Online Bootcamp in the English/ScottishBorders

I have just started the 10 day online bootcamp by going through lesson 4 of the Southern version of Course 3. I live on the English/Scottish Border so greeting everyone with a cheery “bore da” in this area is not easy. Fortunately my first attempt was a response to a nuisance phone call which had the desired effect of confusing the caller. It has been raining here all day so I haven’t had much opportunity to meet people, but when I greeted the landlord in the village pub tonight with “noswaith da,” he responded with “You What?” then went on to some gobbledy gook which he claimed was Welsh and translated to “Shut the door you dirty pig.” With a bit of thinking I was able to translate most of this into Welsh ( I don’t know the Welsh for dirty) which had some resemblance to what he had learned and tried to say. My other pals tried to translate any greeting into “What are you drinking?” so this first entry may not make a lot of sense and it cost me a small fortune. Enjoyable though!

I think “dirty” is “drwg”, no? I seem to remember the phrase “mochyn (pig) drwg” when I was a kid in Wales. Practicing your Welsh on the English/Scottish Border is probably pretty tough, almost as bad as in Massachusetts….

Day 2 This has been a real struggle. The first hurdle was having to go on to the next session without consolidating the previous one. I t certainly took me out of my comfort zone, but then I may be trying to be too comfortable and there is a fair amount of revision in the new session. The second difficulty was the conversation. My wife and i have been thinking of moving to wales for some time so this is a bit of our discussion this morning. When trying to speak Welsh I tend to use very limited vocabulary and grammatical structures so trying to translate our normal conversation into Welsh was difficult … unfamiliar structures and vocabulary.

Carol: Wyt ti’n moyn byw ar y Penrhyn Llyn?
Doug: Ydw. Mae rhai llefydd braf ond dw i’n hoffi Pwllheli orau. Beth wyt ti’n meddwl?
Carol: Dw i’n moyn bod yn agos at y mor ac i fod yn gallu cerdded i’r siopau.
Doug: Wel, mae’n sicr agos at y mor a mae rhai wir braf.
Carol: Mae’n un broblem. Does dim archfarchnod mawr.
Doug: Oes, ond mae’n popeth arall gyda hi i fod mae’n efallai eisiau ni ac un siop llyfr braf … Siop Llen Llyn.
Galluon ni ymarfer siarad Cymraeg bob dydd hefyd.

C: Would you like to live on the Llyn Peninsula?
D: Yes, there are some nice places but I like Pwllheli best. What do you think?
C: I want to be near the sea and to be able to walk to the shops.
D: Well it is certainly near the sea and there are some really good shops.
C There is one problem, no big supermarket.
D: Yes, but it has got everything else we might need and a good bookshop … Siop Llen Llyn.
C We could practice speaking Welsh every day as well.

Hope the spell checker hasn’t made even more of a nonsense of my Attempt at writing in Welsh than my limited facility.

Day 3 Going through the dialogue with my wife was useful in that it identified some of the mistakes made when typing from my notes. Line 4 has a word missing it should have read “Wel, mae’n sicr agos at y mor a mae rhai siopau wir braf,” I have also misspelled “archfarchnad.” This ****** spellchecker keeps changing things as well, rhai becomes thai and braf becomes Brad unless I insist that it does what I want and I don’t know how to switch the ******* thing off. I am reluctant to learn the dialogue off by heart as I’m not sure how much of it is nonsense.
Enjoying going through the sessions in one go however, and so far it doesn’t seem to be causing too many problems.

Day 4: I decided not to wait for today’s instructions and got straight on with the next session this morning, which was just as well as it is now 2.15 p.m. and they still haven’t arrived in my inbox. I was agreeably surprised at my progress through the session as I used the pause button far less than normal and I didn’t make too many mistakes either. A complete mystery to me, but very encouraging.
Still waiting for the new challenge unless there isn’t one and this is an initiative test!

The challenge for Day 4 has made me realise that I do know quite a few words in Welsh. Putting them together can still be a problem however. The challenge also made me realise that I can get round some difficulties, caused by a lack of knowledge, by using what I do know. I don’t know, for example, how to say “a long time ago” but I can say “when I was young” which amounts to the same thing. There is a way to make myself understood!

Day 5: I found this session rather more difficult (C3 Gwers8), But did get through it using the pause button more than yesterday.
My three sentences for today’s challenge are included below. I found this easier than the challenge on day 2 because I started writing in Welsh rather than in English and translating. They are probably full of errors, so please correct them for me.

  1. Dw i’ wedi ymddeol a dw i wedi byw mewn bwthyn bach yn pentref braf yn agos at yr Afon Tweed ar y Ffiniau Albanaidd am un deg pedwar blynedd.
  2. Dw i’n gallu canu (mae’n pobl arall dweud Chwarae ond dw i’n meddwl canu) bacbibau Northumberland a trio dysgu cerddoriaeth a caneuon o Gymru er mwyn ymarfer siarad Cymraeg pan dw i’n canu.
  3. Dw i’n hoffi pysgota a dw i wedi teithio i Lloegr, yr Alban, Cymru a Norwy er mwyn i ddal eogiaid a brithylliaid gyda ffrindiau pwy sy’n mwynhau lleoedd gwyllt hefyd.

Day 6: Found that working through the new session was surprisingly painless and I had the added bonus of managing something I had had great difficulty with many lessons previously and still had not mastered. Found the challenge difficult to complete because a) since downloading a new version, my Skype doesn’t work and b) I had to go to a funeral and didn’t feel it appropriate to try out my Welsh. Not really concerned as I did say the sentences to a couple of people and can always repeat the challenge over the next few days.

Day 7: I am now completely amazed at the speed I am going through this material. I find that, while I still use the pause button, I am using it less and less and beating Cat to the response more than half of the time. I am also much better at some of the older material which keeps getting thrown in. I think I am listening far more intently but I am translating structures I had only heard a few days ago correctly; I make my response and. to my surprise it is correct. What is going on?
I have been on the Pigion downloads page and listened to the first three minutes of a podcast on migrating birds. I must admit I resorted to pen and paper to record the vocabulary rather than typing into a document or spreadsheet. I write faster than I type. Having done this a few times now, I find that I can hear more distinct words each time to such an extent that I can understand the gist of the discussion which is given at breakneck (for me) speed and I’m picking up new vocabulary at the same time. I will certainly build this into my daily practice. Looking at my notes, however, I realise that my spelling is not good at all, but who cares when I can understand a broadcast in Welsh!!!

Da iawn i-ti!

Diolch yn fawr iawn Anne
Day 8: Just finished the next session and things still seem to be going well although I did have to use the pause button rather more than yesterday. Still pretty good considering the amount of new material I’ve covered over the past week.
I’m off to meditate in Welsh now and will see what happens.

This sounds as though you’ve done fantastically well, Doug - many, many congratulations.

I’m sorry that you haven’t had much feedback on here - this is usually a really supportive community, so please don’t take this low level of support as being representative of the community.

You’ve gone through some tough stages with this, clearly, but you have done fantastically well to keep going, and it sounds as though you are already starting to reap the very significant benefits…:seren:

Diolch Aran.
Day 8 continued: Just come down from my meditation! Spent ten minutes thinking of my boyhood in a small fishing village and describing things in my head in Welsh. No real problems, but nothing very philosophical either and the time just flew by.

Day 9: The session went as it has over the past 8 days … better than i thought possible.
I have made a 3 minute recording on my phone and listened to it. I don’t think it sounds too bad although i have detected 4 mistakes. When I looked at uploading it however I was given 2 options 1) to send it as a message 2) to post it on facebook so I have saved it on my phone.

You’re doing absolutely excellently, Doug - many, many congratulations…:smile:

There’s probably a way to upload from your phone, but I’m not much of an expert on smart phones - don’t even have one myself…:smile:

Day 10: There is a God of Welsh Learners! I set off to meet my friend Anne this morning for our fortnightly Welsh discussions before getting today’s challenge. On getting back home, I discovered that I’d completed the challenge over coffee and cake without really trying … Bendigedig!!
I’ve done the next course as well now, but am concerned that I might suffer from withdrawal symptoms over the next two weeks.
I’ve downloaded SoundCloud, but can’t see how to get it to accept my recording from my phone.
This has been a very rewarding experience despite having had little contact with other learners via the Forum and having to work for at least two hours each day - sometimes longer just to complete the sessions and challenges. I would recommend this to anyone learning Welsh as long as they understand that it does take time, probably more than expected, but the rewards are considerable. Pob lwc pawb.

On getting back home, I discovered that I’d completed the challenge over coffee and cake without really trying … Bendigedig!!

Now that sounds as though you’re pretty much through to the Promised Land!..:smile: Great to hear that you’ve found the process valuable, and I really appreciate your feedback…:star:

Diolch yn fawr iawn Aran. Found my last bottle of Brenin Enlli so the day is ending well!

Glad our conversation counted as your challenge today. It’s great when you get a bonus like that. Cael amser da heno.

Found my last bottle of Brenin Enlli

I hate last bottles…:wink: