As we head towards September, some of you may be thinking of supplementing your Welsh learning with a Dysgu Cymraeg course. Many of these will still be running online, so suitable for distance learning, but watch for those hoping to return to the classroom once the Covid situation allows if you don’t live in the area.
Keep an eye out for discounts being advertised as well, e.g. here’s one from Dysgu Cymraeg Sir Benfro:
I completed the 3 levels with SSiW although must admit that I didn’t do all the additional tasks for level 3
I had a go with the advanced material but didn’t do that well with it and also read books for learners from the Amdani series. I felt I needed an extra boost with grammatical rules that would help me recognise patterns in spoken Cymraeg. So, not being sure which level I tried Sylfaen. This went a little slowly for me as there was a lot of repetition with ‘drills’ etc and it didn’t flow so well so I only did the one year before enrolling on Canolradd Dwys (intensive where 2 years are covered in 1 year). Some of it was quite easy and I felt confident speaking to fellow students and tutor. However, some of the grammatical rules that would have been covered in previous years were new to me, while other parts of the course felt more familiar. I picked up the unfamiliar quite quickly as some of it must have been stored in my head I think due the experience of learning with SSiW.
At first I thought I was going backwards in my spoken Cymraeg but realised it was just my increasing awareness and understanding of how the language works; those ‘self checks’ when I say something daft or misunderstand. My written Cymraeg improved massively during Canolradd and I continue speaking Cymraeg with increased awareness of why I am saying something in a particular way. For me, this blended approach has worked and I’m going to revisit the advanced material. I still dip into the online SSiW challenges as it refreshes my Cymraeg in a different way.
I think everyone would appreciate how learners still get times when there is a mountain of learning ahead. Retaining vocabulary is one of those upward climbs and I certainly can’t put down the geiriadur, but without the start of SSiW I don’t think I’d be anywhere near where I am. I am starting Uwch 1 this September.
Don’t know if or when I’ll near the top of the mountain but I just keep pushing, onwards and upwards. As long as I can get to speak my own language I’m happy.
Did Mynediad 1 one and will continue this autumn. Was astonished at how well the online class got on and some of us did a couple of weekend and summer courses online together too. Live in Scotland so it would have been impossible to access in the conventional way. Delighted.
I found it possible to start with Sylfaen in January 2019 after taking 12 months (because of surgery) to do the 6 month SSIW intensive. I was out of my depths and behind the rest of the class in terms of grammar and vocabulary for most of the year. Two things helped me to keep going. One was the kindness and patience of the tutor and the rest of the class but more than that was the psychological effect of Aran and Iestyn’s warm kind voices in my head telling me the more mistakes I make the quicker I’ll learn ! The gentle effective encouragements and humour had permeated through. I also found that SSIW had given me a head start in USING THE language and speaking spontaneously with some confidence - there’s the rub.
I have continued to pay the SSIW sub and only touched into the Advanced level a little so far but the familiar challenges give me regular and ever renewing workouts. They also mean you can develop using both North AND South which is great if you want to talk with anyone in Wales who is willing.
The outcome is that I am about to start the Advanced level course with LearnWelsh this Autumn (2021). Especial thanks to our local tutor who is from Brittany and so is very good at explaining how Welsh is so logical and English can be so baffling which helps get us over our false expectations !. Also enormous thanks to Nia (SSIW) for being there for our children too.
I live in the U.S. and just registered for the more intensive version of Sylfaen (parts 1 and 2 in one year) through Dysgu Cymraeg/Learn Welsh North East in Wrexham. While the offerings vary by provider region, there are Dysgu Cymraeg courses that use “blended learning,” a combination of online classes led by a tutor and self-study. These courses will remain virtual when things open up again, which is a boon for anyone who doesn’t live near a learning center in Wales. Some are offered in the evening, at hours that would work for those in the Americas who can take time for an afternoon class.
I just finished SSiW Level 2 and chose the more intensive Sylfaen course to help fill in the gaps in my grammatical knowledge and ability to read and write in Welsh. I’m quite comfortable speaking Welsh but functionally illiterate, as I realize every time I try to compose an e-bost yn y Gymraeg. I plan to review the Mynediad text (all the textbooks are online and downloadable) before the Sylfaen course starts in late September.
And yes, I will continue with SSiW Level 3 at the same time. I expect to be dreaming yn y Gymraeg by the holidays.
I’m half way through Sylfaen. I start part 2 in September. After finishing the SSIW courses I wanted to learn grammar etc as reading and writing are important to me. I was told to join sylfaen and while I did have many gaps (and probably still do) I found that I could follow the course. I enjoy it, I thought it’d be slow or dull but actually the lessons can be hard so I’m happy with the 2 hrs a week. It also helps that my tutor is good and the group so far have been brilliant (more joining us in September) I’m finding that slowly my cymraeg is improving and I think the dysgu cymraeg courses suit me well since I’ve always learnt through reading and writing.
I think it would be interesting to hear a few words about the experiences of those who did Uwch class and/or sat the exam, if they feel like.
One reason also being that I tried to figure out how they work, but it’s kinda tricky since there seems to be different levels and different parts for each level.
And I don’t understand if there’s just one exam or several levels too?
As for my background: I had started SSiW in summer 2018 and finished Level 3 about a year later.
Since then just randomly practiced reading, listening, speaking, and very little writing - according to inspiration.
Sudden inspiration also brought me to register for Sylfaen exam this year a couple of hours before they closed.
Later, when I joined a 1-day pre-exam practice and chat, tutors assessed me as Canolradd+ so I guess I should try something more challenging if I decide to do a course (although I know that my writing is way worse than my speaking and I never feel at ease with that so I’d have to sweat!)
Hi @gisella-albertini ! I had no idea about the levels either but @nia.llywelyn said “aim high!” (in Welsh!) when I asked her about them, so that’s what I did (Uwch). It was very good advice so I’d encourage everyone to aim high too… Because we’re unsure of ourselves, its hard to judge where we fit in and maybe we rate our abilities too low as a result… I’ve found Dysgu Cymraeg very accommodating with helping people find where they fit in to the various levels - sometimes there have been people in my class who were just there to try it out, so Dysgu Cymraeg are happy to allow that and move people around to where they feel they fit best
The exams are different for each level. The Uwch speaking test was 30 mins and here is a link to the details: https://www.cbac.co.uk/umbraco/surface/blobstorage/download?nodeId=9402.
This webpage is also very useful as it describes all the different levels and provides links to videos of (very brave!) people doing their various exams (pre Covid): https://questionbank.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/welsh-for-adults/index.html
I must say that I looked at some of the videos over a year ago and they made me feel incapable and stressed (stomach churning!) just watching them, so I vowed never to do the exam - and then I suddenly found myself in the Uwch test this year - so please don’t be put off by them!! They are there to help!!
Hope that helps!
I think you’d be OK with an uwch class. Bronwen did SSiW and then joined our uwch class for a while before moving further away and transferring to another class. (This was a couple of years ago, so face-to-face then.) She seemed to cope fine. Uwch will deepen your knowledge and give you reading and some writing practise as well as speaking.
I’ve actually being doing Meistroli and Uwch 3, so we’ve done a lot of formal stuff that wasn’t tested during the spoken exam, but that doesn’t bother me because the speaking is the fun part and I practice writing when I write video scripts.
Elkie, look for courses that involve “blended learning”: a combo of tutor-led learning in a virtual classroom and self-study. I’m taking such a Sylfaen course this fall from Dysgu Cymraeg Gogledd-Ddwyrain and have been assured that it will remain virtual, even if/when things open up enough to allow local classes to resume. I’d check with the regional provider to make sure before you register for a specific course, but it seems that the “blended learning” courses are intended to remain online.
Hi, Anne, I am also doing a blended Sylfaen course with Dysgu Cymraeg Gwent, starting in September. It is an evening class in Cymru to allow for the time difference (Canada). Like you, I am also hoping to improve my reading and writing skills!
I have enrolled in a Uwch 2 course online to start in September. Meanwhile I looked to see what else there was. Under the “Work Welsh” heading I found “Improving your Welsh Part 1”. This is free, online, and you do it in your own time. I feel just a bit guilty as I am retired and live in England, but not too guilty as I also do paid-for courses.
I thought that I knew when to use at, ar, i, wrth, â, gan, o, gyda etc. I didn’t do as well as I expected, and that was only Unit 1 part 1. This promises to be a very useful course.
If you’re considering a course, or you’ve done one before and you’d like to revise in preparation for starting again soon, there is a free revision weekend being held over Zoom by Dysgu Cymraeg Gwent - 11/12 September!
Note that there is no course for complete beginners as these are revision. If you’ve been in a Dysgu Cymraeg course before, you choose the level that you finished before the summer.
If you’re considering a non-beginner course, e.g. Sylfaen, you could enrol in revision of the course before that and give it a go. It will help you to know what you should have covered.
After SSiW level 3 and a fair bit of reading I did an intensive 4 day Canolradd online, which was fine, and then moved on to Uwch. I was a bit shaky on the grammar, but no worse than people who had spent 6 years in evening classes and forgotten. I was more willing to speak than most. Enjoy!
Good advice there from @Betterlatethan - perhaps have a go at Canolradd 1? There are always Sadwrn Siarad events during the year as well, so an opportunity to adjust if you decide to do any more online days.