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WELSH 11103
Online

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

This course is based on the Wlpan method of teaching (see "Learning Strategies" below for short history of the Wlpan).  This method of teaching is based on how a child learns a language, namely by hearing the new sounds and words and repeating them.  When starting a UNIT, it is IMPORTANT that you listen to the sound files as many times as necessary until you feel completely at ease with the sounds and words (see "What You Will Need" below for programs and equipment which will help you during the course). Then try to mimic them.  Listen and repeat.  Say it at the same time as the sound file.  Try as many different ways as possible and get comfortable with what you are learning.  Remember, if Welsh children can make the sounds and say the words, so can you!  But as adults, sometimes we feel foolish or even intimidated by attempting to say these new things.  Try to relax, but most importantly, try to have fun.

The first step is to look at the "GRAMMAR" part of the new UNIT (or the "VOWELS" in UNIT 1 and the "CONSONANTS" in UNIT 2).  Read the comments and listen to the sound files.  Once again, listen as many times as possible until you are confident in speaking what you've learned. 

Once you've reached that stage, move on to the "VOCABULARY" and get to know the words individually.  Or if you're feeling a bit more confident, listen to the "CONVERSATION" and hear two native speakers interacting.  In later UNITS, you will see a section called "NOTES".  This section is NOT necessary to look at to learn to speak Welsh.  In fact, DO NOT worry yourself over the "NOTES" if you find them confusing or too in depth.  The "NOTES" are for the avid language learner who knows a bit about linguistics and wants to know more about the ins and outs of Welsh.  If that's you, then enjoy the extra information and interesting facts.

There will be one UNIT per week.  Some UNITS are shorter than others and some learners will need to spend more time than others on the UNITS.  The amount of time you will need each week is up to the individual.  But be sure to listen and repeat enough times to feel as if you grasped the new expressions and sounds.  This can not be stressed enough since you will be using your newly learned Welsh in the "VIRTUAL CLASSROOM".

The "VIRTUAL CLASSROOM" is the next step in completing a "UNIT".  Here, we will meet online in small groups once every week for an hour.  The discussion will be led by the instructor and will be virtually all in Welsh using what was learned in that week's lesson as well as what was gained in previous weeks' lessons.  Do not be intimidated.  Say what you can say and ask if you don't know.  You're not expected to remember everything or master everything the first try, but the "VIRTUAL CLASSROOM" is where you can try out your new Welsh and get further instruction from the instructor.  You will be able to hear the instructor and hear others in the class practicing their Welsh (see "What You Will Need" below).

Finally, you are asked to do the quiz for that UNIT which you will find by clicking on the "Course Menu", selecting "Quizzes", and then proceed to the quiz which corresponds to the UNIT.  After finishing the quiz, you may then go on to the following UNIT.

Please feel free to use the message board for questions, suggestions, or notices.  You will find this by clicking on the "Course Menu" and selecting "Discussions".  The instructor will monitor the discussions and respond when necessary.  There is also a chat room which can be accessed the same way and be used by students who want to set up times and dates to chat with each other about the course. 

 

The instructor may also be contacted at:

Madog Center for Welsh Studies
F-40
University of Rio Grande
P.O. Box 500
Rio Grande, OH
45674
 

welsh@rio.edu

Tel:  (740) 245-7186
       (740) 245-7145

Fax:  (740) 245-5266

Office hours:  8am - 5pm   Monday - Friday

 

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

There are no required texts as handouts to be provided by instructor via email attachments as Word documents.

Real Player is recommended for listening to the sound files.  This can be downloaded for free at:

http://www.real.com/

A headset with microphone is preferred while in the "virtual classroom", but speakers and microphone combination will be acceptable. 

High-speed internet access will provide the best interaction and is therefore recommended.

Skype will be used for the "virtual classroom".  The System Requirements are:

  • PC running Windows 2000 or XP. (Windows 2000 users require DirectX 9.0 for video calls).
  • Internet connection (broadband is best, GPRS is not supported for voice calls, and results may vary on a satellite connection).
  • Speakers and microphone built-in or separate.
  • We also recommend that you have at least 400 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM and 15 MB free disk space on your hard drive.

Skype can be downloaded for free at:

http://www.skype.com/download/

 

 

LEARNING STRATEGY

 

The strategy we suggest is actually more like a list of different strategies and ideas, because certainly with language, we don't want a narrow or rigid linear approach.  The best approach is one of variety and fun.  The Lingo is loosely based on the Welsh "Wlpan" immersion courses.

Wlpan is the Welsh spelling of a Hebrew word meaning "studio", which has come to be used as the name of the intensive immersion course for immigrants to Israel.  The Welsh borrowed this idea from the highly successful Israeli "Ulpanim" [Ulpan courses].  The Lingo is based on the Wlpan standard, which is conversational non-dialect Welsh, based on Cymraeg Byw, which means "modern-day spoken Welsh" [but which literally means "living Welsh"].  Mastering Cymraeg Byw, as opposed to literary Welsh, is the goal, because the learner wants to integrate into Welsh-speaking society, and do so as quickly as possible.  The most literary form of Welsh, used even today, is based on the spoken Welsh of nine hundred years ago.

Wlpan classes meet several times a week to enable students to master basic Welsh as quickly as possible.  The emphasis is on conversational Welsh.  Having classes two or more times a week means that you learn more quickly because you have less time to forget between lessons.  Wlpan courses are for beginners.  By the end of an Wlpan course, hard-working students should be able to have simple conversations in Welsh.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember to do in this course is to listen to the sound files over and over and repeat them over and over until you are totally comfortable and familiar with the sounds of the language.  This is particularly important in the case of Welsh, since it has quite a different sound structure from that of English.  When speaking a new language, sometimes people get turned off because they think they can't pronounce it, and stop learning due to frustration.  It is important to have an open mind and get to the stage where you have mastered the sounds to enough of an extent to be able to "claim" the language as "yours", or as one that you speak.  It would be hard to identify with a language without having mastered its pronunciation first.

01] From the very beginning, please use only Welsh, as much as is practically possible, with the instructor.  Once people speak one language with each other, it is almost impossible to change to another one with that person.  This course is designed to help the students understand enough of the language to be able to hold regular graded conversations with the instructor.  The instructor will generally only use language that the students will have already studied.

02] Use Welsh as often as you can.  Twice a day for 10 minutes is better than 3 hours once a week.

03] Use Welsh in as many different ways as you can, to immerse yourself as much as possible.  For example, you can put Welsh-language labels on things around your house. Try visual and aural ways to immerse yourself.

04] Use the following strategy: deliberately confining yourself to saying what you can, how how can, not exactly what you want to say, and by not being afraid to make mistakes. You must consciously sacrifice momentary perfection in your native language for a gradual but guaranteed eventual fluency in Welsh.  Time and time again, it has been shown in language classes that those who are afraid of making mistakes end up saying very little and hence never become fluent in the target language.  This sort of struggle is a source of fun for Europeans and others who have to be able to communicate in 4 or 5 languages in one afternoon. 

05] Persevere. Work hard. Be stubborn. Be imaginative.

06] Labels: Label everything possible in your home, car, and office in Welsh only.

07] To-do Lists: Make all your to-do lists in Welsh: shopping, organizing, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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