I’ve recently finished the whole 3 levels of SSIW and I have learnt a massive amount, however I don’t yet feel fluent, I still can’t understand d Radio cymru or S4C as well as I’d like to at this stage, so what now? How can I cross the gap and become fluent, the SSIW practice lessons are good but o don’t think they’ll make me fluent.
Diolch yn fawr! unrhyw helpu bydd bod o werth
There are several things to do now - first, if you haven’t already, start doing the advanced listening practices. They’ll seem hard at first, but follow the method (listen-read Welsh transcript-listen again-read English translation-listen again).
Secondly, remember that reaching ‘fluent’ will often feel like reaching the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - it’s not a fixed target (I can honestly say that Welsh is now my second language, I’ve been speaking it daily for at least 15 years and I still don’t think I’m as fluent as I’d like to be! ) I’m sure you are actually more fluent than you think, but you’re focusing on what you can’t understand rather than what you can.
Another thing, if you haven’t already jumped in, is to start having chats in the Welsh speaking practice group on Slack.
Also, if you can, sign up for a bootcamp!
Lastly, try not to confuse ‘fluency’ with ‘confidence’. Feeling confident to use what Welsh you have in real conversations is far more important than feeling fluent. Fluency grows through confidence but it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.
Well done on finishing level 3 though - believe me, you’ve got this!
Congrats @GazYDdraig. Adding to @siaronjames excellent answer,…
I also read a little bit - focusing on books written in the spoken form (eg Louise Arnold) and avoiding literary Welsh. This seemed to consolidate things for me in many ways…just a thought or an option…
There is also a potential way of getting your foot in the door - if needed - on the Radio Cymru news programs here …
Personally I used all of the things mentioned above - often I found one of them really beneficial for a period…and then another…and then another. And still do!
Let us know what works for you and how you are getting on.
For Welsh, I think you already have great tips from @siaronjames and @rich.
Talking about fluency more in general, I would say something about my experience with a different language, because some of the challenges are very similar:
after studying English at school for 8-9 years I wasn’t fluent. No-one in my class was.
We could read Shakespeare and write a decent formal letter.
But we couldn’t follow a movie or a tv show, nor have even a simple conversation.
How did I cross the gap?
I kept on watching movies in English without subtitles (even though I didn’t always understand what was going on), listened to songs I liked following lyrics and reading translations and a bit of radio.
But most of all I just tried to take advantage of any chance to speak.
Especially with native speakers, and with all kind of accents.
Never took a lesson again.
But well, thing is…at some point I just became fluent!
@siaronjames just said it all on the Welsh part of the thngs but about fluency in general … I share similar experience with English than @gisella-albertini. My magic vand with English was text-chatting through the all kinds of messengers with the people all around the world. It gave me very much of that “fluency” in general, however speaking is the key to everything. I seem fluent when writing here or elswhere but, believe me, after about 40 years or so learning English I still can’t say I’m fluent. I believe real fluency is only with those first language speakers all the rest can be just more or less “fluent” and confident about speaking, writing, listening etc. There’s always something missing so concentrating too much on the fluency can make you totally oposite effect than desired. Go with the flow and try listen, sepak, write read, participate in the chat groups, text, write e-mails … whatever comes to your mind and you’ll just at one point find yourself being at least near the fluency you wish for.
My breaking moment with English though wasn’t messaging and chatting with the people but translating the children books being released with the great LEGO series of toys named BIONICLE. I’ve put my heart into translation of these books because I found the series of everything BIONICLE related magnificent and I can firmly say that my heart took me regarding English where I am now. Do in Welsh something you like from the bottom of your heart being it translating, chatting with the people, reading, going around exploring things, singing … whatever really and you’ll get there unnoticably.
This is also why I put all sorts of (sometimes silly and crazy) challenges in front of me and then trying to do them as best as I can. I put my heart into them and each challenge has its aim to something. This keeps me going on and on despite I also have work through the whole Southern material. I don’t feel like there’s the end but rather the new beginning. And also … when you won’t concentrate to how much you really understand (second Siaron here) when listening to something or watching something, you’ll all of a sudden find yourself understanding more than you think. It will bring you to the moment when you’d finish listening to the Radio Cymru broadcast saying “well, I actually understand it more or less all”.
Dal ati! Turn negative concentration on the things (like “well I don’t understand this”) into positive one (Ummm well, look I can understand something though) thing. Maybe you should start with listening to less demanding programs and then on move to the more demanding ones. And if you feel like get some more boost, tweet to the Radio Cymru’s programes. If they have twitter hashtags to see the messages they always answer them through twitter or directly on the air. This can be prety adictive and can boost your confidence in interacting with the radio or on wider scale.
Thanks for all the replies, will be following the advice, perhaps my issue is more of a confidence thing as apose to a not being good enough thing when I think about it, by will deffo look into this slack you mentioned.
Diolch yn fawr eto
What’s the longest conversation you’ve had in Welsh so far, Gaz?