Video: if you're finding SSiW *really* hard going

We’ve found over the years that somewhere round about 5% of our learners have neurological ‘settings’ that make the SaySomethingin Method particularly challenging for them.

There’s also a possibility that these neurological ‘settings’ make all language acquisition tougher for these people - who I’m finding myself thinking of as ‘Higher Repetition’ learners.

So - for those of you who are finding SSiW particularly painful, but who don’t want to use alternative courses that focus more on grammar and reading - this video is our best set of advice to date for Higher Repetition Learners.


This is interesting. Where are the video lessons?

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Published for Spanish - coming this year for Welsh… :slight_smile:


I think that this might really help me. I have Myasthenia gravis and one of the symptoms in 60% of people who have the condition are problems with verbal recall. The antibodies that cause the condition also seem to affect a small portion of the brain associated with speaking a word. It stays mostly a minor problem. I’m an English speaker and noticed that I was losing track of words when speaking. I didn’t lose track of words when writing, or typing, or thinking, but only when actually speaking.

So, I thought, why not learn a new language to force my brain to have to do some rewiring, so to speak. I started in December and I am at Challenge 7. It’s slow going as I’m having some trouble remembering the long sentences, but I have noticed that I no longer struggle to finds words as much. I think this is really helping me. I find that I have to repeat the lessons a bit more, as I spend the first day of the week listening in my car to and from work. The rest of the days, I try to speak with the lesson. By the end of the week, it seems that the lesson is easier.

I’m really enjoying the class. I’ve tried learning Chinese with my daughter, but I can’t get the tones right and I’m sure I absolutely butchered the language when I was in China several years ago. I’m finding Welsh much easier.


That’s hugely interesting, Allison - thank you very much indeed for sharing - and I think you’re exactly right to focus on trying to find ways to create the pressure that will trigger neural adaptation. Don’t worry too much about the longer sentences - just give them your best shot, and then listen carefully - everyone has a hard time with them!

Fascinating that you feel you’re noticing adaptation already - it really is something we need to try and get some proper research to look at… :slight_smile:

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Thanks Aran. Especially over the last month, I noticed that I have less pauses when speaking. My problem shows up during speaking when I’m talking then all of a sudden I stop, not being able to say a word. Then after about 10 seconds or so, I can say the word.

It’s thought that the antibodies produced by my immune system that attack some of the neural connections between the nerves and the muscles in my body can also reach the brain. And they may only affect those neural connections with similar chemistry as the affected nerves elsewhere. Myasthenia gravis is not very common, so there’s not much in the way research on this problem. However I have read a few research papers on this particular symptom.

Learning a new language is really giving my brain a workout and I have noticed a slight improvement. Pauses are not so frequent and are shorter. I also have been doing some writing out of sentences, but wait until I have heard a word spoken several times before trying to write it out. It’s funny that I find it easier to write than speak, but I’m more of a visual learner.

But I’m having lots of fun and the SSiW community is great. I’m only on Level 1, Challenge 7, and sometimes I get a small headache and feel tired when speaking the lessons. But I feel that as my familiarity with the language improves, this should go away.


It certainly sounds as though you’re doing the right things, and bravely so - very encouraging indeed that you’re noticing improvement with the pauses even at this very early stage.

Hang on in there, and let us know how it goes! :star2:

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I sure will. And this weekend I’m going to attempt the 5 Minute challenge with the few words I know.


Excellent - da iawn! :slight_smile: :star:


I’m having issues at the last parts of the lesson. I do have dyslexia and definitely poor working memory. I hope this isn’t going to stop me progressing. Its a struggle to remember what was asked in English never mind translating in to Welsh in time :pensive:

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The key thing here is to be kind to yourself, and bear in mind that the last section of each challenge is always the toughest, with all the stuff being revisited - so don’t expect to be perfect - in fact, expect to make lots and lots of ‘mistakes’ - it’s all valuable learning… but if when you hear the Welsh it doesn’t ring a bell at ALL, then think about maybe doing each challenge twice… you will definitely get there if you keep working through the process, even if you need to be a little more patient… :slight_smile:


I found that I could avoid needing to remember what was said in English by starting to say the Welsh before the end of the English. I talked over the English but kept listening to it at the same time. This sounds harder than it felt in practice, but it means you don’t need to rely on your memory. I think @margarethall made a video with some recommendations and also gave this advice.

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It took me three attempts before I could use Say Something in Welsh successfully. This was due to not being able to remember the English, so there was no chance I could respond with the correct Welsh. I wasn’t even a beginner. I’d done lots of classes.

However, on the third try I discovered that it’s possible to start speaking the Welsh as soon as the first part of the sentence is complete. I’m now using Say Something in Spanish to learn Spanish completely from scratch and so I made a video explaining how, as someone with a very poor working memory, I use the challenges.


I still need to use the pause button, as I cannot cope otherwise. I’m making progress though. Great advice, Margaret. Thanks.
“Learning a language is not a race!”


The other bit of advice I’d like to offer is, if you stop for any reason, such as life becoming too stressful, just start again. If people ask me, “How long have you been learning Welsh?” I reply, “You don’t want to know!”

Some people can sail through SSiW in months or a year and start speaking fluently. Some of us take decades with long gaps when we just about manage to stay on a plateau. But if you keep starting again and never give up completely, you can become a Welsh speaker and it doesn’t matter whether it takes months or years.


Thank you for your advice. I’ve got to Level One lesson 19. I’m really enjoying it.
Just a quick comment I overheard recently, following the usual “and then they all started speaking Welsh” bilge.
“Actually, when you came in we all noticed how rude you were to the barmaid. As we are all far too polite to talk about you in English and offend you, we switched to Welsh in order to express our disgust!”

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Very helpful @margarethall. Thank you :innocent:

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Kind and thoughtful of you Margaret to distil your experience into this useful video.
I will definitely try the Margaret-way and try not to be demoralised by my dodgy memory.
Many thanks, Berry


Very helpulf advice Margaret :slight_smile: Diolch yn fawr!

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