Hi, I hope this is ok to post, please delete if it’s not.
Please help me choose… I’m in my 3rd year of adult night classes but last summer I was disappointed with how far I hadn’t come so found SSIW. Since then I’ve completed level 1 & 2 on both the old and new course and now I’m finding my night class really frustratingly slow (not helped by the new course syllabus which seems to be mostly revising what we’ve already done over the last 2 years & when I’ve looked further in the book we’ve either covered it already or SSIW has). I now have the opportunity to do a residential course this summer when I will have finished year 1 of Sylfaen. I do find the night classes don’t do enough general speaking so my listening skills when it’s not the subject we’ve just done aren’t the greatest (& I’ve been so keen to move on the SSIW chapters that I’ve ignored the listening exercises!). Would you suggest I do a Sylfaen residential course as a thorough revision or push myself on to do the Canolradd?
If you are already thinking of the Sylfaen course to be a thorough revision then I would suggest you push yourself on to do the Canolradd - you probably don’t need as much revision as you think you do.
Also, do make time to go back and do the SSiW listening exercises. They will make a super-huge difference to your listening skills
Like you I didn’t really bother with the listening exercises but I reached a time when I could speak, read and write ok but listening was my real weakness so I decided to concentrate on listening and started using them at every opportunity and guess what happened?
Ok help me with this Colin. Do I only move on to the next listening once I can translate the whole listening exercise? It’s soooooo fast!!! I can’t understand past the first couple of words of even the first ones!
No, you don’t need to be able to translate every word before moving on. Here’s some advice from @aran I patched together from a couple of different threads:
Start building a 5 minute a day accelerated listening exercise into your routine - at Challenge 10, you’ve just got to the first accelerated exercise, so just listen to that in a Zen paying attention but not worrying about meaning kind of way every day. But don’t start with the Level 2 ones - those are for people who have been listening to the Level 1 collection for a decent amount of time… start with the Level 1 - maybe do one each day, and cycle through the 4 accelerated ones - then after about a month of that, you’ll be noticing that you’re catching more of the phrases, and you’ll be ready to move on to the faster Level 2 set…
The speed of them does seem counter-intuitive to learning, but it does work. If your neuro-bits get used to hearing words that fast (even without translating them), they find it much easier to hear ‘normal’ speed stuff (radio, tv, native speakers) which often seems ‘too fast’ to new learners at first.
I’m not an expert and Aran and Iestyn might suggest different, but I would start with the level one listening exercises and just play them. Don’t try to translate because it’s impossible but it does go in I promise. Again I’m not sure if the bois would agree, but it’s too boring to just sit there listening so I do it when I’m doing stuff: washing up, ironing, hanging out the washing, driving, etc.
I would agree that Canolradd would be a much better fit for you. It tends to revise stuff from Mynediad and Sylfaen anyway, as they seem to expect people to have forgotten it.
With the listening exercises, yes, as others have said - dive into them! And you’re not supposed to translate them - at all! What you’re aiming for is to understand the meaning of what is being said, without translating it. You’re training your brain to understand the Welsh. That will give you a huge advantage in conversations where there is no time to be translating. You will start understanding and thinking in Welsh, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand at first. Trust the system, and just keep playing them and letting them wash over you. The understanding will come.
Ok that’s great. So do I listen to 1 a day for so many days then move on? (I’ve done courses 1 & 2 both versions so don’t want to hang around too long but don’t want to skip to fast as that’s clearly the problem!)
If you can manage 2 listening sessions a day, that’s even better. They’re only 5 minutes, so if you can do 1 in the morning and then repeat it later in the day, that would be great. The later ones contain all the same material up to that point, so start with the one that comes with Level 1 Challenge 10, do that a few times until you’re starting to understand a reasonable amount of it, then move to the one with Challenge 15. It will include everything from the Challenge 10 one, but with extra material from 11-15. How does that sound?
I had a similar problem. I actually completed Mynediad and Sylfaen, plus 18 months into Canolradd. Getting on for 6 years! I was also dipping in and out of SSIW.
One problem I had was the long summer break, nearly 3 months was too long, even though I did most of the extra courses on offer, I struggled when I returned in the autumn. Most of the tutors were lovely though and I think I might be a slow learner. I really needed to try talking to people every day, but I didn’t.
The Canolradd course was very difficult for me but others in class also struggled, except, perhaps, the people who studied Welsh at school. The main reason I struggled was that the Canolradd book, is only in Welsh, with no English at all. I was having to translate the work before I could understand what the homework, required of me. It took a huge amount of my time to get to grips with the homework. I was getting discouraged at this point but had enjoyed the Mynediad and Sylfaen. But, importantly, I could hardly even utter a sentence in Welsh, without a huge amount of preparation with Canolradd. (I can send you the text books if you would like to look at them in advance.)
So, last summer with the holidays looming, I decided to use the time constructively, by signing up for the SSIW 6 month course. Then, told my tutor I really felt I was wasting so much time with Canolradd, when I could more usefully be trying to practice my speaking. And SSIW is brilliant for that. So much constructive help on this forum too.
I’m not there yet but now frequently try to speak and talk to myself too! Not sure how good that is at my age! But, words do come out of my mouth now and it feels less like pulling teeth!!
I am really enjoying SSIW and am finally off to bootcamp in May.
I may go back and complete Canolradd but intend to be fluent before I do.
I’m sure many people can add their experience, and all are different. I hope I haven’t bored you to death but hope this helps. Remember though that I may be a slower learner than you. Good luck with your decision.
If you’ve finished Level 2, I’d recommend that you cycle through them - listen to the first one day, the second the next, and so on - and when you’ve done the 10th (the one at the end of Level 2), go back to the first again - and then drop any of them when it becomes so easy you know you understood every single word without any trouble…
And as Dee says, if you can do 2 a day, even better - either repeat one, or go 1+2 | 3+ 4 | 5+6 and so on…
My tutor at night school didn’t like Sylfaen course and was delighted when she had the opportunity to change over to Wlpan and Pellach. We’re in NW Wales and there are classes at lots of different levels and people move up and down accordingly.
Join a higher level class in the autumn