Breakthroughs: Does anybody have small successes/breakthroughs speaking Cymraeg they want to share?


I am past 14 now and on my way to the next levels. It feels like it is easier and I am remembering more of what I have learned. It is like I turned a corner. I am looking forward to finishing level one and going back and seeing how the “hard” lessons go.
I am also excited that the shows on Cyw.are easier to understand. It is kinda of funny to say, “Yay! I understand children’s shows!” But I am proud of my achievement!


I have just spent some time on/with “Cymru fyw” and specifically reading the whole chain of articles relating to “Achos Pentywyn: arestio pumed person”…

It all gave a sad and frightening insight into a piece of news I had not encountered before, and sadly I now find myself able to read, understand the use of and recognise re-occurrences, in different grammatical contexts, of a whole slew of related expressions to do with murder, police custody, briefings to the public and investigations.

My photographing “Rhybudd” signs on the railway station at Welshpool obviated the need to look that one word up. As I worked back in time through the succession of reports I found I needed less and less recourse to either HG’s Welsh Learner’s Dictionary or tiny pocket Collins or combo. I am not sure I could distinguish between a chief superintendent and a chief inspector of police (in any language), but I’m hoping that if I watch/listen to some Newyddion programme on TV or radio, I’ll be able to pick up the news-story and “guess” the import of the latest bulletin…

In necessary parallel to the above, I am making great progress with Cyw karaoke on YouTube or ymarfer corff between programmes, and even singing along to the opening song of Hafod Haul - that programme being a great tip from a Nicky video - cheers me up that Pws’s little tricks scaring the cywion hywaden were eventually thwarted. Mind you, no housework done…


Oops, I just realised this is a “successes speaking” thread, and I am banging on about reading or “hearing even without listening for comprehension” but I anticipate talking to myself and composing sentences in my head about “llofruddiaeth-au” and other sad & shocking happenings, asking questions of others about latest updates & that whole business of what happens to people caught up in events and procedures “wedi cael ei arestio”/“ mae o’n cael ei gadw yn y ddalfa”, etc…

Sustaining preparation for a few hours to understand and eventually speak about such issues felt like a move into a new space. The next challenge is to actively use this in Derby on Saturday, King’s Heath on Tuesday or in a 1-to-1 through a Slack channel…


Isn’t that a great feeling! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: And there’ll be many more.


After a 5 min chat someone said oh I didntealise you were a learner . It took months for me to come down


That is great. You can’t beat that feeling.


Not to detract from the comment above -
I spoke to my 1st language friend today (see the Shwmaeathon topic for details). The conversation was actually in English, so he asked me what level I was and then tried me out with some basic Cymraeg. It was great that I was able to understand him and mention in Welsh that I am a bit higher than that now (Mwy uchel was the only way I could convey it). He seemed really impressed and said “Ti’n siaradwr nawr” in a genuine tone. I was really chuffed.


I felt the same way after I spoke with people the first time, too! Totally invigorating.


Well, I had a bit of a breakthrough this week.

There I was chatting away on Twitter about the vagaries of Welsh politics, only to be approached by a journalist from Newyddion 9. I ended up going to Broadcasting House in London during my lunch break on Thursday and recording a short interview in Welsh! It aired on S4C last night - I mostly was able to say what I wanted too.

At the end they asked to do a few questions in English, which made me worry it was unusable, but turned out it was just in case the English language Welsh news wanted it! Phew.

After coming out of the studio it was easy to be a bit blase about it - since I’ve internalised lots of Aran and Iestyn’s words about how good SSiW is - “well of course I can do this, I’ve done SSiW!”. But in reality, less than two years ago I hadn’t used Welsh since school and was better at it within months of starting than I ever was in school. I feel like that’s pretty cool!

So thanks everyone, especially the Oxford meetup people who were so patient with me at the start!


Wow - what a fantastic story - @beca-brown, sounds like ideal material for a Beca a’i Phobl interview at some point! :star2:


Link? Info about programme?

I may be missing something, or being very rude - and I do not wish to be rude or put pressure on anyone - but I would love to hear your interview, if it is/has been broadcast/still accessible.

Llongyfarchiadau does not begin to express how impressed I am, if nothing else then at the very least by your bravery in agreeing to talk to a journalist and setting foot in BBC buildings…


I think it gets deleted every day sadly but if there’s stil time it’s on Clic here from 13m 18s in.

Diolch Lorna for the very kind words!


I’ve only started learning this year…and translate the best I can…
But listening to the commentary on the football last night…when we scored the commentator shouted…Pwy sy’n angen Gareth Bale…and I got it in Welsh…first…so I had a double celebration at that point…


:slight_smile: ……GÔÔÔL. REIT YN Y CORNEL
(Goal…Right in the corner)


Not sure where we were discussing Welsh speaking etiquette so Ill continue here if ok. Background- We (My Glenda and I)are on a flying visit to Newcastle so obvioulsy we decided to take in the entire Welsh coast en route. :grimacing:
Today Fishguard to Bangor. Somewhere near Rhyd Ddu I asked a shop Salesperson if We were far enough N to speak Welsh and what was the basis re friends, strangers etc. She said that she would feel ok with friends but would be nervous with unknown customers etc. I felt so thankful that she had been so honest with me.

Then in Bangor services trying to find the well hidden travelodge in the dark, without rejoining the main Road :confused:. I noticed that the young woman in the filling station shop was freely using Welsh. Great :grin:. So I felt ok to ask for directions in Welsh without introduction. She answered in Welsh and I understood. So, I’m happy to follow these unwritten rules rather than pushing my luck as they seem to have given a result today. Onwards and upwards. :wink:


Sam - I would never consider speaking English to you after seeing the standard of your Welsh on bwtcamp, so I’m not at all surprised that you did a brilliant job on Newyddion 9. But wow - Newyddion 9! I hope they took all your details, because they’ll come back to you again and again for all the interesting stuff that you do!

That’s awesome - you know you’re getting somewhere when you can listen to stuff because you want to hear it, and start understanding snippets. That is brilliant progress!


Today I paid for a couple of meals in Welsh in Lanfairpwll. . Macaroni cheese and Scampi and chips. I had a few weird looks and then later remembered that we had changed the scampi for a curry before paying. :confused:


I want to say thank you!

Me and my family (wife and daughter) spent our holidays in Wales. It was the first time for me to be in Wales since having started with SSIW in February 2017.

I had a jump-start with the language on our first day: In a book store in Rhuthun, Denbigshire, I found two of the many learner’s books on my to-buy-list. So, although I knew they were there, I forced myself to address the shop owner and ask for the books - IN WELSH FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER (“chwilio am llyfrau”). And then something like a hurricane caught me! The man was so delighted and enthusiastic that I am a learner, he introduced me to a friend of his, to another customer, and to another. When we got out of the shop, an old man came behind us and shook my hand and didn’t want to let me go, asked for our names and talked about Nant Gwrtheyrn. I was so deeply moved and for an hour or so didn’t really realize what had happened.

And this continued! Everywhere I went, from Rhuthun to Llangollen, from Y Trallwng to Llandysul, from Aberteifi to Llangrannog, in Aberystwyth, in Dolgellau, in Aberdaron, in Nefyn, in Caernarfon, from Beddgelert to Llanrwst, my first question was “Do you speak Welsh?”. In the pub trying to order a beer, in the shop buying butter and milk, in the museum buying tickets, in the restaurant, in the caffi, in the book shop, in the Canolfan Croeso, in the Siop Glynafon. And it was the same everywhere: People where so kind and astonished and helpful. They asked me how I learn, and why, and where we come from, and so on. My confidence grew. Slowly, but it did. By the end of our holidays, I didn’t feel any fear any more and found it simply natural to at least TRY to: Say Something in Welsh.

Between 29 September and 13 October I had conversations in Welsh every single day. Some easier for me, and some very difficult. I remember that one day in Llangrannog I didn’t want to go to the pub any more because I was so tired of concentrating so much. But when I did, the landlord (whose cottage we had hired) grabbed me by the shoulders, pushed me to the bar and said to everbody around: “This man is learning Welsh. So: Dim Saesneg!” That ended in me sitting at a table with a very nice couple for about an hour, talking Welsh and laughing and crying at the same time.

I was most impressed by our visit to the National Trust property Plas yn Rhiw, Ynys Llyn. I hardly saw anything of the house because in every room that I entered there was someone from the staff, and all four of them responded yes when I asked my question “Do you speak Welsh?”. I had such a good time with them, they all where so patient and interested and listened and spoke to me, and even made some jokes. If I only could express my feelings in better words, but unfortunately (as a non-native speaker) I simply don’t know them all!

Besides many other occasions, there was a funny one: In Llanrwst I spoke to a young woman and her mother who sat next to our table in Y Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, where we had afternoon tea. The young woman was so thankful, because she hadn’t spoken Welsh since a very long time. So it was learning to speak and trying to remember words for both of us, while her mother, who has had courses for two years some time ago, listened to our conversation. She was so happy that she understood what we said, and I felt so proud and happy, too.

By far the most difficult thing was understanding what was spoken. I realized that I need a lot more practice: In the beginning, when people talked, I heard the words, and most of the time recognized them, but often they didn’t form a sentence in my mind. Or at least, I wasn’t sure whether the sentence in my mind was that one that had been spoken. Very often, when I asked to repeat something more slowly, I could instantly understand and wondered what had been so difficult. “O lle ydych chi’n dod?” can sound so differently, I guess there are as many ways to pronounce this as there are speakers… By the end of our holidays, I felt like my understanding had improved, and I got a glimpse of what could be possible: Understanding a sentence while people were talking without asking for repetition or “arafu”. That felt amazing!

The next difficult (if not impossible) thing was: numbers! When the bar man wanted “tair punt deuddeg ceiniog” for a peint, I was completely lost. I heard the words but there was no amount. I was unable to put the right coins down, as I had no idea. This is a complete different thing in English: “three pound twenty pence” immediately makes sense to me. This got only slightly better. Much more practice (and peintiau) needed, I guess.

Very often, people said that my pronounciation was very good. (And that tricked them into believing that I could understand and talk much more than I actually do…) I believe that this is the result of @aran’s and @catrinlliarjones’s patient teaching efforts, who taught me how to speak in three long levels. And they still do… Thank you both so much!

And, finally, thank you to other SSIWers: I had posted in the forum prior to our holidays ( and asked people if we could meet. Unfortunately I messed up with our arrangements and so weren’t able to meet @daimorgan and @maturestudent, and @philipmcmanamon earlier. But I met @siaronjames together with two other SSIWers from Australia, @alex_1 and @JessicaLyn who incidentally where around. A very huge Thank You to you all!

And to Wales! Diolch o calon i pawb!

Eckhard from Hamburg

P.S. If anyone knows a native Welsh speaker in Hamburg, please let him or her know that I am looking for someone to practice!


What a fantastic story! Huge, huge congratulations… @beca-brown - that chat we had about success stories? Visitors from Germany throwing themselves into practising their Welsh everywhere sounds like a perfect one… and, hmmmm, thinking out loud… @eckhard, would you be willing to do a video interview with Beca about your experiences? :slight_smile: :star2: :star:


I really enjoyed reading your story, and it was very courageous of you to just start speaking Cymraeg. Loved the Landlord saying, “Dim Saesneg.” What a way to be welcomed! Thank you for sharing, Eckhard.