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Can you understand Radio Cymru

Page history last edited by David Tidy 9 years, 5 months ago

Extracts from the forum thread "Can you Understand Radio Cymru?



I've been listening to Radio Cymru quite a bit recently, to try and tune my ears to the langauge a bit more. I find I can generally get the gist, but large portions of the conversation can still leave me scratching my head.

How much can other people understand having completed the Beginner's Course?

One thing I've realised I'm missing is nouns (there are some good word lists on the BBC site, but they're missing pronunciation); I think I'd get a lot more of the conversation if I boned up on these a bit.

Just as an aside, a lot of the people who telephone in to Radio Cymru seem to me to be very hesitant in the Welsh they're using, are they just nervous and I'm mis-hearing it, or do you tend to get learners calling the shows?



I think you may have missed out on one part of the course so far. Don't worry, you'll soon catch up!

The reason that you don't understand Radio Cymru is that while your speaking speed is coming along well, you've not practiced your listening speed at all. No practice = no real results.

The part that you have missed out on is the listening practices. There are weekly ones available for the first 6 lessons, but as you are about to want access to the intermediate course, you'll more than likely go straight to the daily practices which are available as part of the package.

The daily practices are 5 minute strings of Welsh. They are all sentences that you should understand, as you have used all the vocab and patterns that we use in these sessions. There is a very good chance that you won't understand a thing - in fact , if you do, then you are ahead of the curve! As you have noticed with the radio, there is no time to listen properly, and translate what you hear. The practices are the same - just listen to a 5 minute session, and delete it. What you will find over a period of time is that you will start to recognise and understand words, then groups of words, and then parts of sentences. This is your bnrain coming up to speed. DO NOT try to hurry the process, as there are thousands of shortcuts which the brain would rather take, but that will actually slow you down in what you are trying to achieve, which is the understanding of natural speed, full flow Welsh.

Keep listening to Radio Cymru, but make sure that you are well impressed with yourself everytime you understand something, rather than worrying about all the nonsense that flies straight over your head! You'll be understanding loads very soon!



 I could only pick odd words from Radio Cymru when I was doing the Beginner's Course, but I perservered having it on in the background while I was cooking etc, and gradually over the space of the Intermediate Course I found I was understanding more and more. Sometimes I understand whole sections or interviews, other times I still haven't a clue what they're talking about, but what I found with the vocabulary is that as soon as a new word is introduced with SSiW I start hearing it used. I didn't notice it before, but once I know it, it jumps out at me. Other times I realise I've been hearing a word I don't know quite frequently, so I look that individual word up. 

One recent word was 'iasoer' - I've been listening to the weather report a lot, as they tend to say the same things over and over, and I kept hearing a word that sounded like 'ias'. I looked that up and found 'iasoer' which means 'chilly' so that makes sense, and now that I know it I can hear the 'oer' bit as well. In that way you can learn words that you need to and in context, so they are meaningful to you.

Good luck with your learning! And don't try to concentrate when you're listening to Radio Cymru - or the listening practices for that matter. Just let them wash over you and your subconscious starts to pick out words and phrases and before you know it, you are understanding!



Listening is the toughest skill to master, because there's nothing you can do to force it. Listen lots, and try not to try, because the more you think about it, the slower it gets!

On the other hand, think that most Welsh learners don't get to listen and understand anything for at least a year, and probably don't have any real understanding for two or three (more in some cases) - and you will undersatand that the SSiW process, however frustrating, is far quicker!



Try listening to Dafydd and Caryl in the mornings. A lot of their callers are children so the vocabulary tends to be simpler. I catch a bit of them on the way to work some mornings.


Radio Cymru Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radiocymru/


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