SSiW: a test of both your long-term and short-term memory!

I realised that SSiS would test my long-term memory (of grammar and vocabulary).

But I wasn’t really prepared for how much it would test my short-term memory!

I’m only on challenge 2 of level 1 and I get hit with things such as “I still need to remember how to say what I wanted to say in Welsh now” where I’m not sure I even remember the whole thing in English at the end! And then I still have to put it into Welsh…

Now I worry that later challenges will progress to “The happy friend of my mother-in-law’s younger sister told me that the book which he had brought me would not have been published if the company had not fortuitously been able to secure a long-term investment of three million, seven hundred and forty-six thousand, one hundred and twenty-seven pounds which had been promised to them by a senior minister”…


@aran is much too kind! But I adore your example!! I could even name the Minister, but will not!!! Ever! :laughing:

If you can’t remember the English sentence (that hits most of us at times), then perhaps just make something up (in Welsh) and say that instead…a test of your creativity! (That’s how “Welsh in the Wild” will end up working, in any case. :slight_smile: ).


I start speaking over the English, and manage to still hear the English. This has the added bonus of having a bit more time to get the sentence out!

I think it will also help, when I speak English I don’t usually think a sentence and then say it, I just get speaking. Sometimes this ends up slightly incoherent in any language, but ah well :smile:


I start speaking over the English, and manage to still hear the English.

You might have a future as one of those people who translate speakers as they’re going along (cyfieithu ar y pryd … can’t think of the English term at the moment!). :wink:

(I do not know how they do that - they’re amazing!)


Would that be simultaneous translator? I agree about their brilliance! Mind, back in the day they were well paid. Though it may depend on language. Our International scientific symposia had to have French/English minimum and it cost…a lot lot lot! Llawer mawr iawn!


That’s “simultaneous interpreter”, I think, though the distinction between “translator” (who translates written documents) and “interpreter” (who interprets spoken language) is perhaps technical jargon rather than part of everyday language.

I remember at a Polyglot Gathering, Lýdia Machová, a professional interpreter, gave a little workshop on interpreting and one of the exercises she used was to read one document while listening to another document, and afterwards there were questions on both.

I’ve also done a bit of amateur simultaneous interpreting and it is rather demanding! Especially if the languages do not have identical sentence structures and you can’t easily translate a chunk at a time!

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Back when my Welsh was much better, I tried to tell my ‘Auntie’ what was being said at a memorial service. Hopeless! If I told her, I lost the next thing said. I just had to give up, listen and tell her the gist at the end! I greatly admire those who can do it!

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I think it’s a skill you can learn, the only reason I think I can do it (with single sentences!) in Welsh is because I also do it in English (listening to English and repeating in English).

Two reasons I do it in English are 1) if I need memorise what I’m listening to, I find it easier, and 2) if there’s a nice speaker on the radio reading a poem or story I’ll try and mimic them in an attempt to improve my own presentation and speaking skills. Note, I only do this alone in the car because it’s a sure fire way to get people to look at you like a crazy person.

Once you can do it without having to think about translating, it’s no harder (I find anyway) to do it with translation than it would be to translate after the sentence has been said.

This is all my own experience of course, and I have absolutely no science to back it up.

Note: also an excellent skill to learn as a child if you have siblings you really want to annoy…

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Working memory is a key part of how easy people do or don’t find SSi - and there are snips of evidence which suggest that working memory might be trainable for a particular task, so there’s reason to hope that the more you do SSi, the easier it gets…:wink:

What the longer sentences are aiming at doing is stretching your brain to put pressure on it to chunk earlier in the process than usual - this sometimes leads to sentences that are just too long, so laugh those off and/or send some swears in my direction…:wink:


I recently watched an interview with Francis Rossi of Status Quo (don’t ask …), in Germany. It was in a studio, with 3 Germans sitting round a table, asking him questions in German, and then him replying in English. I was mightily impressed at first, until I realised he had a little helper in his ear…but then I was still quite impressed, because it was still a lot of sensory input, before cameras, and he was able to give coherent answers.

Frequently Aran! My memory does not improve with age!!
Oh, re-Interpreters, I have just remembered that, of course, ours had to know scientific French, and not just physics, but chemistry, biology, human anatomy… (biological effects of ionising and non-ionising radiation on humans)!

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That makes me more hopeful that I will eventually find the pauses not ridiculously short any more :slight_smile:

Ah, that makes sense. And I hadn’t thought about chunking before but now that you mention it, that is essential, isn’t it? Having ready-made bits such as fedra i ddim cofio or beth dw i isio dweud that you can retrieve as a unit, which must be much faster than assembling those word by word.

So, I shall soldier on! Thank you for your comment and your reassurance!


…Also, I find that in the longer sentences, I tend to pick up the general meaning (in English) rather than the precise construction. For example I might register “shall” as “will”. However, this becomes apparent when my answer differs from the pattern answer.

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That definitely happens, so much so that after a while, the pauses will seem a bit too long. (But you can use them to squeeze in another repetition, or part of one).

I hadn’t thought of it as “chunking”, but that definitely happens as well. Once you recognise one of those “chunks”, you can go into automatic pilot a bit as far as that bit is concerned, while another bit of your brain prepares for & then works on the new stuff that is coming.