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Welcome to the SSIW Frequently Asked Questions, intended to be a collection of useful information.


See also the collection of How To Guides.



What is SSIW?


Read the first SSIW press release here.


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.


Should I learn North Welsh or South 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 thread where you can outline your circumstances and people will give you advice on which one to go for. =)


What do members get and how do I become one?


You can become a member here.


Members are very important to the future and growth of SSIW. Members get access to all the course materials available- including the intermediate course (now called Course 2) and the still-being-published advanced course (now called 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. 


Find out more about becoming a member here.


What's 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!


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.


What are SSIW "Angels"?


Angels are  basically forum moderators. The forum admins are the founders, Aran, Catrin, Iestyn and Cat, and our technical expert Spenny.  


A list of the current team can be found here. We're a friendly bunch so if you are worried or unsure about something (for instance, if you are not sure whether you should post something or not), feel free to send one of us a message and we'll try and help out =) 


What is the SSIW Googlemap and where can I find it?  


The SSIW Googlemaps (there are three) are 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 maps can be found here.  The top one is Wales only, the second the UK and Ireland except for Wales, and the third the Rest of the World.


How do I get myself on the SSIW map?


To get on the Google map, you just need to send off a quick message to our angel Sionned or post in this thread here, in either case saying where you would like to be put on the map.

What are the very short forum guidelines?


The official guidelines are located here, and 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


What about reading and writing Welsh?


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!"


How should I use the lesson guides and where can I find 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):


Introductory Lesson Guide (North)

(revised) Course 1 Lesson Guide (North)
Introductory Lesson Guide (South)


Intermediate Lesson Guide (North)
Intermediate Lesson Guide (South)


Vaughan (vgh50) is compiling a guide to Course 3 as each new lesson is published.  Because it's a work in progress, it's available directly on the SSIW forum and not in PDF form (note that it's in a 'Members Only' section of the forum, so you need to be a Member (see above!) and to be logged in to the forum in order to view it): 




What is Sioe Siarad?


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!


What do I do if I have a question?


Going through the course you may well come up with the occasional question/concern/headache. There is a section dedicated to this on the forum, split into areas for the different courses. You may want to have a quick look through the forums and see if your question has been answered before that might help. If you can't see it go ahead and post your query and people on the forum will try their best to help out =)


Go here for questions on the introductory course

Go here for questions on the intermediate course

and here for anything else (questions on learning Welsh generally, or about the course generally for example)


What do I do if I have a technical problem?


There is a forum area designated to help deal with technical problems located here. In this forum you might find the answer to your problem. Otherwise, start a new topic for your problem. There is also a general FAQ for technical problems relating to the forum itself. this is the place to go if you can't log in. 



How did it all begin/ What is the history of SSIW?


You can read all about the beginnings of SSIW and our four hardworking heroes Catrin, Aran, Iestyn and Cat on the History of SSIW wiki page.


How can I help spread the word about SSIW?


Aside from directly telling people about SSIW, you can also join SSIW on Facebook, put up a poster
buy SSIW merchandise (T-shirts, keyrings, all kinds of things), and give out SSIW business cards [link needed].

Any help spreading the word will be much appreciated!


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 all of the Course 1 Vocab Units (scroll down to the vocab units after the lessons). This is to ensure everyone gets the most out of it. You can find out more about Bootcamp here.


What is the SSIW Eisteddfod?


Every year SSIW holds an online Eisteddfod. The Eisteddfod is a national festival in Wales with competitions for performance, singing, poetry, recitation and so on. SSIW holds an online version where people can enter any of the categories, anonymously, for the chance to win a prize. The 2013 Eisteddfod will take place in October, and you can find out more information about it, and the various categories and prizes, here.

To find out more about the national Eisteddfod itself, there is a page on the wiki dedicated to it here: Eisteddfod Cenedlathol


2011 Entries
2010 Entries

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. The following suggestions all come from the forum (from this thread) so are methods used by SSIWers currently.


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.


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 do 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)) and use this thread to find a learning partner.

You can also book an appointment to speak with one of SSIW's illustrious Welsh teachers, Aran, here.


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?


Easily! Just sign up here. The newsletter is highly recommended as it points out the best bits of the forum every week, and all the most important bits of information. You can find information about your email privacy, what you can do to unsubscribe and other related questions here.


I signed up for the SSIW 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 as it is published.


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.


Where do I find the vocabulary units?


The vocabulary units are always on the same page as the corresponding lessons; just scroll down until you see them.  Remember, the Course 2 material (also known as Intermediate Course material) is available to SSIW members.  You can read about SSIW membership elsewhere in this FAQ.


Comments (4)

Aran said

at 4:09 pm on Feb 10, 2011

Absolutely brilliant! Diolch o galon i ti...:-))

WilapEynon said

at 5:09 pm on Feb 10, 2011

Really good :)

David Tidy said

at 10:49 pm on Feb 10, 2011

Just the thing!

Elin said

at 7:02 pm on May 5, 2011

I wonder if we need to start breaking the questions up into sections to make it easier for people to see/ find things... ?

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