Just finished my arholiad uwch! It was a bit of a rush job (as I only decided in February to enter for the exam), so I’ve been obsessing about it slightly over the last few months. But I did the prawf siarad this morning, so now I’m done, and I can read whatever I want without feeling guilty about it!

I didn’t just come here to crow and celebrate. I read a lot on Facebook and similar from people who say things like ‘SSiW isn’t any good because you don’t learn to read and write or grammar’ and ‘it takes at least 20 years of living in different areas of Wales to become a fluent speaker’ (this one last week - I was gobsmacked).

So I just wanted to come in here to offer my testament to the fact that it is possible to do all those other things after having learned to speak Welsh with SSiW (in fact, I think it’s a damn site easier once you can speak it). And that fluency thing? He was talking (writing) trwy ei het!

So dal ati, folks - you’re all doing brilliantly. And Aran and Iestyn - diolch o galon: bydda i’n ddiolchgar am byth.


I have to wonder where he wears his hat in that case…


GWYCH! Llongyfarchiadau mawr iawn iawn i ti - mae dy lwyddiant yn ysbrydolaeth fawr i ni :star: :star2: :slight_smile: A diolch o galon am dy eiriau caredig iawn :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

1 Like

O le ydi’r pobl ‘ma’n dod?? Dwi’n ffeindio fo’n hawddach i ddysgu’r gramadeg “proper” a sut i ddarllen yr iaith ar ol ddysgu siarad, hefyd. Dwi’m yn byw yng Nghymru, ond dwi’n meddwl bo’ fi’n mynd i bod yn rhugl yn gyflymach na 20 mlynedd!!

1 Like

What absolute nonsense! This makes no sense. Doing SSiW doesn’t prevent you from learning grammar at the same time. Plenty of places to learn grammar outside SSiW. And no where outside SSiW (outside talking to Welsh speakers!) enables you to practice and learn through talking and hearing anywhere nearly as effectively.

(I certainly agree that learning grammar after learning to speak is easier than learning grammar without learning to speak first, but I myself found learning grammar and learning to speak at the same time benefited them both. I myself.)

On the “fluent” point, it does depend on the details, and how you define fluent. I’ve lost interest in reaching it, whether I’ve reached it o, where the line is drawn, or even using the word. But if you do use the word, you have to have a definition. And if you define it really, really narrowly, I can sort of see where he is coming from. Really restricted definition though. Maybe beyond breaking point, certainly of no use. But as I say, I’ve completely lost interest in the word itself in this sort of context.


I think this person used ‘fluent’ to mean ‘can understand absolutely anyone anywhere says in any accent, and can talk without grammar errors on any subject’. But if that’s the definition then there are plenty of people who aren’t fluent in their own mother tongue…

I’m with you, though. I’m really pleased with the standard of my Welsh, and what’s Important is that I’m going to keep using it. Obviously, I hope to keep improving - but that’s life, isn’t it? I hope my English will continue to improve also :wink:


Fel maen nhw’n dweud fan 'ma: “Nowt so queer as folk!”


Llongyfarchiadau i ti!

Tell to this person, if you ever encounter their such comments again, if at least one person with absolutely no Cymraeg roots and not living even near Cymru or UK can learn the language at least that well that he/she can have a chit-chat with others and understand at least something in just short perioude of learning, then this course is absolutely brilliant and can offer you absolutely EVERYTHING you need. And here was never said or written anywhere you are forbidden of writing, grammaring or reading it was just recommendation everywhere not to start with that in at least early stages of learning. Obviously that person can’t quite understand even English or misslooked (maybe intentionally) that fact.

I have a fortune of not encountering such negative statements on either social media and I’m thankful to the destiny for that. :slight_smile:


Well, I am not fluent in English by that rule!! I fail to understand a lot of what is said in a Scottish accent and I never understood the brother of a friend who came from deepest Northants! I had to learn Yorks when we moved there!!

i ti!!

1 Like

Does that mean that a native Welsh speaker who never moved from say, Ruthun, cannot be fluent? Sothach llwyr, as they say.

Llongyfarchiadau i ti am dy arholaid!


Well technically it does mean that no one under the age of twenty or those over who have not moved around Wales could be a fluent speaker, yes, but I have noticed that the ability to easily and comfortably understand and speak with people from different areas, especially with those using pronounced dialects (and I’m not talking about the well-known “north-south” here!) is something which can take learners quite some time to pick up, but which native speakers who haven’t been around a bit seem to do much easier. (Whether it’s to do with coming across these dialects anyway, a fuller, deeper command of the language, more comfortable listening skills or whatever, no idea. Just something I’ve noticed.) That is, it might take a learner longer to understand different random dialects than other aspects of the language, hence the stress on moving around.

I would not go nearly as far as he seems to with the definition of fluent, and wouldn’t have when I was interested in the term. But I do see where he is coming from. Saying such a thing is not necessarily having a go at anyone, and it certainly didn’t necessarily have anything at all to do with SSiW (though of course in this case it may have, I don’t know!), but from just the quote as it were, it seems to be an understandable disagreement over semantics.

Yes, it is going to take a long time of using the language with Welsh speakers before one reaches the exact level of comfortable, automatic, full, deep use of the language which many first language speakers have. If one ever does!

The important thing is that doesn’t matter. I myself really don’t care about that. It takes hardly any time, if you use it a lot, to be able to enjoy using it constantly with Welsh speakers and have no need to drop back into English. And that is the important thing.

But it doesn’t necessarily mean whoever said it was talking rubbish - just a different slant.

Oh, and can I add my congratulations @sarapeacock too, which I should have done earlier!


Agree with you entirely - it is just a matter of semantics. I have a friend/colleague who I assumed was a native speaker, so i asked if she could do some proofreading/editing (that’s what we do for a living) in Welsh. She replied that she couldn’t because although she has full professional proficiency, she does not have bilingual status (i.e. Welsh isn’t her native tongue), and it’s the latter that you need to do our job.

So to me, ‘fluency’ means just that - being able to hold a conversation comfortably and fluidly. There are further levels of proficiency once one has reached that state, should such a thing be important to you (and I know it isn’t to most people!)

Personally, I am aiming towards being able to find a job where I can use my Welsh at quite a high level, so these grades are important in my being able to sell my skills and services confidently. But if you want your Welsh for social reasons they are utterly irrelevant :slight_smile:


I don’t know if I’m the only rugby fan here watching pel droed because our team is in the Euros, but if any of you heard ‘Hen wlad’ sung at the football, did you notice the differences between that and how it sounds at rugby games? I’m not sure if that is gog/de?
@aran or @Iestyn might know. I think it was mainly ‘ei’ that sounds different.
Thinks :thought_balloon: I probably should have put this on another thread!?

1 Like

Is it just that rugby fans are better at singing than football fans? :wink:

(Joke! It’s been a horrible week, what with one thing and another, but hearing the Welsh fans singing with such gusto, and the reports from the French about how much they enjoyed having them there, has really swelled my heart with pride.)


Yeah, ‘fluent’ is a pretty useless word, really. :slight_smile:

There’s a strong school of thought that this never happens for second language learners - that they can’t achieve genuine as-native proficiency, for neurological reasons. It seems plausible to me - there’s no way my Welsh is at the same level as my English. But it does mean that =native is a thoroughly invalid definition of ‘fluent’.

This, exactly, a dozen times so :slight_smile:


Thank you, Owain, you’re quite right - the comment was in all likelihood a paraphrase for “it takes quite a long time and quite some effort to learn a language really well”, in which case it is not rubbish at all. And it should not discourage anyone from continuing to learn languages, as you said.

1 Like

Who decides that sort of thing? The professional institute / organisation that governs your profession? So, no matter how good a person gets at Welsh, even if they apparently achieve “near-native” or “native-like” or even “native” level performance, unless they were born into a Welsh speaking family and spoke it as their first language growing up, they can’t do that job in Welsh? I could see that leading to problems in the future, if (as seems unfortunately likely) the number of first-language speakers is gradually reducing over time.

Oh, llongyfarchiadau! by the way! :slight_smile:

I know people in the translation business, and they pass exams to gain qualifications at various levels for this sort of thing. It isn’t dependent on their background, just whether they pass the exams, based on translation. :blush:

[whether the exams are perfect or not is another matter of course!]

No no, thank you! :wink: I understand the irritation which can come from seeing learners put off by things like this. It all depends on context and how they are phrased.

1 Like

Actually, having said that, re reading the thing I can’t speak for sarapeacock’s situation re proof reading versus translation, so ignore me…