Saturday, 31 May 2014

Language Learning - it's never too late!

Some of you may already know but for those who don't, I am learning Welsh and have been for the past 4 years or so. Now, when I look back it doesn't seem like I have achieved a lot in those 4 years... but I have! I'm confident enough to have a quick chat with Welsh speakers and can talk to the school teachers in Welsh - slightly stilted but I can do it!

So, I thought I'd write a series of blog posts to help other Welsh learners with their vocabulary, etc. This is by no means going to be a structured lesson plan(!) but just some hints and tips that I find useful.

Here's my list of 6 top tips 'dysgu Cymraeg'!
  1. Enroll in a class - you can learn loads of vocab at home via online courses but you cannot practice online like you do in a group situation. Lessons can be formal or much more informal so don't be scared by the 'classroom' aspect of it! One class local to me meets in the pub, so never say never!
  2. Read at least 5 minutes every day in your target language. I'm lucky that we have many Welsh books at home due to my children being educated in Welsh, but don't forget libraries will have a good selection of books available and you can request books to be ordered in if necessary.
  3. Try to use a few words in 'real life' each day. Even if you only say 'diolch' (thank you) when you've paid for your items in the shop, you'll get used to hearing your voice saying the 'strange' words!
  4. Talk to someone in Welsh as much as you can - the dog or cat is VERY useful for this. Again, it's just getting used to your voice sounding different (and the dog/cat will never criticise your accent!).
  5. Watch S4C or listen to Radio Cymru. The children's programmes on S4C (Cyw) are very useful as the language used is simple to understand and not over-complicated.
  6. It will not happen overnight! There have been some times when I've sat in a lesson and felt completely lost, but don't give up! Ask what you need to ask, as there's probably someone else wanting to ask exactly the same question as you but they aren't brave enough. So be the brave one!
Of course, these tips can be used when learning any language. So give it a go! Do you have any tips you'd like to share with us?