SSi Forum

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


The very first message in this thread celebrated @Howard paying his council tax in Welsh! Snap.


haha I hadn’t seen that! Diolch!


This week I phoned someone to ask details about a course I am applying for. A few minutes in she asked if I would like to speak in Welsh. I agreed, and we did the rest of the conversation in Welsh. I only had to ask the meaning of two things she said, and one of them I had worked out by the time she told me - stalling for extra time really works. Plus I asked how to say two phrases I wasn’t sure of. Hapus iawn!


Last weekend I spoke to more than one member of staff in the Black Boy in Caernarfon, successfully obtained drinks, and understood replies. I am seriously counting this as a breakthrough! :smile:


Last weekend i went to Caernarfin with the Penwythnos Dysgywrs for my first ‘proper weekend of Welsh’. It was pretty daunting as ivve only been learning since June but i couldnt have been in better company. After a 7 hour drive from
Hampshire i was a little shell shocked at first but having ordered a few beers at the bar yn Gymraeg without the barnan smirking or laughing at my efforts was such a morale booster. Can’t wait for my next immersion in April.


Pete, that all still sounds really impressive to me, not to say surreal, pretty awesome stuff.
Allow me to out-small you, last Wednesday i finally had my first ‘chat’ with a welsh speaker. Long over due after 26 weeks, and with sweaty palms, but much fun! Bit awkward not being able to say í’m fine, yet being able to enquire if my friend had any kids? (he doesnt). I also learned the bumptheg for 15 is just one way to say 15… Of course there is !!! (Getting out of the xmas hibernation slowly)



I recently renewed my driving licence using the Welsh language option - I had to check what a few things meant on the website meant but I managed it and it came OK ! It says Cymru as my country of birth as well.

Yesterday I ordered two t-shirts from Cowbois over the phone with just checking a couple of things in English and then I phoned and booked a room at Nant Gwrtheyrn for the night before I start a language course there in a couple of weeks time.

I remember when I first made a phone call in Spanish that I felt it was a real breakthrough as you can’t use “body language” so I’m counting this as one too.


I did this too.According to my license I live in Abertawe not Swansea
Ken #165


Small success: I can listen to a Sunday luchtime, afternoon and quite a lot of an evening on Radio Cymru in succession, and have a sense that I’m following who is on, why and the gist of what they are saying, without feeling that most of it is passing me by. I can find (just a few) and imagine the (likely) spellings of, some keywords to look up in dictionary/ies, and note the chunks that they came in, for my own later use. It is cheering when the range of topics is quite wide.


Exactly one year ago, in February 2019, I was on holiday in Wales and apart from the obvious signs (araf, dim parcio, heddlu, ysgol) Welsh was largely incomprehensible to me. And while I could work out what these signs meant, I would only have been able to pronounce one of them. I hadn’t heard many people speaking Welsh, which seemed a bit odd to me at the time as all the signs were in Welsh.

I went into a greengrocers and the shopkeeper was comfortably propped on the counter, deep in gossip with a customer, speaking Welsh! I browsed for a while so I could listen. I couldn’t understand a word, but the sound was fascinating. Welsh sounds amazing I thought, I really like it! Pity you don’t hear it more…

Back at the cottage later on, I picked up a bi-lingual book about the history of the village that had been produced locally. My interest was piqued by what I’d heard in the greengrocers so I flipped to the Welsh side and had a closer look at what was written. Totally incomprehensible! But wouldn’t it be good to be able to understand it, and to speak it so that the language could be kept alive? I fancied the challenge. It would do me good I thought. Learning new things is good for your brain and it might be a good pastime. But at the same time, I thought it would be really hard. I saw myself pouring over grammer books and propably giving up after a while. I was wrong about that - and about quite a lot of other things too. (I’ll save that for another post though – it could be a long one!)

Fast forward one year… I’m on holiday in Wales in February again (am I mad?!) and I’ve been learning Welsh for 11 months. (I completed Level 3 of SSiW a couple of weeks ago – Hwre!). So when a blizzard drove us down out of the mountains this morning, we headed for lower ground and I found myself at the greengrocers where I’d been eavesdropping twelve months ago…

While I was bagging some apples, the shop keeper appeared at the counter. I’ve got a story for you, I said, and I told him about how I’d listened to him speaking Welsh a year ago and how that had led to me deciding to learn the language – all in Welsh of course! We had a chat, he gave me a few tips and then went on to check my numbers and maths!

So one year on and I’ve been back to where it started and I can speak Welsh (although dw i dal angen gwella!) I couldn’t have imagined this twelve months ago! Thank you SSiW!


What a wonderful story! Brings tears to my eyes.:slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face:


Fantastic @cetra-coverdale-pear, you’ve stormed ahead and absolutely smashed it! Dylet ti deimlo’n falch ohonot ti dy hyn (level 2, ch 14 which I only recently reached, so I’m lagging far behind you!) If you’re anywhere near Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant come by for a paned, it would be great to see you.


:slightly_smiling_face: That’s a lovely story. I live in the South and despite the Welsh on the signs etc there’s more English speakers than Welsh. They don’t speak Welsh in the shops. You definitely should share that story.


Your dissertation idea sounds really interesting @MarilynHames…presumably, from what you say, an empirical study…? How would you do it – interviews/stories from people here? Sounds fascinating.

On your other point, I’m very envious that you are in the middle of the Celtic Studies programme at UWTSD… it’s something I’m really hoping to do when I retire ( which isn’t TOO far away).

How have you found the programme as a whole?



Thank you Liz!

There is no doubt I have learned a great deal and had sufficient choice to pursue topics that interested me. However, even though it is aimed at distance learners, so makes much of the compulsory reading material available on-line, the additional recommended reading can be very difficult to obtain here in Vancouver—whether from the university library or by purchasing the books. By course #3 of 6 I clued into this and would ask for the reading lists months in advance so I could order the books from the UK.
If you live in the UK this would not be a problem.

The book issue is what is driving me to attempt a different form of research, so yes, if UWTSD approves my approach I will be interviewing folk. Being retired, I am also pondering what my ‘legacy’ will be, and so collecting stories seems appropriate because this will preserve memories, attitudes or dreams about Wales that could die otherwise. Fingers crossed the uni will approve this.

Good luck and enjoy it if you decide to proceed. Enjoyment is the key!



An exchange in my German-speaking office right now:

(No seriously, I love it that they roll with all kinds of my hobbies :heart_eyes: )


Are you in possession of a ukulele and a talent for song-writing, @Irina because I imagine you have some tales to tell of office life that ought to be enshrined in song on Soundcloud…

You could semi-rhyme sgïo and trio, küsschen & tschüsschen, tisian and truan with trwsio and trystio(g)… There is no end to the fun to be had… Now that you are closer to Madrid than Moscow, and closer to Caernarfon than… (she gets out an old pocket atlas and looks up Eurasia)… than Babylon? Wuhan?


I think songwriting and playing ukulele might be the only things that are not happening here :smiley:
I’m saving the best stories for when I can tell them in Welsh, anyway :partying_face:


It’s a small achievement but I’m pleased with it so here it is.

Around the time I started SSiW I also got a new job with a contractual requirement to learn Welsh to a fairly basic level. I was starting the SSiW programme anyway for unrelated reasons, so it was a convenient coincidence.

Anyway, about a month into both course and job, I’ve been contacted by the person who monitors whether you’re progressing towards your Welsh obligations and reports back to HR. It was a nice feeling to be able to tell her yn y Gymraeg that I’ve been learning and I think I’m doing well so far. She was impressed with my progress!

I felt more proud about that than I would have expected :slight_smile:


That’s really encouraging, Alan, and I bet it’s made you keen to achieve more than a basic level of Welsh. Just think how impressed HR are going to be in a year’s time!