SSi Forum

What's your philosophy on the advanced content?


Helo bawb!

I’m trying to muster the strength to get back into the advanced content and have a couple big questions on methodology:

  1. How do you approach the transcript? Do you try to read at a normal pace without too much concern for your own translation/comprehension? Or do you slow down and try to work out and understand as much as possible?

  2. Essentially the same question for each chat as a whole. Do you repeat the process until you can mostly understand the audio, or do you move on to new chats pretty quickly?

  3. These are of course major time commitments. Do you break the work up in any particular way? And if so, how do you deal with the logistics of keeping track of your place in the audio, transcript, and translation as you go along?

I understand these likely come to down to preference, but they’re what I always get hung up on when trying to really engage with the advanced content, so I’m curious to get some feedback. Any other tips also welcome of course!



Helo Jake!

in case you haven’t seen it, you might start and have a look at this:

And if you search for “advanced content” in the forum you can find quite a few more that I’m not going to link here cause I don’t want to make it look overwhelming but if you’re curious and don’t find them, just ask!

Then I’m planning to go back to it after being very lazy for quite a long time :sweat_smile:
And I’ll be able to give a bit of fresh feedback and try to answer to your questions from after a few experiments!


@siaronjames I hate to single you out, but you’re too helpful not to! :hugs: any advice on these particular points?


Ummmm - I can only really go by instinct based on what I’ve heard others say (I haven’t done these exercises myself)

The key thing to remember is that everything is flexible enough to do in a way that suits you.

As far as reading the transcript goes, I would suggest that reading it aloud gives you extra benefit. Try (if you can bear it!) reading 3 transcripts: one at normal pace, one slower trying to understand everything and one aloud, and then see which you feel works best for you. Just don’t be tempted to read the transcripts (nor the translations) while you’re doing the listening.

With repeating the chats, I would say no, if you’re following Aran’s recommended pattern (in italics below) then move on once you’ve been through the pattern - you can always go back to a chat sometime in the future if you wish.

You could aim for absolute mastery over any particular recording - listening and reading over and over until you’ve absolutely mastered it. That will, though, be extremely time-consuming.

Your second approach - and what I (Aran here) recommend - is to have a consistent weekly pattern which goes:

Listen once - without reading anything
Read the transcript
Listen again - still without reading
Read the translation
Listen one last time - still without reading.

I really can’t offer much advice about the logistics of keeping track of your place in the audio, transcript, and translation as you go along but hopefully someone who’s managed to do that will come along and post.

Hope that’s of some help :crossed_fingers:


I’ll take this as an opportunity to summarize my experience - that I found often very helpful also to be more aware of improvement and keep myself motivated.

Sorry if it’s a bit too long, maybe, hopefully in my blabbering around my experience there’s also something you find useful!

My first attempt at working with Advanced content was when it all started. That is 3 months after I had started SSiW and, basically, learning Welsh - which was probably a bit of a stretch!

Back then, I simply tried to follow @aran’s basic instructions (reported above by @siaronjames):

First, I listened to the whole audio - even though I could catch just a few words, usually barely enough to guess the topics (but often source of hilarious misunderstandings, that actually helped keeping learning fun).

Then, I browsed the transcript, although having never tried to read other than Datblygu’s lyrics, I couldn’t make much sense of it. And knowing too little of mutations and verbs and basics to be able to find words in the dictionary either. It took too much effort to go in detail, so I just didn’t!

Therefore I just quickly moved on to reading the translation - occasionally keeping the transcription side by side to see if I could figure out some extra bits.

Finally, I listened to it all again, at this point being able to catch several more details of the stories - then feeling quite satisfied of the results anyway.

Sometimes I also listened to it all one more time, while doing my best to follow the transcript to start getting familiar with spelling that was very confusing for me (still is, but getting better).

I tried to do as much as possible in just one or two weekly sessions. However, being most interviews around 20-25 minutes it meant no less than 1-1,30 hour every time. Then, I often had to split it in two (usually, two different days).

I occasionally also tried to split them in smaller bits but it wasn’t very effective, because it took me too much time to get back into the right mindset and what was going on, and tune in with the Welsh language.

I would say that at that point I think the main benefit for me was improving my listening skills, since it was quite like listening to the radio, or a podcast, or someone speaking fluently - but unlike them, then being able to check what I thought I had understood by looking at the transcripts and translations, and see my mistakes or get a reminder for the words I knew I had heard before but couldn’t remember the meaning of.

I also started to get an idea of regional differences in accents and vocabulary - that was all new and interesting for me, as I couldn’t figure them out from random programmes on TV or radio.

And although not completely at a conscious level, I believe it helped me improve my sense of the language and its structures, as it is actually spoken.

I managed to work with it quite regularly until early next summer. At that point I decided to give a serious try to Level 3. It was already way too much effort and time for me to also keep on working with the Advanced content, so I stopped.

Since then just randomly listened to newer material but without much of a structure or plan, to be honest.

Now, almost 3 years since my first attempt, I’ve been to Wales (before the lockdown), started reading books, watched more programmes on S4C, occasionally listened to some radio, completed Duolingo course, been to a few Dysgu Cymraeg lessons (one as a guest in Aberteifi, and then a couple more on Zoom), wrote occasional postcards/messages/posts, and participated to several chat groups or one-to-one chats with other learners, and even passed a speaking test!

I took a bit of a break since June, for various reasons, but my plan is to carry on with Welsh. And experimenting with the Advanced content is one of the things I want to do next.

I’ve actually just recently restarted, and I’m still in a sort of self-assessment phase to decide how to go on.

Anyway, at the moment, this is what I’m doing/plan to do:

  1. Every week I pick a random interview from the Beca a’i Pobl series, according to inspiration: having listened to most of them once I give priority to topics, and vocabulary, I’m more interested in. Accent still counts, but by now I’ve learned a few variation and I am more flexible. And I’m also not too worried to get subconsciously gogged, and spoil my ambition to achieve the Honorary Cardi status!
  2. Each day (approximately, cause it might be less often sometimes or maybe more than once on the same day sometimes), I listen to about 5 minutes of it, while reading the transcription. Or first listen only, then listen again while following the transcription (that’s usually equivalent to about 1,5 - 2 pages). I stop at the end of a topic - so it’s just easy to remember where to start next time: new topic, about 5/10/15/20/25 minutes in.
  3. Right next, I read the translation - although I’m happy to see that at this point it’s usually just details in the story or unusual words that I’m missing. And oh I absolutely love to notice missing bits or changes in the transcription! (because they’re being said too fast, or do not add much, so it makes sense to leave them out but I’m amazed at being able to notice them and often understand them even while in the past I often got lost while trying to read along, or couldnt’t tell where one word started and finished and the next one started!).
    Sometimes I keep the transcription and the translation side by side, and read them both at the same time.
    Sometimes I listen to the audio while reading the translation - that’s a bit like watching videos with English subtitles and helps me especially with sounds/words I recognize but can’t recall the meaning. Or identifying new words in otherwise familiar sentences.
  4. Sometimes I listen to the whole bit one more time, without reading anything, and see how my understanding has improved.

The main advantage of this is that I can do the whole process in 15 to 30 minutes, that’s easier to sneak in at some point in the day. And I keep my attention more focused.

I have a few more ideas I’m going to try later on, and maybe write an update here, but for now this is what I’m going to try and stick to for now!

Pob lwc!


This is enormously helpful. Diolch yn fawr iawn iawn!


Wow thanks so much for the detailed reply! It seems that there are a lot of little tweaks and different ways to approach this, which is somewhat maddening to me as I’m the type of person who wants specific instructions. But thanks to Siaron’s and your replies, I feel much better about moving forward.

Before this, I was basically going through my welsh dictionary and creating a little challenge recording for each new word, coming up with a sentence, recording with a gap between English and welsh, etc just like SSIW. It works decently, and I love the speaking practice, but I think that having a serious go at the advanced content will be better for my learning.


Hi all! I though pop onto the thread to say hi and to congratulate anyone who manages the longer advanced content pieces! I have very little to add to the fantastic contributions that have already been posted, but just to say that there are shorter pieces by our guest contributers - Daniel, Bethan and Luke - so maybe you can mix up the longer pieces with the shorter ones to combat any fatigue! The shorter pieces only have vocab as opposed to a full transcript, and are designed to wean you off the transcript eventually…! :wink:


Helô, I am a bit more haphazard than Gisela, but on an almost daily basis will often have the Beca sgwrsiau on when I am out walking or working around the house - without worrying about the transcripts.


I’m trying to do this watching s4c clic, same method, watch a programme, watch again the next day with Welsh subtitles, watch with English subtitles the day after, then watch again, there are a few programmes that last for about 23 minutes


That’s a great idea. How’s it going?


It works great, I think!
I used to to it a lot especially in the beginning, and in smaller blocks or even stopping and listening and re-listening with or without subs a minute at a time or even sentence by sentence.
“Parti bwyd Beca”, “Bois y Pizza” and also “Deian a Loli” were/are among my favorites.

Advanced content is one step further in complexity because they speak faster, non-stop and just like for radio, with audio -only you don’t have visual clues.

But I have to admit that TV programmes are always very enjoyable!

p.s. oh I forgot that my more recent attempt with Parti Bwyd Beca was transcribing the dialog myself.
It’s another tip I heard from online polyglots, and I had started with Aberteifi (wrth gwrs!), but takes quite a lot of time and it went off availability before I could make a full page!
But I know it will be back!


In that case, it’s a good job S4C have extended their online streaming for more recent programmes up from 35 days to 150! :wink: :joy:


Yes! Expecially for us learners trying to figure out every detail of what’s going on and is being said! :smiley:


I love it when I recognise a word or sentence that I’ve been learning and thought to myself I’m never going to use that lol, and then I see it everywhere