The Welsh language has several features in its grammar which are crosslinguistically very unusual. This paper looks at five such features, at their rarity in the languages of the world and at their place in Welsh grammar. It shows that the textual frequency of each feature, in corpora of spoken and written Welsh, is declining. These five features, which had been stable in Welsh since the earliest records well over a thousand years ago, have in the lifetime of older speakers become optional or obsolescent in the spoken language: the grammar of the language has changed. Welsh is likely changing because of bilingualism. Along with the recent increase in the public use of Welsh has come an increase in the use of English in the everyday lives of Welsh speakers. The average Welsh-speaker now speaks more English than Welsh, outside the family at least. Speaking a second language fluently and regularly HAS been shown to affect the speaker's first language, probably to lessen the psychological load in constantly switching between the two languages. It is argued that in such a situation cross-linguistically unusual features are inherently more susceptible to loss. Finally, the paper looks very briefly at possible future developments.
The effect of recent changes on the linguistic uniqueness of Welsh
Invasive animals and their effects on British freshwater ecosystems
The introduction of non-native species presents one of the most significant threats facing biodiversity worldwide. Freshwater ecosystems are particularly affected, due to the widespread introduction of species to rivers and lakes for aquaculture and fishing. This article describes non-native, freshwater animals that are present and invasive in Britain, as well as those which are likely to become established over the coming years. The effects of these animals on freshwater ecosystems are explained, and problems that are faced when attempting to manage invasive species are highlighted. Additionally, the effects of climate change and other stressors on the future distribution of non-native species are discussed.
The love-songs of Iolo Morganwg, with particular reference to 'Y Ferch o'r ...
The love-songs of Iolo Morganwg, with particular reference to 'Y Ferch o'r Scerr' ('The Lady of Sker')
The manuscripts of Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826), as well as his collection of native folk-songs, give us a unique insight into an important period in the history of Welsh culture during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central focus of this study is the love-songs found in his collection, together with the wider social context and background which serve to underpin the folk songs. One can trace this tradition to the poets of the nobility, and especially to the age of Dafydd ap Gwilym. Also one folk-tune in particular will be discussed in detail, ‘The Lady of Sker’. The love story, the folk-tune and the words which are normally associated with ‘The Lady of Sker’ are all well-known in several circles, however the folk-tune recorded by Iolo is totally unknown.
From social drama to the pageant: theatre in the cultural exchange between ...
From social drama to the pageant: theatre in the cultural exchange between Wales and north-east India
This article uses theatre as a lens in order to examine the cultural exchange between Wales and the Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills that is rooted in the history of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Overseas Mission present in north-east India between 1841 and 1969. Focusing on Khasi plays from the colonial period as well as an example of Welsh missionary performance staged in Wales in 1929, the article considers the extent to which Welsh conceptions of theatre and drama influenced native performances in the Khasi Hills, and correspondingly, to what extent the missionaries’ perception of India influenced the idea and the representation of the country in Welsh performative portrayals.
Turning an-‘Other’ Page: Re-interpreting the relationship between south Wal...
Turning an-‘Other’ Page: Re-interpreting the relationship between south Wales’s Welsh- and English-speaking co...
This article analyses the relationship between Welsh and English speakers in pub scenes in two contemporary novels set in south Wales, namely Y Tiwniwr Piano by Catrin Dafydd (2009) and The Book of Idiots by Christopher Meredith (2012), in light of philosophical theories about the ‘other’ and otherness. The development of the concept of the ‘other’ is traced by considering the work of philosophers and cultural theorists such as Georg Hegel, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon and Homi Bhabha. Turning to the work of Charlotte Williams and Simon Brooks, the article argues that both Welsh and English speakers in Wales can experience otherness, and the novels are then analysed to explore how this is reflected in contemporary fictional texts. The article draws conclusions about the significance of otherness to contemporary Welsh imagination and identity and suggests how other philosophical ideas could help us find common ground between Wales’s two main language communities.
The development of the syntax of numerals in Welsh
The rules determining the forms of nouns and adjectives after numerals and the associated initial-consonant mutations in Middle Welsh are often puzzling to Modern Welsh readers of the language. This article sketches the rules and provides a synchronic account of them. It is shown that they are based on a coherent system where number (singular, dual, numerative, plural) is central. The linguistic changes that have occurred since then are documented in detail and dated using textual evidence. It is argued that these changes can best be understood as steps along a pathway towards a new, equally coherent system where all numeral phrases are treated as singular, and gender rather than number determines both form and mutations.
(Citizenship, the Welsh Language Board, and marketing the Welsh language)
This paper offers a brief examination of the approach taken by the Welsh Language Board, as the principal language policy and planning body in Wales, to aspects of prestige planning and the Welsh language. It describes how devolution, and the recent, first ever, national review by the Welsh Assembly Government of Welsh language policy, provide the immediate context for the work of the Welsh Language Board. The key policy document resulting from that review, Iaith Pawb, is critically analysed and the relationship to it of prestige planning is identified. The Welsh Language Board’s practice of prestige planning is discussed in relation to the discourses of neo-liberalism and post-colonialism in a way that highlights the Board’s focus on consumers rather than citizens.
Understanding performance deficiencies in printed thick film EL lamps on pa...
Understanding performance deficiencies in printed thick film EL lamps on paper
In order to examine new potential markets for printed electronics, a research study was undertaken to understand the performance of opaque substrate electroluminescent (EL) lamps. Opaque EL lamps are made possible by a PEDOT:PSS top electrode which replaces the ITO used in the conventional lamps. Screen-printed lamps were manufactured on four substrates (one plastic and three paper) and their performance was measured through brightness measurement. Generally, opaque substrate lamps were 50% less bright than a comparable ITO lamp. Further reductions in brightness were observed with the lighter and rougher papers. Additional layers of PEDOT:PSS increased sheet conductivity but reduced lamp brightness due to a reduction in layer transparency. As lamp size increased, the resistive nature of the PEDOT:PSS caused a significant reduction in lamp output, with a brightness of 25% of a comparable ITO lamp with an illuminated area of 5000 mm2. The relatively poor performance of the opaque lamps is derived not only from the reduced conductivity and transparency of the PEDOT:PSS compared to ITO, but is also caused by the topological nature of the phosphor particles which result in some phosphor material lying outside the electric field created between the two electrodes.
Regional government and civil society in Wales and Catalonia
Strengthening and revitalising democracy was a common rationale for establishing regional goverment in Spain and the United Kingdom. In this context, this article aims to assess the impact of regional government on the relationship between civil society and devolved government in Wales and in Catalonia. Based on case studies, the extent to which regional government structures promote civil society participation is assessed and regional government’s impact on the identity of civil society is analysed. Despite the differences, in both cases regional goverments undertook ‘top-down’ efforts to build civil society and the latter has contributed to the Catalan and Welsh nation-building projects. The findings draw attention to the potentially negative democratic implications arising from regional government and civil society relations and the effects of broader political culture.
(The nature of language acquisition processes in children: Marking grammati...
(The nature of language acquisition processes in children: Marking grammatical gender in Welsh)
Research on the acquisition of grammatical gender has shown that in many languages children gain an early command of gender. Often in these languages gender marking is quite overt and provides a clear one-to-one correspondence between a marker and the gender encoded. In Welsh, however, gender marking is more complex. It is marked by mutations, a set of morpho-phonological changes that affect the initial consonants of words, and the mapping between mutation and gender is quite opaque.
Two mutation types are used to mark feminine gender: both feminine nouns modified by the definite article and adjectives following feminine nouns undergo soft mutation, and the feminine gender of the possessive adjective ‘ei’ is marked by aspirate mutation of the modified noun. This paper presents two studies that examine children’s and adults’ productive command of gender as expressed in the mutation of nouns modified by the definite article, and adjectives modifying nouns.
Children, between the ages of 4½ and 9 years old, and adults were invited to take part in the studies. First, a semi-naturalistic study was conducted to obtain knowledge about speakers’ usage of gender marking. A Cloze procedure was then used to elicit speakers’ production of masculine and feminine forms, with both real words and nonsense forms, in a variety of linguistic contexts. Some of these contexts provided cues to gender status, some did not.
The data obtained indicated that the acquisition of the Welsh gender system is a long drawn-out process, and children have not mastered the system even by 9 years of age. Welsh speakers, even in adulthood, pay little or no attention to the possible cues present in the input. Results suggest that when a language has a complex gender system that is marked by opaque morpho-phonological processes the course of development is protracted and variable.
Health and lifestyle changes associated with ageing in rural communities: t...
Health and lifestyle changes associated with ageing in rural communities: the emphasis on current concerns in ...
The rapidly ageing population has been identified as a major global challenge; within Wales there is a growing imbalance in the age-profiles of rural communities in particular. The demands of providing appropriate healthcare for a changing population are exacerbated by lifestyle changes associated with ageing, specifically low levels of physical activity, reduced exposure to the sun and compromised ability to synthesise vitamin D. This report focuses on two important health outcomes affected by these changes that are of increasing concern within Wales: diabetes (DM2: diabetes mellitus type 2) and falls incidence. The article critically reviews the evidence base pertaining to the relationships between physical activity, vitamin D, and both the pathogenesis of DM2 and falls incidence. Current interventions are discussed and a series of recommendations for service delivery within Wales’ rural communities are presented. We argue that there is a clear role for targeting these modifiable lifestyle factors in reducing the prevalence and severity of falls and diabetes, two growing areas of social and economic concern within Wales.
Litter on rural Welsh roads: A case study from Penisa’r Waun
701 pieces of litter were collected per kilometre from a small rural road in Gwynedd. The minimum annual ‘hidden’ cost of this litter – uncollected by the local authority – was £11.81 per kilometre. The comparable annual cost of such litter on small rural roads throughout Wales is £230,000. A substantial proportion of these costs could be eliminated through introducing a deposit system for cans and bottles. 13 specific companies were responsible for producing more than one quarter of all the litter collected. The Welsh Government could arrange an annual mitigation payment of £58,000 from them in order to defray the hidden costs of litter associated with their activities.