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School of Welsh welcomes academics from Europe

2 June 2023

Four people standing in a line smiling at the camera. There are two men on the left and two women on the right.
From left to right:- Professor Yoad Winter (Utrecht University), Dr Iwan Wyn Rees (School of Welsh), Deborah Arbes (University of Bremen) and Dr Silva Nurmio (University of Helsinki)

Three European academics have recently visited the School of Welsh to discuss the Welsh language.

Deborah Arbes from Germany spent a fortnight at the school in May to discuss common Welsh interests and the grammatical patterns of the language with its academic members.

Deborah is a PhD candidate at the University of Bremen and her work focuses on grammatical variation in three different regions, namely southern, northern and Patagonian Welsh. Her work echoes the research work of Dr Iwan Wyn Rees from the School of Welsh. Dr Rees’ work focuses on grammatical patterns and the counting systems in Wales as well as the formation of new dialects in the Welsh settlement in Patagonia.

The visit comes as a result of an official partnership that exists between Cardiff University and the University of Bremen in Germany known as the Bremen-Cardiff Alliance.

The partnership also enabled two other academics from Europe to visit the school for a special symposium. Professor Yoad Winter, who works at Utrecht University, and Dr Silva Nurmio, who works at the University of Helsinki, contributed to the symposium which discussed emerging number topics and the role of the Welsh language in linguistic typology.

Dr Rees said: “There is an element of symbolism to these visits. It isn’t just a matter of bringing together a group of linguists to discuss some grammatical complexities. The collaboration – and the Welsh welcome we give – is a way of showing that there is an interest here in Wales in the research work of our European colleagues who are exploring the Welsh language in a comparative way.

"Likewise, I hope this demonstrates to our students that the Welsh language and its speakers are still very much on the European and international map.”

Another European conference enabled by the Bremen-Cardiff Alliance will be held in June where PhD students will be given the opportunity to discuss their work. The event entitled ‘Triangulation II: a plethora of ideas about language’ will be held in the Bremen area and will bring together students from north-west Germany, Malta, Trento, Helsinki and Cardiff to discuss their sociolinguistic projects.

Five students from Cardiff University, all of whom have ties with the School of Welsh, will attend the conference, namely Kaisa Pankakoski, Jack Pulman-Slater, Katharine Young, Lynne Davies and Elin Arfon. The conference will be held between 5 and 6 June 2023.

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