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
(or the "VOWELS" in UNIT 1 and the "CONSONANTS" in
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"
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
University of Rio Grande
P.O. Box 500
Rio Grande, OH
Tel: (740) 245-7186
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:
A headset with microphone is preferred while in the "virtual
classroom", but speakers and microphone combination will be
High-speed internet access will provide the best interaction and
is therefore recommended.
Skype will be used for the "virtual classroom". The System
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
Speakers and microphone — built-in or separate.
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:
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"
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
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.
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
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
Use Welsh as often as you can. Twice a day for 10
minutes is better than 3 hours once a week.
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.
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.
Persevere. Work hard. Be stubborn. Be imaginative.
Labels: Label everything possible in your home, car, and
office in Welsh only.
To-do Lists: Make all your to-do lists in Welsh:
shopping, organizing, etc.