Celebrating Dydd Santes Dwynwen 

One of the many perks of being #welshbymarriage is that I get not 1 but 2 valentines days each year. This week Hedd and I celebrated Dydd Santes Dwynwen / Santes Dwynwen Day which is the Welsh equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Although with more of a back story. It is in celebration of Dwynwen- the Welsh saint of lovers- after all! The picture above is of the card I gave Hedd. It translates to “you are worth the world”…all together now:- awwww! Anyway enough of the slushy stuff, back to the stuff about learning Welsh!

Well this week has been a busy one at work so my plan to do 2 SSIW lessons had to fall by the wayside. However I did complete 1, lesson 4, this savo. It was tough as per but I’m heartened that I am still able to recall words and phrases from previous lessons which means deep down in my brain Welsh is slowly but surely colonising!

I’m following Aran from SSIW advise and cracking on with the lessons. I am determined to get to the end of lesson 5 and then take stock to decide whether to repeat 1-5 to make sure I’ve got all the words&phrases down. Only slight problem is if I do do that, I’ll be lucky if I complete level 1 (25 lessons) by Christmas! Hmm I’ll ponder that over this week.

So opposite and below is the new vocab that I learnt today. See I’m not lying…it’s tricky! I feel very lucky to have a ready made Welsh person to practice on each day and I’ll be trying out this vocab when I can this week in my newly discovered language:- ‘Welish’ (part Welsh, part English, spoken with confidence!)

I continue with my Duolingo each day, at least 2 lessons so I keep my “daily streak” going…yep I get push notifications from the app and all. Duolingo gets particularly upset if I get to about 4pm and not gone any Welsh….it sends me an email! 

This week on Duolingo I’ve completed 7 lessons on countries- some less adventurous places than others (Llydaw / Brittany anyone?). 

I also particularly like the Welsh for Spain- Sbaen. It is pronounced how the character Beverley in the play Abigail’s Party would say it. I played the role Beverly whilst at uni so that lesson had me reminiscing! Basically think Essex dialect and say Spain!

I’ve also discovered the Welsh for ‘Geography’ this week which is ‘daearyddiaeth’. What a mouth full! I did geography as my undergrad at uni where the word geography was said at least 50 times every lecture! If it had been daearyddiaeth this, daearyddiaeth that…crikey I’d have been late for the pub!

Anyway till next time, ta ra!

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Speaking Welsh aloud

This week for me has been about trying to speak Welsh aloud everyday, even just a sentence or two.

Whilst Duolingo is great to help with understanding and writing Welsh, I don’t think it helps with speaking Welsh. So this week I’ve started using a second Welsh Learning app called ‘Say Something in Welsh’ (SSIW). 

SSIW are audio Welsh lessons put together by Aran and his wife Catrin. Aran teaches you the Welsh for a word, then he says it in English and I then have to repeat it in Welsh before Catrin says it, and Aran repeats it. Sounds easy right? Not quite! The sentences get longer but the time you get to say your bit in Welsh doesn’t lengthen to the same extent forcing you to think on your feet and trust your gut. Lots of science behind it, but essentially it gets you learning and thinking in Welsh quicker and sets you up for coping with conversations in Welsh in real life.

Lessons are quite long at 35 minutes and I’ve only managed to fit in Challenge 1 of Level 1 this week. But I’ve started, that’s the main thing. I enjoyed my first lesson but blimey did my head hurt come the end of the 35 mins! A few phrases I struggled to say before Catrin said them but on the whole I did okay. 

Hedd was very impressed with me knowing the word for “practice”- “ymarfer”…I think he’s enjoying hearing some of the Welsh words i’m learning which perhaps he hasn’t heard or used for a while. I’m still struggling to commit to memory the Welsh for “I can’t” “fedra i ddim”, but I’m blaming that on my in-built optimism bias ; ) !

I’m loving Arans top tips for using SSIW….following them makes the whole thing less daunting:- 

1) Make mistakes! 

2) Ditch the pause button! 

3) Don’t repeat sessions! 

4) Do the listening exercises! 

5) And talk to a live person every week.

Thanks Aran! However this is also the same guy that informed me at the end of challenge 1 that after challenge 5 the lessons are going to go at double speed!!! My reaction:- “whatttttt!!!

I’ve also joined the SSIW Forum and found a Welsh Learning Social Group that meets up in Oxford weekly to practice Welsh. Sounds petrifying (!) but I will go and try it out soon (eek!).

I’ve continued using Duolingo daily on my commute to and from work. This week I have completed lessons on numbers. I like the structure of Welsh numbers. For example ’34’ is tri (3) deg (10) pedwer (4). So in that way numbers are building blocks so once you know 1-10 you’re good to go really for all numbers 1 to 100! 

I completed a whole lesson on math, learning the words for minus/add/multiply/divide- don’t know how often I will use that vocab! 

I’ve learnt Places- I particularly liked learning “I work in New York”- “dwi’n gwedditho yn eurog newydd” and giggled learning “do you eat meat in abergavenny?” “Dych chi’n bwta cig yn Y Fenni?”!

The lesson on Past Tense was a little tricky…remembering not to put the ‘n’ in “dw i’n” and the order of words in the sentence structure is slightly counter intuitive. 
However in the same lesson I did learn:- “Dych chi wedi codi eto?” “Have you got up yet?”, which I have preceded to say with delight to Hedd every morning this week as I often leave for work before Hedd is out of bed! 

I completed the lesson on Animals- including “llygodden”(mouse) which I then put in a sentence, saying to Hedd that I had seen a little mouse in the kitchen and he freaked out in Welsh- very funny!

I learnt the Welsh for “She” and “He”.  I can see me make some bluppers there. Mae e (he) Mae hi (she)….very similar to each other that a slip of the tongue could cause a bit of confusion! Just like when I called our nephew Dyfan “hogan bach” (little girl) instead of “hogin bach” (little boy)…hmm, I apologise in advance to all for any offence I will cause!

So 17 aspects learnt and 2 checkpoints past in Duolingo and Challenge 1 of 25 completed in SSIW (level 1 of 2). So loads of distance still to be covered but I’m quietly proud of my first 2 weeks “in the pursuit of Welsh”. Till next time…..