Suggestions, please, for how to conduct in-person speaking practice

So I finally have a Welsh speaker to talk to pretty much any time I want, which is great! But what we’ve found is that it’s hard to have a conversation because

  • my vocabulary is limited (I’m on SSiW Level 2 challenge 5, and 414 days of duolingo)
  • she speaks with an accent I’m really unfamiliar with, and with patterns that are different than I’ve learned in SSiW or Duolingo
  • It takes me a bit to figure out what I do know of what she’s said and she’s apt to jump in and translate for me, which cuts me off mid-thought

I have thought that perhaps we could read some of the basic Welsh books I have to work on my cadence and pronunciation, and I want to figure out a way to get the conversation going back and forth that’s good practice.

Would appreciate any suggestions!

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Having something to talk about that you can prepare in advance might help. Could you choose a topic to discuss each time? What interests you that you that you can tell them about? Maybe the next time they can tell you what interests them.

Try not to build sentences you haven’t learned yet as that can feel really challenging. Think about what you have learned already and how you can adapt it to get your point across.

I see myself as learning a bit like a toddler i may have short sentences, some pointing and some English words thrown in, but I’m getting understood and each time I get a bit better. Don’t be afraid to throw in English words if it means you keep the flow. You can learn the Welsh for them later and use it next time.

Listen to a wide variety of speakers on the radio or TV and eventually you will start to understand a wider range of what’s being said. You’ll finally twig that whether it’s llefrith, llaeth or llath you know that yes you do want it efo’r coffi!

These are my thoughts anyway. There will be some cleverer people than me along shortly that can offer some advice on your other questions. Pob lwc a dal ati!


Perhaps you could also link in with a Welsh learner from SSIW who is at a similar level. I’m at the same level as yourself studying ‘north’ and happy to chat with you if you think it could be useful for your studies.

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Maybe explain kindly that you need extra time to digest her accent and ask her not to jump in too quickly with a translation - there might be a way she can say it differently that you’d recognise. There’s absolutely no shame in asking her to be gentle with you!

First-language speakers often don’t realise how fast they speak and of course they don’t know that constructions that are natural to them may not have come up in your courses yet (if at all with some colloquialisms!), but they’re usually very happy to try and adapt and help.

Books could be a good idea, but a cheaper option might be to read and discuss articles from a magazine (e.g. Golwg) or one of the small local newspapers (a papur bro), both of which can be accessed online for a small subscription if you can’t get hold of paper copies where you are, or any other online option that’s free - Parallel Cymru, or YouTube stuff, or podcasts.