Short brutal intensive course for beginners or near-beginners

This won’t be relevant for most of our regular forum users - but you might know of people who’d be interested.

We’re going to test a 5 day super-intensive.

As in brutally intensive.

For beginners or near-beginners, to get them up and running in real conversations asap.

Details here:


What a fab idea!
Jealous of those who go!

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Link sent 'tother 'arf.

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How I admire your eternal optimism! :slight_smile:

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She may cave eventually.


Okey-dokes, so it’s clear there’s plenty of interest - a lot of masochists out there!

Here is the application form:

I’ll give it a couple of days so that everyone has a fair chance to fill it in, and then I’ll let everyone who applies know whether or not we can offer them a place this time round.

I was going to ask how this was going but i’ve got my dates mixed up.

So i’ll offer to help instead if you need it eg cooking, driving. Any day is fine. Just ask.

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Diolch yn fawr iawn i ti, Pete. I think we’re pretty sorted, but I’ll bear it in mind if anything unexpected crops up… :slight_smile:

Looking forward to kicking this off - orientation on Sunday, and then straight into the mountain of work on the Monday morning… :slight_smile:


And we’re up and running as of this morning!

They’re an impressively hard-working crew - I was here by a few minutes after 10, and it was already like the Marie Celeste, with faint echoes of Welsh coming from different directions in the house… :slight_smile: :star2:


What a fantastic start they got off to:

:star: :star2:


On to Day 4 today - and they’re picking up speed - Day 3 was a cracker:

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If they have not collapsed with exhaustion at the end, could you get them to post their experiences, how they found the course, how they got through the sticky parts etc on the Forum? Os gwelywch yn dda!! :sunny:


I’m not sure if they’re forum users, but we will be looking to release the daily videos I’ve been taking, and to look for written feedback as well… :slight_smile:


Day 4, and everyone’s still alive… just…


I suppose the real test is how long it sticks! If they will be in a Welsh speaking environment, it probably will, because they’ll use it, but if not, my experience is that it is much easier to forget than to learn a language!

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Not really - we’ve done previous testing on retention after intensive work - the longest so far was a 40-45% retention after 14 months jumping to a 80-85% recall (self-assessed) after one 30 minute refresher session.

This is the common perception, but it’s a long way wide of the mark. Once you’ve done the work that has built new neural structures that allow you to speak and understand part of a language, it’s likely that never disappears, even if the strength of the network falls below the conscious threshold. If you returned to any of the languages that you’ve forgotten, and did the right work, you’d find that they came back very quickly indeed.


And - day 5 - no-one died!


Hi everyone! Having completed the test-run of the 5-day immersive Welsh course I’m dipping my toes into this forum to share my experience.

The set up was that there were three of us, sharing a house for the week. We arrived on the Sunday afternoon, and we were allowed to speak English, but from the Monday morning to Friday evening it was to be Welsh only. This made for some deathly quiet ‘social’ gatherings; when we happened to meet in the kitchen, and at mealtimes, there was really nothing much we could say to each other, and there was only so many times you could say ‘Dw i wedi blino’ :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

The good news is, as Aran has said, we’re all still alive :slight_smile: Before the course my experience of Welsh was very limited - I don’t regularly hear Welsh (unless I’ve accidentally tuned in to Radio Cymru…), and many moons ago I’d barely managed to get past the first couple of SSiW lessons of the online audio course. I’d worked through a few levels of the Duolingo Welsh last year, and that had given me some very basic grammar and vocab, but nothing that could really prepare me for, or help me with, the 5-day course.

This course won’t appeal to everyone. You’re left to your own devices in the mornings and afternoons, to plough through the challenges, with only a few brief breaks, for 5 whole days. That means finding somewhere where you can cope with studying, on your own, for 5-6 hours per day. For me, I was happy to be cooped up in my bedroom, thankful to be out of the howling wind and lashing rain, which accompanied us for the week, but that would have driven some people stir crazy. My personality tends mostly to introversion, so having to be in my own space for prolonged periods of time was a godsend to me, as I very rarely get time to myself in ‘normal’ daily life. Despite being happy with this arrangement, I still found the mental demands, coupled with the fact that I had difficulty sleeping well (due to my brain working overtime…) incredibly tough, so by Friday the mental exhaustion made it difficult to keep pushing through the last day’s challenges.

The hardest bits for me were the talking sessions. This was, I think, partly due to tiredness, but also due to my brain still being busy laying down neural pathways for what it had been exposed to on that day, and previous days. It felt like Brain was busy laying a road, in several disjointed sections (putting in layer upon layer of foundations, before topping off with a smooth layer of concrete), but before the road was complete, Speech would come along and rudely say “come on, hurry up, I need to get through here”, and Brain saying “whoa, hang on. I’ve not done everything I need to yet, and you can’t come through here - the concrete’s still wet”. So it was quite a battle ground, and conversations were mostly long pauses while Brain ‘put down duckboards’ along a route which Speech could take to where it needed to go :laughing: As the week progressed, more and more sections had been completed, and it was easier to get from one bit from another, without ‘stepping in the concrete’ too often, but it still wasn’t a straightforward process. On the Friday, though,when I felt absolutely dead, it was as though the ‘road’ was closed due to flooding, and nothing was going to get through, in or out :smile:

So, it wasn’t an easy 5 days, and it was certainly a challenge. Having said that, apart from the tiredness, I felt mostly happy and upbeat throughout the experience. I think this was because I knew that I doing what I wanted to be doing, which was learning Welsh. The trick was to not worry if I was struggling with a particular lesson, but just to keep pushing through onto the next and the next and the next (we weren’t allowed to pause or repeat lessons). I think if we’d been allowed to pause the recordings it would have become too easy to have become snagged on a particular problem, and then lost the confidence to keep pushing forward, and I would say to anyone working through the lessons at the moment, to just not worry if you miss something, or can’t quite grasp something - don’t use the pause button - just keep ploughing on, and you’ll find that what you hadn’t understood is likely to magically make sense a lesson or two later!

So to sum up, it was tough, but it was definitely worthwhile. In just 5 days I’ve learnt a heck of a lot more that years slogging away at night-classes, which I’d been considering doing. I’ve still a long way to go, and fluency is still a distant dream, but there’s no doubt that I would certainly have the confidence now, to hold a basic conversation with a fellow Welsh speaker. In just 5 days, this course has provided a most unbelievable shortcut to this point, and it’s given me a really good foundation which I can now keep fine-tuning and building on. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget!

I hope you’ve found these comments useful. If there’s anything particular you wish to ask, than please do so, and I’ll do my best to answer.

If I think of anything else useful to say, or if I just fancy rambling on a bit more, then I’ll add to this thread, and of course, there’s still the vidoes to come… :grimacing: :wave:


How fabulous, achieving so much in a week is fantastic.


I am an aged forgetter of Cymraeg! (Learned the formal written kind many years ago and forgot it for lack of use, did a few informal spoken-Welsh lessons in our village when I lived on Gower, but lost our teacher, moved to Scotland… suffered hiraeth, turned to Sky-born S4C and realised…help! Found SSiW. Found friends on Forum and kept getting distracted from learning).
Now I am trying to do 1 Challenge a day, but the last few (2.04,05,06) I have used pause and seemed to be getting totally stuck.
Question, which challenges did you find hardest and would you, like @aran, tell me to press on and on!!

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