SSi Forum

Iaith ar Daith Series 2 - Discussion/Questions/Feedback


Uh oh… What’s that? I’m on Challenge 11…


Almost everybody had a hard time with those!
You can find a lot of reports around the forum, but to give you an idea here’s mine:


Diolch, @gisella-albertini ! I did try to search but didn’t come up with an effective search phrase! :smile: I’ll go read through your thread so I’m prepared for what’s coming.


Ok, read it and it was really helpful, thanks! Especially the feedback from two months later.

Anyway, sorry for the thread derail. Back to the subject… Ooh, another episode today! Exciting!


The Rakie Ayola programme was interesting. It was a bit of a tough ask following the Steve Backshall one as that had set such a high standard, especially as he had obviously made such great strides so quickly. The fact that Rakie and Eiry Thomas got on so well made it an enjoyable watch though.


That friendship showed how much fun can be had using and learning a second language. I liked the acting words quiz as Rakie did what I do so often when I can’t quite remember a word but you have that memory/sense of it being eg. long or short or beginning with a certain letter. It’s fascinating seeing the language learning experience in action.


Another lovely episode - with Rakie.
It’s a shame that we learners sometimes feel the urge to compare the episodes, and which of the learners is doing ‘better’; have caught myself doing it too.
They’re all on this fantastic journey, with us, and competing (if that’s even the right word) with themselves.
Chwarae teg/Fair play to them all, to do that ‘in public’.


She seemed to be doing great, to be honest.

And defintely, each individual is different, and rather than judging who’s better not worse in the show it seems more I retesting to realize that everybody can succeed in speaking some Welsh out in the wild!

I happened to read that Steve is a fluent Japanese and Indonesian speaker (besides having said he likes to learn some language of every country he visited) so no doubt he has some advantage in learning Welsh as well!


The thing I got most from Rakie was her absolute joy in using Welsh and when she read that story it was wonderful and quite moving. :blush:


Totally agree with you @judith-roberts. I do hope we see Rakie on S4C - she seemed quite excited at the prospect.


I’ve really enjoyed both episodes.
I love how this show shows the highs and lows of language learning, but also ultimately that language is for living, not for memorising. And it’s fun!


I challenged myself to watch Steve’s episode without any subtitles and I found myself understanding almost the entire program. It was a great confidence boost.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series particularly Chris Coleman’s episode and James Hook with Nigel Owens.


Yes, hear hear, exactly this :star2:

I’ve had longer conversations with Rakie than I’ve had with Steve, as it happens, so there may also be some ‘how it seems on screen’ stuff going on there - I’m very, very confident that Rakie is going to push on through to real conversational fluency… :slight_smile:


I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and was so glad to see it on S4C (I’m in the US).Seeing how well everyone does gives me hope that I too could have conversations when I am able to return to Wales. Loved the sweater in the Chrismas episode and it was great to see you on the program @aran!


I got quite a bit of grief from Scott Quinnell for that sweater :wink::rofl:


Oh my.

Here is one of the most powerful things I’ve read about learning Welsh, from the inspirational Kiri Pritchard-Mclean:

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about my experience.

I think it’s fair to say that much of the time Aran spent was teaching me how to manage the emotional side to learning as much as practising and tweaking pronunciation etc.

The way I see it my obstacles in this area were two fold.

Firstly, I don’t have a great success with formal education. I was diagnosed in university with ADHD, the principal manifestation of which is a vastly reduced working memory. During school and university I enjoyed learning and could understand everything but was never really able to show that in a test or essay- although would do well in oral assessments.

No problem you might think, as SSIW isn’t there to support me in writing an essay. Well, I think the end result of this academic frustration is a crushing chip on my shoulder when it comes to my own intellect. I love my job as I’ve managed to incorporate talking with showing the world I’m clever. If you’ve seen me do some material on tell that’s pretty filthy I’m sure you’re puzzled but my tour shows always start with an issue I think isn’t funny and it’s my job to make it accessible and funny (structural racism, child grooming, cohesive control, male suicide etc). I’ve found a job where I can wear my smarts on my sleeve without ever having to write “in conclusion…”.

Preparing for Iaith ar Daith is the first time in over a decade I’ve had to confront these issues because as a stand up I work on my own terms. The transition to another language immediately ruptured my sense of self. In Welsh I couldn’t express myself well, I couldn’t be funny, I couldn’t talk about big ideas and I found it maddening, I don’t want to learn Welsh to walk about the weather- I want to talk about the world with the same fluency I do in English.

In addition to this I sort of felt like a failure entering into this. My primary school didn’t really teach welsh, we were an English speaking household (despite having one side of my family that is entirely iaith cyntaf) and I went to an English medium high school where I was in set 7 out of 8 for Welsh, so learned very little. I’d been pottering around on Duolingo for a bit but to all intense purposes I felt like I’d been “learning” Welsh for 33 years and couldn’t speak it and therefore never would.

This leads me neatly on to the second point, the emotional journey. I don’t think I can overstate how painful I find it I don’t speak Welsh fluently. It is my only regret (amazing when you’ve seen some of things I’ve worn and said on stage). If I had one wish from a genie it wouldn’t be a fortune or world peace - sorry- it would be to speak Welsh.

Growing up in a very Welsh speaking area it contributed to me feeling like an outsider. Until I was 18 if you’d have asked me I would have said I was English even though I had lived on Ynys Môn since I was 8 months old. I felt I had no right to say I was Welsh because I didn’t speak the language.

I found the feeling of sadness, frustration and guilt very painful and those feelings ebbed into my learning. Added to this on the occasions I’d tried to practice Welsh with my father he’d immediately shut it down saying that my Welsh was terrible (parents reading, this stuff is how you grow a stand up comedian).

Moving to England at 18 for uni was a turning point. I immediately felt Welsh and was pretty overwhelmed with a sense of Hiraeth. I didn’t just miss my family and proper food. I missed the feeling of being in Wales, I started saying I was Welsh and haven’t stopped. The spectre at the feast was always the language though.

So, I feel like Aran was as much a Counsellor as he was a teacher - although that’s not to undersell the great job he did as a teacher.


That is so moving to read. If you’re a very confident person in English, you really feel hobbled trying to speak Welsh at first because you can’t be you. Re the ADHD and poor working memory, looking back at my school days, if I were a kid today, I suspect that was also my problem, but we’d never heard of ADHD in those days. I look forward to seeing that episode.


I’m so proud of how well James did - I really wish that they’d make it clear that he’d only had 12 days from his very first (and only) day with me to when he started filming. What he achieved was nothing short of remarkable :star2::heart:


What a great episode. I also love that everyone is at different levels - it’s awesome to see how far they come during their time on the program!


Chwarae teg James! I never cease to be amazed how the celebs just throw themselves into this. No half measures, just straight in, fully committed. And to be able to pun in Welsh - I can’t pun in English!

Poor James really lucked out with the weather though!