Projects which Get Creative with Cymraeg announced

£425,000 has been awarded to 26 innovative projects that promote Welsh in the community and Welsh language technology, the Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong learning, Eluned Morgan has announced.

The Cymraeg 2050 Grant is a key element of the Welsh language strategy, Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers. It will provide small grants of up to £20,000 each to fund innovative, short-term projects which aim to increase people’s daily use of the language and to promote technology which supports the use of Welsh.

One of Bangor University’s PhD Students, Arwel Tomos Williams of the School of Psychology, was a successful applicant, securing the maximum £20,000 with his supervisors to investigate “Using the Eusle Experience to Empower Staff to Use Welsh by Changing the Linguistic Habit Context of the Bilingual Workplace”. The Eusle is a methodology developed by Soziolinguistika Klusterra in the Basque Country to great effect, where it resulted in an increase in the active use of Basque within workplace contexts.

Arwel’s work, supervised by Professor Carl Hughes, Dr Lowri Hughes and Dr Emily Tyler, builds on the initial pilot work conducted by Arwel as part of his PhD and offers a wonderful opportunity to take this pilot work, and the measures that have been developed to contribute to the evidence base on how to increase, encourage and objectively measure the increase of Welsh use in the workplace.

The primary aim of the Eusle is to ‘switch’ the ‘linguistic habit context’ (LHC) within bilingual workplaces to support the use of Welsh. The LHC represents the behavioural norms that have been established within certain contexts and between individuals. Often the LHC is particularly robust, is difficult to shift and can be ‘inflexible’.

Arwel’s previous research indicates that many fluent Welsh speakers speak English together because of the LHC (i.e., English has been established as a ‘linguistic habit’ within their working relationship, or within that particular context). Using knowledge of behaviour change psychology, the Eusle experience aims to establish bilingual workplaces as ‘flexible linguistic contexts’ while simultaneously building skills and confidence in using Welsh of staff teams.

The Minister said: “We want the use of Welsh to be a routine part of everyday life so that speakers at all levels feel confident in using it in formal and informal situations. The projects announced today will make it easier for people to use the language, whether face to face in the community and in the workplace or through digital platforms.

We’re under no illusion about the challenge of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050 and I’m delighted there are so many organisations and people who are willing to join us in this task.”

See also this other project funded under the same Funding stream.

Publication date: 15 November 2017