Rookie Observations

I’m just a few weeks into using the app seriously, despite having lived in Gwynedd for nearly nine months. SSiW is rather addictive, and a very pleasant hill-walking companion – though it does garner strange looks from anyone whose path crosses my own.

How does Welsh compare to other languages I’ve attempted? Well, I’ll have to cast my mind back to secondary school to answer that, and that is a longer time than I would care to admit, but it is interesting to compare the experiences.

First of all, the teaching style is obviously different. In my schooldays, the emphasis was on conjugating verbs and whatnot. It’s not entirely true to say that aspect is ignored in SSiW – it’s more that you learn phrases and get a feel for them, and then the grammar side gets elucidated as the sentences become more elaborate, and you start making connections as the wider context is revealed.

As for the language itself, is it difficult? Yes, very much so, compared to French or German. The vocabulary is very different, and mutations take a while to sink in. But is it easy? Also yes, again in comparison to French or German. Somehow, sentence structure feels much more familiar. You can use the word “go” to construct a future tense (as in, I’m going to learn Welsh). The hows, the whys and the whats all seem to translate word-for-word. “How are you”, or “How do you feel” in Welsh are basically one-to-one transliterations. It is a language that is both very close to English, and very far removed.

Use the app wisely – it can suck you in. Caveat emptor. And enjoy!