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For the second year running, a School of Welsh joint honours student has been awarded a prestigious William Salesbury Scholarship.

Heledd Ainsworth, a Law and Welsh (LLB) student originally from Llandysul, Ceredigion will receive the 2018 scholarship from the National William Salesbury Fund (Cronfa Genedlaethol William Salesbury). The fund awards two scholarships worth £5,000 to Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol students each year with the purpose of promoting and supporting Welsh-medium Higher Education. Heledd follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner Nest Jenkins.

The Scholarships are named in honour of William Salesbury (c.1507 – c.1584), a noted scholar and the chief translator, in 1567, of the first New Testament into Welsh.

The Fund was established to give Welsh-medium Higher Education advocates the opportunity to contribute financially and support students who are studying 100% of their degree programme in Welsh, sponsored by the Coleg.

Heledd said of her achievement, “I am delighted to receive this coveted accolade. It recognises the importance of Welsh medium study to help provide a more bilingual legal and judiciary process. The scholarship will support and enhance my studies and further explore the use of minority languages within the legal system in other European countries.”

Although Heledd is in her first year at university she is already thinking ahead to the future and hopes that her degree will equip her with bilingual legal competence which will open doors to many areas within government, politics, local authorities, education and business. Whichever career she eventually chooses, Heledd’s intention is to remain in Wales.

Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School of Welsh said: “Our range of joint honours programmes provide students with the opportunity to combine the study of Welsh with another humanities subject. They leave with a thorough knowledge of Welsh language, policy and culture. They are able to employ their skills in the professional workplace, contributing to the future growth and penetration of the language in a variety of different sectors.

“The Law and Welsh programme is particularly popular and ensures Welsh-language users of legal services will be able to interact and converse in their mother tongue.”

Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies, Chair of the William Salesbury Trust said: “We are extremely proud of being able to support students studying law. Ensuring that talented students, like Heledd and Nest, receive support to study and develop in a bilingual legal system is an essential part of the fund’s work.”

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh has climbed two positions to third place for Celtic Studies in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, said:

He continued: “It also reflects how external reports show that our students appreciate the high-level of teaching they receive from us. However, we won’t be resting on our laurels. We will continue to develop our teaching provision and our research which is having a real impact on the Welsh language and Welsh culture.”

This result complements other assessments of the School’s quality. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), it was ranked 7th for research quality and 1st for impact (in the Modern Languages and Linguistics unit of assessment) and this year achieved 100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS 2018).

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh has named the four recipients of the 2018 Creative Minds Scholarships, who each receive £2,000.

The Scholarships were first established in 2015 and are designed to showcase undergraduate applicants’ creativity and originality instead of setting an exam paper or essay.

This year’s recipients of the Creative Minds Scholarships, and £2,000, are:

  • Owain Ap Myrddin (Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor)
  • Megan Hunter (Ysgol Uwchradd Dyffryn Nantlle)
  • Holly Dawe (Ysgol Bassaleg)
  • Phoebe Lewis (Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw)

Entrants were asked to prepare an application that demonstrates their creativity, reflects their personalities and expresses their ideas in an inventive and unique way with reference to: why they want to study Welsh in Cardiff, what makes them a special candidate and why the School of Welsh should select them.

Many entries were received from all parts of Wales, with posters, poems, magazines and pieces of art arriving at the School office.

Dr Angharad Naylor, Admissions Tutor at the School of Welsh, said: “We received a number of very strong entries this year, which made choosing the four winners particularly difficult. We continue to be impressed by the original and unique approach all scholarship applicants take when preparing their entries. We thank them all for their enthusiasm, and congratulate our winners.”

Read about the 2019 Creative Minds Scholarships.

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh has received a perfect score (100%) for overall satisfaction in the 2018 National Student Survey (NSS).

The National Student Survey, which is published annually, asks final-year undergraduate students to rate their University experience across several thematic areas (including teaching, academic support and personal development).

Feeding into this overall score, the School achieved between 90% and 100% ion six thematic areas:

  • Learning Resources (100%)
  • Organisation and Management (97.4%)
  • Academic Support (94.9%)
  • Learning Opportunities (94.9%)
  • Teaching on my Course (94.2%)
  • Student Voice (92.3%)

Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School of Welsh, said: “We are very proud of this year’s results which are a testament to the quality of our undergraduate provision. They also reflect the honest opinions of our students about the kind of teaching and extracurricular experience they have benefited from during their studies in Cardiff.

“The student voice is incredibly important to us – to measure our strengths and to identify areas for improvement. We have done a lot of work to strengthen and develop the forums available to students to contribute and offer feedback and I am grateful to staff within the school and members of our staff-student panels for their tireless hard work. We will continue to work closely with our students to ensure we maintain our excellent standards and continue to develop.”

In addition to excellent academic provision, the School of Welsh hosts a number of extracurricular and social events to help student feel at home in the School and the University. These events include the annual Stomp, quiz and careers evenings, and, this year for the first time, a summer ball was hell for the entirety of the School’s community – from first years through to PhD students.

A University tutor who teaches Welsh to refugees has won the prestigious Welsh Learner of the Year title at the National Eisteddfod.

Matt Spry works in the School of Welsh where he organises and teaches Welsh to refugees and asylum seekers living in Cardiff.

The lessons aim to introduce participants to Welsh language culture and life.

Matt, who is originally from Plymouth, has only been learning Welsh since 2015.

He says that learning Welsh has changed his life completely.

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh held its Graduation ceremony and reception on Thursday 19 July 2018.

The reception, including canapés and wine, took place in the Council Chamber of the University’s architecturally imposing Main Building. It provided the opportunity for graduates and their families to celebrate this major milestone with their peers and with School staff.

During the reception, Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School of Welsh, presented the G. J. Williams Memorial Prizes to Elin Arfon and Osian Morgan. The prizes are given in honour of the noted scholar who lectured at Cardiff University for 36 years. They recognise the academic achievement and final degree results of the recipients.

Dr Foster Evans said: “Graduation is a special occasion for everyone involved, and one that, we as a School, take great pride in. We are deeply invested in our students’ stories and experiences and look forward to hearing about their successes as they enter the world of work or undertake further study.”

Several of the graduates will be returning to the School to undertake higher degrees and many have secured exciting roles in a range of different professions and sectors. The School has a long track record of supporting students into employment and the most recent statistics show that 91% of undergraduates were in work, or further study, six months after graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016/17).

Why does Cardiff’s Heath suburb have two competing Welsh names: Y Waun and Y Mynydd Bychan?

And when did one of the city’s best known thoroughfares swap its Welsh name, meaning a muddy patch of land, for a grander sounding English name?

These and other questions will be answered by the head of Cardiff University’s School of Welsh in a talk about Cardiff’s place names, at the National Eisteddfod.

Dr Dylan Foster Evans, one of the panel of experts who recently drew up a list of standardised Welsh place names, said the names used often depended on the relationship between the two languages at the time.

“Historically, the two languages have ebbed and flowed and place names attest to that, giving rise to interesting forms such as Penhill - where ‘pen’ and ‘hill’ share much the same meaning,” he said.

“Some names taken from Welsh have been knowingly replaced, such as Plwca Lane - plwca meaning an area of muddy land - being changed to Castle Road, later City Road.

“Others that were long used by Welsh speakers but not given official status, such as Heol y Cawl – Wharton Street in the city centre - are now recognised by the authorities.”

Dr Evans is delivering the Hedley Gibbard Memorial Lecture, organised by Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru - the association of Welsh translators and interpreters.

Translation, adaptation and displacement: The relationship between Welsh and English place names in Cardiff takes place in the Societies 1 tent from 13:00 to 13:45 on Thursday 9 August 2018.

“Some historical Welsh names, such as Y Mynydd Bychan (the Heath), were more or less forgotten, so much so that in the mid-20th century a new Welsh name was created for the area by translating Heath as Y Waun,” said Dr Evans.

“Later on, the original name came back into use, gradually replacing Y Waun. But it’s not to everyone’s taste.”

One recent development is Welsh names being created for places such as Grangetown that do not have historic Welsh names. The late historian Dr John Davies coined the name Trelluest, which is now gaining popularity.

“Although without official status, such names are increasingly evident online and on social media,” said Dr Foster Evans.

“And with new suburbs being built as we speak, the relationship between the two languages in place names is more important than ever.”

This year’s Eisteddfod takes place in Cardiff from 3-11 August.

A Cardiff University academic is among a panel of experts who have developed a standardised list of spellings for Welsh place names.

The guide, which has been published on the Welsh Language Commissioner’s website, contains nearly 3,000 villages, towns and cities and is the fruit of many years of research and consultation in the field.

Dr Dylan Foster Evans of the School of Welsh, who is a member of the panel, said: “Place names are part of our heritage and our identity – that is why so many of us have a keen interest in them.

“The Welsh spelling system was only thoroughly standardised in the twentieth century. The spelling of place names took longer to follow suit; Caernarvon appears to be an Anglicized and old-fashioned way of spelling the town’s name today, but that was the spelling on the National Eisteddfod chair in 1935!

“Not everyone will agree with all of our recommendations. But agreeing on standard forms is crucial if the Welsh language is to become a modern language that will survive in this digital age.”

When standardising place names, the panel of experts follow specific guidelines.  They consider the pronunciation and origin as well as the local and historical use of the name.

During the Urdd Eisteddfod, visitors were invited to test the list at the Commissioner’s stand. By the end of the week, over 750 pins had been put on the map to indicate that the name of a town or village was on the list, and any names that appeared to be ‘missing’ are in the process of being added.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said: “I am very glad that we are now in a position to publish our list of standardised place names.  This event notes many years of hard work by our small team within the Welsh Language Commissioner in consultation with the panel of Welsh place names experts.  We are very grateful for their important contribution to this project, ensuring that there is a sound basis for each recommendation.

“Many of us will have personal opinions about how to write the names of places in our home turf and it is possible that not everyone will agree with each recommendation on the list. We do not intend to force these spellings, but rather offer recommendations, with the view to promoting consistency in the way we spell place names across Wales in official contexts.”

One of the organisations that will use the list as a guide to spelling place names is Ordnance Survey (OS).

Pam Whitham, Relationship Manager for the OS, said: “OS has a long standing and valued partnership with the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office.  They have played a key role in developing our Welsh Naming Policy and ensuring consistency of Welsh place-names throughout our products. We’re delighted to continue working with the Commissioner and welcome the database as a valuable resource for defining Welsh place-names.”

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh held its first summer ball on 4 May 2018.

The event, subsidised by a pot of money made available by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, was an opportunity for the School’s community of staff and students to come together and celebrate.

Held at the Old Library, the ball was well-attended across the student year groups, from first year students through to the School’s PhD cohort.

Drinks on arrival were followed by food before the evening’s guest speaker took to the stage. The School was pleased to welcome Ian Gwyn Hughes, Head of Public Affairs at the Football Association of Wales, who addressed the guests about the importance of taking pride in the Welsh language and its value to their future careers and lives.

His speech was met with a rousing reception and proved a highlight for many of the students. With the speeches over, including a presentation of flowers to Dr Angharad Naylor and Cadi Thomas (Student Support Officer) by the Staff/Student panel members for championing and organising the ball, it was time to hit the dancefloor. Tunes were spun by DJ Dilys (Dylan Elidyr Jenkins) and the dancefloor was full until late into the night.

The School of Welsh hopes that the summer ball will become part of its annual cycle of social and cultural events which help reinforce the sense of community across year groups and enhance the relationships between staff and students. For this ball, the School’s extended community – its alumni – was also represented with CameraSioned (Sioned Birchall) on hand to taking the official photos of the night. Take a look at some of the snaps of what was a night to remember!

Modern Languages and Linguistics at Cardiff University has climbed a huge 14 places in the Guardian’s University League Table, appearing 21st in this year’s table.

This year’s ranking builds upon an increase of four places in last year’s league table.

The Guardian League Table ranks universities on some of the areas that are most important to young people, including teaching quality and career prospects. Modern Languages and Linguistics in the Guardian League Table includes Cardiff University courses in the School of Modern Languages and the School of Welsh.

This year, the Guardian League Table also includes a continuation score. This score reflects how many first-year students have stayed on into their second year. Modern Languages and Linguistics scored 96.7 in this category, demonstrating that students are well-supported, stimulated and happy with their life in the School of Welsh and in the School of Modern Languages.

Professor Rachael Langford, Head of School the School of Modern Languages said: “Modern Languages at Cardiff University is a very supportive and inspiring learning community of nearly 1000 students, and it is so rewarding to see such positive scores across teaching, learning, student experience and admissions and recruitment. Staff across the School go the extra mile to put student learning and wellbeing at the heart of their teaching, and these league table results are a fine testament to this. Many thanks also to our students who have fed back on their studies with us in such a positive light.”

Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School Welsh said, “At the School of Welsh we have a lively and innovative learning community: some of our newest undergraduate provision is a direct result of students and staff working together. Such a partnership means that our students graduate having had a truly positive experience and ready to make a real difference in their chosen fields. The Guardian’s league table is one indicator of why Cardiff is such a great place to study Welsh, and it is also testament to the enthusiasm and hard work of all our students.”