Learning a language is a matter of learning a pattern. You learn grammar and syntax while picking up vocabulary and pronunciation. That is the way you learnt your native language. There are many ways to study a language. You can pay lots of money for a formal course, or you can find free information on the Internet. Many web sites offer instruction in other languages.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Internet Connection
Check out Internet resources. Welsh is a Celtic language. Specifically, it is a Brythonic Celtic language. Its pronunciation and vocabulary differ fairly significantly from Irish or Scots Gaelic. Sites such as a Welsh Course will walk you through the steps of understanding Welsh. The site begins with a look at the Welsh alphabet. Practice your pronunciation by comparing Welsh sounds to those of the English words given in the examples. These are only approximations. For an even better idea of the proper pronunciation, try to find other sites that offer sound files. With sound files, you can learn the Welsh sounds from native speakers.
Move from pronunciation to the basics of grammar. A Welsh Course starts with the verb "to be." You must learn this verb in order to speak Welsh properly. Pay attention to the ways in which the verb differs from its English counterpart. Note the forms of the personal pronoun that are introduced with the lessons on "to be." These are also somewhat complex and will give some clue to the pattern of Welsh. Study all the conjugations. You will find that you do not always express an action in the same fashion as in English--often a verb alone will do the trick. As well, you will begin to pick up some vocabulary as you follow the examples.
Begin to put together simple sentences. A Welsh course understands that sentence structure, or syntax, is key to speaking Welsh. Different languages express ideas differently. English is what is called a subject-verb-object language. This means that, in English, you normally place the performer of the action at the beginning of a sentence. In contrast, Welsh and other Celtic languages place the verb at the beginning of their sentences. This entails an entirely new way of thinking about what you are going to say. Pay attention to the examples and begin to think like a Welsh person.
Learn how to mutate. Mutation is an essential feature of all Celtic languages. A Welsh Course takes you to this step once you have mastered simple sentences. In English, you often change a final sound when you change the form of a word. For example, the "f" sound in life becomes a "v" in living. In Welsh the first letter of a word regularly mutates when preceded by certain other words or grammatical expressions. P's can become b's and c' can become g's. Numerous patterns reflect Welsh grammatical structure. Observe the sound changes and try to understand when you must mutate. Proper understanding of mutation is essential to speaking Welsh.
Continue with all the available lessons. Learn other grammatical techniques such as how to express possession. You can try other sites to study conversational situations and expand your vocabulary. The BBC offers an interactive course that provides examples from daily life. A site called 200-Words-A-Day offers a free trial of its flashcard method of teaching new vocabulary. Keep building on the basics while you apply your new words to different situations. Try writing out short paragraphs or describing your daily activities to a fellow student.
Tips and warnings
- Fine tune your knowledge of Welsh by looking for examples of Welsh literature. There are also sites that detail the mutations and describe the history of the language. Still other sites show you how to conjugate.
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