with that, and if our own forum made it look as though we expected people to start contributing in written Welsh, it would be even harder for us to persuade people to give the ‘no reading or writing’ approach a fair trial.

So we see it like this - the forum is a support forum, not a practice forum. The work you do is the lessons and, if you choose, your own reading or writing - and if you want (reasonably enough!) to practise your reading and writing online, there are Facebook groups and Twitter to sustain you.

In light of which, I think the current ‘Be dach chi’n gwneud?’ thread is just about ideal…:slight_smile:


V [Scrolls past]

Good heavens no, all our decision, and we’ll get them paid off one of these days… :slight_smile: Just wanting to make the point that our default position is ‘income->company’, and that we only break that if we really need to.

Well, darn! I hope it comes up available in the States once the settings are fiddled. Thanks, Tatjana!


If it dowsn’t come fo ryou it doesn’t come for me either as I’m buying from Actually I’m buying from in order to donate part of what I pay for things to “Doctors without borders” organization.


I never knew this existed. I will see if it is accessible in UK!!

To @aran Now have my own kindle app, free of Janet’s ‘cloud’ on my ipad, so tomorrow I’ll be getting Sex and a hill…mm…takes one’s mind back!! :smile:
re-finance, I am here because I needed to deal with debt. If I’d been able to sell a book, I’d never have thought twice about grabbing the money wiith both hands! Putting it back into teaching us all is very public spirited of you and Catrin! I still say, if you work at a book, you deserve, if you can sell that book, to get the proceeds! I got “sorry, your book would be expensive to produce, due to its length and the audience too limited to guarantee our profit,” At least, now, with Kindle, there is a way to get published without all that coming into it!


Didn’t we used to have a “rule” in the old (or old-old or old-old-old) forum that if you wrote a post or part of a post, in Welsh, it was considered a courtesy (to new learners) to add a translation in English underneath?

Well, not a rule, perhaps, but a sort of informal convention.
(But I may well be mis-remembering, making it up, having a senior moment, or something like that).


On the subject of making money from books, it seems that it’s even harder for a writer these days to make money out of books than ever (unless you strike lucky like J K Rowling, but most writers don’t).

On another (non-language) blog I look at regularly, the blog writer (also an academic and writer of books in his field) was being asked why his books were so expensive. And they are: The hardback of one was of the order of £80+, the paperback £40+. There was an ebook, but I don’t know how much that was. So he explained, and it turned out that for that particular book anyway, he personally received nothing at all. It all went in publishing and distribution costs. Perhaps it was because that was a specialist area with a small potential audience. But he was happy to do it, because it’s an important subject, and he wants his message out there. He has a day job as an academic which I assume pays the bills.


It always had to, even before e-books! You could get papers published ‘for free’ in Journals, but anything longer was very unlikely to make much even for the publisher, unless it was a text book for a school subject pretty well everyone took! My uni text books - in those days folks, we got a Grant to help pay for them, but most of us bought second hand from graduates, because they were a tad cheaper than new. Those relevant to my ‘trade’ I still have!! But they were all, at the time, horrendously expensive!

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Oh boy yes. We just had to fork out £25 for ‘Usage-Based Approaches to Language Acquisition and Processing: Cognitive and Corpus Investigations of Construction Grammar’ and that was an ‘affordable’ one…

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That makes sense to me. (Though I’ve always wondered why some people trying to learn a language would not want to see more of it in use!), it just sticks in my craw to see people apologising for writing texts at all in Welsh.

(Mind you, though I use Welsh on Facebook, Twitter, in phone texts etc., I’m not really inclined to use it on this forum. Just like I say, seeing people apologise for writing in Welsh sounds like fingernails on a blackboard to me.)

Though that is unlikely to change, I understand the complexity of the issue and that there is no “right” or “wrong” thing in this case, Aran has to make a decision on this and I’d rather such things were in his hands than a lot of other people’s!

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I have found my Kindle, but someone please tell me where I’ve put the charger! :disappointed: