Starting out on my Welsh adventure


I’m just starting out on my adventure into Welsh so thought I’d stop by and say ‘hello’. I’m off on holiday to Pembrokeshire in a few weeks so decided it was about time I had a stab at learning a little Welsh. I’ve managed to complete the introductory course and my head feels like it’s been used as Mike Tyson’s punch bag.

I’m skeptical as to how anyone can do the lessons one after the other with no pause button and no repeats. I find I’ve forgotten the beginning of each lesson by the time I reach the end and have to re-listen the next day. I have managed to avoid the pause button although I’ve hit the stop button a few times and screamed :scream:

Is it just me or do many beginners find some of the phrases are like tongue twisters I/you need/don’t need is a mouthful and I/you will/won’t starts to sound like vavi vavi vavi before my head goes VOOM !!

On a serious note, as Aran’s introductory emails encourage asking questions, what is the difference between the 2 alternatives that are given for “about it” ? In lesson 4 or 5 it sounds phonetically like “am hunny” and at the end of lesson 6-2 it’s given as “am denny” with both being used in the phrase “think about it”



In the Southern course ‘am hynny’ means ‘about that’. Things don’t always map exactly between N and S but, this might help.


Welcome to the forum, Andrew! Congratulations on finishing the introductory course - a huge achievement! You should definitely come here to ask questions…it’s an incredibly friendly and helpful community, and I would never have come so far on my own Welsh journey without this place. I personally find that I have to use the pause button at times in the beginning or I get really lost. I’m trying to use it as little as possible, though. I definitely understand about feeling like your brain is melting :slight_smile:

Yes, there are definitely a lot of tongue twisters. Sometimes I need a whole time through a lesson just to get my mouth to say things like “fyddi di ddim yn”, without even worrying about the rest of the sentence. (For some reason “ennill yn hawdd” just about made me cry :slight_smile: ) With practice you’ll just roll them out without even thinking!

“am hynny” means “about that” and “amdani” means “about it” in the Southern course.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Edited to add: Didn’t see Craig’s answer before I posted mine; it must have happened while I was in posting mode :slight_smile:


Sceptical as in you think that maybe it’s actually not happening? I can promise you it is, because I’ve sat with plenty of people one-on-one as they go through the process… :sunny:

I suspect what’s tripping you up there is the (very common) belief that you need to have full, conscious control before you’ve ‘done’ a lesson successfully. But what we’re seeing very clearly indeed by now is that learning can be partial - you can get a word wrong the first 20 times, and then discover that you’ve learnt it perfectly - because your brain encodes words on a partial basis - syllable by syllable, or even sound by sound. So when you think you’re not learning because all you can think of is ‘vavi vavi vavi’, your brain has already figured out the number of syllables, and will add more information to that understanding each time you encounter the word/structure.

Sounds as though we’ve got a slight hiccup there - ideally, we’d only be using one of the structures at the start - but yes, as Craig says, they both mean essentially the same thing - amdani is one word, literally ‘about it’ (where the ‘it’ is feminine) while am hynny is literally ‘about that’.

But yes, questions are good! And a warm welcome to the forum :sunny: Hope you have a lovely time in Pembrokeshire (and with luck, if you don’t have any warmed up ready in advance, you’ll find a Welsh speaker or two). :sunny:


Thank you all very much.

Aran, you’re absolutely right, I DO feel the need to have full conscious control before moving on. So, for the next few lessons, I’m going to take up your challenge and remove my sceptical hat and see how much sinks in!


Welcome to the forum Andrew, and yes, please believe you don’t need to consciously ‘get it’ before moving on. I have been learning since March and some patterns and words seem to be easy to remember, whilst, for whatever reason some take longer. However, I tend to have 2 listens at most because that word you can’t remember will crop up in spaced repetitions over subsequent lessons. My most recent mental ‘blank’ was the word ‘diddorol’ (interesting). Whenever Aran said the English sentence with the word interesting in it, I just couldn’t remember it for the life of me. I could remember ‘didd…’ but not the ‘orol’ bit! I just blithely carried on through my lessons, allowing Catrin to tell me the word each time it cropped up, and about 2 days later it was just THERE! Tumbled out with no conscious effort on my part! Trust the method. It works.


Yes, the less you think about it, the better it goes in.

It’s when we start to try pulling it up by the roots to see if it’s growing ok that things go wrong… :slight_smile:


Hi Andrew, I just thought I’d put my two cents in!

I did the whole of the old course one trying to retain that feeling of control - very slowly, not doing more than one lesson a day, using the pause button like there was no tomorrow and repeating lessons.

I’m now doing level one, and I decided to give a more accelerated pace a go. I’m doing three lessons a day (when I have the self control), no repeats and very minimal use of the pause button.

While I am finding that yes, the brain does feel like it’s going to short circuit at times, the language really does sink in and stay there, even if you don’t think it is at the time.

That said, it can be incredibly frustrating if you have the wrong mindset. It’s about remembering that your brain is capable of handling nearly everything you throw at it, it just doesn’t always consciously communicate that fact with you.


Croeso! When I started my own Welsh adventure I thought I had just signed up to an on-line Welsh course. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I joined a new community, have made new friends, Bootcamped, been on holiday with Welsh Learners and taken part in so many activities (through the medium of Welsh) I couldn’t list them. I hope you have the same fantastic experience as me ! The weirdest and best thing about this course is spectacularly ‘failing’ (in you own mind) at a particular lesson, and then the next day finding that you are constructing whole new sentences with the material you thought you had not learned! :smile:


What a wonderful tribute to SSiW, a_jay!


Hi Andrew - welcome!
I am also new here, although I began my SSIW adventure back in May. I remember well experiencing the same feeling when I got to lesson 6 and the I/you will/ will not segment and thinking I would never be able to keep it all straight. After completing the whole course and now going back and listening to vocab unit 10 for “maintenance”, I’m finding that I can remember things more often than not. Since I mostly listened to the lessons on my phone in the car or while walking, I was rarely able to use the pause button. As a result I usually ended up listening to the whole lesson over again a few times before it would start to sink in. I think everyone here can attest to the fact that you will have good days and bad, but you will start to feel better about your abilities little by little. One day you will be listening to Radio Cymry and realize you actually understood something!
Hwyl - Jason


Helo Andrew, Si’mae and Croeso!!
You will realise by now that SSiW does work and that most of the Forum folk are wonderful!! My little example of it working:- If I learn two things at once, I have real trouble sorting them out. (A red head and a tall dark guy at work found that out as I never, ever got their names right!!) I learned gwella and ymarfer in the same lesson and kept coming out with the wrong one, BUT, I know that gwella means ‘improve’ and ymarfer means 'practise, and I realised I knew just suddenly out of a wide wet sky!!! (I live in soggy Scotland!)
Lwc dda i ti!! :smiley:


Thank you everyone for your warm welcome and your words of encouragement. I’m looking forward to tackling the next set of lessons; no pause button and no repeats !!

Just for fun I had Radio Cymru on over lunch today and was delighted to pick out some words from the introductory course (can, come, sleep, what, tonight and I am) I had absolutely no idea what the presenter, Guto Rhun, was talking about though but who cares :smiley:
I noticed that he said a word which sounded like ‘tsunami’ quite a lot. Can anyone work out what that might have been.



I didn’t hear it, so I can’t be very helpful. But there is a Welsh band called Sŵnami. Any chance the program was music-related?

1 Like

Yes - even for us old g…gaffers, this is true. The mind is a voracious gobbler-up of new information. We just have to relax and let it do its own thing.

I used to think: oh, goodness, I have so many new words to learn…what a chore.
Then I managed to find a new way of thinking about it, and regard each new word as a new treasure or valued friend.

And the oddest thing is that some words will stick on first acquaintance, while others play hard to get, and there is no telling which one will be which sort. “ymarfer” stuck for me. So did “disgyn i lawr”. Others didn’t even though apparently just as “easy”.


Excellent - great attitude! Don’t expect immediate miracles - if you want to be absolutely sure, I’d recommend you go through 10 sessions without any repeats, and then revisit the first of those 10 sessions - and that should give you the concrete evidence that will make it all easier for you to believe. Particularly if you make some notes to yourself after you do the first session for the first time - so you remember that it really did seem difficult at the time :sunny: