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Colloquial Welsh: The Complete Course for Beginners
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Alan R. King, LINGUIST
"I am sure that for many people these books will have had the effect of
putting modern spoken Welsh firmly on the map..."--This text refers to
Finding a course on spoken Welsh has been difficult, if not
impossible--until now. Complete with all the written grammar work you have
come to expect, Colloquial Welsh, in its two cassettes, takes you through a
number of dialect variations making this the first truly "communicative"
approach to Welsh.
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; Bk/CD/Cas edition (April 1, 1995)
- ISBN: 0415107857
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 2.1 inches
- Average Customer Review:
based on 5 reviews.
Avg. Customer Review:
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
best guide to Welsh, January 23, 2002
Welsh is the traditional language of all Britain (south of the
Highlands) before the coming of the "German" Saxons. It is also the
language of King Arthur, Merlin and many other tales. This lends Welsh a
quite mystic and emotional feel, further enhanced by being spoken in the
mountain regions of Welsh. Thus, Welsh is a very ancient cultural
language. However, it is also a very healthy modern language, being used
in all spheres of modern life in Wales.
I first started to learn Welsh using some other books, but as soon as
I began with this book I realised that it was superior to the others.
True, the first two or three chapters could be a bit more organised, but
apart from that the book has got it all. The grammar is very well
explained and the learner really gets to know every aspect of the
grammar of spoken Welsh. All lessons have got some dialouges with
extensive word-lists and a lot of excersises. As the icing on the cake,
you also get an introduction to different aspects of Wales and Welsh in
every chapter, with short introductions about dialects, eisteddfodau,
Welsh politics etc.
I have visited Welsh a number of times, and I have found that this
book has helped me a lot. I have been able to communicate extensively
with Welsh speakers, I have taken part in cultural activities in Welsh,
I have been able to read the Welsh epics.
Of course, to really learn a language you have to speak it with its
native speakers, but this book is the best tutor you could get and I do
not doubt the Finnish reader below who says that he went to Wales and
communicated in Welsh after completing this excellent course.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
on the spoken word, July 7, 2001
Welsh is a confusing language. Period. I speak almost fluent French,
some German and Spanish but I must admit that Welsh is the "major
league" of languages. I'm heading over to Wales for a few weeks in about
a month and I wanted to brush up on the language in case I got lost and
At about the beginning of the tape, the orator mentions that he wants
you to listen closely to the Welsh language and that confusion at first
is normal until after many listening experiences. Immediately following
there are several conversations on the tape with people speaking Welsh
very quickly. I think the idea was that you should pretend you are
sitting in a cafe in Wales and listening to all these different
conversations. Deciphering what they are saying is like a puzzle left to
Unfortunately, Mr. King neglects to give you much grammar or
vocabulary at the beginning. For example, after many repetitions I
learned to say "Maen dda gen i gwrd a chi" which means "Pleased to meet
you". Thanks to the tape I learned how to pronounce it perfectly.
However, ask me what any of those words mean and I haven't a clue
(except maybe 'chi' which I deduced meant 'you'). Even the brief
dictionary in the back didn't help. In the same chapter he then
describes the names of all the different occupations. How about simple
conjugations of the verb 'to be'? I'll learn the occupations after I
know how to say, "Where is the supermarket?"
All in all, this is an important book however since the
pronounciation of the Welsh language is so difficult and counter
intuitive. It is important to learn how to pronounce a foreign language
correctly the first time around because once it becomes ingrained it's
very hard to unlearn it. I recommend you buy a more fundamental book
however to complement this one, especially if you've had no exposure to
the language before.
I gave this book 4 stars because of the authors emphasis on correct
pronounciation and modern-day dialects.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
best foundation for learning Welsh, May 13, 2001
So, where do you start to learn an ancient language? We acquired our
own language by listening, and we began a second language in school by
study of the written word. The second language never takes full seed
until we have the opportunity to hear it and use it. This book and
cassette combination is an ideal way begin learning a second language to
the same degree that we each speak our native tongue. Gareth King has
nailed the foundation beautifully. Admittedly, he makes few allowances
for the slow, but in fact he plunges the student into a listening
situation, through the cassettes, that would be similar to immersion in
Wales itself. When backed up by the analytical approach in the book,
this is a sure-fire course for the serious student.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
organized, too confusing, February 8, 2001
"topaze15" (Charlotte, NC
OK, one thing I must concede is that Welsh is a difficult language to
try to teach and learn. However, I feel this program could be better,
needs to be better. I haven't finished the program, I'm not even halfway
through. Already I have been confused by the incongruence between the
recordings and the book, answers in the back of the book that seem to
contradict the lessons, and poor organization of the information on the
page, especially for visual types like me, the book is a mess! Also,
there are apparently two different Welshes - northern Welsh and southern
Welsh. The two Welshes use different common expressions and words. This
book throws it all at you at once, and it's too confusing to try to
separate whether you are speaking northern or southern. It would have
been much better to concentrate on one at a time.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful:
book for learning spoken Welsh!, January 19, 2000
Reviewer: A reader
This is THE outstanding book for anyone who whants to learn Welsh. It
consists of 16 chapters, each one of them containing dialouges,
readings, grammar, excersices, vocabularies and descriptions of Wales
and of Welsh culture. It is easy to follow, and by the end of it you
will be able to converse for hours with Welsh-speakers. (I dear to say
this since I myself went to Wales after completing this course and spoke
no English for three weeks...) The emphasis is, of course, on the spoken
language, and within this area it is beyond doubt the best Welsh course
available. I highly recommend it.
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