Online Bootcamp - Rural Essex

Day 1: I had intended to work on the ‘10 boot camp vocabulary lessons’ from the old Course 1 for the 10 day mini bootcamp., but as the instructions were to do a completely new lesson, that ruled out all of the old Course 1 as well as the New Course 1. I have listened to them all, but certainly don’t claim to remember everything from them. So, I started with the first lesson of Course 2, which I hadn’t intended to work on just yet, but never mind, in at the deep end. I managed my way through in one sitting, if you count heavy use of the pause button still as one sitting.

The Daily Challenge of greeting people in Welsh doesn’t work quite so well in rural Essex as it would in rural Wales. In fact the only person I saw was my grown-up daughter, so I dutifully greeted her in Welsh, and at the end of the day even bid her a ‘Nos da’.

if you count heavy use of the pause button still as one sitting

Of course you do :slight_smile:

And not quite Essex, but I often speak little bits of poor man’s Welsh when I’m at our office in Hampton. With much the same effect as trying it in Essex would have, I suspect :slight_smile:

if you count heavy use of the pause button still as one sitting

Yes, I absolutely do! So well done - sounds as though you’re off to an excellent start…:star:

Day 2: I worked through the second lesson of the old course 2, and still need to use the pause button. Although some things seem to sink in while I am working through it, I’m not sure they stay for very long afterwards. The difficult bit is remembering any of these things when I am not trying to say them before Catrin does, but while I am going about my normal routine.

The Daily Challenge was to write a short dialogue. I wrote the following, which although not an exciting conversation, does reflect what has become the norm as I try to sort out financial matters since my husband sadly passed away:

Merch: Mam, wyt ti’n mynd i’r siopau, bore 'ma?
Mam: Mae’n ddrwg gen i. Dw i’n methu mynd allan. Rhaid i mi aros am alwad ffôn bwysig.
Merch: Oeddet ti’n aros am alwad ffôn bwysig ddoe hefyd?
Mam: Do. Mae o’n yr un un, ond doedd hi ddim yn ffonio ddoe. Felly, rhaid i mi aros i mewn heddiw eto.
Merch: Byddi di’n mynd i’r siopau yfory, 'te?
Mam: Mae hynny’n dibynny. Os mae hi’n ffonio heddiw, bydda i’n mynd allan yfory.


Daughter: Mum are you going to the shops today?
Mum: Sorry, I can’t go out. I have to wait for an important phone call.
Daughter: You were waiting for an important phone call yesterday too.
Mum: Yes, it is the same one, but she didn’t ring yesterday, so I have to wait in again today .
Daughter: Will you go to the shops tomorrow, then?
Mum: That depends. If she rings today, I’ll go out tomorrow.

The sentences are short since my limited vocabulary restricted the conversation, and Aran did say to keep it short. As it was I had to look up a few words in the dictionary.

I’m not sure if ’ am alwad ffô bwysig’ is correct, or whether it should be ‘am alwad ffôn o bwys’, or something else entirely.

I rather like the sound of the phrase ‘Mae hynny’n dibynny’’. Again whether it is correct or not I’m not sure. If it is right I shall have to try to remember it for future use.

That sounds as though you’re doing very well - your dialogue is excellent, and exactly the kind of practical content that will really help you get to grips with the language. ‘Am alwad ffôn bwysig’ and ‘Mae hynny’n dibynnu’ are perfect… :smile:

Using the pause button is fine… :smiley: Once you reach the end of the course and start revisiting the last two sessions once every couple of months (and also when you reach the point of finding a conversation partner) your production speed will start to increase.

Don’t worry about this. Your ability to recall them will become a little better every time you revisit them (which happens automatically as you carry on through the sessions) - that scary feeling that you might have completely forgotten them is just a relic of a school approach based on testing and marking. If words ‘sink in’ as you’re going through the material, you have formed some new synapses, and they won’t just disappear - so don’t worry about it, keep on going through the sessions, and your ability to retrieve what you want when you want will continue to improve… :smiley:

Again, this is just about habituation. Choose some things that you know you say to yourself on a regular basis, figure out how to say them in Welsh, and then develop the habit of always saying them in Welsh, and you’ll be surprised how quickly they become second nature… :smiley:

Day 3: I have done lesson 3 of Course 2 and I am still using the pause button and still making plenty of mistakes. I do tend to mix up whether I should be saying ‘roedd’ 'oedd’ or ‘doedd’ etc if I don’t take the time to think carefully enough, but some things from the previous 2 lessons are slowly seeping in so hopefully these will to.

The Daily Challenge proves interesting when you are on your own with no one to call on to help. My daughter works and has a busy life, so isn’t often available. I have no other relatives in the area, and despite having lived here for a good number of years, I don’t have any friends here either. So at first I intended to record myself saying each part in turn (from memory) and respond to the recorded me, but I found I don’t have a tape recorder that will record external sources. And my knowledge of computers is limited so I don’t know if it is possible to record yourself on a laptop or not, or what programmes I would need in order to do so. The only thing I could do at that point was to improvise and play both parts myself, reciting them both from memory of course.

I have gone on 'Ffrindiath’ as it was suggested on Day 1. Not surprisingly, there are no native Welsh speakers near enough to me that I could meet. However I did notice that there was a learner only about 10 miles from me, so I thought I would contact her. Depending on where she lives she might be just a bus ride away and therefore we could possibly meet up. Unfortunately her reply was that she had since moved to Wales and had forgotten all about the site.

I now find myself a little reluctant to contact anyone else. Never mind I shall to carry on by myself as best I can, and I shall have to be inventive where necessary.

Please don’t be reluctant to contact other people - even if they’ve moved, they’re not going to mind hearing from you :smiley:

Well done for keeping up with the challenges in what certainly sounds like a tricky situation - that kind of creativity is a huge boon to any language learner. :thumbsup:

And carry on not worrying about the mistakes - roedd/oedd/doedd will sort themselves out (and the only really important one is getting the hook that d is negative) - and you’ll always be able to figure it out and try again if it causes a break of understanding in a conversation.

And you’re doing excellently to keep posting on here about it :smiley:

Oh, please don’t be - especially on here!

I should probably jump in here. The family and I in Chelmsford are learning (Iestyn) Welsh; we’re in varying stages of course 1 at the moment, so perhaps too far behind you, but get in touch if you like. Whereabouts are you in Essex?

I love the magic of the forum… :star:

Good stuff, Dave!

Thank you all for the encouragement. I am rather new to the idea of communicating via the forum. I ‘dipped my toe in’ a few years ago, but it is only now I have decided to ‘take the plunge’.

In reply to dave_5, I live in Heybridge, (Maldon). I can’t imagine I am particularly far ahead. I still listen to both old and new versions of Course 1 as revision. At the moment, as I am not allowed to redo the Course 2 lessons I am doing for the on-line bootcamp, I am also listening to the Course 1 Bootcamp lessons, and I still manage to make plenty of mistakes there too.

Day 4: Lesson 4 of Course 2. I find I can remember some of the new words and phrases from the previous lessons that I have listened to just the once on this online bootcamp. I do try to start speaking as soon as I can after Aran has finished, but I still need to pause the recording occasionally as it sometimes takes a while for the new words to find their way from my brain to my tongue. And sometimes it takes a fair while for the brain to find them in the first place.

The Daily Challenge. Again I had to be a bit inventive as I don’t tend to come across many people in the privacy of my own home. So I decided to try listening to the TV to see what I could pick up from conversations on there that I could say in Welsh. As I usually watch Italian TV in the evening in order to keep my Italian in practice, I tried going from Italian to Welsh as I figured it would probably be just as valid an exercise.

I look forward to the day when I can understand enough Welsh that I can follow what is going on Welsh TV too.

That sounds as though you’re doing very well, Janice :star:

It’s absolutely normal to need to pause sometimes - but you’re definitely doing exactly the right thing to try and start speaking as soon as possible - if that triggers a flow, great, go with it - if not, never worry about pausing :thumbsup:

Understanding first language speakers in full flow is pretty much the final frontier - you will find that it gets gradually more approachable - and we’ve got some important listening exercises in the new Level 1 and beyond to help with this - but it’s certainly not an overnight thing!

Day 5: Lesson 5 of Course 2. I am finding some things take a little longer to come to mind than other, things like sibrwd yn distaw or gweiddi’n uchel from lesson 4. Sometimes I remember the word uchel and have to work backwards to remember gweiddi, which is not necessarily the way one should do things. I don’t have a problem with the idea of saying ei garu fo or dy garu di; I’m not saying I always say them correctly, mind you.

The Daily Challenge. Aran said make the longest sentences you possibly can. I am sure this is a trap. By using conjunctions or adverbs such as ond, a / ac or wedyn, it is possible to come up with rather long sentences, and I am sure making the longest sentence I can is going to turn out to be a mistake.

No, making the longest sentence possible won’t turn out to have been a mistake (although it may be something that you can only use partially later on!). The experience of building it can only be of value to you… :sunny:

In terms of things taking longer - that’s natural, so don’t worry about it. It takes time for the index to form fully, and for the individual pieces to be retrievable quickly and accurately - every time you make the effort to work back from ‘uchel’ to ‘gweiddi’, you’re strengthening the indexing… :thumbsup:

Day 6: Lesson 6 of Course 2. I do find I occasionally when I am supposed to repeat what Aran said, but in Welsh, I have moments when my mind seems to switch into neutral and just won’t come up with anything. When that happens I find it best to let Catrin say the phrase, then pause the recording and say it after her. The theory being that it might help get the brain working again ready for the next phrase. Sometimes it actually works.

The Daily Challenge. Again I had to be creative, as I tend to be at home on my own much of the time, and my poor old laptop (my husband’s old one from several years ago) isn’t up to Skype. However, I am gradually trying to get my husband’s newer laptop de-cluttered, so I might be able to Skype on that at some point in the future. Instead of talking to other people I had to manage by myself again, but as I had figured a way to record my voice on the laptop, I said my piece into the microphone and listened to it. I find hearing my own voice playing back to me cringe-making in the extreme, but I survived.

Be a little careful with the not answering thing - echoing what Catrin says doesn’t have the same neurological effect. If you can’t get anything out at all from time to time, that’s not the end of the world - but it’s far, far better to be generous with the pause button and really make the effort to try and get something out than it is to push on on the grounds that you can copy Catrin. This is a really, really important point.

If you can’t Skype, can you use a phone? The interaction with other people is a very important part of trying to form the patterns that will help you develop the kind of automatic use that will make you feel more comfortable in Welsh - so although it certainly is challenging, it will make a huge difference if you can get some real people involved :sunny:

Day 7: Lesson 7 of Course 2. Having been told off by the teacher yesterday for occasionally not answering when my brain gets stuck in neutral, (which only happens once or twice a during a lesson) I now make sure I take the time to say something, even if it is fairly mangled. Occasionally I find I have forgotten the second half of the English phrase so I make something up, and use the sort of phrase Aran has been saying as a guide. It usually makes sense even if though I know it is wrong.

The Daily Challenge: I managed 59 words the first time I listened to the Pigion Podcast, although some of them were the same word repeated, and I managed 82 on the second go. It is certainly an exercise that is worth repeating regularly.

I do intend to get on Skype as soon as I can. Having learnt Italian in the past, I know how valuable it is to practise a language by talking to others.

That’s ideal, exactly the right approach :star:

And well done with the daily challenge! :thumbsup:

Day 8: Lesson 8 of Course 2. I shall definitely have to revisit these lessons after the mini bootcamp is over, but even so some of the words are sticking. I do find that sometimes my tongue gets a bit stuck over pronouncing the chi, but then, rather contrarily, wants to add it to the word hi. And I am not quite sure whether for the word nhw I should be pronouncing the h or not.

The Daily Challenge. Thinking in Welsh for 10 minutes. A very useful exercise. Some of the things I couldn’t say I managed to look up in the dictionary afterwards, but there were a couple of things in particular I am not sure about. For example, ‘I would like’ is Leiciwn i, and ‘I have the time’ is Mae gen i’r amser (or something like that), but I am not sure how to say ‘I would like to have the time to study more’?

Also how would I say ‘I must talk aloud to myself’. I got as far as Rhaid i mi siarad yn uchel, but then wasn’t sure how to say to myself.