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Postgraduate Research

Current PhD students supervised by staff of the Research Unit:

Current Research Projects

Capacity building and language skills transfer in the Welsh digital economy

This three-year project, funded through a KESS scholarship, is looking at electronic learning in the context of adults learning Welsh at Nant Gwrtheyrn. A suite of e-learning resources will be produced in order to add to the learning experience of the Nant's learners, following their week-long language immersion at the residential centre. Learners' views will help to inform the creative process and contribute to an evaluation of the resources developed.

This research is led by:

Professor Colin H Williams, Research Professor, School of Welsh, Cardiff University

Dr Adrian Price, Director of Teaching, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre

Pegi Talfryn, Education Manager, Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh Language and Heritage Centre

Jennifer Marshall, PhD Student, School of Welsh, Cardiff University


The Office of Language Commissioner in Wales, Ireland and Canada

This investigation aims to identify best practice principles of official language regulation in Wales, Ireland and Canada. The operation of the Welsh Language Commissioner, established April 2012, together with the impact of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, will be the principal focus. The work will concentrate on the first years of the operation of the Welsh Language Commissioner, which will be tasked with the establishment of national standards of Welsh medium services which are designed to improve on the current instrument of the Welsh Language Scheme, inaugurated under the Welsh Language Act, 1993.

Detailed investigations of the Language Commissioner functions in Ireland and in Canada at both federal and sub-federal level are investigated to offer a comparative and heuristic perspective. The combined research is expected to benefit policy advisers and public servants in the named jurisdictions and others interested in the application of equality measures, human rights, official language promotion/regulation and community empowerment in Europe and North America.
The methodology will combine archive work, literature and document review, field-work and interviews with Language Commissioner Staff, Parliamentary and other Commissioners, politicians, constitutional lawyers and a range of public servants.

More information on the Office of Language Commissioner in Wales, Ireland and Canada project is available here

The pronunciation of Welsh by learners:  An empirical study of language attitudes, perception and production

Very few studies conducted to date have examined in detail the pronunciation difficulties of Welsh learners.  This research examines different aspects of pronunciation amongst adult learners of Welsh and the linguistic and extra-linguistic factors which influence phonological and phonetic variation.  The work started in October 2012, and has several interrelating objectives:

  1. To identify problem areas in learners’ speech production;
  2. To find out which of these problem areas (if any) impede communication and integration in the community;
  3. To develop resources specifically for the Welsh for Adults (WfA) sector based on the empirical findings of this research which will be of substantial benefit to tutors and learners alike.   

The initial stage of project, a study of Welsh for Adults Tutors’ attitudes towards learners’ pronunciation, has recently been completed. This work has been used to identify variables for future quantitative research and ways in which the research project can inform the Welsh for Adults sector.


Previous Research Projects

Member of EUNOM Project on European Multilingulism

The Eunom Report

‘Language Ombudsmen: A Comparative Perspective’

A Welsh Language Board supported pilot project, which auguments the British Academy supported research on Language Regulation (2009-10).

‘From Act to Action’ (2005-2008)

From Act to Action: Implementing Language Legislation in Finland, Ireland and Wales

This is a comparative analysis of the effectiveness of language legislation in Finland, Ireland and Wales. It is sponsored by the European Union, through the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages, and by selected Language Boards and administered by the Svenska Kulturfonden, Helsinki.

‘Cyfalaf Iaith’ (2006-2009)

An economic and spatial analysis of the impact of Welsh language media in selected locations. The work is sponsored by the Welsh Language Board via a PhD scholarship (Caroline Walters).

‘The Use of Irish in the Courts of Ireland’ (2006-2009)

This research is sponsored by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Government of the Republic of Ireland, by way of a PhD scholarship (Sean Ó Conaill).

‘Mapping Linguistic Diversity in Multicultural Societies’ (2006-7)

A European Science Foundation project co-ordinated by Guus Extra of Tilburg University, The Netherlands, and Monica Barni of the Università per Stranieri di Siena, Italy.

‘The Learning of Welsh as a Second Language’

The aim of this research project is to consider how improvements could be made to way in which the Welsh language is transferred to adults. The project began in May 2010 and ran for two years. The work has several interacting foci of interest:

The full report is available here

The research is sponsored by the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, the Welsh Assembly Government.