SSiW vs Duolingo

So, I’ve learnt how to speak Welsh using only the SSiW method with reading, radio and TV thrown in. It’s good.

We’re going to France soon so thought I’d learn a wee bit of French so as not to come across as disrespectful and actually greet people at least in French. I’ve started using Duolingo for this.

Whenever someone on Twitter asks how they should learn Welsh the comments are about 50/50 SSiW/Duolingo but I’ve just come to the conclusion that anyone who recommends Duolingo has never properly tried SSiW, no way … there’s no comparison.

I’ve probably put about 4 hours in so far and am nowhere near the standard you’d be at after 8 SSi lessons, I mean absolutely nowhere near. Probably not to the standard I would be after 1 SSi lesson. It’s not even close.

Where is SSiEverything? :joy::wink:


I agree


I tried Duolingo Japanese and only got anywhere because I had already used the Michel Thomas method which is similar, but not the same as SSIW. Can’t remember anything from the Duolingo, can remember some from the MT. It would come back if I went through the material again.


I totally agree. I have managed to get around to doing 4 or 5 SSiS challenges and learned far more in that couple of hours than spending the same time on Duolingo. For actually learning to speak a language, I wouldn’t recommend Duolingo at all.


Couldn’t agree more! :grin:
SSi has killed Duolingo for me!


I completely agree. I really struggle with duolingo. I completed the Welsh tree when it first came out (just before level 2 of ssiw new course was out in its entirety). I’m sure I learnt some stuff from it but I’d have struggled with it on its own.


I’ve read on the FB in the DuoLingo learner’s group just the oposite thing written by really very passionate DuoLingo learner. The person says she tried SSiW and it didn’t stick since she didn’t learn grammar and writting at the very beginning and (as she says) DuoLingo did all that instead. She can speak fairly fluent (according to her words) and is comfortable with her Welsh.

Might be, but I’ve tried several languages on DuoLingo and made the conclussion similar to all of you. Even Czech and Slovak which are quite similar to my language and Esperanto, which is fairly logical language if you at least know a bit of every language, don’t stick properly for me. DuoLingo is fine for the revision maybe but surely I agree with many of you that with DuoLingo you can’t learn language to its fluency, at least not in such a short time as you can do with SSiW(hatever). :slight_smile:

For this reason I impatiently am waiting for SSiItalian and SSiGerman to appear so I coudl finally properly and in a really short time revive my once (almost) excellently known languages, which later went to slumber as I didn’t use them anymore. Where is that SSiEverything, really.

Hello, hello SSiBorg … we need you to do some things finally. :slight_smile:



Ditto to all the above.

Out of curiosity I played around with Duolingo briefly—played around being the best description. It did nothing for me. It cannot hold a candle to SSiW.

The only other ‘tool’ I found useful was a Memrise series that had been written specifically to match a Welsh course at UWTSD, but that was like having customized flash cards. I have no idea if or how it would work in general.

However, talking of flash cards—if they help you,… A young friend struggling with a new language made her own by cutting up a stack of filing or recipe cards into quarters, punched a hole in their corners and strung them with a lace. It cost her $2 plus about half an hour to make her stack. After each lesson she would write the new words or phrases on separate cards, adding their translations on the back. She claimed that something in her taking the time to do this helped at least with memorizing them. I often see her thumbing through her growing stack of cards, self-testing with the speed of a croupier at Las Vegas. I guess she knows her stuff.

Just a thought,


Well, we’re talking about DuoLingo here but since you’ve mentioned Memrise, for the “big” languages as Spanish, German, and more, they’ve produced kind of chatting robot which chats with you when you learn the new stuff. You can or choose to chat with it or not. They also produced a various series of videos of the phrases, words recorded when their MemBus travelled through the Europe and recorded totally ordinary people speaking their language. We all (on Mamrise) had the chance to send the recordings (but I didn’t do that) and while the MemBus had traveled around the people could sign in to be recorded in their MemBus. So said this, Memrise has quite some learning quality. But, since I’m paying member there (half of subscription was gifted to me by them (obviously I was good girl)), I don’t quite know how much of this stuff it’s actually for free.

Speaking of the Memrise series of Welsh matching UWTSD, this was (probably) made by one of the Welsh universities or by some individual and be aware it will soon be moved to Decks (Memrise franchise where all amateur courses (courses made by learners) will find their home). On the original Memrise site there will be only the courses made by them though and as much as I know, Welsh is not among them sadly.

About flashcards: you can find a lot of apps on the net with which you can make flash cards on your own. One of the more known is Anki (which I use) and Tiny Cards provided by DuoLingo. Timy cards is the separate site and app where you can learn additional stuff of the courses you learn in the DuoLingo course. In Tiny cares you can sign in with your DuoLingo acount and (I’m not quite sure though) then search for the courses you’re learning with DuoLingo. I’ve tried this one but that was some time ago and I a bit forgot my feelings about that as I didn’t try too many stuff there actually. Worth trying anyway.

Tatjana :slight_smile:


The things I appreciate of Duolingo is that the easiest way I’ve found to try and get a glimpse of a language that I know nothing of and I’m slightly curious about.
Just like Welsh was for me. :smiley:

I had totally enjoyed singing nonsense on Datblygu’s songs without understanding anything, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to actually study it.
Still, when I got an e-mail by Duolingo saying the new Welsh course was up, it took so little effort to check it out that I just did.

Well, then I lasted about…three days. :laughing:
But I tried again a few months later, maybe for a couple of weeks, and right there I found the link to SSiW.
At that point I was already a bit more motivated, I saw this Forum, tried one challenge and…you already know I got hooked. :wink:

However I’m not sure I would have tried SSiW if I hadn’t tried Duolingo before, because it takes a bit more effort to get in tune with this course, and follow it.

I soon quit Duolingo ’ cause just like @margaretnock with Japanese, I couldn’t remember anything of what I studied with Duolingo (except Nos da, draig, which was too funny!).

But after talking with a few Duolingo fans (including, I’m sure, the same one @tatjana mentioned in her post) I understand it’s good and “better” than SSiW for a few types of people:

1- those who just want to spend a few minutes a day studying a tiny bit of everything - reading,writing,listening, speaking - pretty much everywhere and with the least possible effort.

  1. Those who need to write and read more than speak, or need to learn formal language more than informal.

  2. those who are strongly visual learners - they just really struggle a lot with this method.

  3. Those who feel they’re learning only if they know exactly what’s going on…like rules, grammar, schemes and so on. With SSiW they have the impression of learning sentences by rote without understanding anything and they may get really frustrated.

The lady I talked to (that I suppose the same Tatjana mentioned), in fact, liked Duolingo more but also started taking provate lessons with a tutor (and also for very cheap!)

And well, I can’t blame her…she really didn’t enjoy this approach and it didn’t work for her and probabably anyone with the same preferences or needs would feel the same.
So it’s just good that there are more options, I think!


Difinatelly it is the same lady. Well I didn’t speak to her but just put some thoughts/comments on her post. Juyfully she stated she’d go on now when she did everything DouLingo has to offer (apart from going back from time to time for some revision), and try some more material provided by Siarad and other institutions and she’ll return to SSiW aswell, giving it another try.

If she’s already back on the course … Welcome back in deed. :slight_smile:


Maybe I was missing something when I tried DuoLingo??? But to be fair, I know others who liked it as an introduction.

Thank you for the ‘heads up’ Tatjana. I am amazed at how much you know—you are an absolute genius!


A quick read through of articles by people who have found Duolingo useful seems to show it’s useful as a starter and people carry on with other methods, or it’s useful as refresher for languages studied a long time ago. Or it’s not useful at all. And we do know people who have used SSIW exclusively to fluency (that word being used with extreme care and caution). As others are saying, Bring on SSIEverything.


I’ve done SSiW and Duolingo. I’d say that Duolingo by itself would be a waste. I’ve played around with Russian, and cannot remember much of anything I learned there.

But as a supplement, Duolingo has some value. The biggest hole in SSiW is vocabulary. We understand why that is – it would take forever to go through SSiW style lessons for all the vocab you really need. Duolingo presents vocab at a faster rate. Also, once you are ready to start writing, Duolingo gives you practice at that (assuming you are doing the web version, and not just the app where you pick multiple choice). When I first went to Duolingo Welsh, I felt pretty confident from SSiW. From this stage, Duolingo added something. But if I’d started with Duolingo, I doubt I would have retained much.


Well, I wouldn’t know these things if I wouldn’t use or at least try them by myself. I’m subscribed to DuoLingo and Memrise newsletters aswell and such useful things they provide from time to time too. You go and try them and walla, you know them. I never hesitated to share my knowledge with the other people among there some are happy with that and some find this rather annoying (can’t close my eyes before that though).

So did I and apart from beihg able to refresh my cyirllic script a bit, I don’t remember much anymore.

I remember in older version you could type in the app aswell but if nowdays you only have the choice to pick multiple choices this isn’t of too much of a value as far as concerns me. Will have to return to DuoLingo app to explore this part of the things. :slight_smile:

It is certainly true that Duolingo presents a lot of vocabulary at a faster rate.
And I remember repeating it and repeating it and repeating it and repeating until I couldn’t stand seeing it any more, and felt absolutely sure I would never ever forget those words.

But now - out of curiosity - I tried to restart from the section where I had quit about a year ago (work).
And I was totally stuck, because I didn’t remember any of the words, instead!
Just mecanic - but because it’s basically the same in Italian and English. :grin:
it looks like, in my brain, they just don’t stick.

While with SSiW there’s way less words, but:

  • they’re more useful than many of the Duolingo ones (or at least that’s my impression).
  • and when the other day I repeated one of the first Challenges I had done a year ago and never again: I remembered every word and did just a handful of minor mistakes (like mutations or got confused about I’ve got to and I’ve got and used the wrong one, a couple of times).
    So…they just stick!

Also once I know the structures, I might as well just use the dictionary when I need an extra word I haven’t practiced. :roll_eyes:

Of course as you pointed out, with Duolingo (web version) you also practice writing while, with SSiW only, that’s something I haven’t learnt at all…


Yes, absolutely. I’d say that with SSiW, you almost need to start with a restricted vocabulary. The point is to get those pathways burnt into the brain. If there were to many choices, too much searching for words, the timing of the thing wouldn’t work out. In the old SSiW courses there were some vocab lessons, and I think those were less useful than the others, precisely for this reason.

But you do need to build up vocab somehow at some point. I think Memrise and Duolingo can help with that, but the words will only really stick if you use your Welsh and encounter the words on a semi-regular basis.


Oh absolutely agree on the need to build up vocab, and that words stick if you use your Welsh and encounter the words on a semi-regular basis.

However, for me (not necessarily anyone else) Memrise and Duolingo are a bit of a waste of time because…what’s the use of boring myself to death if I don’t remember anything except the English words I’m supposed to learn? :laughing:

The method that works for me is listening to songs several times while reading the lyrics.
I just end up remembering the sentences and being able to recall them easily when I need them!

1 Like

I agree that SSiW is better.

But to be honest (no critics here!), I found out that I need Duolingo. SSiW is sometimes stressfull for me (I just can’t take it as a game), makes me panic and I need to do something else for a week or two before getting back to it. I do a mix of Duolingo, tv shows, youtube etc. just to get more exposure to both grammar and new vocabulary.
I agree that Duolingo often doesn’t stick. But SSiW doesn’t give me the confidence to go out and speak Welsh. I often feel I only know a small part of something without a greater context. Like that I can do a lot of dw i and wyt ti but I need to do more dyn ni a and dach chi. Duolingo helps with that. It helps to fill the gaps in vocabulary. And often, I just need to feel smart (grammar smart) to have the confidence to use my Welsh.
SSiW teaches me “dw in dod o Loegr a dw di bod yn dysgu am tua mis” but won’t teach me the real thing - that I am originally from Czechia but live in Penygroes and I’ve been learning for seven months. I’ve learned these elsewhere (a mix of Duolingo, youtube and google).
I know we should trust the method and shouldn’t look into the grammar but I feel I need it.
Also, SSiw needs time (25-30 minutes for a half-lesson using pause button or 50-60 minutes for a full lesson), while I can do Duolingo in bed for five minutes while calling my husband to go to bed too and waiting for him :slight_smile: