SSi Forum

What are the problems? What needs to happen differently?


…and Cymdeithas yr Iaith? They have had a target of 1,000,000 speakers plus other societal targets for some time


Was that last year in August? Did you meet someone with “Cardiff Wales” black tee or “SaySomethingInWelsh” white tee constantly having her photo camera in her hands strolling around and teezing people with that SSiW shirt who plunged in the Nero Caffee (across the Cardiff Castle) with quite loud “Bore da! Coffi mawr plis.” :smile:

If yes with written above then you might genuinely hate me. :slight_smile:

Well, we in Slovenia might be like this in the past quite long time ago, but we turned the embarassement and frustrations way around and started to learn languages. Each Slovenian speaks at least one foreign language (how good or bad I won’t go into debate though, but we speak it). It’s maybe time for whoever monoglot people to turn this attitude around in this direction aswell. It isn’t important if English is spoken everywhere. One day even speaking this language one can stuck with not being understood at all! Attitude of comfort zone in one language which is widespread isn’t just English problem but with quite some other “widespread” languages communites aswell.

Yes, I admit this can be the thing. When ordering my coffee seing bartender doesn’t understand me I continued with that approach, saying it once again in English and Welsh (no, Welsh was not missed here either) and at least it helped to release the sudden tense feeling of the mood in the caffee … However I didn’t let myself to be disturbed. A little smile and a bit of more jolly mood always helps. :slight_smile:

Agreed, but the things you’re describing further on is the attitude I’ve talked about. People don’t believe in the language at all and even less in the goal of gaining that million and this should be changed. Besides … if one Welsh speaker got the “will” to know (let out they knew English anyway) English partner language, why that English partner wouldn’t be that fair and learn at least a bit of Welsh? This is how I imagine mixed family and it can be (linguistically and otherwise) much reacher if all languages are spoken. But, yes, it’s all in the heads of the people actually and some minds you just can’t change. However generall negative attitude doesn’t bring anything to the reaching of this one million goal.

Agreed. [quote=“amandalaing, post:55, topic:8733”]
I wonder also if one of the problems or at least a problem for reaching the target is the degree of engagement of Welsh speakers. Some may feel that this is a target/project for the Welsh assembly and that is left up to national policies around education.

Yes, this is the problem with media which (as much as I could encounter) want to set such feeling among the people especially Welsh speakers what leads me to think here’s already one sphere of the community which actually doesn’t want that goal to be reached. Everything in media started so negatively what bothered and also angered me the most!

There shouldn’t be any "but"s or the plan is already dummed. [quote=“hewrop, post:59, topic:8733, full:true”]
may be establishing reliable channels of mutual confidence between SSiW and the person/people in the Assembly charged with achieving the target.

Yes, this might do a lot.

Attitude is the bigest problem I see so it’s more to what to do to change it? And don’t say it can’t be changed however this is the enormous key part to be done and I beleive we (even we “outsiders”) can help enormously. At least I believe we can. If not, let me be excused …


I’m sure if I met you I’d love you!


All sorts of genuinely excellent input in here already… :star: :star2:

I’m away from home at the moment, but will add people who’ve told me their Trello accounts to the board as soon as I get back.

If we go with an initial breakdown of key issues into:

  • not enough people learning,

  • not enough learners succeeding,

  • not enough speakers using their Welsh

…does that look as though it covers the bases for now?

If everyone’s happy with that, maybe it’s time to set up some separate threads to drill down by issue… :slight_smile:


I agree too but I think we could be in danger of getting a bit circular, if the problem is that those who speak Welsh already don’t use it, and that’s the reason more people don’t learn, and the reason they don’t use it is because not enough people have learned it …

And those people probably already count themselves as Welsh speakers on the census (or whatever measure they use). So the million target is to add to them.

I’m sure we can all as individuals do our bit to change attitudes, but as a community here would it be be better to focus on getting more people to learn? And why ‘warm targets’ are not learning already.

Or is this getting ahead of the discussion? (Edit: cross posted with Aran, who has summarised nicely!)


hehe … :slight_smile:

Is there anything we can do to change negative attitude thward the language as I see quite many people have that attitude?


Well there in lies the challenge :smile:


That’s what I wanted to hear now just to figure out how to approach to this challenge and we’re set to tackle it! :slight_smile:


If you can think of any potential solutions here, they’d be a good fit for the ‘magic bullet’ thread… :slight_smile:


That’s showing as a ‘not logged in recently’ - which usually means we haven’t got the right one - sorry to be a pain, but can I ask you to log in to Trello and double double check that is the bit in the brackets that shows if you scroll over your profile pic? :slight_smile:


This. I get the feeling that there is a lot of un-done research that would be genuinely helpful, and a lot of un-collected statistics, especially in education, that would genuinely improve things, but that are avoided in case they give the “wrong” message.


Good luck with that one, Dave! If Westminster ever accepts anything but English from MPs -(unless it’s sign language from a deaf member) I will expect herds of pigs to be doing aerobatics around both houses, 10 Downing Street, and BH as well!
@Novem many of us learned some Danish and Swedish that way! (and forgot it again!) Maybe Icelandic too, or is that Danish?)


At some stage we’ll have to see Welsh as an “essential” skill for jobs


Well, here’s a start:


Would you accept the amendment “for most jobs”. There are some jobs for which you need a larger pool of applicants than the pool of Welsh speakers.


I agree and it’s a statement I’ve had “conversations” about. I’m not 100% sure how I feel personally but can see the bigger picture. Like physio - I wouldn’t have learnt Welsh without getting a job in Wales, so we face a conundrum…


Weles i hynny :smile:


Good point, Anthony. My own specific concern is with mental health specialists and, of course, physicists with experience in Inelastic Electron Tunnelling Spectroscopy. I know of one who is semi-competent in Welsh but he is retired. :smile:


Caveat: I’ve never been to the UK, nor have I ever spoken Welsh with another speaker. My Welsh speaking/writing has entirely been confined to SSiW lessons, Duolingo, and this forum. So feel free to dismiss anything I say here because I’m probably not qualified to have an opinion.

However, I want to expand on something that Kate touched on briefly:

This “all or nothing” is a really important point for beginners such as me, whose standard of Welsh so far is even less than “getting by”.

When you all talk about learners speaking Welsh with native speakers, what kind of expectation do you have? (By “you”, I mean both you within SSiW and you as members of the wider Welsh-speaking community.) Do you feel that we should speak entirely in Welsh, however poor our grammar or however wrong our mutations or whatever, and if we just can’t find the Welsh words we need, we should give up the attempt and say that whole sentence in English instead?

The reason I ask is that I have an uncomfortable feeling that I shouldn’t find a conversational partner and try out my Welsh until I know far more Welsh than I do now. I don’t want to make stilted conversation about old dogs and young cats and buying beer and playing rugby. That’s fine for lessons, but I want to talk about the real things going on in my life, and I’d probably feel much braver and give it a go in Welsh if I knew that people wouldn’t mind my throwing in English words or phrases whenever I don’t know the Welsh for what I want to say.

For example, suppose I’d made an appointment with the vet for tomorrow. Would a conversational partner mind if I said, “Bydda i’n cymryd fy gath i’r vet prynhawn fory”? I don’t know the Welsh for “vet”. I don’t know whether the rest of my sentence is even grammatical. It’s only my best attempt, and is probably full of errors anyway, even without the word “vet”.

But I might be willing to give it a try, basically saying whatever I’d otherwise be saying in English, whatever is relevant to my real-life situation, but replacing the English with as much Welsh vocabulary and structure as I can squeeze in - if I knew the person I’m speaking to wouldn’t mind.

This is how I have conversations in my own head. Often it’s a sentence with a LOT of English - maybe even mostly in English - with only a smidgen of Welsh because that’s all I know at this stage.

What stops me having these conversations with a real live person is a concern that they might think I’m defiling their language by switching back and forth like this. But I feel that if I wait until I’m confident enough never to need to switch to English, then I’ll be waiting forever…

Can anyone else relate to this? Could “all Welsh, or nothing” be a reason why more Welsh learners don’t take the plunge and try out their Welsh in a real Welsh-speaking community?


This is perfectly ok. Thats how most conversations with Welsh speakers go.

I would say that a very large number of Welsh speakers have a larger vocabulary in English than Welsh. This may change as Welsh becomes more prevalent.

If you listen to Tudur Owen or Tommo on the Radio they often ask “Be’ ydy’r Gymraeg…” Asking “what’s the Welsh for…” And they’re fluent, mamiaith etc.