SSi Forum

What are the problems? What needs to happen differently?


Fluent speakers absolutely throw in English here and there. It’s utterly fine.

I do it loads. When I’m lucky the person I’m speaking too wil l then use the equivalent Welsh in the rest of the conversation and I can sneakily pick it up.

The very best and most helpful people will do so deliberately! (All the SSIW criw are fab at doing that and I’ve one or local local Welsh speaking friends who are really good at it too)

Maybe work does need to be done removing that stigma of not being able to get it all out in Welsh though.

There was something similar “Your Welsh is good enough” was the slogan but I can’t remember the detail. Was it the Mudiad Meithrin?


This was really good when it was live but never got out of beta and now even the beta is gone. I don’t know why.

You could click about differen pt job roles and it’d spit out a verdict on the lines of “really really ought to have at least basic welsh and intermediate would be desirable” or “verbal and written fluency essential” or so forth.

It was mapped to the Comon European Framework for Reference for Languages and a list of “can do” statements.

There was a learner assessment tool as well. I don’t know why that project didn’t come to anything - it was all over every education meeting and conference I went to for two yearsthen vanished to an archived webpage!


vet is milfeddyg, A doctor is meddyg, an animal is anifeiliaid. It looks suspiciously as if milfeddyg comes from a sort of Wenglish mix! But as everyone says, mixing is what everyone does!
To @hewrop I would certainly think that a mental health specialist particularly needs to speak the same language as the patient, and that includes the sort of words the patient knows, depending on age and education!


I would certainly think that a mental health specialist particularly needs to speak the same language as the patient,

Speaking from bitter experience, I can confirm that speaking Welsh is not a sufficient qualification for this crucial post. It is clearly desirable especially for older patients who are still more comfortable in Welsh than in English but not, in my view essential. My point stands that for certain crucial appointments we need a wider pool of applicants that the half million or so who are fluent in Welsh.

As a fellow scientist, you will be familiar with the concept of “critical mass”. In certain areas, I don’t accept that the whole of Wales, let alone its fluent Welsh speakers provides that critical mass.



aha! Welsh Grand Committee! But diolch, I stand corrected! No pig aerobatics detected!


This would indeed be a useful resource worthy of revival. Identification of an essential qualification, sadly, does not guarantee availability.

An interesting example comes from Prifysgol Aberystwyth whose two most recent Vice-Chancellors were not Welsh speakers. Both undertook to learn Welsh after appointment but I have no knowledge of their success in that undertaking.

May I repeat my earlier agreement that Welsh could and should be identified as desirable and, when there is a sufficient pool of potential applicants, essential. My late uncle, a native Welsh speaker, was a much respected consultant in Cardiff’s Heath hospital. He was loved by his Welsh patients because of his caring bedside manner in their own language. I think they valued even more his considerable medical expertise.


Another barrier is the constant external negative attitude: learning Welsh? Ha, dead language innit?
It’s probably illegal to say something like that to Britain’s lovely immigrants from other counties about their own mother tongues.
We need a bit more pride from the rest of Britain about Welsh and a good helping of envy of the nice kind regarding that precious gift of education in an additional language.
And why does this Welsh have to stop at the border? It needs a welcome beyond the border.
And, for instance, if visiting a museum or whatever I’d like the person, if they speak Welsh, to naturally say everything twice, once in each language, like folks do in Europe. That won’t be possible for workers trying to meet targets of course but a quick bore da won’t hurt their stats.


This isn’t a given. Mental health nursing spans many skills and encompasses all forms of communication. A common language is important, of course, but the skill set of nursing is more important. Mental health is already under funded and under staffed so I think it’s a low priority for adding extra stipulations to it.


Guarantee to learn - is it ever policed? I will never forget the Returning Offucer for Sir Gar in 1977. He announced the result in Welsh first, but it sounded as if someone had written it down in block letters 'PEDWAR NAW EEN EEN PIMP ’ the spelling being how he sounded as if it had been written for him. I cannot quite remember how he mangled ‘chwech’ but I was cringing throughout! Was he fulfilling his promise to learn?


Although as stated above, what level of perfection is demanded? Is no Welsh better than bad Welsh? I don’t think so. We don’t cringe when non-English speakers are on telly, why not accept attempts at Welsh?


The provision of GCSE Second Language Welsh is mostly, on the whole, terrible throughout the whole of Wales.

Does anyone actually know anyone who has done the course, passed it - and went on to become a bona fide Welsh speaker (without external help?)

My wife did it, and passed it - and wasn’t able to utter a word with Welsh. Did SSIW 15 years later and now speaks it on a daily basis!


I’m sure you would too!


I noticed this concise saying somewhere on the web this morning: “Gwell Cymraeg slac na Saesneg slic” as an argument against pedantic folk who have conniptions when a mutation goes awry - can’t disagree


i think this is a really important point. Often people learn languages just to get by when travelling, however this is still an important skill set in any language.
I think we do realise that we learn Welsh to be fluent or close enough, to have real conversations and be able to fully engage with culture in the Welsh language. The advantage of being able to get by isn’t very huge in Welsh. Which is a mountain to climb (though a very pretty one).
To achieve a million speakers, or rather 500,000 new speakers will involve a lot of people at different stages and for those people to be able to use their Welsh and not overly a lump of melting jelly when using the language. The SSiW community does a lot for people learning, however the accessibility to using Welsh needs improvement/ expansion. Perhaps what we need is a way of rewarding those who get to getting by more and encouraging a commitment to the journey to fluency. I’m sure a lot of people do give up, because they lack the chance to use the Welsh they have learned.


Absolutely agree. And I believe that all learners have a responsibility here: by using Welsh wherever they can, in s small way, that will make Welsh more visible (wel, audible) and thus more accessible to everybody else.


I recently went to a one-day conference about Welsh in the workplace, and one of the points that was raised there was that a large proportion of employers (the majority, I think) sent their people on Welsh courses without any expectation for them to use the language in work afterwards - just really to tick that particular box to fulfill the requirements of the Standards.

So one of the biggest issues for the language is that knowledge isn’t matched by use, but the ‘use’ part is the hardest one to tackle. The best thing we can do is to use our language as much as possible - the government are doing a lot, but they can’t force people to use the language. Every ‘s’mae’ and ‘diolch’ has an effect.


I have a young friend at university who is 2nd language and went to an English-medium school whose Welsh is superb (so much so that she’s just got a job as a translator). So they do exist! But I think my friend is definitely an ‘outlier’.


The following is an e-mail conversation (real) between me and another Welsh learner, although now really a speaker:-
I think what needs to be done more than anything is an HONEST appraisal of the situation.People need to understand that whatever their personal feelings with regard SSIW, it currently is a bit part player in the big scheme of things.
OK, I agree!
What is required is a coordinated approach with the following:
ALL learning providers
The welsh government
Welsh language societies
Excellent point about Societies!
The fact is that many people do not feel comfortable or confident speaking Welsh in public. Equally Welsh has for a long time been given second status. I know only too well how my own lack of confidence hinders this yet I’m still determined to improve.
If you lack confidence, heaven help me!
There are very quick wins in showing how the language is important. If, for example, I shop in Aldi, I know before most of the people in the shop whether a till is opening or closing because they announce things in Welsh FIRST. This is an easy win with legislation. It shows that Welsh is important and that those of us who can understand do not have to wait for the English.
Like me hearing the Referendum on Devolution and knowing we’d just won before the Returning Officer for Sir Gar stopped mangling Cymraeg and gave the numbers in English!
Well, incentive is I think a very important thing – it means it is not compulsory. Compulsion will not work but showing that there is a difference to be had by understanding Welsh may mean people are more inclined to learn.
Well, I have suggested one free drink for anyone in a pub who orders in Welsh!
Seriously, on to Adult education. It matters not what course, for the figures are hideous. I would like to know how SSIW compares. Personally for those it has been a success for, it does provide a great platform for moving forward. However, it would be helpful to know just how many have started with Level 1/Course 1 and how many have gone on to subscribe. If this is a small percentage then all these ideas are just a VERY small number of learners voicing an opinion.
If many courses are like ours on Gower – why were they learning? 2 to understand Grandchildren who were at Welsh Medium school (not on Gower!), 1 (me)-trying to ‘keep my hand in’, rest, incomers with a vague interest but no real incentive.
What we need to do is to be honest about the state of adult education. If as I suspect it is mostly hobbyists or retirees we will do nothing other than increase the number of welsh speakers by a handful if that.
See above! In Swansea in evenings there were courses supported by employers, but I knew from experience the perils of that road at night in winter!
One of the problems here is the availability of courses – the majority are during the day! Pity the worker who wants to learn but has no access. It is a ridiculous situation – millions are ploughed into adult education for little return.
So Swansea in late 90s was unusual, or just a few employers got evening courses organised?
The courses themselves are also inaccessible to many – sure – many unemployed can access these course for free – but the SSIW 5 day intensives at out of the reach of nearly everybody. If SSIW as with other providers want to make welsh education available to all they need to find a model that is affordable for all.
As I said, folk’s fees were paid for by employers like Countryside Council and Local Government!
Personally, IF widespread support for welsh learning is a priority I would be looking at ways of providing education in the welsh language at an affordable cost. For SSIW I would argue that if they want to support the project, they have to make SSIW available for NOTHING provided the company owners get rewarded by the welsh government by doing so. Maybe a number of tutors can offer the intensive course for not profit provided they are paid by the government for doing so, in the same way teachers are paid for example. A programme across Wales offering this would be huge.
O.K. agree, all adult education in Welsh in Wales should be government funded.
Now onto the tricky thing…how do we reward SSIW for this. Well I think that by retaining the intellectual property of the course they have HUGE potential for future revenue. Also they could do this for a sum of say £60,000 per annum provided Aran and Iestyn offered 20 weeks of residential courses each with the commitment to train others in the SSIW method.
I guess an annual fee is more sensible than lots of little ones, but what do you do about drop-outs. On line education is difficult to fit into funding. Negotiation would be needed!
With regard the media, how about legislation in Wales that makes sporting events free to air on S4C – difficult overseas I know but a great potential for anything in Wales – provided of course that its made available in WELSH first.
With subtitles available, so folk can understand, do a bit of subliminal learning and have a huge incentive to learn properly! And S4C can do more teaching than it is doing just now!
I can think of lots more but best stop now!
That was enough for me, I’m quite mentally drained keeping up with you!


I appreciate you may be saying this in jest but in my opinion this needs to stop. We Nedd to be positive about all attempts to speak the language.