Fw: The Guardian...
Francisco Gomes de Matos
fcgm at hotlink.com.br
Wed Aug 24 07:13:43 UTC 2005
----- Original Message -----
From: Geraldo Cintra
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 9:06 AM
Subject: Fw: The Guardian...
Tuesday August 23, 2005
Swansea University is offering language degree students the chance to study German, French or Spanish - in Welsh.
With language courses around the UK struggling to recruit students as the numbers taking French and German at A-level plummets, Swansea has become the only university in Wales to offer this option.
A team of dedicated lecturers will be on hand to assist students with their work, including the opportunity to analyse foreign language literature in a Welsh-language tutorial. Essays and examination papers can also be submitted in Welsh.
Kathryn Jones, who in charge of admissions to the languages department at Swansea, said there were already 20 students studying languages through the medium of Welsh, and there had been a surge of applications from Welsh-medium schools.
Dr Jones, who teaches French through Welsh, said: "There is a more informal atmosphere in the Welsh medium classes because the students feel at home being taught like that - and there are slightly smaller classes."
She said even students who do not come from Welsh-speaking families often wanted to continue learning in Welsh if they had been exposed to it at school.
Swansea has lecturers in its French, German and Hispanic departments who are fluent in Welsh and is now exploring potential student exchanges with a university in Argentina - home to a long-established Welsh-speaking community in Patagonia.
There are now Welsh-German and Welsh-French dictionaries, but there is not yet a substantial one for Spanish.
"It's great to be able to offer bilingual students the opportunity to study through what is, for many people, their first language," said Dafydd Johnston, professor of Welsh at Swansea. "However, many second language students feel that their understanding of Welsh is strengthened from having it as a teaching medium."
And while European languages can be studied in Welsh, students can also study the Welsh language itself. This helps develop language skills and extends knowledge of the history and nature of Welsh and its literary tradition, the university said.
According to 2001 Census figures, 16.5% of Swansea's population can read, speak and write Welsh - an increase of 3.22% since 1991.
Teaching languages in Welsh is a relatively new phenomenon - it was only five years ago that the first Welsh/French and Welsh/German dictionaries were published.
The books, which were produced by the Centre for Educational Studies, at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, marked a "major step forward" for language teaching through the medium of Welsh, according to the university.
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