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Gwennan Higham, a PhD student at the School of Welsh, will present a seminar entitled New plurilingual pathways for integration: Immigrants and language learning in the 21st Century, as part of the BAAL-CUP Seminar series in May 2016.

The seminar will be delivered in conjunction with Nicola Bermingham, PhD student, Languages & Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University, following a successful submission to the Executive Committee of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL).

The Seminar series, now in its fourth year is funded by BAAL and the Cambridge University Press (CUP) demonstrating their commitment to research, and promotion of that research, in Applied Linguistics.

The two-day seminar has been co-organised with COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and received support from the Intercultural Research Centre and the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University.

Gwennan said of the successful proposal: “Nicola and I are grateful for this opportunity to bring sociolinguistic researchers, government officials and community practitioners together to discuss key questions relating to immigrant integration and language learning in the 21st Century. Despite a pervading hegemonic ideology of ‘one nation, one language’, the seminar will consider the multifaceted nature of citizenship and language such as in Wales, as well as in other parts of the UK. It aims to identify key themes in order to advance future research and collaboration in this field. “

Dr Jeremy Evas, a lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, congratulated Gwennan on achieving funding for the seminar and said: “Gwennan is contributing significantly to this field of study, a research theme which is very important to us here at the School of Welsh. Language planning, policy, acquisition, and application are important topics in contemporary Wales and internationally. We wish Gwennan the very best of luck with this seminar and look forward to the outcomes.”

The event will encourage interdisciplinary dialogue with a variety of papers from different migration and language contexts and cross-sector round table discussions. Key themes for discussion are the opportunities and challenges for immigrants who learn new languages, the extent to which immigrant speakers challenge current conceptions of integration, cohesion and citizenship and what initiatives could facilitate a more comprehensive view of integration, cohesion and citizenship in national and minority language contexts.

Speakers have been confirmed and include keynote addresses from:

  • Professor Alison Phipps, Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET) at the University of Glasgow.
  • Professor Máiréad Nic Craith, Chair in European Culture and Heritage, Director of Research and Director of the Intercultural Centre at Heriot-Watt University.

Read more about the seminar and the keynote speeches as well as ways to contact the organisers.

Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost recently presented his research and insights on Welsh Language Policy and Multicultural Wales in a keynote address at an international conference of the Association of University Language Centres (AULC).

The conference, which ran from 7 – 8 January was hosted by Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages at the capital’s Millennium Stadium.

This was the 17th conference for the Association which gathers together professionals in the field of language teaching and learning; providing an opportunity to exchange good practice and explore latest developments in the area.

120 delegates attended the conference to listen to keynote speakers from Wales, The Netherlands and Germany discussing a variety of subjects under the theme of shaping a multilingual society.

Following Professor Mac Giolla Chriost’s address, Dr. Kevin Haines of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands discussed the Opportunities and Challenges in the Multilingual and Multicultural Learning Space and Dr. Peter Tischer of the Universität des Saarlandes, Germany spoke about the German UNIcert Language Certificate for university students. John Pugsley of Welsh Government also spoke to attendees about the Global Futures strategy which is aimed at supporting modern languages in schools in Wales.

This was the first time that the Association had held their prestigious conference in Wales; last year’s conference was hosted by Cambridge University and next year’s takes place in Queen’s, Belfast.

Efa Mared Edwards, a postgraduate student in Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, is celebrating the launch of her Welsh language translation of Linda Davies’ English children’s novel, Longbow Girl.

The translation, which becomes Meistres y Bwa Hir, was launched at a special event held at Jury’s Inn hotel in Cardiff on Friday 27 November 2015.

Efa graduated with a first class degree in Welsh earlier this year and is now studying for an MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies. During the summer Efa worked with Atebol Press, a leading educational publishers, near Aberystwyth when she was given the opportunity to translate the novel.

The Longbow Girl in the translated version is a 15 year old by the name of Mari. She lives in a farm in the Brecon Beacons and comes from a long line of longbow masters although she is the first girl amongst them. Mari comes across an old copy of the Mabinogion which leads to a major discovery which will save the farm and her family.

Efa said about the experience: “This semester I am concentrating on translating children’s literature, and so my experience during the summer has been invaluable. Although, there is a bit of a difference between translating children’s picture books and adventure novels for teenagers! Each is challenging in different ways.”

Dr Dylan Foster Evans, who is responsible for the MA Welsh and Celtic Studies, added: “The School of Welsh takes great pride in Efa’s success. Children’s literature and translation studies are key specialisms within the School. It is fantastic, therefore, to see Efa developing her skills in the professional publishing world.

“As a School, we are eager to support our students’ employability and help prepare them for life beyond University. We help to nurture skills and provide opportunities that will enable them to make their mark on 21st century bilingual Wales.”

Dr Iwan Wyn Rees, a lecturer in the School of Welsh, has launched a new resource for Welsh actors and scriptwriters.

The resource is designed to help actors and scriptwriters to become more familiar with different dialect variations and for use in their day to day activities.

The resource includes video and audio clips of Wales’ various dialects. The clips are drawn from three specific sources: from the series Noson Ar Lafar, originally broadcast in 2011; from interviews recorded by Dr Rees in Dyffryn Banw, Montgomeryshire, in January 2015; and a video which accompanies Gwenllian M. Awbery’s Tafodiaith yn y Gymraeg (1996).

In addition to clips of the regional variations across Wales there are also examples of Welsh speakers from different generations. Dr Rees produced detailed guidelines to accompany the audio and visual elements which draw attention to specific linguistic elements such as vocabulary, syntax and accents.

Dr Rees hopes that some of the clips will be appropriate for historical and contemporary drama: “I’m very proud that this resource has now been launched and I hope it becomes a useful tool for scriptwriters and actors as they give voice to our dialects.

“While working on this project I have been fortunate to receive advice and guidance from talented imitators such as Rhian Morgan, Caryl Parry Jones, Sera Cracroft and Emyr ‘Himyrs’ Roberts. These are people who use dialects in their everyday work and share my enthusiasm. That has been a particular pleasure.”

This project was made possible by a small grant from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the resource is available online in the College’s Resource Library.

As the end of term approaches, the first cohort to follow the University’s latest language programme, Welsh for All, is celebrating its success and taking pride in the progress made.

The programme, launched at the National Eisteddfod during the summer, registered 100 students for the first Beginners classes which started in October. During the term, the inaugural cohort has learnt a range of useful vocabulary through class based interactive language sessions and digital activities.

Yann Nursimloo, a Law student, said: “The course has had a positive impact on my understanding of the Welsh language. At the end of Semester 1 I can say that I am now able to speak Welsh quite fluently. (I am amazed at my progress – I now mutate words on a daily basis. I can write short essays and listen to BBC Cymru. Thank you to the Welsh for All team and to my tutor.”

Susannah Larmont, a student in the School of Social Sciences, added: “I have really enjoyed learning Welsh over the last couple of months. Although I was slightly worried that I would be hopeless, the course has been brilliant and I have learned a lot! The delivery of the content is really good and playing games and group work really helps the learning process. I can’t wait to learn more next semester.”

The team working on the Welsh for All programme, in the School of Welsh, is busy planning for the spring semester. Those who have completed Beginners 1 move on to Beginners 2 and a new group of students will be welcomed to the Beginners 1 classes. Additionally, informal Chance for a Chat sessions will begin. These will be targeted higher level sessions for those who can already speak some Welsh. The intention is to offer formal courses at a range of levels in the future.

According to Dr Angharad Naylor, Welsh for All Project Manager: “It has been a very busy term but it has been a pleasure to witness the development and progress of our students. The whole team is looking forward to next term and welcoming a new cohort of learners as well as those returning to continue their studies.”

The registration period for the spring semester courses will open on December 10 before closing on December 22 2015. For further information contact the Welsh for All team.

Language planning and policy academics at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh this week welcomed a researcher from the Moroccan Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture.

Dr Khalid Ansar, a language researcher at the Royal Institute, is in Wales to further his understanding of the Welsh experience of language planning and development to inform his work in Morocco.

Amazigh or Berber (a collection of similar and closely related languages and dialects) is indigenous to North Africa and spoken in large numbers in Morocco and Algeria, and to a lesser degree in countries such as Libya and Tunisia. Amazigh became an official language of Morocco in 2011.

There has been a movement amongst Amazigh associations to unite and coalesce Amazigh varieties under one standardised language, under the name of standard Amazigh. Ever since the creation of The Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, the researchers of the Institute have played a significant role in the standardisation process, with a focus on developing and disseminating the language in three distinct domains – Media, Education, and Administration.

Dr Ansar said: “We are working to revitalise and develop language and standardise Amazigh in social and cultural life. It is quite a task, requiring the formation of new words and lexicons alongside recording and mapping the existing language. We are keen to understand how Wales and the Welsh language has approached development and planning and I am pleased to meet with the academics here at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh.”

Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost, from the School of Welsh’s Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit, said: “We welcome Dr Ansar to the School and are eager to compare notes on our experiences of minority language matters. Morocco and Amazigh present a very interesting case study of the intricacies and challenges of language planning and policy. Strikingly different in many ways, there is however an affinity with the Welsh experience of language promotion, preservation and evolution.”

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh has a long history of excellence in language planning, policy and acquisition research. The Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture was established in 2001 under a royal decree of King Mohammed VI. The Royal Institute’s work includes maintaining and developing the Berber language, reinforcing Berber culture in media and wider society and integrating the language in to the Moroccan educational system as well as the media.

The National Library of Wales will host a special conference on Women, writing and literary criticism in modern Wales on Saturday 30 January 2016.

The conference, which is being jointly organised by Cardiff University and Aberystwyth University, funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, is an opportunity to consider the influence of feminism on Welsh language writers and literary criticism. In addition to the academic discussions the conference will be an opportunity to consider the present situation of female writers in the company of authors Manon Steffan Ros and Caryl Lewis.

Dr Siwan Rosser, from the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, and Dr Cathryn Charnell-White from the Welsh and Celtic Studies department at Aberystwyth University, are organising the conference to mark 30 years since the publication of a special edition of the literary journal Y Traethodydd, in January 1986. This special edition explored the relationship between women and literature in order to challenge the silence in traditional literary criticism about the contribution of women to Welsh literature through the centuries.

Dr Siwan Rosser said: “The 1986 edition of Y Traethodydd is the most important publication on feminist literary criticism in Wales. It opened the door to a key area of research and inspired a new generation to explore women’s historical and contemporary literature.

“The conference is an opportunity to celebrate that original publication and to gather together and reflect on what happened next. We will assess the contemporary situation and the changes experienced in the decades since publication. We have a full programme of papers, given by experienced and enthusiastic speakers, which will undoubtedly offer many new perspectives and challenges.”

The conference is free and light refreshments will be available. It is also possible for the conference to contribute towards travel costs for research students. The conference is sponsored by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

To register for free please contact the Welsh department at Aberystwyth University, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, Carmarthenshire, SY23 3DY before 14 December 2015 (01970 622137). Remember to note if you are a research student and wish to apply for travel expenses.

For more information please contact the conference organisers – Siwan Rosser, School of Welsh, Cardiff University or Cathryn Charnell-White, Welsh department, Aberystwyth University.

This year, the School offered more than £100,000 worth of scholarships, across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

A percentage of this money was provided for those who would be joining us to pursue their undergraduate study including £15,000 for the new Creative Minds Scholarships. The Creative Minds Scholarships encourage and celebrate creativity amongst our prospective students, asking them to submit their application in a fresh and original way.

Applications were received from across Wales and videos, posters, poetry and pieces of art arrived at the School office.

The five winners for 2015, who each receive £3,000, are:

  • Lucy Boughton
  • Rhian Floyd
  • Rhydian Jenkins
  • Esyllt Lewis
  • Erin Fflur Williams

Dr Rhiannon Marks, Admissions tutor at the School of Welsh, said: “This was the first time that we had offered this type of scholarship and the standard of the applications was exceptional. The five successful candidates are very worthy recipients of the scholarships and I look forward to getting to know them better and to follow their academic journeys.”

Two of the scholars, Lucy Boughton and Esyllt Lewis, are celebrating three separate scholarship successes – the Creative Minds Scholarship, The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Scholarship and the Cardiff University AAA Scholarship.

Esyllt Lewis said: “I greatly enjoyed applying for the Creative Minds Scholarships offered by the School of Welsh, as it enabled me to combine my favourite things – Welsh and art. I wrote a creative piece which discussed nature’s colours and turned it into a colourful poster which I painted by hand. The scholarship is a brilliant opportunity for prospective students to hone their creative skills and think creatively about Welsh as a subject. I would encourage anyone who is interested in expressing themselves creatively to try for the scholarship.”

The Creative Minds Scholarship was launched in order to increase the financial support available to students studying at the School of Welsh, and the competition will run again in 2016. Applicants are asked to prepare an application that demonstrates their creativity, reflects their personalities and expresses their ideas in an original way.

There is no formal application form but applicants are asked to respond to three questions:

  • Why do you want to study Welsh in Cardiff?
  • What makes you a special candidate?
  • Why should Cardiff University’s School of Welsh accept you?

There are five Creative Minds Scholarships available for prospective students looking to join the School of Welsh in 2016. The closing date for applications is 20 February 2016. Contact Cadi Thomas for more information.

Cardiff University's School of Welsh played host to His Excellency Mr. Dominik Furgler, Swiss Ambassador to the United Kingdom on Friday 23 October 2015.

Ambassador Furgler was in Wales to present the Swiss Ambassador’s Award Concert at the Wales Millennium Centre. This year the Award went to the Swiss Duo Viviane Chassot (accordion) and David Pia (cello). Cardiff has, with London, Belfast and Edinburgh, become a regular venue on the Award Winner’s concert tour.

More than 45 people attended Ambassador Furgler’s presentation, which centred on multilingualism in Switzerland. There are four official languages in Switzerland – German, French, Italian and Romansh, which is a Romance language derived from the Latin spoken language of the Roman Empire. It is compulsory for schoolchildren to learn at least one of the other official languages which encourages high rates of bilingualism.

The topic was of interest to the School of Welsh and the assembled guests given Wales’ own rich language and cultural heritage, including its regional dialectal forms.

Welcoming the Ambassador to Cardiff, Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost, a member of the Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit at the School of Welsh, said: "We would like to thank Ambassador Furgler for taking the time to visit us at the School of Welsh. 

"Switzerland has an interesting history of cultural, political and linguistic development. The Ambassador’s presentation provides us with a fascinating insight into multilingualism and the preservation of language, as well as a curious comparator for our own experiences in Wales.

“Language is a key research area for the School and one where we have achieved considerable success. Many of our staff are working on projects concerned with language planning and acquisition as well as dialects and sociolinguistics. The School is also part of a project, running in partnerships with the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, concerned with language preservation and developing the first large scale corpus of the Welsh language.”

Discussing his visit to Cardiff University, Ambassador Furgler said:“While multilingualism can only be fully assessed against the backdrop of each country’s specific situation and may cause serious challenges, there is no doubt that it creates huge opportunities and benefits, be it on the cultural, intellectual or economic level. For Switzerland it is therefore crucial to invest in language training (including English), cultural and linguistic exchange, the mobility of its people or the integration of immigrants. Multilingualism is a cornerstone of the Swiss national identity.”

Ambassador Furgler took up his position in July 2013 and has a long and distinguished diplomatic career. He has previously served as Ambassador to Egypt having first joined the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in 1985.

The Sabbatical Scheme for Welsh Language Training held its annual prizegiving ceremony in the Main Building of Cardiff University on Thursday 1 October 2015.

The event, hosted by broadcaster Nia Parry, was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the practitioners and present certificates to those who attended the 2014-15 courses.

The Sabbatical Scheme for Welsh Language Training offers language courses for primary and secondary school teachers, classroom assistants and lecturers. The aim of the courses, which are funded by Welsh Government, is to increase the supply of practitioners who can teach through the medium of Welsh or bilingually. The courses also provide an opportunity for continual specialist professional development in the field of education.

Lowri Davies, the Scheme’s Manager in Cardiff, said: “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to come together and celebrate what the practitioners have achieved and to hear them speaking Welsh confidently with each other.”

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate the success of a former practitioner, Stuart Blackmore, who has recently published a book, Gardd Mewn Tref. The book collated and records Welsh terms in the field of gardening and Stuart thanked the Sabbatical Scheme for giving him the confidence to write in Welsh.

The courses are available at several language levels in locations across Wales. Cardiff University’s School of Welsh offer beginners, entry and upper levels and the courses run at the School, University of South Wales Treforest Campus and Gwent College. The courses are free and all supply costs and travel expenses are met by Welsh Government.

For more information about the Sabbatical Scheme, please contact Cadi Thomas.