Thought so far...? / Teimladau hyd yn hyn...?
Since its release into beta on 26/1/16 (fifteen days ago) the Cymraeg course has attracted 18,300 learners at the time of writing it. That's an average of 1,220 learners each day - excellent progress!
For those of you plodding along, what are your thoughts at this stage? Is there anything you'd like more of, or even less of? Would you like to see a unit expanded or shortened?
Are you finding the notes helpful? Are you reading the notes at all or just figuring things out as you go along?
Hello. I am just past the last checkpoint. I do read the notes, I wouldn't be able to figure things out by myself! I think there should be an extra skill on soft mutation, similar to the Irish course, which introduces Lenition & Eclipsis very early.
Thanks to the whole team, I love the course so far!
I am really enjoying the course. I wanted to learn Welsh for so long, but could never find the right course locally.
The notes are helpful, but I would like to see conjugation of basic verbs (to have, to be etc.) in different tenses in the notes. I know they occur in the lessons and I've managed to piece them together, but it'd be great if they could be added to the notes, so I can learn them before starting the lessons.
In the notes accompanying the Reflexive Pronouns, could you add all the versions for hun, hunan, hunain etc. and distinguish between North and South Wales please. Also 'ei hun' is missing in the notes/lesson.
One small bugbear of mine is that with the multiple choice questions there is often an acceptable option included that we hadn't learnt in the lesson. Which can be a bit frustrating.
But overall it's a great course. Diolch yn fawr.
I do find that the single word prompts can be strange. For example, a word such as Fydda on its own and out of context could mean several things - 'I will not...', 'No, I will not', 'Will I...? and so on. Similarly with things like sy'n or mod i'n.
Another thing which I might find distracting are prompts which are words on their own that have been mutated with no apparent reason. Arddwr (which in the course is a mutated garddwr, but which as an un-mutated word happens to have its own meaning as well); dal (a mutated tal/tall or an unmutated dal/catching?); las (glas/blue, or las/lace?); wyrdd; ddrws and so on. Also odd is where, say, 'gardener' is the prompt and arddwr pops up as the 'correct' answer where we might expect to see garddwr as the answer with arddwr perhaps acceptable as an alternative.
I made similar comments in response to several examples while working through the material, but it does seem to be a widespread feature across the course.
What do new learners think? Are single word prompts helpful or confusing? Are mutated single-word questions and answers in vocabulary exercises puzzling or helpful in learning?
Single-word prompts are reasonable as far as I am concerned.
What I like less is sentence fragments that can't stand alone, such as "Dw i'n" which has no meaning by itself, as far as I know. That's neither a complete clause nor even a stand-alone noun phrase or the like (which would also be reasonable as far as I'm concerned) but simple a sentence chunk that does not form a grammatical whole.
When words do occur in isolation, I agree that they should be unmutated. I expect to be prompted for the dictionary form in that case - tafarn rather than dafarn, etc.
And single-word place-name prompts are fine as far as I'm concerned but the ones that are identical in English and Welsh (e.g. Pwllheli, Aberystwyth) are a bit odd. I suppose the system can test whether we know that we have to translate Aberhonddu but not Aberystwyth, or that Abergavenny is not the Welsh name of that town, but still.
Yes I agree completely. Single word vocabulary is a welcome break from full sentences and adds to a good mix of exercises, so nothing wrong with single words, but they should not be mutated, and the fragments are just odd, confusing, and often quite frustrating. I really would like to see the fragments taken out.
As to the words with identical translations, that is odd but could have value for the likes of Pwllheli and Aberystwyth because it tells you that what the Welsh word is, just that it is identical to the English. The one that annoys me no end, however, is "Saunders Lewis", because why would we even expect the man's name to be different in Welsh? There is really no value at all in translating "Saunders Lewis" to "Saunders Lewis".
All in all I think the mix of sentences and shorter translations is cleverly done, keeping lessons short and easier, which is encouraging. I like what the team has done, but would very much like to see the random mutations, the fragments and Saunders Lewis' name gone.
Yes I agree single words can be confusing. as is the use of a mutated word on its own. Alos I'm unsure when to use bydda i'n gwisgo, or gwisga i, and so on. In the app you choose words from a list which helps me to understand what they are asking for. I just go with the flow usually and not worry too much if my answer does not completely match theirs. Interestingly when I have forgotten to mutate it lets me get away with it by just saying I have a typo.
Places coming so early seems a little strange. It's not something that is crucial to speaking the language like common words and grammar. They are also super hard to learn, as there's no picture in my head (like there is with Apple or Walking) to associate those place names with.
They may be helpful to people who actually live near those places and perhaps know the English names. As a resident of the Pacific coast, I find this lesson to be double work because I've never heard of Holyhead or Fishguard in the first place. Might be better to shift it down toward the end, I don't know.
In defence of place names, I enjoyed learning about the Dutch provinces in the Dutch course. One of the great things about learning a language is also getting to know the culture and geography of a place a little better, and I found myself reading about the Wadden Islands or the creation of Flevoland (which I studied in school but forgot all about). That reading was extra having done the Duolingo units
However it might be a more interesting lesson if the place names were inside sentences, such as "There is a National Library in Aberystwyth" or "Swansea was an important port" or "We took the Ferry to Ireland from Holyhead". These would tell you small things about the places as well as testing the translations, and perhaps would encourage a look on Wikipedia to learn about the places mentioned.
You can't separate language from culture. By learning place names, you are learning more about the country whose language you are learning. You've not said which country on the Pacific coast you are in, but wherever you are I'm guessing you would be nearer Patagonia than Wales. Maybe it would be useful for the course to include place names from there as well. Wales isn't the only country where Welsh is spoken.
I agree. I only said that matching an English name to a Welsh name is harder when I've never heard the English name before. Some context would be good.
As for Patagonia, I had no idea that Welsh was spoken there! That's the sort of thing I enjoy learning from fellow learners. Thanks!
Curiously, whilst the Wikipedia article on Y Wladfa gives those figures, their article on 'Patagonian Welsh' mentions 5,000-13,000 speakers with Welsh as their mother tongue, and another 25,000 second language speakers (although the links to the sources seem to be broken/wrong). Also, the British Council report Welsh learning as booming there these days: https://wales.britishcouncil.org/en/about/press/patagonia-sees-welsh-language-flourish Anyway, whatever the true figures, it would be interesting to know to what extent their Welsh differs from Welsh in Wales, I imagine it might contain some more archaic features, and perhaps more loan words from Spanish rather than English.
For anyone curious to know more, there's a lot more information about the history of Y Wladfa in these articles:
Yes, there seems to be quite a variation in the figures from various sources.
I also imagined 'Patagonian Welsh' would take more loan words from Spanish. The following sentence in the 'Patagonian Welsh' article suggests there must be at least some difference:
> Between 1945-1946 the BBC World Service broadcast radio shows in Patagonian Welsh.
It would certainly be interesting to know the extent of the differences, although whether I could actually cope with yet another Welsh dialect at this stage is doubtful! :-)
I work as a tutor, and I'm really pleased with the course. I've recommended it to my students in Cardigan and several of them have taken it up, and are finding it good as revision practice - those in their first year of classes are also learning new vocabulary, which is always good!
The development team have done great things so far, and seem to be very responsive to suggestions.
I'm newcomer to Duolingo, but have started learning a bit of French since the Welsh course launched - the mobile version is even better (imo) and once the Welsh course is out of Beta and available via the app I expect you'll see another big jump is user numbers.
Da iawn pawb, a daliwch ati!
Diolch am dy sylwadau. Dwi'n cytuno y byddwn ni'n gweld twf mawr pan fydd y cwrs yn cael ei ryddhau yn llawn :D
Wyt ti wedi edrych ar schools.duolingo.com? Mae modd creu dosbarthiadau a dilyn eu cynnydd :) Dwi'n ei ddefnyddio ddechrau bob gwers i ymarfer gyda fy nosbarthiadau i :D
Pob hwyl a diolch am y sylwadau.
Would it be possible to separate the "Dialects" skill into two separate skills? I think it would be less confusing if learners could focus on learning the terms for one dialect at a time.
I like the idea of moving city and location names to later in the tree so that by that point the sentences that accompany them could be more interesting. Maybe describe what those places are like for those who have yet to visit.
Good suggestions. As it stands it is a problem that even if you know there are alternatives it might not always be possible to guess which should be used where. Especially if they later introduce more from more of the other major dialects. I believe the course creators are working at improving this; at a minimum, adding a means of identitying the dialect in the questions and tips where it is useful/significant.
You may find it interesting to read ibischris' post in the discussion topic Dialects - much more than a simple north/south divide.
As someone who grew up hearing it spoken between certain family members, but never really learned it myself, I'm REALLY enjoying this! Because of youth I was at least prepared for the non-English vowel and consonant sounds. I don't know how this would be for someone that never experienced DD or LL.
My observations up to Skill 1 is that I need more of the "Write what you hear spoken in Welsh" and Translate this sentence with a little more variation based on the previous vocabulary.
Once you leave Greetings 2 you rarely encounter diolch or ydw, and never again sut or pwy. Hefyd is also pretty rare.
I think it would be very beneficial to make a "Food" level where Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner(Supper) is introduced with foods. Instead of mashing it together with swimming and ironing stick to meal related activities/questions.
All that said is intended as constructive criticism. I am very much enjoying this, and dully impressed that its just a "Beta".
Thanks for the excellent course!
It would be nice if the course introduced gender and mutations in a more natural way. I arrived at the "Animals" skill and suddenly the tips and notes were talking about "feminine nouns" and "soft mutations" as if I'm supposed to just know what these are (which I did, by the way, but not everyone could be expected to!). I actually had to go back through all the skills to see if I had missed something.
The clothing skill mentions that a bunch of the nouns are feminine, but it doesn't say what this means.
I'm hoping that if I keep progressing in the course, it will eventually introduce what these concepts mean. But then it's a little disappointing that there's no way of knowing, for instance, if the nouns I learned earlier in the course are masculine or feminine... It would be better to learn this concept early on so the student can learn the gender along with the word!
this is exactly why I am reading this thread! the mutations are mentioned as if we have already been told about them but I for one have no clue what they are, and as I have done the course thus far today and read all the notes I know I haven't had time to forget. I suppose a little complexity is welcome after the easy peasy start to the course but I think this needs to be addressed.
edited to say I need not have worried, that was not used in the skill, in fact the whole skill was nothing but a series of words with a couple of numbers thrown in for a miniscule bit of variety. I am less than impressed I'm afraid:(
All I can add to the great comments everyone else has already made is my appreciation for all the work that is going into this. I've been waiting for Welsh on Duolingo for years! I do find the notes extremely useful and informative, and great as a pointer to do more research outside of Duolingo.
As a preschooler, my grandmother taught me polite greetings, the numbers to 10, and of course said "Ych y fi!" every time I picked up something off the ground, but that's all I remember 40 years later. I'm so happy to be able to learn more on Duolingo!
Really grateful for the excellent course. A couple of points which may seem negative but are not meant to be taken that way. As someone not used to learning languages I'm finding the notes to be not comprehensive enough now I am getting to level 6 and beyond. This is compounded by having to differentiate between north and south dialects. I live in North Wales and wouldn't expect to ever need the South Wales dialect. While I see the relevance of including both I am starting to find it a little demoralising. It is sadly having an effect on my motivation knowing that I'm struggling on something I'm unlikely to want to use. Please could you reconsider making dialects selectable. Otherwise fantastic, and many thanks also to the handful of regular posters on the discussions who clarify some of the points so well
Shwmae! I see where you're coming from with the dialects and it'd be amazing if there was an option for North or South, but sadly, there isn't. There isn't a huge difference between constructions except for possession and the real difference (still, not huge) comes in a very small minority of vocab. like rŵan and nawr.
After Dialects, any North or South word will be accepted on the most part - some might have been missed.
I'd say this is the most challenging unit - keep going - you're doing excellently! :D
Also noted that you'd like the notes to be more comprehensive; if this theme keeps popping up, I'm sure the team will discuss it :)
I understand what you're saying, but learning both dialects is important. I've been learning south Welsh for a while, but when reading learner novels I've found a lot of north Welsh grammar and vocabulary. If you are only wanting to speak to people in your locality then perhaps learning different dialects won't help you, but if you want to broaden your experience by reading books and newspapers, or by listening to the radio or watching TV I think you'll find learning a broader vocabulary invaluable.
The course is fantastic and the TOC is impressive, it really covers the whole ground, it must have been a staggering work! So, high five and diolch for that! :-)
As a student of the language, I think we would benefit from better phonetics, specially early on, and maybe a lesson to learn to differentiate the dd, ff, etc from the d, f, etc sounds. If Welsh is any similar to Irish (and it is, of course it is) I know that in real talking the difference should be pretty small most of the time, as people--in the end--speaks whole sentences, with liasons and all short of clippings. I find that the same letters or diphthongs are not pronounced the same all the time, which is a bit confusing.
As someone who started to learn to write in Irish 6 months after starting to speak it, I think that a bit more emphasis at the start in how Welsh sounds and how people speaks it is more interesting that how you write it (must all Celtic languages have an evil writing? :) I'm complementing Duolingo with "Now you're talking" on youtube. Even when they diverge on the exact subject, I think it helps me to focus and to put a culture after the letter.
I still have a long way to go, so I just hope this keeps being as interesting as it is now. BTW, for the more advanced levels, I know we would love some detailed notes about name declensions (if any), verb conjugations and lenition/clipping/other mutations usage (I guess it will be similar to Irish, where lenition marks singulars and clipping marks plurals, as well and certain prepositions, etc...) I know we can find these on books, but coming along in here will be very useful.
Lastly, the Duolingo version available for Windows Phone doesn't yet support (or show) Welsh, I don't know about the Android or iOS ones. Maybe you can give them a gently reminder? I tried on Twitter, but...
>maybe a lesson to learn to differentiate the dd, ff, etc from the d, f, etc sounds
I agree, this would be very helpful for new learners. I had studied some Welsh in the distant past, so I wasn't at all put off by the spelling (SO much easier than Gáidhlig!). But I can imagine it would be intimidating when seen for the first time.
I agree with the need for more on basic pronunciation at the beginning. Maybe also some information about how the Celtic languages differ from others. Welsh and Irish are from different branches, so not similar, but all of them share the features of mutations, sentence structure and declension of prepositions (I think).
Now You're Talking is great - I found the series in a college library a few years ago, on video tape. Say Something in Welsh is a good website for learning Welsh entirely by listening and speaking - recommend it, and you can choose whether you want North or South Welsh.
WRT the apps. It isn't available on iOS or Android yet either. It usually takes several weeks to a few months or more before courses in beta appear in the apps. I read that courses aren't released onto the apps until the level of (error) reports falls below a certain percentage possibly 10%) for a certain period. Updates for the apps (at least iOS) also have to be released before new languages appear, it isn't automatic.
On that basis it may sadly be a bit longer than normal before Welsh is released since there are a number of issues that still need some fixing, especially the picture questions.
Yn fy marn i basai'n dda cael gwers i ddysgu pobl y iaith ffurfiol (e.e Rydw, ydw, dydw a.y.y.b), oherwydd mae llawer o bobl yn crybwyll yn yr adran sylwadau am y ffaith bod nhw'n gwneud cwestiynau aml-dewis ac yn cael nhw'n anghywir oherwydd dydan nhw ddim wedi dysgy y ffyrf ffurfiol eto. Hefyd mae'n bwysig eu bod nhw'n gyfarwydd gyda'r ffurfiol oherwydd mae hi ddal yn cael ei defnyddio yn y cyfryngau.
In my opinion it would be good to have a lesson to teach people the literary/formal (e.g Rydw, ydw, dydw etc) because a lot of people mention in the comments section about how they are doing multiple choice questions and get them wrong because they haven't learned the formal form yet. Also it is important that they are familiar with the formal form as it is still used in the media.
Dwi'n cytuno i raddau ond pan maent yn cwblhau'r cwrs Duolingo yna maen nhw'n gallu mynd ar eu liwtiau eu hunain i ddysgu am y ffurfiau mwy ffurfiol; diben Duolingo ydy cael pobl i siarad sut maen nhw wir yn siarad ar lawr y stryd ac yn anffodus dyw'r cyfryngau ddim bob tro yn adlewyrchu hyn. Ond dwi'n deall dy bwynt yn hollol :)
Er hynny, mae "rydw i, dydw i, ydw" ayyb i gyd yn dderbynniol gan Duolingo :)
Well done! I have waited months for this course to finally graduate!
I think the Tips & Notes were well written, even with charts on how to pronounce lenitized words, which I like.
The course itself is great as it has many skills that other trees don't have (Fashion, Religion, Medicine, anyone?) and I can't wait for the bonus skills to release :D
But I do think that the way the skills are ordered could be improved. For example, the The skill should be placed earlier, and the tree lacks the Present 1, 2, and 3 skills, which are for verbs (all what was taught in the PresTens1 was stuff like "I like", "I don't like", "I have", etc) which could fit into different skills, and replaced with "I walk", "I drink", "I eat", "I run", "I sleep", etc. in those skills.
Once these are improved then this course will be among the best on Duolingo!
Thank you for putting this course together. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I am thrilled to recognize words I remember from visiting my father's family in N. Wales over 40 years ago. I'd tried to learn Welsh before (cf. Teach Yourself Welsh), but the pronunciation of the written word is counter-intuitive for an English speaker. The DuoLingo method completely removes that difficulty through intelligent repetition. My only complaint is that I've had far too much coffee, not enough beer, and, perversely, I find myself liking Mondays but not Fridays.
I want to start by saying that I am LOVING the course and am so grateful for your hard work.
The one thing that is bugging me though is the lessons on place names in Welsh. Regular vocab I have no problem with but for some reasons these are just not going in. It feels demoralizing at this stage to encounter this problem and I'm wondering why they were brought in so early in the course rather than focusing on regular vocab and communication?
The course is great but I think there are too many single word sentences. It's much better to learn words in sentences in my opinion. It's also boring strengthening skills when there are many single word sentences. Also maybe the dialect skill would be better if it were split into two skills, although I know there are more than two dialects really. Everything else is good though. Btw I was level 13 but I forgot my password
I'm finding that sometimes the course is a little inconsistant. I've only done the first few, but I'm finding that sometimes it will let me put dwi'n instead of dw i'n or licio for hoffi or dach for dych, but other times it is marking these as wrong. I've learnt these as I did a course in north Wales
I'm enjoying it immensely and doing as many lessons as I can fit in. All the Welsh I studied 20 years ago has come right back, and once again I'm amazed at what a smooth-flowing, easy language it is. Can't wait for the iPad version to come out. Thank you for all your hard work.
May I suggest a bonus skill of Cognates, some time in the future? Because of the different spelling systems, people may not recognize words that have close cousins in Latin or the Romance languages, or words that have been borrowed (in a different form) by English. Seeing those connections is like having a light turned on.
edit: I meant to say that people who have been through the Irish course on Duolingo would probably gain all kinds of insights by seeing parallels with the grammar of Welsh. This would be a neat addition to the bonus skills, if it's doable.
I would absolutely love that. Even with words that are not cognates (AFAIK), I find that the structural similarities common to Celtic languages help to reinforce each other in the memory. I notice you have some Cornish and Breton learners on here as well; I wonder what they think?
As for cognates, I'm thinking of less obvious ones like "eglwys", which resembles Spanish "iglesia" and is also related to English "ecclesiastic". I think their roots go right back to Latin, without the medium of Norman French which provided so many loan words to English.
I am really enjoying myself, I think the course is very well organised and thought through. Fortunately, I can access the notes, which have helped. I'm taking it slow, I've reached the first check point, but I am repeating the lessons I've already covered rather than rushing forward.
I've also started using Welsh Course on Duolingo on Memrise as a companion course, and getting to hear the language spoken is consolidating everything here, I noticed I started to get more of the units done with less errors once I started to do both.
And my added bonus is that its helping with my gentle introduction to Cornish too! I thought I would try to do them at different times, as I usually get confused if I learn two languages from the same language family at the same time, but at this very early beginners stage its anchoring both.
Very happy - any chance that you are considering language meet ups, in Cardiff maybe?
I'm now using this via the app. I don't like that when the questions want you to translate by putting the words provided in order, you always know which is the first word in the sentence because it is capitalised. It's particularly annoying when there are single word answers because it means I'm getting no welsh practice at all in those instances as it has given me the answer.
This is a problem for nearly all of the languages when asked to translate sentences. Unfortunately, there's nothing really we can do about that :( Maybe it's something that Duolingo can look into in the future :)
The course is still in beta and I'm not sure why it's available in some app stores and not others - it's not available on my iPhone in the UK and I can bet that you're using Android? Either way, there'll still be issues I'd imagine which will all be sorted out soon :)
I only just started out with Welsh and like it very much so far except one thing. After some nodes went back to "not gold" i did some mass strengthening and every node went back to gold except "pres tense 1" even after several subsequent practice runs i completed with nearly to no mistakes it stayed "not gold" and a the targeted practice lessons felt very repetetive like doing the same 4 sentences over and over. So i am not sure if there is a special reason for it but i feel it could be made a lot more enyoable if the variety could be increased or maybe the present tense nodes merged, after all they are only 4 in total. Sorry got a bit long for such a small inconvenience.
The 'not gold' problem is most probably a Duolingo 'thing' rather than anything the Welsh course can control. However, I seem to remember reading a number of comments of this nature and I believe the answer someone discovered is to simply redo specific lessons individually rather than use the 'Strengthen Skills' method. I can't remember the original discussion, but a search might find it. Rereading your comment, I'm not sure if that was what you were already trying.
WRT variety: I have noticed on the website for the Welsh course that the questions seem to be very non-random. If you go back and redo the lesson, the exact same questions appear in exactly the same order. The iOS app appears to work properly, so far as I am able to tell. I haven't really tested it properly to confirm it.
I raised this directly with Richard (rmcode), one of the course contributors/creators, and he hasn't yet been able identify what the issue is. When he tested a topic he saw the same issue. He confirmed that there is a significantly larger pool of questions available than those that are asked. He also found logging in as a different user provided different questions! This problem does not seem to occur with other courses, so far as I know, although I usually use the app. Others have also noticed this. See Super-Svensk's comment within this discussion.
I also have done "PresTense1" several times. It gives ridiculously few sentences (MondayFriday and coffee=good), and it just won't stay gold. I think it must be a software glitch. I had the same problem in Irish for a while; the "Prepositions1" lesson wouldn't turn gold for anything. And there was another lesson where you just had to translate "elephants" over and over. I think they've fixed it now.
edit: sometime after posting this I went back to the lesson, and instead of clicking "strengthen" I clicked "redo". I got more varied questions, and it went to gold afterward. So maybe that's a workaround.
Here are my two cents so far:
Although I was one of those who were afraid the course was going to be too basic due to the pace of the first two segments, I soon discovered that the slow introduction really helped get into grips with the basic structures before meddling with the chaotic nightmare of "to be" conjugations in other pronouns, not to mention mutations. I have also noticed that new content is being added to the units as I do my reviews everyday and that is always good. The course is starting to shape up and get nice and full of content.
I have some observations though, apart from the ones I mentioned the other day (more dragon and so on) which I'd like to mention here, and which I think are quite important. These are things I missed even though I'm quite an advanced language learner, so I guess the importance is doubled or tripled for less experienced learners...
It seems that although the course introduces South and North variants for verbs and expressions, some variant frases are appearing on earlier stages and can be quite confusing without some prior explanation.
I do realize that the purpose of the course is to teach things through use, but explanations are quite useful too, and some people actually learn better if they have some guidance available. What I mean is that all the conjugations for the verb To Be (for each pronoun, as questions and as negative statements) are introduced slowly, but are never fully explained. I've never seen one course here which doesn't give a full table for the verb to be at least at some point (like after all has been shown). I had to make one myself as a reference, while it could easily be included in the notes when the other pronouns are finally introduced. This Learning by trial and error or by "cheating" (hovering) is not as fun as actually applying what I have just learned with the notes.
The same applies to North and South differences. It wouldn't hurt to add something like "In this lesson we will learn the following words which are different according to region" and then separate which is which. Its not just a question of knowing that it's the same word, it's a question of knowing WHERE it is used. You have a whole unit about dialects and by the end of it the student doesn't know if Lleffrith is used in the North or in the South unless someone elucidated that in one of the comments.
I think that the hovering explanations could be fuller, while sometimes they could include less. What I mean is, Welsh has a lot of mutations and conjugations, and sometimes it's difficult to understand what you are looking at, so the original form of a word of verb should ALWAYS be available when hovering, IMHO. Sometimes we learn a verb and start using it in a conjugation without really knowing the infinitive form unless there is a northern frase which includes it (but then it could be mutated). Some mutated words do include the original version with a SM warning, but not all, and I think it should be added without exceptions. Also, sometimes the hovering tips are too complete. More than once I peeked because I was curious about the meaning of a single word but the only answer was a complete translation of the whole sentence, or most of it.
Thanks again for the effort and for creating this course. I am truly happy to have it and would not have started to study such an amazing language so soon if it wasn't for your dedication and patience.
Yeah, after I wrote it I realized that now there is a complete table for the verb to be, which is very nice and complete. Thanks! I hope my other comments can be useful, though, specially marking specific northers and southern versions of words when hovering and also in the lesson notes if applicable.
Hi. I am quite new to the Duolingo scene, and Welsh going beta is the big reason I'm here. Not having a point of comparison with other Duolingo modules, I'm super impressed by all I've seen so far! It's been ages since my last instruction in any language, and my language kung fu has never been particularly strong, but the format here at Duolingo fits my learning style quite well.
Seeing how my closest Welsh-speaking ancestor died about 150 years ago, I have had to rely heavily on the lessons in order to make sense of the questions. Of course, my pronunciation is horrible still, but at least the written word is coming along quite nicely.
The one question I had was with the course's structure in respect to the checkpoints. Why such a colossal mass of lessons after the third checkpoint? That's not a criticism in any way; as I said, I have zero points of comparison. I'm just curious.
Diolch :) Yes, there are a lot after the last checkpoint; Duolingo only lets a certain amount of units within/before a checkpoint unfortunately :( I originally tried to even them all out, but after saving, it would rearrange! Grrrr. Maybe something that we can do in 2.0.
I have studied some Welsh before, but that was a long time ago. I am finding this to be a good revision, but I also speak Cornish and sometimes the Cornish interferes a bit with the Welsh, particularly with spellings. However I cannot seem to find these notes everyone keeps talking about - do they exist and how do we access them?
Yes, I know what you mean with the Cornish interfering with Welsh :)
The Tips and Notes are only available through the website, not through the app -- so it's usually a good idea to open each new skill in a browser (whether on the smartphone's internal browser or on a big computer) to read the Tips and Notes.
For example, https://www.duolingo.com/skill/cy/Clothes has a big list of clothes items together with their appropriate gender in the Tips and Notes.
At the beginning of each new skill session (where you then select a lesson) scroll down and you will find notes pertaining to the lessons. learned something new, apparently the app is different that the website. I dont use the app so I have no frame of reference
They are somewhat helpful, but they are not all inclusive, I dont think they are intended to be all you need for a lesson.
I have found it much more comprehensive to keep a notebook with me where I can jot down new words/phrases. I keep the "notes" on the PC, its easy to cut and paste them, but I find my written notes much more helpful, far more comprehensive and aid in retention by reinforcing the word as you write it yourself..
The test is being run to measure the efficacy of the Tips & Notes, but not with the goal of removing them in mind.
What we've been told is that Duo's interested to see if the Tips & Notes have a big enough positive impact to defend spending development time on improving them.
So, the A/B test is definitely a negative thing in the short term, but in the long term it may be the reason we get better notes - or at least better tools for us contributors to create and share our Tips & Notes with you.
I didn't realise that. I would've have thought that Welsh would be almost impossible without the introductory notes and tip. Although I'd be glad to be able to use the iOS app for Welsh I am sure I would need to keep refering back to the website.
Hopefully, the result of A/B test will convince them that the introductory need to be included within the app, along with direct access to the related discussions.
This may certainly explain why some people seem to be having more difficulty and asking questions in the discussions that may be covered in the introductionary notes.
Nope, I'm using Linux (Mint17) and Firefox. Are you using any blocking addons?
Just to be sure your looking in the right place. When you go to "Welsh skills" if you click on the first skill its "Greeting1" you should then see two lessons and under that some text that starts with the heading "Tips and Notes" it is this Tips and Notes section we are referring to, not an extra section or link. Its also apparently only available through the web browser (I dont have the app so I can only repeat what someone said above).
Hi! I am definitely enjoying the Welsh course! I love the clarity and simplicity of lessons, but I do have some concerns. It is always very annoying when I get multiple choice questions wrong because there are so many other pronouns (like rydw, ydw, dwi) that I have never seen before. I basically guess on every single multiple choice question like that because I know there is like a 50% chance I will get it wrong. I also think that you could move the Places and Dialects skills towards the very end of the tree. It is quite difficult to memorize Welsh names of places when I don't know the English names themselves :) Overall, amazing job on bringing such a beautiful and unique language to the public!
Yes, that is something I also noticed. It appears that in many cases there are only as many questions available as are asked. If one repeats an exercise the same questions seem to appear in the same order. In all other languages I've tried, there are clearly many more questions available and they appear in a more random order. Therefore each time you try a lesson you get a largely different set of questions.
I don't know how the software works from the inside, but could it be possible to have more random variation within the same structure, so that we can like and dislike any randomly chosen days, not just Mondays and Fridays (or other random previously seen nouns or verbs)? Otherwise, an excellent course, and diolch y fawr to all involved in its creation.
I have some ideas which I think would help a lot of English-speaking learner unused to certain aspects of the language 1. give the gender with each new noun 2. explain the particle "yn" immediately (all particles, actually) 3. explain mutation/lenition/aspiration/etc. earlier and have many lessons on it 4. teach the 3rd person before going on to the past tense 5. emphasize the periphrastic construction of the present (there already is some explanation, but I think more would be nice) 6. give parts of speech with the vocab, so people don't confuse "allan" with "ma's" for example
Also, in the first lesson on the perfect, there are way too many different verbs meaning to clean, tidy, neaten, sweep, etc., this is very confusing when one is asked to translate the English into Welsh.
I am really enjoying this course. There is only one thing that really confuses me. Every time I show my boyfriend (native speaker) what I'm up to he keeps telling me they use different words for the same things. He explains it as being devided in dialects, north and south kinda thing.
How exactly does that work? I feel like I'm learning all the wrong things now to be able to use in the south.
A bit like in English - you'll have an English policeman shining his torch into your car's boot while his American colleague would shine a flashlight into the trunk.
Mostly, people will understand the other words as well even if they don't use them themselves.
The course teaches mostly southern words but accepts northern ones as well for those who already know them. A bit later on there is a special unit that teaches some of the most common words that differ between dialects.
His American colleage would most probably just shoot the trunk! ;-)
Interestingly, I read somewhere GPC? that the word being used for 'cuppa', 'baned/paned' on the course is the northern variant.
Ibischris wrote-up a great explanation in his discussion article Dialects - much more than a simple north/south divide.
I would need an English-American dictionary to understand a lot of American vocabulary, and I've had problems in the past speaking to Americans where they don't understand what I'm saying! To me it's more like the difference between English spoken in the south and English spoken in the north. I'm in London and wouldn't be able to understand a Geordie!
Just tried out the Welsh course having been told of Duo lingo's existence by someone at our local welsh learning centre. Very impressed so far, been learning in night class for a while so I'm going through the early stages pretty quickly, but I'm sure it will get better as it goes on. Will be telling my learning colleagues about this for sure, very well done indeed. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
All I can say is, this is the best, most convenient Welsh course I've ever come across and I've been learning, albeit sporadically, for nearly twenty years. This couse is filling in the gaps in my knowledge and at last I feel fluency will come! I love the fact that both north and south terms are used and am impressed that reported "errors" are taken seriously and acted on - what an amazing facility. And all this for free! Really unbelievable. I am spreading the word!
Thanks for the course! There are a lot of us in my city(and state for that matter) who have Welsh ancestry. A lot of our ancestors were miners in Wales and left in the mid 1800s for Utah. I've always wanted to learn a little bit of Welsh out of curiosity, mostly to get an idea of what some of my ancestors spoke. So far the course has been good. I haven't done a whole lot of it, but I've liked it so far. I haven't used any notes, I'm just going along the course enjoying it step by step. Are the north and south dialects really that different? A lot of this feed is full of discussion about the two.
I don't think the North/South divide is a big deal. It's good to understand all the vocabulary, and as Welsh speakers will understand the vocabulary of different regions, even if they don't use those words themselves, it wouldn't matter too much if you used a word that is less common in that region. The important thing is to be able to understand, so best just to accept that there is more than one word for things, just like in English. If you go to Wales, Welsh speakers will just be really happy that you're speaking Welsh not English.
Yeah its interesting. Thanks to you both for your replies. I just find it interesting that there are words that don't even sound similar in a sentence where you are essentially trying to say the same thing. It would be fun to research the etymology of those word differences. I guess it's not a big deal anyway like you said. I'm looking forward to learning more Welsh and possibly using it when I get the chance to visit Wales sometime in the future.
I think it's the same in all languages. Take English - the words roughly and approximately don't sound similar either, but mean the same thing. What about big, large, vast, huge great, enormous ... English has taken words from everywhere. Welsh is probably similar, but as it wasn't written down a couple of thousand years ago it's difficult to know how it evolved.
They are reasonably different, but it's not too hard to understand the opposite one to the one you are used to. A good example sentence is "We are going out now". In north walian (colloquially- there is a more formal version(using "Rydan" for north walian and "Rydyn" for south walian) it would be "Dan ni'n mynd allan rŵan" whereas in south walian it would be "Dyn ni'n mynd mas nawr". As you can see sometimes the spelling and pronunciation will be slightly different but still be pretty much the same word. Then you have words like "allan" and "rŵan", and "mas" and nawr which are different.
I'm still early on (just finished present tense 1 and 2.) I knew no Welsh going into this, and am not taking a class or following a book or anything else, so for now Duolingo is it.
I'm liking the course over all, but I'd like more grammar practice early on and less vocabulary. For instance, in the present tense sections, each section was very short (only about 10 questions I think, if you got them right first time), and a large portion of those questions were in fact single words like "meat".) I could have done with more of "I like sleeping / eating / drinking. I sleep / eat / drink. Do you sleep / eat / drink" etc -with maybe more verbs introduced but not so much on the random nouns. I still feel insecure on the very basics of how the language works, and I'd like more of that early on.
This is the first duolingo course where I've felt the need to immediately "strengthen" just to get more practice in, even though duolingo is showing everything I've already done as gold.
Also, why on earth is "lamb meat" introduced so early in the course - before just "meat"? There are a few odd choices like that, but that's one I encountered today.
Thanks for making the course! Despite these niggles I'm really enjoying it.
I was really excited when I saw that Welsh was available and I immediately started learning! It was all going well until I hit the Dialects and now I'm utterly confused :) But I'm not giving up! I would also suggest more extensive notes, with more examples and more about the pronunciation. Thanks for all your hard work so far!
I really like that most of the lessons are short, and that the longer lessons are mostly spread out. I find that im picking up the spelling and speaking of Welsh faster then i did with Irish. Which encourages me to keep going in Welsh! (Though Is maith liom tends to pop up in my head before Dw i'n hoffi when i see i like). I'm just past the the last checkpoint and even though i dont skip lessons having that last section be so large can feel a bit intimidating. Though that is a very minor issue. I think the biggest issue i have is when it (at least) seems like the first time i come across a word is in a multiply choice question so i do not realise that there is more then one right option because i haven't seen the other one (much) before.
I love it so far. I have wanted to learn Welsh for twenty-odd years, so I am very happy to be doing this.
I don't tend to read the notes, mostly because I keep forgetting they are there. When I do remember, I find them helpful for contextualizing the material a bit. For the most part, though, I just figure things out as I go.
I also find the previous comments to be useful feedback, since I haven't yet reached some of the levels they have seen.
I, too, have been waiting for a Welsh course on Duolingo for years; and I have to say DIOLCH YN FAWR for all the amazing work you've put into this course. It's WONDERFUL!
I have been reading the notes, by the way, and find them very helpful.
Here is my feedback (with nothing but love):
One thing I would like to see more of is verbal practice (i.e. click the microphone and say or translate the phrase shown). Perhaps this is a feature that's "coming soon" since the course is just in beta at the moment?
Although I don't have any issue with the pronunciation of some of the letters (i.e. d/dd, f/ff, ll, si, ch, ae, etc.), because I learned them as a child; I've been thinking that they might really cause people brand new to Welsh some issues. Perhaps a pronunciation lesson very near the beginning might be a good idea for those who aren't familiar?
Again, I can't thank you enough for all the hard work you've put into this excellent course.
Thanks :) Unfortunately, the choice between North and South will probably never exist in Duolingo - it would take too much time on the Dev and Duolingo side :( Having said that, we can note which words are N and which are S, and this will be implemented as the course goes along, I imagine.
It would take a lot of work, but it would presumably be possible to later create additional separate courses for north and south Welsh (in addition to this orignal course). But then what about the other two or three major variants? Also, assuming Duolingo would provide resouces for it, I'm not sure it would attract a wide audience.
As a speaker of welsh from north wales I dislike that only southern welsh is accepted. "Rydw i'n" etc. is a perfectly acceptable alternative in place of "Dw i'n" in north wales and is in fact the norm. I find it frustrating that these things haven't been included as alternative answers when I know that they are correct.
Other than that it seems to be pretty solid, and I appreciated how clear the woman's voice is when speaking.
Mae'n flin gen i, ond nid yw'r frawddeg gyntaf uchod yn gwneud synnwyr. Dylai ddweud 'mae'r ffurfiau a ganlyn YN dderbyniol'. Ni cheir 'sydd' byth yn y fath gymalau. Gellid dweud 'y ffurfiau a ganlyn sy'n dderbyniol', er enghraifft, ond byth 'mae X sydd Y'. Mae 'sydd' yn bwysleisiol. Gobeithio nad oes gwallau tebyg yn y cwrs!
Diolch yn fawr! I've waited and waited for this... Of distant welsh extraction, but born and raised in the US - and have off and on made several attempts at learning Welsh. It's hard to stick with it without others to practice with, but this will help immensely! I second (third, etc) the request for a North vs South lesson, as someone who has studied mostly the northern dialect.
Very engaging and interesting course so far. Welsh is definitely different from anything else I've heard or read before and I like it. I would like to see more information on how to pluralize (does one simply add "nau"?), and which alternative forms of plurals are possible. Some people have had doubts about this, as with teganau vs tegannau, and so on.
Oh no, -au is just one plural ending among many :)
I think -nau is not a plural ending; things such as serennau "(individual) stars" from seren "star" or pennau (heads) from pen (head) I think are better understood as coming from a form serenn, penn which is simplified at the end of a word to seren, pen but where the historical -nn- remains in the plural.
Compare Irish ceann "head" and Cornish (Standard Written Form) penn "head" which still keep the -nn spelling even in the singular, as does the Kernewek Kemmyn spelling of Cornish for sterenn "star".
Danish does something similar as well, with double consonants simplifying to a single one at the end of a word, but staying double in the plural -- so it looks, from today's point of view, as if the consonant gets doubled when you pluralise the word. For example, kat "cat", katte "cats". Compare Norwegian, which does not do this simplification: katt, katter/kattar.
And English does something similar, reducing double consonants at the ends of short words but keeping the double consonants (or from today's point of view: doubling them) when adding an ending; compare fat, fatter; to dam, dammed with German fett, fetter; dämmen, gedämmt.
I was going by GPC, which has sêr, sŷr for "stars" in the collective, but then has
e.ll. (un. b. seren, ll. serennau) ll. dwbl serau, sêrs.
"plural noun (singular, feminine, seren; plural serennau); double plural serau, sêrs"
which I took to mean that the singulative is seren and that this form can form a plural serennau which applies to individual stars rather than to stars as a collective.
From what I know in Cornish, such collective nouns can often form a plural of the singulative which then refers to specifically "many individual X's" rather than "many X's" -- does Welsh not work like that as well?
(In Cornish, this is perhaps most useful in nouns which really do more often refer to a mass in their base form and for which English would use a singular as well, where you have e.g. ergh "snow", erghen "snowflake", erghennow "snowflakes"; or tewes "sand", tewesen "grain of sand", tewesennow "grains of sand" -- where "snowflakes, grains of sand, (raindrops, pieces of coal, leaves, ....)" contrasts with the mass "snow, sand, (rain, coal, foliage, ...)". Though it's possible that this is an over-regularisation or over-generalisation in the revived/reconstructed language.)
The only correct spelling of "toys" in Cymraeg is teganau; the original contributor made a mistake, unfortunately. For plurals, there are different plural forms for different words - the easiest way is to learn the plural at the same time of learning the singular - you could keep a list in a word document or written down :D
Considering the course is only in Beta and less than a month old, I think it's going great. One problem is that there are so many different ways to translate a given sentence, and I know it's going to take a while for all the correct answers to be accepted. I just keep reporting them when they're not.
However, my one gripe at present is that in many of the tips and notes there is just a reference to part of a course book. I'm guessing this is because it's a work in progress, and I'm hoping that in time these references will be replaced by tips and notes?
It would also be useful, when looking at a particular skill, for the various words and phrases given in the boxes at the top to be given their translations. Often I think, I pretty much know this, so want to test out, but it would be great if I could quickly see the meanings of those few words that I've forgotten or not come across. Would it be possible to have it so that we could hover over any of those phrases and see the translation if we don't want to work through the individual lessons?
Cheers, it's a great course.
Diolch for the comments :) For units that are missing notes, please draw the team's attention to them by posting to their Wall or flagging them up.
Your idea of the hover is good, but unfortunately we as a team don't have any control over that. Then again, if you need to see what it means in English, have you really done enough to be able to know and use that word/sentence naturally? ;-)
Keep at it :D
The "hover over words in boxes when you open the skill" thing is not something controlled by an individual course or its maintainers - that would have to be a change that the programmers at Duolingo implement (at which point, it would probably be available to all courses).
Also, is there any deadline for the Welsh course to include the "Words" tab? I know some of these things only happen when the course loses its Beta status, but so does it happen for the language to appear on the mobile version, and we already have access to Welsh on mobile (which is quite impressive and is a great tool for revision on the go). The words tab is an incredible resource for keeping in touch with the vocabulary you have learned and it is certainly a major tool for Cymraeg. It could include the words, meaning and all possible mutations (together with some code to specify Soft, Nasal and Aspirate).
I have yet to try the Welsh course on the computer Duolingo site since I've had no internet but at this moment in time, I've just started the Welsh coruse but I am loving the tree and what it has to offer! I drive my family crazy when Welsh or any of the other languages I'm trying to learn on here is all they hear from my iPhone.
Thank you so much for this course!
It would be nice to have small conversational topics added in between the standard ones. Maybe a bit more of 'how are you' stuff or, even better, 'In a cafe/pub' topic, so that one can complete a week's share of lessons, take a train to Gwynedd on weekend, and practice saying it in a way others understand :)
Diolch! I actually hold a low grade GCSE in Welsh (goodness knows how I even managed that!) but it is safe to say I've learned more from a couple of the Duolingo lessons than my entire (many years of) Welsh tuition in school.
What would I like to see more of? Perhaps some clear indication when North/South variations are used which would enable both to be presented in the same course (best of both worlds).
I'm currently half way through Mynediad 2 and am finding Duolingo a great resource as a back up and revision tool, so many thanks for that. I can do a little bit every day and this has helped enormously with my sentence formations and spellings. What I personally could do with more of is translating English into Welsh. I'm quite good at working out the English from the Weslh, but struggle to work out the order of words etc and it would strengthen my skills to have to translate into Welsh. Even if I struggle! Overall, I think it's a really helpful resource. Many thanks
Firstly, I'd like to say diolch yn fawr for all the work you've done. I'm Welsh and I learnt some Cymraeg at school, but I'm very happy to get the chance to improve. One slight niggle is that the same "new" word comes up twice at the beginning of lessons, then it might come up as a new word in a subsequent lesson. Perhaps more serious is that nouns do not specify their gender as you learn them, and I remember enough from school to know that it will be important later on. But in general, I'm enjoying it. Hwyl.
Re gender and mutations, I think this course teaches you in the context a phrase would be used, so you learn it in the most natural way, as children learn their mother tongue. They don't get sat down and taught grammatical rules, they just listen to sentences and pick up the correct way of speaking - in time. I prefer this method personally.
As somebody who has spoken welsh since I was younger (I learned it as a child naturally would through immersion, but at school instead of at home) I would strongly suggest that it is best for the course to teach grammatical genders as you learn a word. I can write and speak fluently (and am doing the Welsh first language GCSE at the minute in High school), but I literally have no clue what gender a word is unless I have taught it to myself or if it matches one of the patterns that I know, and therefore I would say that it is better to include the genders within the course.
Hey dude great course! Started about a week ago and i cant believe ho easy it is for me to pass stuff off i feel that the lessons are easy to use and understand great job! I just think that maybe you should make the images a little more relevant and in some lessons i find that some of the words are missing the English drop box underneath it when i hover over it. Other then that it just needs some fine tuning then it will be an amazing course! Ddiolch choegyn llawer