- Teams - Online
- Wednesday 9 February 2022, 15:10–16:00
'Dysgwyr', 'New Speakers', and 'Speakers': Developing identities of L2 Welsh speaking adults
The Welsh Government's strategy, Cymraeg: 2050, aims to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050. It is acknowledged that supporting adults learning the language is crucial in order to reach this ambitious aim, and that empowering these speakers to use the language socially and in the workplace is vital (Welsh Government, 2017).
But it is easier said than done, with some individuals feeling that the label 'dysgwyr' (learners) impedes their language use and creates a divide between them and 'native' speakers (Hornsby and Vigers, 2018). This is a well-documented phenomenon in a wide range of minority language contexts, including Scottish Gaelic (McEwan-Fujita, 2010), Sami (Jonsson and Rosenfors, 2017) and Breton (Hornsby, 2015). As a result, the concept of 'New Speakerhood' is preferred in order to avoid heirarchisation (O'Rourke and Pujolar, 2013).
This presentation will discuss questionnaire responses given by individuals who are learning, or have learnt, Welsh. The reaction of these individuals to the term 'dysgwyr' will be discussed, as will their current language use, their aspirations in terms of further language use, and their perceptions of accented speech in the context of 'new' and 'traditional' speakers.
The Role of Welsh Mutations in Lexical Access
When listening to speakers, what are the processes by which we understand the words spoken/heard, i.e. lexical access? Previous research reveals that word beginnings are most important with word endings also playing a role, albeit less so.
Celtic languages such as Welsh have a feature called initial consonant mutation (ICM) where the beginning sounds of words can change due to certain contexts. Therefore, are Welsh word beginnings considered less certain, leading Welsh speakers to naturally place greater emphasis on word endings?
In this talk I will explain the first experiment, which investigated Welsh speakers’ understanding and recognition of ICM, something fundamental for subsequent experiments.