I am emerging from my safe cocoon in SSiW where, when I have finished a lesson, Aran always tells me I have done brilliantly - which motivates me to move swiftly on to the next lesson. I feel like a super-hero, accomplished and confident.
For me, the step to actually using my Welsh in the real world is a little like finishing Primary School and starting at the next big school. I leave Primary School ‘‘at the top of my game’’ and then this uncertain new world awaits.
I know I’m going to make it in this new world, but it is a little scary all the same.
I felt the same last September when staying near Bala where a huge proportion of the people speak Welsh. I listened and understood much of what was said in Welsh but I only spoke English for the first two days because of those feelings. Maybe I was very fortunate but when, on the third day, I replied to someone in Welsh his face lit up, he said ‘Ooooh, you’ve been learning Welsh’ and told me about his family, where he had come from and all sorts of things.
I did find some people who apologised for not being able to speak Welsh but all the Welsh speakers were encouraging and supportive. They were also happy to take the time to answer my questions. And they would correct my pronunciation, explain a better way of saying something and make corrections to what I had said BUT ONLY WHEN ASKED TO.
I wish I hadn’t wasted those first two days. Just jump in.
The step to free production is a gear change, and it can be initially painful. You’re more than ready for it, though, and after you’ve done your first hour or two, it will rapidly become much less painful.
I’m keen in the future for us to do a better job of getting people into free production situations much earlier in the process - I suspect that we could make the gear change much smoother if we could do that
I started going to Saith Seren in Wrecsam two weeks ago to speak Welsh outside class for the first time … ever, it was scary but everyone had a go at speaking with me, they were very accommodating. Rather than leaving with the jitters because of mistakes I’d made I actually left feeling guilty I’d spoken too much English and I am resolved to reduce the amount of English I speak each week.
This last week I listened more, spoke less, got the jitters when I was asked a question but I did use be’ ydy … yn Gymreag often
And now I’ve also signed up for ffrindiaith
Go for it is all I can say, it is the reason we are learing, dip a toe in the water then go for a swim and … I have a whole new group of people I am getting to know
Sorry, but how did you type this? I didn’t know you could type crossed out words!! Mae ddrwg gen i, folks, I know this has nothing to do with learning Cymraeg!! And I see my attempt to quote it has lost the crossing!!
testing testing OOH it works!! Thanks!! I may never use it, but you have made this aged ddraig very happy by teaching her a new thing!!! Do you know whether it works elsewhere than the forum? testing I just tested < del >, which I had been unsure of, ‘del’ implied the delete key!!! I see that works too! Sorry for answering your reply by editing my post!!! Thanks for all the help!!
In the summer I go with friends (who don’t speak English) to a retreat in Northern Italy, away from the coast, where almost no-one in the local community can or wants to speak English. So everyone speaks Italian all the time. It’s like a bootcamp with the whole community naturally assisting.
My Italian begins to improve almost effortlessly in this environment.
Then, feeling inspired, I travel to Wales expecting to ‘‘wow Gino’’, an Italian, who is married to my wife’s sister. I meet Gino (whose English is excellent) expecting to bowl him over with my Italian and I am suddenly inexplicably tongue-tied. We revert to English.
expectations and putting pressure on yourself can kill your progress
and the worst killer of all is people replying to you in English
If we went to Mars and people there communicated in clicking noises I bet we would be clicking away ourselves happily in about a month - provided, that is, no-one replied in English or Welsh!
Really interesting about the gear-change with Gino. When you see him this summer, how about starting off by asking him if he’d be willing to talk just Italian with you for the first half-hour? I reckon after about ten or fifteen minutes top you’d be at full speed…
I did some work near , Diecimo in Tuscany, after a local firm in Kent realised I was doing evening classes in Italian and they thought I could translate if needed. I jumped at the chance thinking: “Well, everyone will speak English so, no problem…” The upshot was, in a month I met only met one or two people who could. The result, within days I was getting by explaining to some local labour what we needed doing. It was like a SSiW Bootcamp with me miming words and gesturing like a total maniac
Until, then I’d never actually spoken Italian in the wild; but I found that however awkward I was nobody cared. They were chuffed I was trying though…
If I ever go into an Italian restaurant here - I’ll always use what I’ve got. Over the years I’ve got lots of free drinks. and the occasional meal.
Welsh in the wild? A man knocks on the door and wakes you up from your sleep on the sofa after last nights shift in Llandovery hospital. Last night I was speaking half English half Welsh to both patients and colleagues, but I was awake then. Today’s visitor was an election candidate and I switched straight from sleep to Welsh.
Less painful and more hilarious. I’m a dangerous man when let loose with my Welsh in the real world. Today Eirwen was talking in Welsh about our house in Italy " ty ni yn yr Eidal …’’ and I thought she had said ‘‘tin ddu yn gadael …’’ So I looked around for a coal-mine shaft’!!
For those of you whose Welsh like mine is in its formative stages, I thought Eirwen had told me ‘‘there is a ‘‘black bottom’’ leaving’’
I am finding that the SSiW patterns are very powerful and I can say a lot with what I have learned. And I can also juggle and say things the long way round when I haven’t yet built enough vocabulary.
Nevertheless, I 'm going to fall flat on my face a lot during this transition to independently speaking.
Part of the gear change is that I must now adjust my mindset to welcome mistakes and say to myself each mistake is a step forward. Everytime I am tongue-tied is a step to fluency etc. . So I have to greet each setback as if it is a success.
This process is going to take at least a month or two or maybe a few more. Each of us has our own context in which we live (working or retired, young or older etc.). I think I’ll need quite a while to build an extra foundation of banter and vocabulary that fits well with my day and with whom I will be speaking Welsh.
I can’t wait to build this extra foundation, because at that point much of what I say will be a repetitive combination of the SSiW patterns and this additional contextual foundation that is building with quite a few bruises now day by day .