SSi Forum

What next after level 3?


#1

Hi all,
I’ve just finished Level 3 North and was wondering what to do for the best now to continue my learning.

I have already been listening to the Advanced level conversations and really enjoy them. I do though feel I learn best through the standard lessons I’ve completed in levels 1-3. I was wondering if there were any plans for a level 4 in the future?

I did complete the old course 3 a few years ago so I’m thinking of trying a few lessons from that again just to see how much of it has stuck. I will also continue listening to the Advanced level and will try and spend more time doing the recommended listen-read-listen approach.

If anyone else has any advice on what they’ve done to continue their learning after completing level 3 it would be gratefully received!

Diolch


#2

Congrats @draig_wrecsam

So, you must be getting good by now :wink:

I spoke and listened as much as possible - I went to the local SSIW meeting, do you have one?.. I read non-literary books which I found consolidated and stretched what I knew and found a ‘cheat’ on the BBC Fwy website which really gave me a boost listening to Radio Cymru. See here

Edit: Whoops - just realised that whilst you could get there by clicking on another link, that wasn’t the direct link I thought it was. Click here to get straight to the Radio Cymru link.

Keep up the good work!

Rich :slight_smile:


#3

This links in to a chat I was having with some Bwtcampers recently. We have never really intended to go further than level 3 with formal courses (although ‘never’ is a malleable word…!), but have always wondered what else we could teach.

The problem is that level 1 and 2 get you from nothing to loads of Welsh, and able to get amongst them and and use your new language. Level 3 is very much an ‘icing on the cake’ level, een though it introduces a lot of new and useful material. There are diminishing returns in learning through a ‘formal’ course, with the danger that a lot of it could be stuff that you are familiar with anyway.

Which is where my Bwtcamp conversation come in.

Because what I hear is that there are lots of little things that people aren’t sure of, that they hear, but can’t quite use, and that the know of, but haven’t got to grips with. In the olden days (ie until 18 months ago) many (mosy?)people took a few years to get to the end of level 3 and course 3, and hearing about people getting there in 9 months was an extraordinary thing, but with that now being normal, we are fast tracking you into situations where you have plenty of language but very little experience.

So - I’ll ask the question here because I think it’s becoming more and more relevant, the more people complete the 6 (9) and soon the 12 (18) month routes.

What would people like to see in a level 4? A few ideas:

What things can’t you say that you want to?
What things do you know about in Welsh, but don;t know how to use?
What gaping holes )if any) have caught you out as you are having conversations with ‘real’ people (ie people who haven’t learnt exactly the same stuff as you on SSiW)?
What patterns have come up in advanced listening material that you’ve thought ‘Ŵŵŵ, I like that - I wonder how you use it’?

Remember, we are talking about patterns and cultural uses etc rather than vocabulary as such. I’m sure there are ways that we could teach you vocabulary as well, but that would be going down a rabbit hole of work for less and less return again.

Thoughts?


#4

Hi @Iestyn,

I pre-dated the structured courses - just - but loved the challenges and whipped through them…and confirm it is a funny feeling when you realise there are no more.

The levels felt a bit like a series of ladders, or even ski lifts to me!.,they progressively take you up to higher and higher levels from where you can practice and learn by yourself! …and in this sense they help you get started - initially of course - and then after that, help you to help yourself.

So post level 3, I was looking for the next lift up to the higher slopes…and I would confess that this was by far the most difficult stage of learning for me.

I read and spoke as much as I could, but in the context of this topic, I used the advanced content - which came out shortly after I had run out of level 3 to do - and radio Cymru.

Continuing to murder the ski slope analogy both of these were significantly higher up the hill than I was at the end of level 3…side stepping up to reach them was tough and slow !

So my suggestions for level 4 would be;

  • Something which bridges the gap into the advanced Sgwrs and level 3 - possibly by having a set of easier Sgwrs at the beginning of the course which dovetails with the vocab in the level 4 ie meets in the middle.

  • Something which allows you to break through with Radio Cymru which generally can be very hard to understand when you are a learner. From the point when you can understand Radio Cymru - you are on the route to the top of the mountain!

Personally I chose the news - Post Cyntaf and Post Prynhawn - because there is a repeated vocab - everyday you learn a bit, come back the next day and learn some more.

Secondly, there is plenty of conversation to listen to of course (you don’t have to wait for the record to finish!).

Thirdly, and possibly the most important, it gives you the next level of conversation when talking to a Cymro- “did you hear about such an such?.,”. current affairs I suppose (sounds a bit posh!).

So…something which gives you a start on phrases, sentences and typical grammar associated with: accidents and incidents, governments, spokesmen of behalf of the police, government, births, deaths, marriages, assembled members, judges, charges, arrests, votes…etc, etc

Both of these things would allow people to continue to help themselves - hooking them up to the next ski lift!

I’ll make a small apology right now for this analogy. :grimacing:

Just a couple of ideas of course…and what do I know? :crazy_face:

Rich :slight_smile:


#5

Hi there - I would very much recommend the Advanced Content - but I wouldn’t I, as I’m the one producing it! There are chats of various lengths on various topics with a transcript and translation provided, and a thread on each on the forum. Try a couple of them and see how you go…


#6

I finished level three and was in the same position and living in london, so relatively few opportunities to speak face to face per se. What really helped was when I moved to cardiff and started having more one on one chats with people. This has mainly been in chat groups, coffi a chloncs, anything that has an aspect of Cymraeg in it I am taking if I can. It’s really helping fill out the vocab! Reading has really really helped too. I basically force myself to read BBC news everyday and try and learn a few new words that come up all the time. You then hear them in conversations and can sort of make out what people are saying.


#7

:+1: me too @martinarnold

Rich :slight_smile:


#8

Also, I think the message at the end of Level three is absolutely on point. It’s about how much you want to make Cymraeg a part of your life. I know that’s obviously easier said than done if you aren’t in wales! I am counting on the osmosis effect and hoping my brain does some unconscious learning on my behalf during these conversation groups!


#9

…I guess you are listening to the news reports too on Radio Cymru / podcasts?

Rich :slight_smile:


#10

I’d like to chime in with a few points. As someone who’s learned a good few languages now, I’ve realised that in order to get to higher levels of fluency in a language, there comes a point when you have to actually immerse yourself in the actual real life language, make it a part of yourself and your life, and live as much of your life through it as you can. It is not enough to rely on a language course to do all the work for you.

Of course, when we start out in a new language we have no, or very little, knowledge of that language and therefore we need one or more courses in order to teach us the grammatical structure and a core vocabulary so that we can get a foot into the door of the language. Then once we have this foundation, we can explore it deeper and integrate it more into our life, gradually building up more and more vocabulary, phrases and confidence with structures until we reach fluency.

In practical terms, that means that you need to focus on the 4 key language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. So that means reading books, articles, news etc, practicing speaking and writing with other Welsh speakers/learners, and listening to/watching as much content as you can (be that tv, radio, internet videos, podcasts, audio books, etc). All these things can be done even if you don’t live in Wales, thanks to the internet and the amazing digital technology we have access to these days.

SSI Welsh is truly brilliant - it absolutely does work, and it does take you to an excellent level and give you the structures and vocab you need in order to be able to live a lot of your everyday life through Welsh, but even the best language courses can only take you so far.

Of course, immersing yourself in the language in the ways I’ve suggested doesn’t mean you can’t still use language courses too. You absolutely can and should seek out and work through as many Welsh learning materials as you want to. All I’m saying is that studying a language with courses alone isn’t enough if you want to reach true fluency. If you want to reach that level where a language becomes part of you and you can use it effortlessly, you need to surround yourself with the real life language in addition to whatever courses you’re using.

You can still keep coming back to SSI Welsh in order to review and consolidate what it teaches you, as mastery of the basic structures of a language is the foundation your knowledge of it is built upon, i.e. go through the review lessons, read the attached vocab/structures lists with each challenge, and do the listening exercises. Then by immersing yourself in Welsh, you’ll see these structures and vocab come up in real life use and it’ll further consolidate everything into your memory.

In terms of learning more vocabulary, I’d like to recommend 2 courses that I feel are an excellent addition to SSI Welsh. The first is Linkword Welsh, and the other is ‘200 Words A Day Welsh’. Both these courses utilise the concept of mnemonics in order to quickly learn around 800 - 1000 everyday words (including memorising the genders of nouns, which is one thing that makes learning Welsh tricky). Couple this with SSI Welsh and you should have an amazing foot in the door to Welsh.

In terms of reading, if you haven’t already looked into it I’d like to suggest the bi-monthly Welsh learner’s magazine ‘Lingo Newydd’, available in print or as a digital version from the Golwg360 app. Every page also has audio of the text, spoken by a real Welsh speaker. I’ve only just started using it myself, and it’s proving an excellent resource to better my reading and listening comprehension skills in Welsh.

I’ve also started going through the old Welsh learning tv series, ‘Now You’re Talking’ - all the episodes are available free on Youtube, and it is another resource that compliments SSI Welsh very well I think. Finally, I also found the old SSI Welsh courses to be excellent too, so you might consider going through them in addition the the new challenges.


#11

Excellent to see my Welsh teacher on the forum!
As an idea, how about ways to start and end conversations? - I am thinking of things like “Isn’t it a lovely/sunny/cloudy/rainy day today,” or maybe, “That’s a nice Welsh scarf you have there - where did you get it from?” For endings, things like, “It was so nice to meet you and thanks for your advice - so it’s just around the corner then?” or even, “I’m so sorry, I have to go or I’ll miss that train!” Just examples off the top of my head - I’m sure there are other better ones!

For gaping holes, for me it’s definitely saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in all their forms (faced with “T’isho?” recently, I had no idea how to respond, though that was also partly because I started out with the SSiW South challenges)!

And from the advanced content, I would say it’s the ‘tense’ endings which I can often recognise but have almost no chance of producing (like many learners, I stick to the periphrastic formations almost 100% of the time because I simply have no idea how to form the others, even though I can recognise them when presented).

PS As another idea, perhaps this warrants a thread of its own?


#12

The tricky balancing act here - because it’s no longer particularly complicated for me to add the structures for post-Level 3 content - is that as several people have said already, there comes a time when you really need to jump out of the nest - by the end of Level 3, you DEFINITELY have the Welsh you need to survive in real conversations, and the more you put them off, the slower you’ll go - which is not what we’re trying to achieve!.. :slight_smile:


#13

Oh yes certainly. RC is on most days and I always tune into to Lisa Gwilym and Georgia Ruth’s evening shows. They are really good for picking up lingo for talking about bands and music, which I do a lot in Sais anyway!


#14

So here’s my point of view as someone who did up to Level 3 in about 2 years who also

  • Was also lucky enough to get a couple of hours a week of pub chat in Cymraeg when I was still not very practiced
  • Then went to bwtcamp

I found the listening really difficult for quite a while. Not so much understanding what other people were saying to me in conversations, but understanding Radio Cymru, speeches or meetings I ended up going to. What I have found is that since doing the Advanced listening excercises (and without a disciplined routine either) I’ve found gogs in particular much easier to understand, and I’m limited only by vocab.

As Aran says, vocab probably isn’t the role of SSiW at that point, but I’d love to learn more idiom (there’s loads and loads on parallel.cymru but I won’t learn it without regular usage!) and maybe it could be worth doing a lesson each on certain situations? For example, cooking a meal in the kitchen or other very common situations where there nevertheless lots of words I probably don’t know yet.

One thing that might be my own laziness is that I’m still not 100% familiar with which verbs use the ’ dw i’n eich weld chi’ or why, or the wedi’ei dileu construction, so the passive construction and ‘ownership of verbs’.


#15

From my experience speaking Welsh these days, the one thing that would get my fluency skyrocket is pretty much in line with what many polyglots said:
Being really strong and fast on tenses and all kind of “connectors” (e.g before, since, actually, in my opinion, if, that…).

Looks like my point of view goes quite on the opposite direction than many people here, but we’ll… My favourite “intensive training appendix to level 3” would not include add new vocabulary at all.

Just dozens of short sentences like:
I should go and ask her
Will you answer before she goes out?
I didn’t think I’d like this
That’s what she said he’d enjoy
Did they bring enough to drink before they went
We never want to eat that again
Would you give her enough time, so that she doesn’t have to run?
I didn’t have any of those
He had spent two years learning before he moved
I would if i could
He’d go so that he doesn’t get left behind
They make me laugh a lot

I would loooove something like this!


#16

I think what I might like, structure-wise, that I

would be sentences where the word order is changed for emphasis – not just things like questions with Ai… but also just simple stuff like 'Mond siarad o’n i sort of thing. Something I just don’t say naturally, but understand when I come across it. Also, I’ve still never quite got the hand of actually saying Welais i mo’r gath; and question and sentence tags, like 'sti and ti’mod.


#17

Thank you all for your thoughts and advice, it is much appreciated. It’s also nice to see that I’m not the only one who feels the same after completing level 3. I will definitely be checking out all your recommendations.

At the moment I am redoing the old course 3 and finding it useful. Although I have remembered 60-70% of the patterns there are definitely gaps and it does seem a useful exercise. Is it just my imagination too or is the old course 3 more difficult than level 3 - the gaps between the English and Welsh definitely seem shorter anyway! The 30 minute lessons also fit in perfectly with my day as I tend to complete them in the car on the way to and from work.

I am also listening to the advanced content and finding them extremely useful and interesting. It’s amazing the difference between the amount of language I understand (and don’t understand!) between 2 episodes. I think listening to different accents and speeds of speech is definitely helping me. I know at some point I’m going to have to make the time to sit down and go for the listen-read-listen approach so that I pick up new vocabulary. I suppose I’m at the stage of my learning where I need to take ownership of my learning - it’s just finding a new routine that is manageable and effective.

If there ever was a level 4 I would echo what a few others have mentioned as useful - most definitely idioms and language for specific social situations.

I do also watch lots on S4C and to a lesser extent, listen to Radio Cymru. In fact I’d say I’m now watching more TV in Welsh than English. I was pleasantly surprised the other day how much I understood watching Pobl y Cwm without subtitles. I think I’m definitely at the stage where I need to take the subtitle ‘arm bands’ off more and seeing if I can stay float!

I think I’m doing lots to practise my listening skills but now need to find more time for speaking, especially now that I’ve finished the level 3 lessons. I do need to start making time for conversations on google hangout as this is something I haven’t tried yet.

Thanks all again for your help, I’ll keep you updated with how I get on!


#18

Definitely would like to go beyond level 3 (though I am only on lesson 2 of south ar hyn o bryd). I know it’s that revisiting of old stuff but putting it into a new context that really helps me, just building the structures of the language and widening the context. It’s also just the notion of having a next level to strive to is also great, I know I have so much more to learn because I live in a Welsh speaking community so practise is easy to find but I just still lack the basics at times. So for example I’ve a 6 year old who’s going through school in the medium of Welsh and I want to be able to help him with his homework so we’ve been doing maths out loud in Welsh - which is challenging when you realise you don’t know the word for times, add, subtract, equals… etc. Random - midday - mid work thoughts…


#19

Perhaps more Welsh into English. It’s listening that I and I’m told most learners find difficult. And interestingly, I’ve noticed that even when I can translate a sentence from Welsh into English, as in SSIW, when I hear the same sentence or vocabulary in Welsh I sometimes struggle to understand it. The Advanced listening makes a big jump from level 3 with lots of new vocabulary structures and colloquial expressions such that listening can be discouraging.
Anyone else experience this?
Anyway, I hope that helps.


#20

I think post Level 3 should be something entirely different, I was going to say ‘on a completely different level’ but that is what we are talking about. As Aran says, somewhere for us all to jump out of the nest but with someone/something looking out for us. So, what about developing something around the use of Welsh in shops etc as a natural thing to do for all learners but also bringing in the first language speakers too. I don’t think wearing badges goes deep enough, what about outlets signing up to a ‘mission statement’ eg they will use Welsh to kids from Welsh schools even if the kids respond in English; they will endeavour to speak Welsh to a learner even if difficult; they will pay for a SSiW for any staff who don’t speak Welsh; they will ensure that even English speaking staff will greet someone speaking Welsh with a Welsh reply (sori, dw i ddim siarad Cymraeg, wyt ti’n iawn siarad Saesneg da fi) etc etc. I am glad I speak Welsh but I never taught my kids it and I want to feel that I can make a positive contribution even if it is just being heard speaking Welsh when asking for a pint in a pub.