I have promised to you that I would learn Welsh and I’ve finally begun – well, begun again. I had started before I began this blog, but I only managed a lesson and a half of the course before I stopped (and alas, have repeated the first lesson at least twice before this attempt). However, I’ve returned to the wonderful website http://www.saysomethinginwelsh.com/home/ where the course is based. Their introductory course is comprised of 26 free downloadable lessons, amongst other supporting materials and weekly/daily practices.. There is a South Wales and North Wales version but I’m following the former because it’s more relevant to me, since I’m more likely to head down that way. I’m not educated enough in the language to be able to discuss the differences between the two yet.
Following the lessons in SSiW’s South Wales introductory course is simple. There are two teachers, Iestyn and Cat. You are taught a phrase, then Iestyn says it in English and you say it in Welsh before they each say it. Having done this lesson a few times I was flying through, rarely having to pause the lesson to think of the right word. You might wonder what it is like for the total beginner, who has no prior knowledge of the phrases in the lessons. I remember that after my first lesson I retained most of what I had learned for a while and, whilst some of did leave, if I had carried on the course I’m sure my knowledge would have stayed with me and, like Iestyn says in the first lesson, been reinforced by further lessons.
If you’d like to know what I’ve learned, I would be able to say all sorts of things to you in Welsh, such as ‘I can speak Welsh’, ‘I like to stay’, ‘I am able to say’ and ‘I do not want to go’ and so on. Perhaps next time I will upload a video and you will be able to hear for yourself?
I would highly recommend joining the website’s forum. They are very welcoming to me, and it seems to be a good place to go if you need some motivation, help, or to discuss your journey, or to just make some friends who are fellow Welsh linguists! If you feel that practice in person would help, SSiW have regular group meet ups across Wales.
If you have a go at the course, feel free to let us know! I would love to hear how you have found it.
All the best to you.