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The learning of Welsh as a second language


The Cardiff School of Welsh and Welsh for Adults Centre have a joint programme of research exploring aspects of current and possible future approaches to the teaching of Welsh as a Second (and Foreign) Language.

The aim of the programme is to develop new practical approaches to the teaching of Welsh that can be trialled in the WfA Centre, the School and elsewhere. Key questions addressed by the programme include:

  • How can current research knowledge in the Teaching of English as a Second/Foreign Language be effectively applied to the teaching of Welsh?
  • How can best practice in teaching English in China inform new approaches to the teaching of Welsh in Wales?
  • How can recent research into formulaic language inform approaches to the teaching of Welsh?

The programme runs in collaboration with Professor Alison Wray of the Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy, who is an international expert on formulaic language in the language learning context.

The programme’s funded initiatives included:

  • Supporting a postdoctoral researcher, Dr Tim Jilg
  • A series of visits by distinguished international Applied Linguists, including:
    • March 2009: Professor Elaine Tarone, Director of the Center of Advanced Research on Language Acqusition, University of Minnesota
    • Spring 2011: Professor Merrill Swain (Professor of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Canada)
  • A programme of collaborations and visits between Cardiff University and Nanjing University, China, specifically:
    • 2005-: Collaborations with Professor Ding Yenren, Dean of Dept of English, Nanjing University
    • 2007-8: Two PhD students from Nanjing undertaking a year’s placement at Cardiff as part of their studies into language learning with emphasis on formulaic language
    • Nov 2008: A Cardiff University Research Initiative-funded trip by a member of the School of Welsh to observe and research the teaching of English in China
    • Jan-Mar 2009: A British Academy funded research visit by Dr Qi Yan, Nanjing University, to conduct research into the application of Chinese teaching methods to the teaching of Welsh
    • May 2009: A Chinese-funded visit to Beijing and Nanjing by Professor Wray to give a plenary lecture at the first Chinese conference on formulaic language, and to give associated lectures and talks

The project team

Project Leader

Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost

Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost

Director of Postgraduate Research Studies