Stuck between Level 3 and Advanced Content: Vocab problems

Hi Sue,

I have had a very, very similar experience - how interesting.

I have tried using Quizlet to remember words and it sort of works but I find I end up ‘off on a slight tangent’ spending time learning words rather than talking, reading or listening. So I have stopped doing this and am letting words stick whenever they stick…radical!

I too have found reading very beneficial and in contrast to listening - which has so many more factors involved doesn’t it - I have found I have improved very quickly. ( Hooray!)

I started off with Louise Arnold books which were just perfect for getting started - and by accident (because I was loaned a book by Pat Clayton ) i moved on to books which were ‘uwch’ / more advanced level. I found this tough for the first few chapters (only) but then my brain seemed to kick in to gear - it is very surprising how the old brain works. I think this has been very beneficial in the translations - more patterns, more words (which seem to stick eventually).

( I should say I have only read about 10 books !)

It’s really interesting how these different aspects of the language work together, isn’t it?

:slight_smile: Rich


I only started this recently, less than a month ago. Currently I am trying to make sense of the first two podcasts, and I’m going to move on to the third one in a day or two I hope. I’m still learning how to use this potentially powerful tool (i.e. the Advanced Content course).
Thinking about this as I type now… it may be that for me the best thing is to do, say, the first ten minutes of each lesson instead of the whole 30 minutes, which is too much for me. I have tried reading the Welsh transcript and, again, the vocab gets me - there are simply too many unknown words. It’s no longer structure of the language - thanks to SSiW! - but for me it is mainly the vocab.
I have also tried reading the Welsh transcript, one paragraph at a time, alongside the English translation, and that seems promising for me. It makes subsequent listening and understanding much easier, so I may well try this more. But I can’t handle more than about 10 minutes at a go.
I suspect that this advanced course, with transcript and translation, is a real goldmine. But every one of us is a different learner. We have differing starting-points, learning abilities, time available, etc. It could just be that everyone should try to learn as much as he or she can in one week, and not necessarily go for the whole half hour. - Again, I’m still working this out and I’d love to hear other suggestions.
Concerning Memrise, I use it to learn words. I do a few minutes a day, more than once a day if I can, which is too little for me to be boring, and yes, I learn a lot that way. Also, revisiting the vocab lessons in the SSiW Courses 1 and 2, and the last lessons of each level and course, are extremely useful refreshers.
Pob lwc a diolch yn fawr to all, and please keep up the feedback!


Hi Baruch,

Yes, I have exactly the same problem - vocabulary. And because the conversations are real I have found that the first six people said the same thing six different ways! ( of course I accept this is the real world and I it just means I need to do more! )

I found understanding the transcript a little bit of a challenge to start with - I appreciate now how much of a challenge they must be to create - things like: is ‘ma’, a shortened ‘mae’ or a shortened ‘yma’ - there are many and various examples but this has fallen into place somewhat and the number of new abbreviations week on week has tailed off.

I think shortening it is totally appropriate to be honest. I listen to it once just to get a feel for it if I can and then I do a slight variant which Aran was ok with - of going through the transcript and trying to understand it (looking up words myself) before listening again.

This seems to make things stick in my head a lot more but there is a downside which is it takes longer - but I do it in chunks eg a page at a time or whatever I have time for…and chip away until it’s done.

This has a dramatic effect on my understanding when re-listening. If the accent is strong personally it still takes me several goes to tune in. If I haven’t been through all of a transcript I notice how marked the difference is in my understanding at the point where I finished - if I keep in listening …and often I turn it off at this point, if I’ve listened previously.

I too find doing old lessons and listening exercises useful as it gives something different - no doubt about it. Speaking too, also. I am torn on the Quizlet/ Memrise thing - I’m trying ‘just reading’ at the moment but I do change my mind regularly - I do think variety is a good thing!

Rich :slight_smile:


When checking the trasncripts i find it handy to have the English and welsh on two tabs on the computer and also a dictionary for background. Beca has been very kind to clarify any tricky colloquial words wich may not be in a dictionary. Also Beca shows some of these within and at the bottom of some of the pdfs.
Saying that, as we proceed, there tend to be less of these special words. Also some are just to convey the e/a accent word endings.
I also find that handy, as 1st language speakers tend to do the same on social media. Stuff like on for o’n, nath for naeth, etc :sunglasses:


Yes, it does… :slight_smile: [Sorry!]

There are two things you’re trying to solve at this stage - one is recognising a larger number of words, the other is recognising at speed.

If you try to do both of them at the same time, it’s tougher for your brain, so in most cases probably a slower process.

The ideal, I believe, is to train for speed with almost entirely familiar material, and then to train for width of vocabulary with non-accelerated material.

So I would strongly encourage you to do the final listening exercise from Level 2 once a day in the same sort of ‘just do it’ way that you brush your teeth, and then focus on Beca’s content for the vocab extension… :slight_smile:

But it’s also really, really important for EVERYONE to realise that this last stage of acquiring a new language feels like the slowest growth of all - because your % improvement from week to week is tiny compared to earlier in the process - so that’s why it’s a good idea to check for progress once a month at the MOST, and less often if you can bear it… :slight_smile:



p.s. But at least, I’ll start by following @Baruch’s idea of using North (instead of/besides) South. Just tried, by the way. It works, I understand almost nothing again, feels like new! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I have a slightly different issue with the AC. I mainly use a tablet as it makes it easier to practice whenever I get a bit of spare time.

I was just wondering if there was any way anyoine knows, to (hopefully easily) embed the narration into the pdf file? IE so the conversation can be played from within the document at the same time as one is reading it.

I’m hoping that the easier it is to access, the more attention I’ll be inclined to attempt and commit, to an already challenging climb [to keep with the mountaneering metaphor permeating this thread].

Thanks all for the helpful tips to date.


I’m not sure about a tech solution for that - but I’d strongly discourage you from it anyway! You’ll get much better results by breaking up the steps - so listening and only listening, then reading the transcript, then listening again, then checking the translation, then listening for the last time. At each step your brain will have more context for the listening, but keeping the focus on the listening while it’s playing is hugely important… :slight_smile:


Hi Richard,

I put the pdfs on Google drive/ iCloud on the computer, meaning I can see them on my phone if I need to. So you could look at it whilst listening to file.

I did have a little try of this in the early days to see if it would work - I found it really hard to keep track as it flies by so quickly - and then I couldn’t listen either…multi-tasking not my strong point maybe! got really complicated! ( I abandoned it quite quickly) …but you know.,…

( edit: Aran has replied whilst I was replying )



@aran Ah I see, that’s me reading the instructions wrong that is! OK, well I’ll best crack on then!

@rich 'On the shoulders of giants" - I’ll take your learning and experience then!

Thanks both :wink:


Hi Baruch,

Ok, so out of interest, I have just had a listen to the first and second Sgwrs - just to see. This is the first time I have gone back this far - 14 weeks or so I guess - we are on Sgwrs 14.

I found these extreeeeemely challenging to start off with - the same as you - I think. I can remember my eyes widening when I heard them …and I wondered whether I was going to be able to do them.

I am pleased to say that when listening back my understanding is pretty good - not perfect but I understand it - and that seems like major, major progres for me.

So, I think this is another situation where it’s a little bit counter intuitive…but the process works…and Aran is right again! (This was my feeling about the challenges to be honest - I found them very surprising)

I must admit I used the ‘keep going and don’t repeat too much’ type of rule - like the challenges - I did as much as I could in a week and moved on to the next one.

So, this has been an interesting experiment for me - which personally I’m quite pleased with - but the signs are good.

It seems to work. Hang on in there!

Rich :slight_smile:


Just a practical question. Is there any chance of setting the recordings a little louder please? Similar to the Challenges. Could be my mobile, but it doesn’t seem to cope on loudspeaker. Don’t worry if too loud, we can turn our own volume down. Just a thought, I’m not sure how practicable it is.


I’ll tag @beca-brown for this - it might be something she can play around with… :slight_smile:


Hi @aran,

So I have been thinking about this (it’s a very bad habit of mine). Going back through the old Sgwrs seems quite a useful exercise - even as s bit of a confidence boost - and not a million miles away from going back to do the Challenge 25s?

I have quite an odd sense of understanding which isn’t the same as listening to something in English (unsurprisingly) and I think this is because the meaning ‘comes together’ late in your head - so you are always a fraction behind by comparison.

Plus of course there are words you can’t recall - almost as important to let them go quickly so as to not miss anything else - which means it’s incomplete too…but as long as there aren’t many of these close together it doesn’t impact too much on the overall understanding.

I’m not sure what level of understanding this represents - say 80% (exact amount not important) but I do get a sense of, if I repeated the exercise (listen, reading transcript etc) I would get another 80% of the remaining 20%, if you know what I mean…

…that sounds like it might be quite exciting - do you think that is worth doing? Eg each week do the latest Sgrws plus revisit one from 12 weeks ago?

For some reason I think you are going to say don’t do that but I’m interested to know?! :slight_smile:




My insight of the week, also inspired by a comparison between Rich’s experience and mine about Sgwrs 14 is that at the moment my vocabulary is very small and most of my understanding is based on hints and guesses: trying to figure out a context and a story around a few Welsh words I know, and linking them to what I more or less accidentally already know.

But things can go…well… really wrong! :joy: (note: see other thread for details!)

With the radio, I can’t tell. With the Advanced content here, I can always check the “correct answers” and I think that is just priceless in this phase of learning!


Yes, it is…it is also about dialect and speed…ie recognising the words you actually know !!! :smile:

To confess - I think my 80% figure above is the sort of figure you use when you are giving someone a progress update on something you are supposed to have done…and there is a management rule of thumb that 80% means 50% when you get down to it! :wink:

Still I’m happy with 50%…and it could be less - I am happy that I generally understand what is said to be honest! :smile:

I would also say that when I first listen my understanding is poor generally but very variable - randomly I found Cadi Alwen (Sgwrs 12) easier to understand - she seemed to speak clearly - even though she is a Gog! (no disrespect intended) - perhaps because /why she is a translator.

…on the first Sgwrs’s my understanding was very, very poor. Personally I think going through and trying to translate it myself has helped but I don’t know that for sure. (The existing translation is of course absolutely invaluable. )

This seems like a method to pull yourself up onto the next ledge…and I’m extreeeemely grateful for that…because before these Sgwrs came out, I was struggling for that. Easy? No.

But did I think the challenges were easy? No.

So, with that less glossy explanation- is my experience very different from yours?

The biggest thing that worries me is that I’ve come so far up this hill and I still don’t get on the ledge! I think it’s a healthy fear however?




I think that’s a good idea - it’ll feel a bit like a life-raft when you have a tough new one, so helpful on the emotional side of things - and any extra exposure all always valuable… :slight_smile:


How do I get the advanced recordings on the app so I can download ?

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Are you on iPhone or Android?

There is a beta version of the iPhone version here

You have to flip to the North dialect - in settings- at the moment to see the content.

I don’t use the Android version but I think that has been updated … others would have to confirm.

Alternatives are going to the SSIW website on your phone/ tablet or saving the audio onto google drive or iCloud (this method also allows you to pick up the Transcript and translation on your phone/tablet).

Rich :slight_smile:

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