If youve just decided that youd like to learn Welsh,
but arent sure where to start, then this handy guide will
give you the essential information you need to get going. This isnt
an exhaustive list - its just the best of the bunch. Once
you feel more at home with the language, there are a lot more resources
available for you to explore, both on the web and through traditional
media like books, magazines, newspapers etc.
Of course, dont forget the wealth of information available
right here on CMC. Learn
Welsh subliminally will help you to bring Welsh into your every
day life, and there are several cheat
sheets which will introduce you to some basic phrases. Remember
to come back to CMC on a regular basis, as new material is uploaded
So, enjoy the language and enjoy learning!
choosing a course book
There are a number of course books available, but the favourite
of most people on the CMC email
list is definitely Gareth King's Colloquial Welsh.
King explains things very clearly and uses everyday Welsh
that you will hear spoken on the streets. Its available
with audio tapes, which are strongly recommended as they will
help you with pronunciation and aural comprehension (understanding
what you hear).
finding a dictionary
You will also need a good dictionary and the Oxford Pocket
Modern Welsh Dictionary is excellent. Written specifically
for learners, it includes detailed explanations of usage and
idioms, so will really help you to use the language like a
||Oxford Pocket Modern Welsh Dictionary
ed. Gareth King
Oxford University Press
If you cant find these books on the shelves of your
local book shop, either ask for them to be ordered for you,
or use an online book shop, such as http://www.whsmith.co.uk
S4C, the Welsh equivalent to Channel Four, broadcasts quite a lot
of programmes in Welsh via its terrestrial channel. The Welsh programmes
are mixed in with English ones, so scan the schedules to see what
Sometimes the schedules include programmes for learners, such as
Bitesize Cymraeg or Welsh in a Week. Bitesize Cymraeg
is a programme aimed at teenagers taking their TGAU (GCSE) exams
in Welsh, but it's also very handy for others learning the language.
In Welsh in a Week, Nia Parry attempts to teach some basic
Welsh to people with only a week to spare.
S4C provides subtitles on Sbectol (the S4C text service) for Welsh
programmes. Page 888 (Transl888) provides English subtitles for
Welsh programmes, and page 889 provides Welsh subtitles for learners,
with difficult words translated into English. Both services are
invaluable for the learners. Be careful though, because if you become
too reliant on the English subtitles, you might forget to listen
out for the Welsh!
Visit the S4C
web site for more information.
The all-Welsh Radio Cymru broadcasts mainly Radio 2 type content
throughout most of the day, but occasionally mutates into a youth-oriented
Radio 1 hybrid, often after a 9pm watershed. Whatever your tastes
in music, give Radio Cymru a try at various times of day and see
how you get on. Its harder for learners to understand Welsh
on the radio - its surprising how much context you gather
from body language and context - but give it a go anyway.
Visit the Radio
Cymru web site for more information.
tv and radio on Sky
If you have Sky digital you can access several free resources that
will help you with your learning.
S4C Digidol (channel 184, different from S4C analogue)
S4C2 (channel 519, but at the moment theres not much on it)
Radio Cymru (channel 904, same as above)
To add S4C Digidol to your subscription call 08705 663363 and they
will arrange your connection.
S4C Digidol screens more programme for learners than the terrestrial
channel, and schedules sometimes include Bitesize Cymraeg,
Welsh in a Week, Talk About Welsh and Now You're
Talking. The latter two teach Welsh by mixing drama and grammar
with varying degrees of effectiveness. (Read the review of Talk
Educational programmes are usually on in the morning and it's best
to video them so that you can repeat them whenever you want to.
Watching such programmes will help you to learn new words and sentence
constructions, as well as letting you see and hear Welsh used in
an everyday context.
Welsh subtitles are also available on Sky: using your Sky handset
to access System Setup and selecting Language and subtitles, then
Welsh as preferred language. Subtitles can be turned on and off
as appropriate. You can also access normal Sbectel subtitles (Transl888
and 889), via your TV handset.
There are plenty of Welsh language dramas and documentaries available
on S4C Digidol, and programmes are often repeated twice or three
times a week. A good habit to get into is to watch the first showing
with English subtitles, so that you get to grips with whats
happening, then later in the week watch the same program again but
either with Welsh subtitles, or without any subtitles at all. The
second time round youll be able to concentrate harder on what
people are saying, rather than trying to figure out whats
happening, and after a while you should start to see an improvement
in how much you understand.
Visit the Sky
web site for subscription information.
BBC Wales online
For a taster of the language, take a look at Fancy
a panad? on About Wales. A short feature that introduces
you to the joys of the language, by the end youll have a firm
grip on how to ask for a cup of tea in Welsh.
For something a little more in-depth, try BBC
Wales Catchphrase site. Catchphrase uses audio
files of the radio programme of the same name, which you can either
listen to online, or download for later use. You can also download
all the scripts that go with the audio, so that you can read and
listen at the same time. Each lesson has a quiz, to test your understanding,
and you can work through the course at your own pace.