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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!