Spoiler Alert! Sgwrs 17 (Advanced Content)

It’s up! A few tip offs - it’s about learning Welsh but also about learning Breton! Hope you enjoy.


Arrrr…what a lovely conversation! :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

As, you suggested, it is a more measured, steadier, conversation and so I have a good sense of what is said all the way through but still the usual scattering of things I don’t understand or can’t catch…and so it continues to be a good sense of what is said rather than a more concrete and clear understanding.

If the previous pattern is repeated the transcript will reveal a lot of things I can’t catch plus quite a few words I don’t know…

We’ll see - what an interesting/ tantalising weekly cycle this is to go through!!

…and lovely to hear another learner’s perspective this week. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:



Glad you liked it! Thanks for the feedback once again, much appreciated :blush:

Fascinated by what Gill was saying about Breton. I had two great uncles ( my taid’s brothers -in- law) who were in the merchant navy, plying a!ong the Channel,with a Welsh crew and English officers. They always said that along most of the French coast the English officers would manage negotiations. But as soon as they reached Brittany, the Welsh crews would take over.

On a slightly gloomier note, I am feeling a little frustrated and having to remind myself that learning doesn’t progress at a steady, even pace. The last few weeks I have been able to hold some quite long conversations with family and other learners. And my reading has got a lot better. It used to take me all week to read the trasgriff, doing about half a page at a time. Now I can usually read the whole thing in one or two sittings. But I swear my listening skills have stalled. It doesn’t feel as if it’s getting any easier at all.

I am picking out individual words, enough the get the gist of a subject, but not fast enough that the sentences flow.

I have downloaded all the Level 2 speeded up listening exercises, north and south, and created myself a playlist to use for practice. So I guess I need to a) keep going and trust the process and b) focus on all the wonderful things that are going well.

The real lessons of Gill’s talk are that these things are not easy and persistence pays off!


This sgwrs has a clearer accent and sound, that makes it easier! And I can hear the “music” of Welsh language when she speaks - that adult learners or school-but-not-family speakers seem to lose a bit (and for me it’s a shame, because I like it a lot!). Well done, Gill! I’d love to hear her speaking Breton now. :wink:

At first listen, I could follow the conversation and catch the main topics; but despite being very interested and quite familiar, I wasn’t able to understand the details before 3rd listen, after the translation.

As for reading…oh my…it’s just terrible. :dizzy_face: It reminds me of the first times I listened to the radio: I do recognize words here and there, but almost no sentences. I just can’t turn those strange things I see into recognizable, intelligible sounds and meanings.

For some reason, the time I spent in Wales made it all more evident and frustrating, because my understanding of spoken Welsh improved a lot, along my willingness to speak it that skyrocketed because I really enoyed it.
While I just hate reading, as before…no, actually even more. :roll_eyes:

Therefore, from now on, I’m going to commit an act of insubordination :sunglasses:: I will do the reading while listening to the sgwrs at the same time. This way, I can keep my attention more focused, I can recognize words I hadn’t detected at first listen or when reading-only and the process even becomes quite enjoyable.

Funny note: I often just can’t help having lines from the songs automatically starting to play in my head, triggered by random words (it happened when I started learning English too). In this case, I hear Aberhonddu and I get “Ond es i a mhoteli gwag whiskey i’r banc poteli yn Aberhonddu”! :grinning:

I am starting to wonder if my problem isn’t related to the fact that I can’t make out the lyrics to songs in any language. Never have been able to. I soooo miss the days when you could listen to an album while reading the lyrics on the sleeve notes.

I can struggle to follow conversations in noisy backgrounds too. No physical problem - I had it checked. Just how my brain is wired, I guess. Like the auditory equivalent of field dependent and field independent vision.

So maybe I should try, just as a fourth step, listening with the trawsgriff in front of me? See if that helps me connect the words I understand on the page with what i’m hearing? Do you think that would make Aran very cross? :confused:

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I struggle to follow conversations in noisy backgrounds or with background music too - my attention just gets carried away and…all over the place.
I found that reading the trawsgriff while listening works very well for me, and I’m ready to face the consequences with Captain @aran. :grin:

p.s. I did figure out a few sentences from Welsh songs myself, but I mostly learned them from sleeve notes - just like I did with English. By the way, understanding lyrics in English is even more complicated than Welsh: I have American friends who never understood anything of the Rolling Stones songs (to make an example) - until they got the written lyrics! :laughing:

Yes, that will make it feel much easier (and will inevitably slow down the learning process)… :slight_smile:

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As a fourth step, no problem… :slight_smile:

But also - be kind to yourself. None of this stuff is linear. You’re doing all the right things, and if you keep on doing that, you WILL start to have the moments of recognising improvement that you’re looking for… :star: :star2:

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Well, I’m already very satisfied with how fast I’m learning! :smiley:

And I have to say that I believe one of the reasons for this is that I enjoy the process.
And another one is that we get instructions on how to get the best out of it, but…we’re always free to experiment a slightly different path if we want. :wink:

Fact is I just hate the reading - and don’t even care so much about it, at the moment.
And I always struggle painfully through that and the second listening, hardly being able to hear anything because I’m soooo annoyed, and can’t see the point because I haven’t understood anything in the transcript so it seems identical to the first listen. :neutral_face:

I will just try this for a while, and see how it goes. After all, if it doesn’t work, I can come back to the standard process any time!

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Have you considered just skipping the transcript, then? And going listen->read translation->listen? :slight_smile:

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Oh I would love that! :grin:

I just somehow thought reading the transcript was a necessary step - or in other words, that skipping it would be worse for the whole process, rather than figuring out a way to make it vaguely acceptable!

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I think you get the best possible input overall by doing all the steps - but if there’s one of them that you’re hating, it’s always better to skip and enjoy… :slight_smile:

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Hi @Catriona,

I had a frustrating week on the Sgwrs this week too if its any consolation - not much I imagine :smile: - I got the general idea, mostly, on first listen but found it harder to understand this week. I got less of it, less well. I think there were lots of long sentences with connected phrases and the odd, killer word I didn’t understand. I didn’t know the Welsh word for Breton, so the whole ‘area of interest’ in the Sgwrs this week was foggy.

Ah well. That is the way it goes I suppose. Unlike previous weeks I didn’t find the translation easy either :confused: - again I think it is the conjoined sentences and subclauses because whilst there was a few words I didn’t understand, I found myslef staring at sentences and clauses which I knew all the words for (!) trying to figure out what they must mean…I haven’t done that for a while :frowning: .

When I look back at the translation now, I can’t see what the problem was (but there are many things that have gone like this - hard to figure out, then seem obvious) but I think there are so many variables - for example I could only do the translation in bits and pieces this week…and that can’t help.

I have found that speaking and reading, slightly strangely, each seem to have a fairly independent rate of progress. It sounds a bit like you are finding the same. Presumably, at some point, it all comes together - actually I think reading has already really helped my translation.

I am hoping that with a chance to re-listen I will (at least) get the lift in understanding of previous weeks. This makes everything seem worthwhile :smile:. I hoping that this aspect is sort of a groundswell and reflects underlying progress.

So: Level of understanding on first pass? Poor - Ease of translation? Poor - Understanding on second pass? We’ll see!

Rich :crazy_face:


I can hear you sounding a bit dispirited here - but actually, you’ve just uncovered some GOLD - because the low level of understanding means that this has got a high amount of new stuff for you - and that means multiple runs through this (on the usual pattern) are going to do MORE to improve your Welsh than would be the case with sgyrsiau that you found easier… :slight_smile:


Yes - I can see that focusing on some remaining things which have shown themselves to be problematic, has got to be very beneficial.

It’s all good - if you find it easy, it’s good, if you find it hard, it’s also good (possibly even better!)

Rich :smile:

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Can I just say that trying out cross-referencing the transcript with the translation this week feels incredibly useful and I really feel like I understand a whole lot more of the conversation / words / phrases this time by doing that - I really hope it actually is as useful as it feels, and isn’t just another nice feeling which slows down the learning process.


As long as you’re doing it on the model of ‘cold listen->whatever you do with transcript/translation->primed listen’, you’re gold… :slight_smile:

I’m just listening and hoping to pick up stuff by osmosis at the moment…Once my upcoming exam is done in a couple weeks I may start listening with the transcript/translation etc.


PS that was a really interesting conversation (from the bits that I understood!) Diolch Beca!

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