SSi Forum

Is this method working for you?


At this point, I think I got an idea of what you didn’t like and didn’t work for you with SSiW, and I already wrote what I think worked or didn’t work for me, so
I guess we can put it aside! :grin:

However, since you mention in particular something that’s the absolute worst for me: structured grammar-based learning situations/obsession with minor grammatical points.

And that you succeeded in learning a second language to absolute fluency, is there any other hints you’d like to share about what worked well for you to make links and create pathways efficiently?
Of course I know that being a different language, there’s not necessarily something similar available but well, I’m always looking for inspiration!


@siaronjames Yes, my comment about Aran was definitely tongue in cheek - no offence meant :wink:

@gisella-albertini Depending on definition, I speak five languages, but only one foreign-language to mother-language level. In my case I always find there is a tipping point when you know enough to be able to learn without structure by absorption. And I’m a great believer in learning languages as children do - they don’t get taught grammar when learning to speak. In my case I had a year of university study and an intensive residential course in Dutch before moving to The Netherlands. That was grammatically-based and left me flummoxed. But it gave me enough of a foundation to enable me to have simple conversations, read newspapers, order in shops etc. Then I started working in an environment where Dutch was the working language. When you get to a point where you can manage on a day-to-day basis, the need for structural lessons disappears. The string of incomprehensible noise you had previously heard resolves itself into words. You absorb the language and it gets better by itself. I automatically know which words have which gender, which sentence structure to use and so on, without being consciously aware of the rules behind them. I should say, though, this is not the same for everybody. My better half speaks more languages than I do but he reaches a level of proficiency that he can never get beyond - his brain works differently to mine. It doesn’t matter how often I correct his English or Dutch, it doesn’t stick any more. I think his brain decides that good enough is as far as it needs to learn. So, as I said right from the start, horses for courses. I was lucky that I lived in the country where the language that I was learning was spoken (though it is really hard to force Dutch people to speak Dutch to you, especially in Amsterdam), but that’s what worked for me.


If you do continue to learn Welsh via other methods (and I hope you do!), you need to be aware that there is a much greater difference than is the case in English between the colloquial language as spoken by native speakers in shops, social situations and in the workplace and the more formal language used in written media such as newspapers, articles in magazines, novels etc. SSiW teaches the colloquial form.

The difference is so great that many first language speakers, especially those who are middle aged or older and who therefore weren’t taught through the medium of Welsh at school, don’t read Welsh and are extremely reluctant to write it. This article sums it up nicely:

How many different varieties of Welsh are there?

It sounds as though you have your own established ways of learning a language and SSiW isn’t a good fit for you. That’s absolutely fine. The reason I persevered when I initially found it impossible was that I kept meeting people who had learned with SSiW and they all spoke much more confidently than the people I’d been in traditional classes with. I therefore experimented and found a way to use the challenges successfully. But if it’s not for you, then I hope you can find a course that suits you better. In case you weren’t aware, the traditional Welsh for Adults courses are currently being held online due to the pandemic. This opens them up to people anywhere in the world, so you could try Googling Welsh for Adults to see what’s available.


Thanks @margarethall . I’ll keep going while I enjoy the learning process. The dialectical differences is something I keep coming across, but as I don’t actually need to speak Welsh (it’s just part of the whole process which can’t be ignored when learning reading/writing/understanding) I have tried to stick to a single dialect. The online courses provided by various local authorities don’t fit well into my routine (wrong times, or too restricted), but I have taken part in some of their revision days, and they are useful as they’re the only places I actually get to speak Welsh.


Hi Graham Sorry I’ve not read all of the comments. I totally get what you said in your initial post. When I first started I really got very stressed, and gave up after about a month. However I’ve started again and what I noticed was how much I had remembered.
One thing I have noticed is if I try to think what I should be saying I tend to struggle, if I just go with it I have a much better success rate. For me not thinking about it works best. I do press the pause button as I find some sentences quite long. Some times I can do 20 mins on others after 2 or 3 I’m off.
The one thing I have got over now it not stressing when I get it wrong.

I did start classes and attended one, I hated it and found it incredibly stressful.

Bets of luck. Nick


Sut mae Graham:
I find the repetition sensory overload. Methinks it is part of my autism. I gave it a good go and recommend SSiW for people looking to learn the language. I still join some of the speaking sessions over Zoom and occasionally post here and on Slack. I do feel like a bit of an outcast here, as some of my posts get overlooked, especially the song I wrote and the press I got. Yet other folks’ music and press seems to get reacts and comments. I wish I could figure it out, makes me think of high school cliques sadly. I have never been a follower of the herd mentality. Instead, I am a freethinker.


@jenirizio-1 As you found the system challenging, can you expand as to why you do still recommend it to people looking to learn Welsh?

(Without wanting to go too much off-topic, I’ve puzzled over a disability to connect with others and (importantly) vice versa, even in sterile environments such as online forums, for nigh on 60 years. It’s part of the autism thing and by our nature we’ll never get a grip on why it is the case. I have found I just have to accept it and work around it. I hope you can find that strength too, though it’s not easy.)


I started learning Welsh long before SSiW existed, but even so, as I’ve said, it took three attempts over a period of a few years before I found a way to make the method work for me. However, I recommend it to others because I’ve seen so many people succeed with SSiW and become very confident speakers who sound natural and have good accents. I especially recommend it to people who can’t cope well with different orthographies. An aural only method ensures they don’t let the appearance of the words on the page override what they’re hearing.

So for that reason, and because I’ve seen the evidence that SSiW really does work for a lot of people I do recommend people give it a try. In particular it’s a good way of being able to practise Welsh during the week if one has joined a traditional weekly class.


Dear Graham, thank you for your post and thanks also to everyone who answered. Both have encouraged me. As some answers point out, the SSiW method helps most learners but a few of us need to adapt it. I gave up and left (I will rejoin when I catch up – however long that takes) because new lessons were arriving before I finished previous ones. I got very depressed every time Aran said “congratulations, you’re doing well” that made me feel like such a fraud. Right from the start we are admonished not to use the pause button much. I needed it so much that I felt guilty, I even needed to go back for the long sentences because I forgot how they ended in English (my mother tongue!) – I don’t feel guilty now I just use it. Luckily, because I don’t have regular WiFi where I live, from the start I downloaded every lesson and vocabulary list as soon as I could so I could access them offline. I have downloaded all of Levels 1 and 2, even though after nearly 20 months I’m only at the start of level 2. Although it’s not the recommended method I listen to the sentences and say them with prompts from the vocab list. This is how we were taught at school, everything was chalked up on the blackboard. I’m telling you this, Graham, because maybe you too prefer to see the written words you are hearing and speaking. I also recently joined Duolingo. When SSiW gets me down I go to Duolingo for a bit. When that gets boring I go back to SSiW. I haven’t yet had the courage to use the online conversation aids. I haven’t even used things like zoom yet. So I can’t practice conversation yet – but one day I will have courage to use it in a caffi or at the llyfrgell. When I’m ready I’ll rejoin and start downloading level 3 – but only when I’m ready. Thanks, in asking for help you’ve encouraged me. Varadā


If I can’t remember something easily I go round the house singing it in silly voices or shrieking it even- that sort of works.
What I don’t know will ever work is understanding people if I listen to Welsh on the radio.
I know I’ll be able to write it and read it eventually but to understand Welsh speakers ever? I don’t know. Did manage to pick out white wine the other day!!! jIll 13


Rather than defend this particular method I would bring up my own experience in learning Languages. I taught myself German, finding no method complete or satisfactory for me. I had to move from book to book to make progress. I found the same later with Italian. To remain interested I had to be prepared to dump any material that bored me or confused me. This is especially the case with Welsh, which has a huge gap between its time-crusted literary language and its many varieties of spoken language.

The great plus of SSIW is that rather than thinking you are a person who would be thrilled to discuss the pen of your aunt, it trusts you to get your head around sentences with dependent clauses from the very beginning.


Wnes i ddechrau dysgu Cymraeg tua pedair mis yn ôl. Rŵan, dw i’n medru siarad, ysgrifennu a darllen tipyn bach Cymraeg. Dw i’n hapus iawn efo dysgu Cymraeg yma efo SSIW.

I started learning Welsh about four months ago. Now, I can speak, write and read a little Welsh. I am very happy with studying Welsh here with SSIW.

(Actually, that said, I was so inspired by the effectiveness of SSIW - like Michel Thomas on steroids - that I am now doing concurrently the Duolingo for vocabulary and the Dysgu Cymraeg classes online for grammar, writing etc. But it was/is the SSIW that got me started. It is BRILLIANT (for me) and I have never picked up a language so quickly. I feel I have found my linguistic home! Arun deserves the Nobel Prize for Something or another).


PS forgive the mutations! I mutate like a ninja turtle.


I’m teaching myself German at the moment and I’ve nicked this idea off SSiW. I use Ankidroid to learn vocab and I’ve filled it with lots of sentences with subordinate and relative clauses, to imprint the pattern on my brain. It really helps if you actually want to be able to talk to people! Noun phrases still do my nut, but I find the word order very natural now.

(And like you I’m also taking a build-a-bear approach to it. Despite the vast number of German courses out there, no one course is going to get me where I want to go, so I’ve been building my own programme by taking the most useful parts of different courses.)


PPS I hadn’t done Welsh before, and I do not live in Wales!


“I mutate like a ninja turtle.” Amazing :rofl::rofl::rofl:


Now that’s just showing off. Most of us mutate like something out of a horror movie. :eyes:


Showing off is the ninja bit, a dweud y gwir - but when it comes to I, I invariably mutate to a durtle!


Don’t understand - blease glarify.