SSi Forum

SSi - the latest news and/or thoughts about the whole project


An Englishman in South Wales

Some thoughts and feedback after completing Level 1, Level 2 and Deep End.

I started SSIW about 9 months ago. I have also completed the Learn Welsh Mynediad course and am currently doing the intensive Sylvaen course in a real classroom. Total learning time period of 14 months so far.

I’m hooked on the Welsh language and need to learn more.

I spend many quiet moments translating everything into Welsh. I do it all the time. I also rehearse conversations that ‘might’ happen but rarely ever do.

I start up conversations with complete strangers if I hear them speaking in Welsh. The results are sometimes amazing, other times I’m met with disinterest or confusion.

I have become more flexible with the SSIW challenges. I dip in here and there.

A 30-minute SSIW challenge is better use of my time than 30 minutes of television.

I have become more flexible in my use of Welsh and take risks without a care in the world. The worst that could happen is that I could make a mistake.

My stamina for Welsh SSIW Challenges has increased to the point that I can listen to many challenges consecutively on a long walk without problem. When I started, I couldn’t finish a single challenge at one sitting as my brain was fried.

I don’t understand the concern about whether it is North Welsh or South Welsh when you could learn both/all versions with all its idiosyncrasies. This seems like all part of the fun and you would be more flexible with your use of the language.

I have started listening to some of the old course challenges which are a great follow up to the main course.

I am deeply puzzled that many Welsh people are so ambivalent towards their own language. Could you imagine an English person not learning English?

Going to a real live class helped me with the conversational aspect of SSIW. You have a room of people who want to spend time speaking welsh for 3 hours a week. The two learning platforms of SSIW and live lessons in class have had a symbiotic relationship for me.

Slack is still a problem for me. I frequently plan to go on it but cannot bring myself to do it. This is my problem rather than anyone else’s. If you do happen to find me there, please be gentle.

I don’t know why some of the tasks were in the structured courses. E.g. 5 short stories, Amikumu, Soundcloud recordings and so on but I got to the end fine. I like to know the ‘why’ aspect of things.

I am thoroughly grateful to the SSIW team and the SSIW members here for the learning experience. Thank you.


That’s such fascinating input, Ken - diolch o galon a llongyfarchiadau mawr! :star: :star2:

Every single step in the structured courses is designed to nudge you towards actual usage, trying to break down a range of different ‘ooh I can’t’ responses that I’ve seen over the years - so not every one of them will be necessary for every person, but they all move you in the right direction… :slight_smile:


Hey great work you’ve been doing, Ken! :clap: :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s amazing when you go back and do one of the early challenges after some time and see how easy they seem, when - yes, the first time brain was totally fried after 10 minutes! :sweat_smile:

As for North/South I have to say that for learning through sounds as with SSiW I think it’s much easier if sounds are consistent - rather than changing all the time. It’s easier to recognize them, to learn pronunciation, and to guess how to say new words - or I’m sure it is for me! :smiley:

Also, variations and different expressions that are more common in the South or in the North: in the beginning it’s a bit hard to recall things fast, and having more options floating around the brain means needing more time to sort them out.

I’m sure it’s good to practice all accents at some point (just like with every language, by the way). it helps being more flexible and helps understanding.
But I’m really glad at SSiW they didn’t mix them all since the beginning, cause even dealing with the tiny variants between the two voices (@Iestyn and cath in my case) was causing enough confusion for me, no need to make things worse! :rofl:


And just squeezing in before close of play, on a train back up to Bangor…

I spent today coaching Colin Jackson, who has an ‘I set world records for fun’ kind of work ethic - he’s starting pretty much from scratch apart from the Welsh he had as a class at primary school, but I think he’s going to surprise quite a few people…

Back up home tonight, meeting in Caernarfon to talk funding/partnership stuff, then train back down to Cardiff tomorrow night for a day’s intensive work on Wednesday with Josh Navidi - home Wednesday night, Thursday is a quick trip to the accountants and then an afternoon trying to make sure we’ve got a couple of trial English lessons through the medium of Mandarin for our trip to China on the 7th, plus making sure that all the paperwork is in place for Friday, which is my day being grilled in the Chinese visa application centre in Manchester.

It would be nice to think that’s the end of this crazy period, but I’ve got to be in London next Monday for a day’s intensive work with Adrian Chiles, and then I might have a meeting on Tuesday - and then it’s settling down to make sure our trial lessons are ready, and try to learn a few bits of Mandarin myself…

The week in China is a ‘meet and greet and talk possibilities’ thing with a conglomerate in Guangzhou - Jesse and Jeff are going to be out there with me to talk marketing and tech, and a great guy I’ve known for a while now called Tom (who’s an accelerated learning in schools guy) might come down to join us (he’s in Qingdao at the moment) - he might be a really good person on the ground for us if the project goes ahead - it’s mainly about providing English lessons through the medium of Mandarin and Cantonese, and if this first week goes well, we’ll probably be back in February for more extensive testing (which means we’ve got January to build out the most of Level 1 for English!).

Obviously, if we can reach terms, it’s got the potential to give us a new ability to invest in our own tech and in promoting Welsh more widely as well, so fingers crossed… :wink:


Mixing with all these celebs these days, you should be keeping an autograph book!


My mother’s putting me under considerable pressure to tell Colin Jackson that he’s always been a hero of hers. I’ve resisted so far… :wink: :joy:


I saw his sister 20 yards away at the Millennium Centre before Chris’s graduation. Does that count? :laughing:


…it’s amazing the hoops you have to jump through these days just to get a debit card isn’t it…


Looking forward to Colin Jackson presenting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on S4C with the Japanese crowd singing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in the background…blissful dreams :black_flag:󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿


Aaaaaaand he’s now in London! Dropped him off this afternoon at Bangor station - I swear the authorities have started to become suspicious of my recent movements. I made a total of 16 car journeys to/from Bangor train station in November alone, fetching and carrying the Jones, often under the cover of night, drinking coffee and listening to Christmas radio. :rofl:

Looking forward very much to the completion of the China trip and to sharing this home with my husband once more - it’s been an incredibly productive period, but crazy, crazy busy!

Thank you all for your continued support, enthusiasm and patience! :slight_smile:


I’m still fascinatedly wondering if we can shortly look forward to a whole generation of Chinese nationals who speak English with a North Wales accent…


And hopefully a whole generation of Welsh/English/Spanish speakers who can also speak Chinese! :smiley:


Diolch am ddiweddaru yn fan hyn, Catrin! :star: :star2: :heart:

Yup, yesterday was intensive coaching with a radio/TV guy called Adrian Chiles, who was a nice bloke and a hell of a hard worker - starting absolutely from scratch, but really pushing himself, despite having had a fairly recent diagnosis of ADHD… we got through the first 3 challenges of Level 1 even with interruptions for filming, and we’ll probably do some more one-on-one work before he films the road trip… then last night I had a meeting with the people behind the wearable brain imaging tool that’s being presented at the same time as us in China as a possible works-together kind of thing.

Today was Chinese visa party time again and now on the train home, working on my presentation/pitch for China - tomorrow we’re hoping to finalise the test English-via-Mandarin demo (aiming for about one normal lesson’s worth) and get core presentation details sent off to be translated/shared in advance of the first pitch session a week tomorrow (I think).

Yes, I’m hugely tempted by the idea of a global English course that starts out very Kensington and then gradually gets more and more Gwynedd… :wink: :joy:

We’re also pushing on with the next round of investment - I’ve got three new people I’m being introduced to at S4C, we’ve taken a request from the Minister for International Relations and Welsh to sit down for a chat, and I’ve got a meeting on the 16th which should be getting into some crunchy details…

And, in fact, I’m about to put out a call to our existing community - we’ve found it incredibly valuable having Jeff come on board as a community investor, not just financially but for the superb skill set he brings with him - so we’re keen to find out if there are two or three other people out there who could be involved in a similar way, before we push on through with all the institutional and/or development bank side of things… :slight_smile:

So that’s where we are, broadly - getting ready a bit frantically for China, hoping that turns into an invitation to test in February (which will mean a busy building January), and looking to close a funding round to increase our ad spend on Welsh and Spanish - with a view to investing more in the course creation tool as well, and to publish half a dozen new languages in the course of 2020… :slight_smile:


You ARE going to take the 25th of the month off, aren’t you? :worried: - Or at least part of it.


Remember the rolled Rs. That’s the important part.
Years from now, we’ll just have a load of English speakers from all over the globe, who mysteriously sound like Gogs. Wonder how that happened, weird…
Half a dozen? :open_mouth:

We can only hope. I’m getting the impression that these people never sleep. Or if they do, they’re probably working even then. Forget sleepwalking, they sleepwork.


It would certainly explain some of my dozier decisions… :wink: :joy:


Like the recent arrival of two kittens… oh, hold on, I think that was me… :blush: :wink: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


KITTENS?! :heart_eyes:
Will you adopt me?

Realistically, you probably don’t want to be around me right now. I have a horrendous cold, the kind that makes you wonder if you might actually be dying. I doubt you need me infecting your household. :laughing:


Like the recent arrival of two kittens

Heaven help you. Our Pili and Pala have developed into house destroyers. Our Christmas tree has been adopted as a toy-laden climbing frame, our furniture and curtains torn to shreds (think the evil Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp :imp::imp:)
I’m currently searching for cat-tasers on the internet. :anguished:


It’s hard to imagine it could be significantly worse than having kittens around the place… :wink: