Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the SSIW Frequently Asked Questions, intended to be a collection of useful information.
For new users, there are some How To guides, which will give you invaluable information about using SaySomethinginWelsh to get the best possible results. Click on the title to read the guide.
- HowTo #1: Get Started
- HowTo #2: Join the SSiW Community
- HowTo #3: Learn Welsh the SSiW Way
- HowTo #4: Make Time to Learn
If you'd like to read our guide on reaching fluency, please click here: Becoming Fluent
If you'd like to find out why we built SaySomethinginWelsh, please click here: SSiW History
If you have a specific question, take a look at the list below. if your question isn't there, ask on our forum.
If you have a specific question, take a look at the list below. if your question isn't there, click on Ask at the top of the page, and get an answer on our forum.
What is SaySomethinginWelsh?
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 experienced 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.
Should I learn northern or southern Welsh?
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 copy of a thread from the old forum where people offered some good advice.
What do members get and how do I become one?
Members are very important to the future and growth of SSIW. Members get access to all the course materials available- including Course 2 and Course 3, daily practice sessions and practice sessions for the entire introductory course, and daily practice sessions for the entire intermediate course, in return for paying a small fee each month.
You can become a member by clicking on your name in the top right and choosing "Subscription". You will need to have an account on the site first - if you don't have one, click here to sign up. Thanks for your support!
What is the best way to study?
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!
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.
What is the SSiW Google Map and where can I find it?
The SSIW Googlemap is where each member of SSIW can have their location put on a world map. This helps you to find Welsh learners near where you live.
The map can be found here.
How do I get myself on the SSiW Google Map?
What are the forum guidelines?
The official guidelines are as follows (to quote Aran):
- No personal attacks, and that's our most strictly enforced rule.
- Be nice!
- Please do NOT correct other people's Welsh unless they have specifically asked to be corrected.
If you would be grateful for any corrections, please put a note in your signature saying something like 'All corrections welcomed'...:)
And that's about it. Just use your common sense, and try and make sure that you being here makes it a nicer place for other people... :D
Where can I find the lesson guides and how should I use them?
The lesson guides simply list the words (in Welsh) used in the lessons. It's important that you only use these guides AFTER listening to the lesson. Looking at these before or during a lesson will be detrimental to your learning progress! However, many people find them useful for clarifying exactly what they've heard, which is fine.
You can find them here (in PDF format):
What if I have a question?
As you go through the course, you will almost definitely have lots of questions. You'll also come across the occasional headache - that is a natural part of learning a new language! Since the very start of SSiW, one of our proudest achievements has been the forum, which is warm, welcoming, friendly and is a huge source of useful information.
You will always get useful answers by clicking on Forum at the top of the page.
But there's also a huge amount of information on our old forum, which you can access here.
What if I have a technical problem?
Just like any other quesions, you can ask your technical questions on our forum. You can either search to see if your question has already been asked and answered, or else you can create a new topic by clicking "Create Topic" in the top right, and ask your question there.
How can I help spread the word about SSiW?
What is Bootcamp?
Bootcamp is a week of speaking nothing but Welsh. With at least two leaders and a maximum of 10 SSIWers per bootcamp, you will spend the week in hostel like accommodation, sharing meals, doing various activities and speaking nothing but Welsh. This is an excellent way to develop your Welsh.
In order to go on bootcamp you must have completed the introductory course, and the Bootcamp vocab units. This is to ensure everyone gets the most out of it. You can find out more about Bootcamp here.
How do I type Welsh characters?
Welsh vowels sometimes have a circumflex or to bach (literally meaning 'little roof'). For instance the â in the word cân (song) or ŵ in dŵr (water). There are a number of ways of going about getting these characters for your everyday usage.
In Windows, you can use Character Map to find the character, and if it's one you need to use a lot you can keep it on the clipboard and paste it in whenever you need it. Also on Word and Wordpad you can use certain keystrokes to obtain the to bach on a,e,i,o and u for example, Ctrl+^ (or Ctrl+Shift+6) and then the letter. However this will not work for y and w which are also Welsh vowels (but not English vowels) and is also a little inconvenient.
There's a free software program called To Bach which allows Welsh characters to be accessed by pressing Alt Gr and then the letter, or if you have a US keyboard, Ctrl+Alt and then the letter. This tends to be the preferred method as it is free, quick and easy to use and works across different applications (for instance, Wordpad, Firefox etc.) Unfortunately, users in the US have not had success getting it to work with their keyboards.
If you use a Mac, there is an excellent Welsh keyboard layout which comes with OS X. Just go to System Preferences, Keyboard, and then Input Sources, and then you can add the Welsh layout to the list on the left using the little + button below the list. Once it's set up, you can get a to bach by simply holding alt (also known as the "option" key) while typing a vowel.
There is a handy online application called Typeit which allows you to type in Welsh characters, fonts designed for use with the Welsh language can be found here and for Firefox users, there is an add-on called abcTajpu which gives you access to Welsh (and other) characters.
How can I get more speaking practice?
There are lot of learners (particularly from outside Wales) who find it hard to get speaking practice. It's worth having a look on the map to see if there is anyone in your area with whom you can meet up and practice. You can also use Skype (an online free telephone - you just need a microphone and speakers (or a headset)).
Of course the ideal way to learn is to get out and about in Wales, and there is a map called DoSomethingInWelsh which aims to show shops, cafes and such where you can practice Welsh.
How can I get access to the SSiW weekly email?
I signed up for the weekly email, but I'm not receiving it - what's wrong?
Most likely, you have a junk mail/spam filter that has been triggered. This is one of the perils of mailing lists.
What to do about it depends a lot on email clients, whether you are using webmail or whatever (and if you use a PC client with Gmail it can get more complicated) but in principle:
a) Take a look in the folder where junk mail and spam goes, and along with all those enticing offers for enhancing abilities other than speaking Welsh you may well find our emails are in there.
b) On finding the email, find the button like "Not junk" or "not spam". That will tell the email system not to filter the email in future.
If you use something like a web version of email together with a PC version, if you do not find it on your PC you will need to also look on the web version of the email client. (General note: users of VirginMedia use a branded version of GMail and often will have this problem, as of course will gmail users). Also some people end up with additional programs that also do spam checking as part of their anti-virus software, so do have a good look round if you don't find the email in the first place you look, there may be more than one spam or junk mail folder in your mail system.
In what order should I do the course materials?
For whichever set of courses you're doing (North or South), you should cover the material in this order:
- Course 1 lessons
- Course 1 vocabulary units (in the order in which they're listed on the Course 1 page)
- Course 2 lessons
- Course 2 vocabulary units (in the order in which they're listed on the Course 2 page)
- And similarly with Course 3 material when it is published in the future.
Completing the Course 1 lessons and vocabulary units is required before you attend an SSiW Bootcamp.
When should I do the speaking and listening practice sessions?
The speaking and listening practice sessions are short (only five minutes each) and really help cement the course material.
- Course 1, Practice Sessions for Lessons 1-6: These cover the material in Lessons 1-6 (including 6.1, 6.2 and 6 bonus), and are meant to be done while you're working through the rest of the Course 1 lessons.
- Course 1, Practice Sessions for the Full Course: These cover the material in all of the Course 1 Lessons, but not the Vocab units. They're meant to be done after you finish the lessons and while you're working through the Course 1 vocab units and through Course 2.
- Course 2, Practice Sessions for the Full Course: These cover the material in all of the Course 2 Lessons, but not the Vocab units. They're meant to be done after you finish the lessons and while you're working through the Course 2 vocab units and through Course 3.
The last Lesson of each course, and the last lesson of each set of vocab units, is like a giant Speaking Practice Session in itself, and a handy way to review what you've covered in that batch of material.