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SaySomethingInWelsh is a course that focuses on helping people learn to speak and understand Welsh, and avoids wasting time on complicated grammar rules and reading/writing. Based on the latest research in language learning, the course provides downloadable MP3 files for free. The entire introductory course of 25 lessons, the practice sessions and vocabulary units are all entirely free of charge. Give it a go and you'll be speaking Welsh in no time =)
Because this is a new approach to learning a language, we advise you to start from lesson one whether you're a total beginner or an experience learner. The important things to remember are:
1. Don't worry! You learn better when you're relaxed, so don't be a perfectionist, and enjoy each lesson =)
2.Try to practice regularly. SSIW provides practice speaking and listening sessions you can use for this (the listening is particularly important). Making up your own sentences and listening to Welsh radio both help too. Practicing small chunks regularly (preferably daily) will be more helpful to you than doing large chunks less often..
3. Speak first, read and write later. Reading and writing are important skills, but before you know how to speak and understand the language, they can actually hinder progress. Your mind naturally interprets the things you read and it can have a subconscious effect on the way you pronounce words. It's very important therefore that you get on board with the SSIW principle of learning to speak and understand Welsh first of all.
4. Use the forum. Don't forget to make use of the friendliest forum on the internet, the SSIW Forum.
North and South Wales have different dialects- but a person from North Wales and a person from South Wales are perfectly able to converse normally. No matter which you choose to learn, you will be able to talk to Welsh people from all over Wales. So don't be put off. =)
Ultimately it is your personal choice which to learn, but common sense would suggest you learn the one you are most likely to come into contact with and use. If there really is no way for you to choose, you might want to download the first lesson of both versions and decide which you prefer.
If you'd like a bit more help deciding which one to go for, here's a thread where you can outline your circumstances and people will give you advice on which one to go for. =)
You may be wondering what the best way to use all these materials is. Iestyn and Aran have helpfully provided guides to answer precisely this question!
Using SSIW: Hints and Tips [PDF]
Crossing the bridge from learning to using Welsh [PDF]
The 'Crossing the bridge' report talks about building a Raw Materials List to help your study. Members of SSiW have already created such lists for the first two courses, and you can find links to them below in the section about Lesson Guides.
Here's a helpful Tick List that you can print out to remind yourself to keep going with the activities described in those reports.
There is also a wiki page dedicated to the question of How to use SSIW.
The focus of the course is speaking Welsh, and it's important to give this the priority. There is a Reading and Writing section on the forum, that comes with the following request:
"If you are a beginner, please avoid this forum for the time being. NOT because you won't be able to understand it - we're sure you'd be able to understand a lot.
"But because SEEING Welsh words, instead of HEARING them, will almost certainly do REAL damage to your accent - because, quite normally, you'll subconsciously try and pronounce the letters in the way that you're used to with English. Which won't work!"
Sioe Siarad was SSIW's monthly half an hour long talk show hosted by Aran and Iestyn. It was available to people who have become paying members of SSIW. The show made use of a free website called Vokle which you can join for free. It ran monthly for several months until various difficulties and distractions ended it. A few similar meetings were organized by others on SSiW, but none has been done for some time now.
Since then, the "Hangout" at Google+ has appeared and seems to be a better way to do this. We hope to start having regular Google+ hangouts, like the one we had at the birthday party in January. But don't wait for someone else to organize one! If you are on Google+ you can organize a Hangout yourself!
Making SSIW available through an App makes it very easy for iPhone and iPad users to get the course in a convenient format without having to do lots of manual downloads and playlists. It also allows us to use the hardware features of the device to offer the 'listen' feature to make learning even easier.
The courses are recorded with an ideal gap for you to speak when it's your turn. When you're learning,
though, it can be hard to answer within the slot. You can pause and then play again when you've answered
but this is inconvenient particularly if your doing something else and can't easily use your hands. The
listen mode uses the device or headset microphone to wait for you to finish speaking before moving the
The mode is activated by pressing the 'Listen' button so that it illuminates blue. When the lesson reaches a gap, the main play button will display a microphone to indicate that it is listening. The background will be grey if your voice is not detected and blue when it is. When you stop speaking, the lesson will resume within 2 seconds. If your voice is not detected then it will automatically move on after 5 seconds anyway. Even if you are talking, the app will wait a maximum of 10 seconds for you to finish.
The app is designed to cancel out background noise so it should work in a range of environments but we don't recommend that you attempt to learn new lessons whilst driving as it can be quite demanding.
Unfortunately the listen feature doesn't work reliably on iOS 4 so it is disabled on these devices. If you want to use this feature then please upgrade to a later version of iOS.
The lesson notes are only available after you've completed the lesson. This is to ensure that you have recognised the sound of the new vocabulary before you see it written down.
The app keeps the downloaded lessons in the app caches directory, this means that if your device gets low on storage some lessons may be deleted from the device to free up space. If you want to listen to the lesson again then just download it again - the app will remember that you've already listened to it.
You can't delete lessons but iOS will automatically remove older lessons if you get low on storage space. If you really want to clear out lessons then delete the app and re-install it from the AppStore.