ALaW is a research group providing a focus for practitioners and researchers whose work relates to Applied Linguistics, the Welsh Language and our bilingual community in Wales. It was set up by Tess Fitzpatrick and Steve Morris in 2017:

  • to explore areas of shared interest among project teams and individual researchers in this field;
  • to work with practitioners to identify critical need in Applied Linguistics and Welsh research, particularly in connection with educational, societal and policy-related change;
  • to be a focal point in formulating an agenda for future research activity, including funded projects and PGR studentships.

The inaugural ALaW research event was held in June 2017. Dr Gwennan Higham of Swansea University gave the keynote address on Language and Belonging in a Multicultural Wales. Nine further presentations by both academics and research students included

Applying the Welsh second language continuum in education to comparatively non-Welsh speaking areas of Wales (Alex Lovell)

The comprehension of passive sentences in non-native bilingual children in Welsh-medium education (Ilid Haf)

Exploring bilingual Welsh/English lexicons (Tess Fitzpatrick)

Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes – data collection and pedagogical vision (Jenny Needs, Mair Rees, Mark Stonelake)

The effects of Welsh/English bilingualism on the acquisition of German (Vivienne Rogers)

Creating pedagogic word lists for Welsh (Steve Morris)

ALaW’s second event, in February 2018, was held in conjunction with a Rapid Evidence Assessment project (REA) commissioned by Welsh Government (PI Fitzpatrick). The REA scrutinised research on second language teaching methods and approaches relevant to the Welsh context, and the two keynote talks related to this: Professor Ros Mitchell of Southampton University spoke on Motivation and Engagement in Early Foreign Language Teaching, and Dr Dawn Knight of Cardiff University gave an overview of the CorCenCC Welsh language corpus project on which she is the Principal Investigator.

Our second ALaW event of 2018 (November) took as its theme Applied Linguistics and Welsh: Research, Policy and Practice. Keynote speaker Katherine Davies, professional adviser to Welsh Government (Welsh in education), spoke on Welsh in Education :  A policy development overview within the context of ‘Cymraeg 2050’ and ‘Education in Wales: Our national mission’ with particular focus on the development of the ‘Welsh in Education Action Plan 2017-21’. The other keynote, delivered by Dr Jon Morris of Cardiff University, was on Variationist approaches to Welsh-English Bilingualism. Further research update sessions included

Building a Welsh Twitter corpus for the study of English-origin discourse markers (Bethan Tovey)

Creating pedagogic word lists for Welsh: B1 and beyond (Steve Morris)

Predictive processing of gender in Welsh-English bilinguals: an eye-tracking study (Vivienne Rogers and Tesni Galvin)

Migrants and Welsh Language (Gwennan Higham)

CLIL and Welsh: Some potential implications  (Alex Lovell)

The annual UKALTA Language Testing Forum was hosted by Swansea University in 2019 and members of ALaW played a key role in ensuring strong representation of Welsh language and bilingualism in the programme. A main conference theme was ‘Assessing UK languages other than English’; ALaW members presented papers on assessment specifically from the standpoint of the Welsh language; a Welsh language taster lesson was enjoyed by around 30 delegates; and for the first time in UKALTA history, the plenary Cyril J. Weir lecture was delivered in a language other than English (namely Welsh), when Dr Emyr Davies spoke on Perspectives on the assessment of Welsh.

As well as research events, ALaW hosts funded projects and PhD studentships. Recently and currently these include

  • Rapid Evidence Assessment on Effective methods and approaches for second language teaching of Welsh. In June 2018 Welsh Government published this commissioned report, authored by Fitzpatrick, Morris, Clark, Mitchell, Needs, Tanguay and Tovey.
  • The Swansea-based members of Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes (CorCenCC), an ESRC/AHRC funded project to create a major corpus resource for Welsh speakers, Welsh learners, Welsh language researchers, and anyone with an interest in the Welsh language. CorCenCC is led by Dawn Knight at Cardiff University; the Swansea-based team includes Steve Morris, Tess Fitzpatrick, Alex Lovell, Jenny Needs, Mair Rees and Mark Stonelake.
  • Collaboration with WJEC for the principled creation of pedagogical wordlists to guide teaching and assessment of Welsh (Morris, Meara and Fitzpatrick)
  • Swansea University PhD studentship working in partnership with the CorCenCC project, on Code-switching, borrowing, and minority language evolution, held by Bethan Tovey.
  • ESRC PhD studentship working in partnership with Welsh Government, on Strategic Bilingualism: identifying optimal context for Welsh as a second language in the curriculum (KS3-4), held by Catrin Jenkins.
  • ESRC PhD studentship on Grammatical gender processing in Welsh as a first and second language, held by Tesni Galvin.

If you would like to be included in future ALaW mailings and events or are interested in joining the group, croeso mawr i chi: you'd be more than welcome. Please email Steve Morris to register your interest.