The Big Leap - From Learning to the Real World

Yes, this is hugely important, and scientifically verifiable (see ‘make it stick’ for references).

It depends a bit on the range of situations in which you want to be speaking Welsh - you might be surprised to see how far a comparatively small amount will get you when you start actively mapping out your gaps :sunny:

I’ll look forward very much to hearing how it goes for you, and any ideas you have for bits with which we could help :sunny:


I’ll try to list over the next month or two what gaps I find that I quickly needed to fill in order to have my normal daily conversations - be it vocabulary or patterns.

Weather is one subject that’s a must to talk about here. I can understand in the U.K it may be a less inspiring subject at times!

Meal-times and hunger are another common subject in our home around which I need a rich vocabulary partly because we are passionate about food Eirwen is more comfortable with ‘‘Dwy wedi llwgu’’ than my attempts with ‘‘Chwant bwyd arna i’’. There are work-arounds for this using what I already absorbed in the SSiW courses e.g. ‘‘Hoffwn i fwyta …’’

Also, people’s behaviour inevitably is a subject of conversation - whether they are rude or polite etc. etc.

Ymlaen …


Hey, you can discuss seven different types of weather in Aberystwyth in the space of five minutes on a good day :sunny:

Now that is a really interesting line of thought - and will now almost certainly play a part in Level 3 :thumbsup: :star2:

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Well, I’ve just completed a visit to Wales - just short of one week. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and for those who may be encouraged by this post I can confirm that ‘‘the SSiW way’’ works wonders.

Several first language Welsh speakers thought I had been learning Welsh for years rather than months.

I found I could understand a substantial amount of what was being said whenever I was surrounded by Welsh speakers, which was quite often during this visit to attend a wedding.

I could participate in conversations with little hesitation as long as I was operating within my vocabulary range which is currently about a thousand words.

I did become tongue-tied in situations where I lacked vocabulary and could not rapidly think of alternative ways of saying things. Because things were going so well this did not undermine my confidence so much as reinforce my determination to learn more vocabulary. Currently, I converse using a range of about 1,000 words learned from the SSiW dialogues.

The SSiW way of getting us conversational is really effective. In a world where companies routinely overstate the merits of their products and services I feel SSiW stands out and, if anything, understates the merits of its services.

I can’t wait to double my vocabulary to 2,000 words, hopefully through additional SSiW dialogues which I anticipate will be available as SSiW grows (cross fingers, touch wood and much prayer!).

No doubt the next few months will have its ups and downs in terms of fluency. The challenge ahead is to improve in spontaneity by taking every opportunity to speak Welsh ‘‘firing live rounds’’. The more I make a fool of myself the less concerning and the more humorous the process is becoming - so that’s fine and there are far fewer days of waning confidence.

Ymlaen with building a more robust vocabulary, too.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, SSiW,



1000 words, is that roughly how many ssiw words are in the three courses + vocab? Mind you I have forgotten a few already, but I’m sure I make up for it by knowing other spurious words. Does anyone know the rate of new word aquisition in adults for a second language? I’m curious to know when I too might hit the 2000 mark.

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You are not alone,
cheers J.P.

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Wouldn’t be at all surprised if you are there already John, though much may be quite specialised for a general audience!


John, you got there long ago!!! All those species of flora and fauna!!!

There are statistical tests to infer vocabulary size from a sample such as
which is for Saesneg. But has anyone done the same for Y Gymraeg? Or do we need to make one.

Obviously if someone knows only a few words then they can all be counted. But once in the hundreds, let alone thousands, individual counting becomes impractical. However, you can see how many words someone knows out of a carefully designed sample and then extrapolate to the probable full vocabulary.

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I suspect we all know more than we think we do, especially if you count in loan words and words similar to English.

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Aran tells me that a generous counting of the vocabulary introduced in the three courses is about 800 words - if I undertood Aran correctly.

I have learned a few more since - so that is why I put my current vocabulary at around 1000 words.

With a 2000 word vocabulary I would guess that one would be ‘‘functionally’’ fluent.

Aran tells me we should aim for 4000 words to be ‘‘accomplished’’.

So I can’t wait for extra SSiW dialogues to race to the 2000 mark and after that nirvanha


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Nothing to add to this thread but just to say that I tried that test your vocab link twice, once for English and then again for Welsh honestly only ticking the words that I absolutely know in Welsh. Interesting to say the least.

Where’s the Welsh link?

Sorry, there isn’t, I was just playing and tried to do the test using the English but only ticking the box if I absolutely know the welsh words. I know it wouldn’t be anywhere near accurate but I was just playing.:blush:

Well, it is very nice of people to make such flattering remarks, problem is, i still fail to remember some course 2 words and with flora/fauna i write many/remember few.

Never mind, it’s fun and the future is full of surprises.

Cheers J.P.


So, today, for example, as we were walking along a mountain path on a hot day Eirwen said something that sounded like ‘‘pysgod’’ (fish). So I confidently replied ‘‘Lle mae’r pysgod?’’ (where is the fish?) which caused almost hysterical laughter. Eirwen had in fact said ‘‘cysgod’’ which my bruised ego has learned the hard way means shadow or shade. Because it was hot Eirwen had said - let’s go and look for shade under that tree.

It is very unlikely that I will ever forget pysgod or cysgod now.

So ‘‘Dynani’’ (there we are) the path to fluency is one of a thousand stumbles and lots of laughing (crying is not allowed!)



Sorry, what, months? Good heavens. I must have lost track. You certainly do not sound like someone who’s been learning for less than a year. I was hugely impressed by your Welsh, despite Catrin and my determination to keep rattling on in English (and it was an enormous pleasure to meet you both :sunny:).

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It seems to me that you simply misheard, which I am always doing… it may be something to do with age in my case!! Usually, I realise that what I ‘heard’ can’t be right and ask for a repeat, but sometimes I do what you did and get a similar result!! (All in English!!!).


Likewise - and Eirwen and I (armed with an extra 100 words of vocabulary) are counting the days to our June visit (June 18th to June 26th) and salivating at the thought of a visit to the speciality ‘‘Cake’’ eatery in Pwllheli.

It would be great to repeat the pleasure and meet Catrin and you again - and if you can find a tennis court or a wall with some space in front of it I think I can put you on the fast road to tennis greatness as a small thank-you for the incredible Welsh journey that I’m experiencing.

Dwy’n gobeithio byddwn ni dy weld-di a Catrin yn fuan,


Edrych ymlaen yn fawr at eich gweld chi ddau eto :sunny:

Hmmm. A tennis court. I’ll do some asking, but you’ll need to be prepared to listen at great length to me blaming my back for every single bad shot (which will be more or less = to every single shot)…:wink: