Say Something Experience

I have just completed the first 3 ssi Spanish lessons having previously spent about 3 years going through all the available SSIWelsh courses.
I came to SSIWelsh having (rather half-heartedly) attended various traditional courses and done loads of written exercises etc. My Welsh has improved hugely since SSIW. I can follow 80% of Welsh TV /radio and can converse a bit. (I’ll have no problem if I ever find myself marooned in a Welsh monoglot society!)

I’ll be fascinated to see how the Spanish goes because in contrast to my SSIWelsh experience, I’m coming to Spanish without any previous exposure to the language - no traditional courses and no legacy of written exercises etc.

It’s early days. I’m finding very difficult to recall new words and phrases but recognition is fine and I fancy that I’m really starting to hear the sounds of the language. Entertainingly as I struggle to cobble together a sentence in Spanish the corresponding Welsh sentence pops effortlessly into my head. Hahaha ! - perhaps I’m practicing my Welsh too.

Hi billigog,

Great to read about your experience with SSi! As you say it’ll be interesting to see how your Spanish develops starting with SSi from scratch. I started Welsh the same way a few years ago now, and felt that the transition to reading was a very natural one, since I already had the sound of the words in my brain. I bet it’ll be even easier with Spanish since the written word matches closer what you expect to find on the page.

Looking forward to your input once you are further on on the course!


That sounds like a huge achievement! I bet your ‘converse a bit’ would turn out to be pretty impressive if you were in a Bootcamp-like situation at any point - do you have any regular conversation partners?

Good luck with the Spanish - I’ll look forward very much to hearing how it goes for you :sunny:

Thanks Aran
Perhaps 80% was pushing it a bit…but my understanding has certainly been improving. I do get to speak to Welsh speaking colleagues and yes I probably would benefit from seeking other opportunities to practice. ( I’m at the stage of dropping regular hints about Bootcamp at home )

As far as the Spanish goes, I laboured (it was really difficult) through the first five lessons, did the listening practice a few times and then went back over lessons 1 and 2. I was genuinely surprised how easy it felt second time around - very encouraging.

Excellent, well done! The go-through-once and then go back to check approach is really good, keeps you pushing your limits - and there’s more and more research that suggests that ‘harder’ learning is more effective, so you can feel good about that! You might find it very interesting (challenging, but effective!) to push through up to 15, with the associated listening exercise, before you do your next ‘revisit’ check…

“there’s more and more research that suggests that ‘harder’ learning is more effective”

That’s interesting and it certainly ties with my personal experience of learning. The one sting in the tail is the confidence issure of mono-linguals when beginning a new langauge i.e. even though more effective (if they stick to it), the problem is that it can easily overwhelm new learners at the very beginning causing them to give up and persist in the non-sensical belief that they are “no good at languages” and will never be able to learn.

Maybe some law to force all adults to fully commit to intensively learning another language for at least a month should be passed? (Maybe along the lines of French Foreign Legion style bootcamps where they force all new recruits to learn French, or is that a bit extreme?). We could always bury deserters up to they’re neck in sand at Barry Island!

I think you could be on to something there…:wink:

I think it’s very interesting (and a huge part of why SSiW has done well so far) that although in the medium term, some more traditional learners feel a bit uncomfortable about their lack of conscious control, the first couple of sessions seem to give most users a sense of excitement at how quickly they’re producing full sentences.

Having said that, we could (and need to) do a lot more in reaching out to users who don’t progress past the initial sessions, and see if we can find more ways to support them.

There’s an interesting little video by Robert Bjork on interleaving here: