The courage to make more mistakes?


#1

Posting here hoping I can get some encouragement. I am struggling to improve my welsh and I keep putting off practicing with other people because I think my welsh is so bad. I think it’s great there are opportunities to use welsh with other learners online and even locally but unless I feel better about using the welsh that I can use, and making mistakes, I don’t think I am going to improve.

I challenged myself to finish the Level 2 South lessons before the new year but haven’t really made any progress at Level 3 and have probably forgotten most of what I learned.

The general impression I get about SsiW learners is you are all highly motivated and zooming me past me at great speed. I thought I would write to ask for encouragement in case anyone else feels they have to struggle with themselves and maybe we can encourage each other to take on the challenge of the next bit of the journey. I think I probably just need to accept that I speak welsh a bit, and badly, and get on and use it with other people as that is the way I will get better. Anyone remember a similar phase of their learning journey? Or any other helpful advice please?


#2

Hi Alice,

I have just answered a similar question earlier on.
We have to have bad days or we wouldn’t be able to recognise the good days and everything would be easy and bland.
I would recommend doing and finishing level 3 then revisiting level one lesson 25 and level 2 lesson 25 then redoing 3. Whilst of course squeezing the practice sessions in here and there. Everyone has felt the same at some point.
Have you joined slack and asked for someone to practice with? If not do it soon. Everybody has learned the same way as you have and will be 100% supportive. We are all here to help.
Good luck.


#3

Yes - everyone goes through this… :slight_smile: It’s entirely unavoidable.

Nope - it may currently be sitting under the level of your conscious control, but the synapses you built have not vanished. When you start to push yourself into learning more, or using what you’ve learnt, you’ll find it all comes back in less than an hour or so… :slight_smile:

You’re stuck in a very, very common hole here - and it’s all about making moral judgements where they’re just not relevant.

There’s nothing wrong with how much Welsh you speak. It doesn’t make you a good or bad person - it’s just reality - it’s how much Welsh you currently speak, and it is what it is. It’s morally neutral.

The problem is, you wish it was different. Your pain comes from wanting reality to be other than it is. This is a very easy trap to get caught in - you feel pain, because you want things to be different, but you shy away from doing what you need to make things different, because even thinking about it causes you pain… because you want things to be different…

So the first step is to drop your guilt and frustration - think of it as a big lump of lead, weigh it in your hands, and then just let go of it. It’s harming you, and you don’t need to feel like that, because you haven’t done anything wrong.

Once you let go of the bad stuff, it’s usually easier to look at the situation more dispassionately - and see that clearly, the more you use your Welsh, the better you will get, and the closer you will be to enjoying speaking Welsh.

How about (once you’ve really made an effort to drop the bad feelings) starting with a collection of 2 sentence calls? Ask someone to pair up with you, hop on a call, you say one sentence, they say one sentence, and then you finish the call.

Then once you’ve done 5 of those, step up to a 3 minute conversation. 3 minutes is survivable even if you can only think of one sentence! But once you’ve done 5 of those, you’ll find that you’re starting to collect the core sentences that will let you fill a little more time… so you make them a little longer… and that’s the process that will get you to regular conversations… :slight_smile:


#4

Alice, hand-on-heart, if you try to wait until your Welsh is “good enough”, you will never get there. BUT you will get there because you’re part of this community and you’ve asked for encouragement

Yes, uncomfortable though it may be (I speak from my own experience) this!!

Welsh is my 2nd language, and I learnt as an adult - not via SSiW (it hadn’t been born!), but by the traditional method. For 12 years I have been in a job where I speak Welsh every day. But believe me, if I’d waited until I thought my Welsh was “good enough” to apply for it, I’d still be waiting. For my liking, I’m still way off speaking Welsh perfectly, I make mistakes all the time and I still resort to English far too often. But… I do speak Welsh.

Please come and join the Welsh Speaking Practice group on Slack - you’ll be able to chat to me and lots of other people at various levels of learning, and although it will seem daunting at first I guarantee that if you go for it, your confidence and your Welsh will get a huge boost. Everyone has their own pace of learning and level of confidence - maybe the highly motivated zoomers are more apparent and active, but I know there are many who would certainly not put themselves in that category!


#5

Believe me, Alice, most of us have felt, and still sometimes feel, as you do.The only downside of this wonderfully optimistic forum, which celebrates people’s achievements, is that it’s easy to get the impression that everyone else except you is learning really fast with no hiccups along the way. I really admire people who’ve become fluent in just a few months (I’m ungritting my teeth as I write this) but most of us, frankly, haven’t (yet).

However, when you practise speaking with other people, they will tell you, honestly, that you are improving, even if you can’t see it yourself. I’d love to talk to you and help put the fun back into your Welsh journey. I sometimes cry with laughing (and probably make my Slack partners cry, too) when mangling this lovely language. Chin up - if a duffer like me can do it, you certainly can!


#6

Hi Alice,

The important thing is if you feel like you’ve “fallen off the horse” is to get yourself back on that horse and go for a ride.

Your feelings are totally normal and we all have had/are having/will have them at different stages of our learning.

The important thing to remember is that learning Welsh is a weird sort of marathon, rather than a sprint, there are twists, turns, drinks breaks, times where you need to stop and tie your trainers up and bits where you’ll feel like sprinting.

Please come and join us over on Welsh Speaking Practice. I am running a hangout especially for beginners on Thursday night, that is also suitable for people who know a bit more but are lacking a bit of confidence. I suspect a few successful conversations, no matter how big or small may give you the confidence to feel much better about your already great achievements (arriving at the end of Level 2 is an achievement in and of itself).

Nicky


#7

Alice, why are you so hard on yourself?!
Like yourself, I want to be better than I am and, a few weeks ago I was feeling very frustrated that I’m not but, I don’t think my Welsh is rubbish. In fact, I know I’ve achieved amazing things with learning and using Welsh in the last few months and I am very proud of myself.
Be proud Alice. Own the language YOU have taken the time and trouble to learn.
Be proud of what you can do and know that with regular use and exposure, there are even better things to come.
DO IT NOW!!! :black_flag:󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿


#8

Thanks so much everyone for the encouragement and helpful suggestions, and good points. It’s great to know I’m not the only one struggling with myself and I have some great pointers here for how to get unstuck. I will let you know how I get on.


#9

Hi @alice9, You may remember me as we were going to have a Skype chat back in December, but it never happened. I seem to remember you were the one zooming past me at the time! whereas I was - and still am - plodding along. The only difference being that I took the plunge with a couple of Skype chats and then did likewise when the new Slack site came along, and so must have spoken to upwards of 10 or 12 people now.

Generally speaking, I prefer the one-to-one chats with beginners or near-beginners on Slack rather than the hangouts, which I often find (not necessarily always) attracts the more confident learners and I can’t always keep up. But I don’t worry about the ‘zoomers’ any longer and I don’t care any longer how slowly I go or how imperfectly I’m speaking, as I am now speaking some Welsh and consolidating what I’ve learnt. Any new conversation I have generally switches at some point to Saesneg for the more difficult stuff, as I find this helps makes things easier.

The offer remains open for a very short chat or series of very short chats, perhaps along the lines @aran suggests above, just to build up some basic confidence in speaking those first few sentences. This can either be on Slack or Skype if you prefer. (On Slack I appear just as Alan, with a pic I’m hoping to replace!) I am very patient speaking to others as I need them to be patient with me. Hope to speak to you in due course…


#10

Thanks Alan =D


#11

Alice,

Guess what? I feel exactly the same about my Welsh. And I suspect that there are many more of us on the Forum.

I will leave it to others to give you tips for improving your learning, but my most important tool is remembering to compare myself with myself and with nobody else.

It has been discussed often on the Forum that “fluency” is a relative term, not an absolute. Your goal should be simply to improve, and not to get better than anyone else. I take part in a weekly chat group via the Six-month course. I feel that my Welsh is really, really rudimentary, but I love it (wrth fy modd) 'cos I only try to get a little bit better each time, and I don’t care that others speak better than me.

I wish you the best of luck Alice. The fact that you’re trying to learn a language is success in itself - carry on! You’re already great!


#12

I want to say how much I appreciate all the advice and encouragement.

I managed to join my first beginner’s chat via the Slack workspace and Google Hangouts yesterday, thanks to Nicky =D


#13

Also. I am amazed at how much my attitude makes the difference, just as many of you are pointing out upthread ^^

All the helpful phrases from this thread started taking up the space that was occupied by me being negative about my language learning and I am feeling more positive already. Having survived my first hangout practice was a good step forward.


#14

Brilliant - because that sort of shift often becomes self-reinforcing - and once you get the benefits (mood, achievement, all that stuff) then it becomes an automatic nudge whenever you start to beat yourself up… :slight_smile:


#15

Hi Alice,

As I’ve said over DM as well. I was very pleasantly surprised by your Welsh ability, especially when compared to your earlier comments.

Joining the first chat is a massive hurdle, and getting over that one moves you onto “another level”. It all gets so much easier from here on in.

I’m glad the session was of use, and was sad to lose you at the end (for context of everyone else: Alice escaped with about two seconds notice with the phrase “GOTTA GO!! PARENTAL DUTY!!” and a speed blur! :smiley: :smiley:

Please feel free to join any session of mine, or any other on WSP in the future, and if you are about with a free 10 mins - give me a shout and can always do a few 1:1s.


#16

I’m embarrassed, but thank you.

Yes there was a minor social crisis which required my immediate attention. =D

Thanks so much for the facilitation you’re doing on the beginner’s calls, brilliant.


#17

I still can’t tell about Welsh, but in my experience, everything you said is true for any new language.

When I started learning English, I just tried to speak any chance I got.
When travelling, my friends soon started to send me to deal with any situation, and that’s what allowed me to learn faster than others who maybe spent hours on books and knew grammar way better than me but hardly ever said anything in “real life”.

At first people would understand maybe…2 words out of 10. Or I had to improvise and mime half of the sentence because I realized too late I didn’t know the words to say what I wanted.
Oh…not to mention mispronouncing words and saying very embarrassing or very inappropriate things.
But even disasters can make you blush and feel really bad for a few minutes - then will just be hilarious stories for the rest of your life! :slight_smile:


#18

Definitely what Gisella said. Speaking (however “badly”) at every opportunity really is the “magic formula”. All practice is good, but the more the merrier. Not perfection, just lots of communicating with the language, however cumbersome that may be in the earlier stages.

For me, “any chance I got” has consisted of regular hundred-mile round trips from Greater Manchester to the famous Saith Seren in Wrecsam for a few hours chatting on a Monday night in a relaxed Bar setting. This has been topped up with increasing frequent trips to other conversation groups in places like Prestatyn (Wednesday night in the Halcyon Quest) and with visiting the Fro Gymraeg - the Welsh majority speaking area in the West - at every opportunity.

And yes, like all of us, I still make mistakes, and some of them are howlers. But it feels lovely that when I do mess up, I can now make light of the fact in Welsh whilst trying to restore a modicum of order to the “broken eggshells” which form the remains of the shattered sentences I was trying to form. Or just shrug it off with a “Dim Ots …” or the like.

Dal Ati! And remember, every time you make a mistake, your brain learns something new!


#19

Having found this thread, think I really need to find my way to Slack - although I’m only Level 1 - as finding myself desperately wanting someone to practice what I have learnt with. This may be an old thread, but it speaks to me (only started mid-October). So anyone happy to chat - once I’ve tried following advice above - would be much appreciated! :slight_smile:

(Suspect structured course ultimately my way forward, but still not sure which option best suited…)


#20

One advantage of Slack is that you can just go and try, knowing you’ll be fine because people are all friendly and helpful and encouraging. A sort of audio-video version of this Forum. :slight_smile:

I joined the first group two weeks after starting SSiW Challenges. I realized right there that I didn’t know how to say “I am Gisella” (just like many more things of course). But you can just ask anything and you’ll get an answer and no weird looks of any sorts! :wink:

I haven’t been using it as much as I wanted, yet - but even those few times totally changed my perspective, so absolutely worth it!

[Edit] OT but I remembered one of my mistakes the first time in England, that got everybody laughing:
“I enjoyed seeing the pyre today” (it was the pier) :laughing: I’m realizing how those first mistakes had a strong emotional impact, because I still remember them. I guess many get discouraged at that point, instead of sticking to it - and that’s the real mistake!