Welsh Adult Learning - Socpie.uk

   The problem exists across the English-speaking world is that there is the notion that

new languages are easy to learn. Hurd and Murphy (2006) of the open University stated:-

Often as learners, we set out with unrealistic assumptions, some of language leaming, along the lines of ’Learn a language in three weeks

      Dr Margaret Newcombe (2009), Cardiff School of Welsh, claimed that:-

Exaggerated claims by publishers, and titles such as Welsh in three months means a learners become taunted early on when their experienced does not much to their expectations.”

Professor Sarah Eaton said that:-

The reality is that language acquisition is a complex process that involves communication, grammar, structure, comprehension and language production along with reading, writing, speaking and listening, just to name a few of the simpler aspects of language learning.”

      There is a misguided notion that all learners need to do to learn a language is to memorise phrases like 'parrots'. Learning a language through attempting to memorise phrases is a very mundane and unproductive way of learning a new language. It cannot yield longer-term learning success.


 Dr Margaret Newcombe, Cardiff School of Welsh, in her 2009 book described the 1950s Skinnerist Wlpan behaviourist method of Welsh Language learning as an early communication method of language learning. What occurs with this approach is that learners will become able to regurgitate well-practiced phrases from long term memory, which does not involve working memory. This gives them a sense of early tangible progress, but predominantly for all learners, there will be no later.


        There are Welsh language speakers like Aran Jones S.S.I.W., who are giving Welsh lessons, who claim that new languages can be easily learnt through pouring phrases into the brain is like pouring petrol into a tank. What was referred to as the Feed the Duck method of learning by Confucius in 848 B.C. The brain is very plastic. deSuggestopedia is not a proven langauge learning method. New languages are not instantly learnt.


       Research clearly illustrates that it takes 10,000 hours to develop native-like fluency in a new language. The figure is notional. The time it will take will not be equal for all learners because the learning potential of all learners is not equal. It illustrates the scale of the task.


        The Welsh for Adult service requires adult Welsh language learners to ideally reach G.C.S.E. English-Welsh language proficiency in four years. Heini Gruffudd a respected Welsh for adult tutor, course writer, claimed that Welsh cannot be exclusively learnt in classrooms. He claims it will take 1,500 hours to develop basic Welsh language fluency. The claim was not sourced reference.


       The notion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to create mastery in a range of disciplines, including developing fluency in  new langauge, is accpted by a range of educational authorities. Although professional teachers being intensely trained, Professor Dylan Wiliam refers to the fact that it will take professional teachers to  take 10 years of practice to become pretty good teachers. He was being provocative. Well developed teaching skills are needed to teach a second language effectively. 


What Learners Learn

    It may be a surprise to the Welsh public, but Welsh adults are not taught the Welsh. They learn an artificial form of Welsh language, which is called Cymru Byw.


      The problem with Welsh language is that there are a range of different dialects. The can be up to five different words used for common things across Wales. Unlike in English, the Welsh dialects have.distinct grammar. There is no such thing as standard Welsh that is equivalent to standard English. A lot of speakers are speaking slang.


      The greatest divide in the Welsh language is between North and South Walian Welsh. They border on being separate languages. There are distinct dialect variations in each. Dr Margaret Newcombe, refers to a Welsh learner would socialise with friends in Welsh in Pembrokeshire, but he struggled to speak to his wife who spoke a different dialect.


      Dr Margaret Newcombe admitted that adult learners could not be taught every dialect. Gareth King, who is an authority on Welsh language and language generally claimed in 2000 that Cymru am Byw was failing to prepare learners to speak the Welsh dialect. The Welsh language is a parochial language.


Political Interference

        There are many English speakers in Wales, who would really like to learn and succeed in speaking Welsh,  but the notion that they will save the living Welsh language is a myth. Colin Miles in a very open and honest Welsh Institute of Welsh Affairs in 2012 lamented that it was virtually impossible for an adult to learn proper Welsh.


        Dr Margaret Newcombe goes fast suggest that even when learners develop basic Welsh language fluency that most Welsh speakers will insist on speaking English to them. 

 Plenary

      Although the Welsh language has been portrayed as being easy to learn, the realities are very different. Those who are bleating that English speakers should learn Welsh do not have any proper appreciation of much time and work is needed to even develop basic fluency in any new language.


   There are far too many Welsh language learners in Wales, who are being encouraged to learn Welsh, or are being compelled to learn Welsh, because they must to have employment opportunities, who have no appreciation of what is involved in a new language learing.  The Welsh language  cannot be fully learnt in classes. It is rarely heard on streets of Welsh. It is virtually impossible Welsh learner to successfully learn Welsh unless they are living in Welsh speaking home. 


        A language needs to be live through either permanently or for extended periods of time for learners to develop anything resembling new language fluency.  Professor Sarah Eaton in Canada, who is an authority on new language learning, went on residency to learn Spanish in Spain.  Many mothers who choose for their children to learn so they can educated through the medium of it offer voluntary services to Welsh medium primary schools so they can live working environment when the Welsh language is all around.        


          Welsh speaking politicians are claiming to be learning Welsh, but the harsh reality it is virtually impossible for them to do so. The rate that learners learn new languages is very diverse. This is because working memory has a profound influence on learners learning success. Adults of average and below average and below average earning potential will find learning very difficult.       


           Emlyn Hughes, who was described by Dr Margaret Newcombe, as being experienced Welsh for Adult Tutor, quoted him as saying , "It takes gut to learn Welsh". The 1950s Wplan Skinnerish behaviourist tutoring methods that have been applied in the Welsh is recognised by professional teachers are being a braind dead method for tutor and pupil.  Learning Welsh does not need to be in an unnecessary endurance test, but there cannot or will there ever be an easy means of learn Welsh.


Language Learning Myths

LANGUAGE LEARNING MYTHS.pdf