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Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit

The Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit (LPPRU) was created early in 2005. Our emphasis is on understanding the social, economic and environmental implications of language over both time and space.

The Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit (LPPRU) was created early in 2005 to formalise the long-established research interest within the School of Welsh in the fields of language policy and planning, sociolinguistics and the sociology of language.

Our emphasis is on understanding the social, economic, and environmental implications of language over both time and space.

The Unit aims to be at the leading edge in national and international language-planning developments in these fields.

The Unit's work ranges in geographic scale from the local to the global whilst the full spectrum of quantitative and qualitative research techniques is deployed.

Current and recent research projects undertaken by LPPRU include a major ESRC sponsored project on the Office of Language Commissioner in Wales, Ireland and Canada (2012-15) and a Welsh Government sponsored project on Welsh Language Transmission and Use in Families (2017).

The research of the LPPRU has had considerable impact on public life. You can read about our impact in this field through the Reframing Language Law in Wales impact case study and the impact case study of Language Commissioners.


The LPPRU is an interdisciplinary unit that:

  • undertakes research on language policy and planning issues, sociolinguistics, and the sociology of language
  • supervises and teaches at MA, MPhil and PhD level
  • fosters university-wide networks and outreach work within the international policy community

Our research is organised around six themes:

  • the Welsh language
  • language politics, activism and conflict resolution
  • language rights and status
  • language policy, governance and the State
  • linguistic variation and change in the context of ethnic diversity and multiculturalism
  • behaviour change


Postgraduate research

Selection of current PhD students supervised by staff of the Unit

  • Khadejah Alamri
  • Mihangel Ap Rhisiart
  • Mohammed Bashiri
  • Shawqi Bukhari
  • Nia Eyre
  • Hannah Griffiths
  • John Prendergast

Selection of recently awarded PhD degrees

  • Assala Mihoubi, 2023
  • Kaisa Pankakoski, 2023
  • Jack Pulman-Slater, 2023
  • Patrick Carlin, 2019
  • Laura Davies, 2019
  • Ben Screen, 2018
  • Christina Wagoner, 2018
  • Gwenno Griffith, 2017
  • Gwennan Higham, 2016
  • Geraint Whittaker, 2016
  • Steve Eaves, 2015
  • Lucy Morrow, 2015
  • Jennifer Needs, 2015

Meet the team


Academic staff

Professor Colin H Williams

Professor Colin H Williams

Welsh speaking
+44 (0)29 2087 0413
Dr Iwan Wyn Rees

Dr Iwan Wyn Rees

Welsh speaking
+44 (0)29 2087 4843
Dr Jonathan Morris

Dr Jonathan Morris

Welsh speaking
+44(0) 29 2087 7266

Associated Researchers

Dr Patrick Carlin

Patrick Carlin's main research interest is the relationship between the politics of difference and the state, literature in minoritised languages, political violence, sociolinguistics and justice. His monograph, 'Political Community in Minority Language Writing: Claiming Difference, Seeking Commonality' is currently at press with Palgrave Macmillan in the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities series.

Dr Stuart Dunmore

Stuart Dunmore is an associate tutor in language education at the University of Edinburgh, and an associate researcher at the Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit. His research focuses on the sociolinguistics of minority language use, ideologies and cultural identities, with particular reference to Celtic language communities in the UK and North America. Stuart’s postdoctoral research assessed the role of 'new' speakers in language learning initiatives and policy interventions in Scotland and Nova Scotia, and his first book Language Revitalisation in Gaelic Scotland was published in 2019. Stuart’s current research examines obstacles to the development of bilingual oracy and multiculturalism in Gaelic-medium education, and motivations for language acquisition among new speakers in Canada and the US. In 2022 he held a Fulbright scholarship at Harvard University.

Dr Gwennan Higham

Gwennan Higham is Senior Lecturer in Welsh at Swansea University. She specalises in Welsh sociolinguistics, particularly the linguistic integration of international migrants in Wales. Her research is international in scope, including comparative work with Basque, Swedish (in Finland), French (in Quebec), Galician, and Frisian contexts. Her latest monograph is entitled ‘Creu Dinasyddiaeth i Gymru: Mewnfudo Rhyngwladol a’r Gymraeg (University of Wales Press: 2020) and she has also been published in prominent peer-reviewed journals including Language Policy and Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. She is Principal Investigator for a research impact project entitled ‘Pathways to the Welsh Language for International Migrants’ (2022-25) and she has contributed to Europe-wide and international research projects such as Erasmus+: ‘Communication competences for migrants and disadvantaged background learners in bilingual work environments’ (2016-2019) and a COST Action IS1306 ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe’ (2013-2017).

Dr Kaisa Pankakoski

Dr Kaisa Pankakoski is a writer, translator, and researcher. Her work focuses on multilingual families in superdiverse environments, involving both minority language speakers and foreign heritage language speakers in a diasporic context. She is currently writing a monograph based on her research on parents’ and children’s language ideologies, strategies, and experiences. She has previously published in several non-academic contexts and peer-reviewed journals, including Early Child Development and Care.