SSi Forum

Is this method working for you?


I hadn’t chosen the structured course (subscription options were a bit different in summer 2018).
So I didn’t get any video or spoken introduction. Just a welcome e-mail with and a link to the website with a few basic instructions - that I remember as basically “no pause button!” , “no repetition!”.

Now there seems to be an updated and more detailed FAQ section here:
Click on “What is the best way to study” and this was somewhere in the pdfs!


Thanks @gisella-albertini . It looks like something went wrong with the normal subscription system as I was signed up through the National Centre, I have no idea what my subscription actually contains, and some steps seem to have been skipped. Which is a pity as I could have saved myself a lot of stress about how to use the resources … another thing to chalk down to experience.


Hi Graham I’m just a basic learner who’s lucky to live with my grandchildren who attend a Welsh speaking primary school in Talybont Ceredigion Wales. I find it frustrating that they don’t come home speaking in Welsh but English. I did try speaking simply phrases but they reply in English :see_no_evil::see_no_evil: but I am not giving up. Their mother my daughter encouraged me to use SSiW as it’s what she used and can now hold basic conversations with her Welsh neighbours and friends, albeit interrupted by occasionally asking for Welsh words she’s not remembering or been taught. I myself have found clicking on the vocabulary list button of each lesson, then printing this new list each Monday, keeping turned over whilst learning and practicing, then flip over and reading the sentence if I need help. No panic :slightly_smiling_face: builds my confidence having this in front of me. You’re sounding like you are putting too much stress on yourself Graham. I have my printed sheets collated in a folder then I read at night like a good novel :joy: though not religiously ever night, only if I feel like it. :shushing_face: Do at YOUR pace Graham and taking a break away is also an alternative. :hugs:


Congratulations folks—firstly to Graham for your honesty in articulating your frustrations and concerns, then to everyone who has responded so fully and helpfully with excellent suggestions, information and encouragement.

I find this thread heart-warming and a great testimony to the constant kindness and support fellow SSiWers show one another, especially to anyone who is struggling to find their own best strategy for learning Welsh and for using SSiW as a tool.

As someone who is deaf/hard-of-hearing, I not only used the pause button, but cranked up the sound, and then came on the Forum to ask if anyone could tell me what the &$#@ sound or word was in Level A, B or C—Challenge X, Y or Z. Soon I discovered the wealth of knowledge and kindness that characterizes this community of learners and teachers.

Graham, we hear you—I hear you, and want to add my voice to all those who have already reached out, saying that whatever way you find works best for you is the path you need to follow.

It may take some experimentation, but that is part of the journey in terms of learning about how we each learn best, and how we want to approach a path that has its ups and downs. Every step we take is worth it, even when it helps us realize we are heading in the wrong direction so need to try another way.

One thing is certain, you can be assured of genuine support, and I join those who want to cheer you on.

Very best wishes,


Graham, “forcing” is probably the key. We are being put under pressure. We may have to guess rather than feel at leisure to work it out and consciously build a response. Elsewhere Aran relishes the fact that he is going to cook our brains in the process. He did warn us!

Aran’s method is based on something like apprenticeship in a craft rather than acquisition of academic learning. It’s painful and embarrassing, and we are probably forced to revisit the buried shame of childhood learning. We have to get over it. (Me too, of course.) We have to get over it because there is no pause button when negotiating the purchase of some bara brith in a bakeshop.


I think you need to change bakeshops Harry, to one where the staff are more patient!

This is reminiscent of Victorian schools where you get rapped on the knuckles if you forget your times tables. You end up knowing your times tables, but hating them. I think bullying in any form in any context is wrong, and this may be why this system rubs me up the wrong way. I don’t want or need to be forced, and it would put me off learning Welsh at all. And I don’t have any buried shame about childhood learning.

I understand what the system is trying to do. As I said, I’m not a novice language learner. I don’t think it’s the right way to do it, at least for me. Hence my initial question. I accept that this may appear to work for some - the designers and clearly many learners who are tougher than me are happy with it. I, though, like many others it seems, would need to wrest control of the lessons and change them for them to be helpful and not psychologically impeding.

No, Aran isn’t standing next to me with a ruler to rap my knuckles, but the hectoring speed even in the first lesson put me off very quickly.


I live in Australia, where it is difficult to get day to day contact with Welsh speakers. I have previously attempted to learn different languages - French, Japanese, Kurdish, for example. I also tried learing Welsh through duolingo. I did not succeed.
I have found the SSiW approach beneficial. It has accelerated my learning through the spaced repetition within challenges. The online Zoom sessions also help. So, I would happily say that yes, this method is working for me. I certainly wish you all the best in your journey to learn Welsh - however you get there.


Hi. I can honestly say that SSiW has been a huge help in getting me to a point where I can happily use Welsh to chat with friends and even in work sometimes. For me, it was quite a leap to not focus intensely on grammar and the “why is it like that?”. I just said what I could say, accepted the mistakes or bits I didn’t know, and trusted that it would fall into place in time. I did use the pause button, but didn’t see that as a problem. I mostly used it to repeat the sentence in English first. It did require a bit of “re-framing” about how I built competence - I did think “how come we know how to say the phrase “real handful” but not the word for “house” etc? That’s a good thing I think though - many of us will have done multiple courses etc that start with the same basics. To me, it’s like a jigsaw where you do bits all over the entirety of it, rather than completing one corner and inching out from there. I do realise it’s not for everyone, and I don’t think it’s perfect at all (how could it be!). It definitely works for lots of people though. It’s been the central element (I have focused on vocab, used books a bit) to me getting to the point where I felt justified in recording myself as a Welsh speaker in this year’s census.


I agree, why do we need to race through it, and then listen to the welsh at 100mph, very deflating, Oh and i use the pause button every single time, i want to learn it not race it.


Lots of useful and insightful comments and responses here! I just wanted to add a technical point about the length of the gaps.

The Welsh course is the very first course produced by SSi. The original recordings were done on extremely primitive equipment, then gradually refined by our sound technician - however, the length of the gaps was not an exact science. It was supposed to be based on the speed of the female voice to produce the response with some other calculations built in, but it doesn’t always seemed to have worked.

Our technology has moved on, and hopefully 2022 will be the year we see the Welsh course moved to a different system with lots of improvements. We are aware of the difficulties with the gap timing, but as there are ways around it, we have invested our R&D time into improving the system as a whole. I think you’re going to like what you see once it is ready.