Where to start?

Hi all,
I have tried a couple of the early lessons and they cover a lot of things I already know. I went to a Welsh language secondary school, and I have always insisted I don’t know any Welsh despite that because I really resented being forced to go to the Welsh language school and I tried very hard not to learn or speak or engage with Welsh while I was there.

Clearly I know some Welsh though and I get pretty bored with those early lessons but I really don’t know the best place to start.

Part of why this is so important to me is that I am currently pregnant, my husband is first language Welsh but we currently live in England. We want our kids (hopefully there will be more) to speak Welsh as a native language as well. Being in England that’s going to be harder because they will out of the home be hearing only English and I worry they won’t see Welsh as worth retaining.

So I want to be able to speak Welsh so it can be the primary household language. Obviously we intend that they will talk to their mam gy on Skype a lot, and we will visit home (Ceredigion) as often as we can afford (which is sadly far less often than we would like).

I’ve been trying various things to try and learn Welsh, online courses (most of them have similar issues, if I start other than at beginner level the holes in what I know are very apparant, but beginner is too boring and simple for me), talking in Welsh with my husband (this is great, and I definately build confidence this way, but he doesn’t really have an interest in correcting me all the time and finds that exhausting so it ends up just being conversing in Wenglish), watching S4C, there’s usually words I don’t know but I can generally get the gist. One thing I did realise is that I have no real practice with writing or reading in my plan so I probably should get some more Welsh books (I got some childrens books to read but I didn’t get round to it yet :P)

Does anyone have any advice on the best way forward? I should probably pay to go to an immersion course/holiday at some point before the baby comes or when they’re still little but money is pretty tight right now so it’s hit and miss whether I will manage to or not.


Which lessons did you try, Sophia? The early ones will of course cover familiar material - in fact, you may well find that you have more passive Welsh than you’ve yet realised - but even so, the lessons should get challenging enough fairly early in the process… :sunny:

But the investment of patience it takes to rattle through the early lessons is well, well worthwhile - if you jump in part way through, you’ll be vulnerable to far too many ‘how the hell am I meant to know that?!’ moments - and we’ve found that people with passive Welsh benefit hugely from running through the easy stuff… :sunny:

One suggestion from me (and I know from experience how hard this is!) is to try to start switching your home language now. You might find that the practice will make it all start to flood back…

But as far as the course material is concerned, perhaps try having the first few on just in the background until you start to think ‘hang on - I don’t know that!’? But, tbh, part of the beneficial effect of SSiW comes from having to produce the Welsh very quickly without really thinking about it, so doing ones that are too easy to start with are quite a good way to get into the swing of that.


Hi Sophia!

Congratulations on the impending (is that the right word?!) family, and more congratulations on making such a brlliant decision regarding your children(s) bilingualism. There’s plenty of evidence out that that bilingualism, especially from birth, has a massive beneficial effect on the brain and intelligence of a child.

When you say you’ve tried the early lessons and they cover stuff you know, have you tried actually speaking in the pause and getting everything out in time? I suspect that I would struggle to do this all the time!

I would definitely recommend that you go from lesson 1, and fly through the first number of lessons, but if you genuinely can get all the lesson 1 phrases out in time, it might be worth you moving on the the last 5 - 10 minutes of lesson 2b, then the last 5-10 of lesson 3 etc until you find somewhere that you are experiencing a mild challenge. Then go to the beginning of that lesson, and work all the way through from there.

One way to avoid any boredom when you are going over material that you already know is to be doing something else as well. If you’re washing up / tidying up (there’ll be plenty of that to do after baby’s born!) etc, or walking somewhere - anything that doesn;t requre your full attention - then get your mp3 player / phone and take part in a lesson. The course will fly by, you wont “waste time” going over stuff that you already know, you’ll just be doing it whilst doing something else essential and. importantly. your baby will be hearing you speak Welsh fluently, naturally and unstressfully. There’s a reason that we call a first language a “mother tongue”, and that is that the baby starts learning it in the womb. Get dad to talk, sing, read etc to your bump as well - double the Welsh input!

But importantly, get as much Welsh learning internalised as possible now, while you have the chance, because the unborn baby will be a 5 year-old before you know it, and you’ll spend at least a year of that (per child, if there’s more) operating on automatic pilot, and doing only the stuff that you are in the habit of doing!

Most of all, though, enjoy the experience of reconquering your half-gained-half-lost language - you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and sometimes spookily shocked, at how much random language that is in your head waiting for the a little shove to come out. Let it come at its own pace by starting far earlier in the course than you feel you need to!



Sounds like great advice already, and I think you’re in the right place here to get back on track. I might just add that you’ll probably want to go for level 1, not course 1. That will probably be more interesting for someone with passive knowledge.

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Definately prooven from my experience by my own son so I’d surely do what @Iestyn suggests … All your (now still little) family will benefit from doing this for sure.