SSi Forum

Grammar notes


Hi, I have used DuoLingo for a few months I have just found this course. I like the idea of learning by repetition but because the language is sometimes different from the on used on Duo Lingo, (i.e past tense) i feel I would like some grammatical explanation as I am getting confused. Are there grammar notes I could read or is there a book that would complement the course?
Many thanks.


Bienvenue, Francoise!
There is a wonderful grammar written by one @garethrking - but some of us try very hard to resist the temptations. Not all though:


oh; it was remiss of me not to point you to Where can I find the lesson guides and how should I use them?


Hi @francoise-evans

As you know I came to SSIW via Duo Lingo too.

I think you are doing the northern course which is definitely the closer of the two to Duo Lingo or the generally published standard, although there are northern variations such as medru - which I see that you have come across from a previous post.

Personally I used two books as something of a security blanket, to help me in my moments of anxiety - whilst learning something via such a radically different method than I was used to. :smile:

These were @garethrking ‘s Basic Welsh and then Intermediate Welsh. These have, literally, a page or two on most features of the language - which is just great (a short explanation) when you are getting started.

Personally, I would recommend the Modern Grammar a bit further down the track ( that is just an opinion) …it is an extraordinarily complete reference which now, I read all the time.

You will find that SSIW teaches the patterns (=Grammar) that people use in real world speach without regard for the ‘level’ of the book ie both Basic and Intermediate books.

I did the southern course which has some differences to things explained in these books (which confused me at the time) but I think the northern course is very close to these books.

I have come to realise that SSIW teaches grammar in the way we learned our first language - before we could read or write. However, security blanket or not, these books were very much part of my journey!

Rich :slight_smile:


Hello Françoise!
when you have specific questions and doubts you can also ask here:
(Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread)

There’s a lot of people in this forum ready to help (including Gareth King himself, but this is not meant to dissuade you to buy the books, just in addition to that!) :smiley:


Just thinking of this. The books that I find helpful are the Modern Welsh Dictionary and Modern Welsh Grammar by Gareth King.

However, as the FAQ (mentioned above) explains, it is good to only look up the words or grammar constructions that you have already heard on a Challenge. This is to avoid your brain subconsciously interpreting the sound, stress or accent incorrectly.

Also, a small note -
The guides that have been summarised in the FAQ, seem to relate to the old “Lessons”, which differ slightly from the newer “Challenges”.

So the best place to look is under each actual Challenge, or elsewhere on this forum where they have been summarised into PDFs.

Specifically regarding the past tense forms, @Nicky has produced a really helpful video explaining the different constructions. You should be able to find a link here, or perhaps Nicky could remind us.


Thank you for your answer. I understand the principles and the advantages of this course. I am trying the challenges on level 1 at the moment. But I need to visualise what I say in order to remember. So I think I will reinforce my learning and use the grammar book that you recommended.


Thank you. I have now found and looked at the lesson guides but there are just vocabulary lists. I feel I need to understand why the spelling changes for instance (mustations) if I am to remember.


Thank you for this. I find your answer very helpful. As you say I probably need a security blanket. I understand the principles of SSIW and I think it is an interesting method but I feel I need a more traditional method to complement it. I just like to understand the structure of a language.


Thank you. Gareth King’s books seem to be the ones to get as everyone recommend them.
I just looked on Youtube and found Learn Welsh with Nicky (the one about the past tense) but he seems to be addressing welsh speakers , so not for me :disappointed::


Nicky has produced these videos for learners, so they are for you - but if they seem a bit too fast/complicated for you at the moment, bear in mind that Nicky learnt Welsh via SSiW, so it just goes to show that the SSiW method is very effective! :slight_smile:


Including me. Having said that, while his “Complete Grammar” is the Gold Standard as far as I am concerned, it could be intimidating for the new or newish learner.

So a better approach might be his beginner, and then intermediate Grammar book & workbook which I think have been mentioned.

But if you were to buy all of the above new, that could be quite expensive. You might try to see if you can find them second-hand on Amazon Marketplace or Abebooks, or somewhere like that.

Another good alternative is his slightly older complete Welsh course, which I managed to buy quite cheaply second-hand (I have two slightly different editions actually). There should hopefully be still some around for a good price, and cheap enough to try just as an experiment. And of course, you know exactly where to come if you have any questions about them. :slight_smile:


And that’s why there’s a bath-book version. :+1:


Hello - what is the bath book version of the Complete Grammer book?

Many thanks



What’s a bath? :laughing:


Hi Rhian,

I think Gareth meant the Basic and Intermediate Welsh books (photo here).

I believe he wrote the Complete Grammar first as the weighty, all encompassing volume that it is - and the smaller ones after, as shorter summaries - presumably easier to read in the bath! :smile:

Rich :slight_smile:


Hi Rich thanks for the clarification and the photo. Very helpful. I have some bath reading to do!


That’s the one for complete immersion, I’d say - without drowning


Surely everybody knows what a bath book is, don’t they?


(Seriously though, Rhian - our friend Rich has summed things up very well). :slight_smile: