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A Summer of Welsh in Cardiff

30 August 2007

Whilst most of us have been concentrating on dodging clouds to find some sun over the last couple of months, 66 conscientious students from all four corners of the world have been busy learning and improving their Welsh in Cardiff University for 8 weeks now.

One of those is Bettina Kuppers, a social worker with disabled children in Germany. This is her fourth summer at Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre. So what was it that inspired a young girl from Gifhorn in the North of Germany to learn Welsh in the first place?

According to Bettina, it all started when her mother’s friend went on holiday to Wales in the early 90s.

"I’d been to England and Scotland on holiday, but never to Wales" she explains. "The stories he brought back made me intrigued about the place and after a few phone calls I was offered some voluntary work at a primary school in Newport, Pembrokshire in 1992".

Bettina soon realised that she was picking up a lot of Welsh just by working with the children, especially when helping them with their reading etc, but after a year she went back to Germany. Years later she came across some Welsh tapes when tidying the house and she went straight for the internet to rekindle the interest. That’s when she found the Cardiff Summer Course website and here she is, four years later!

But how exactly does she manage to practice her Welsh when she goes back to Germany for the rest of the year? By combining traditional means and modern technology according to Bettina:

"I use MSN and Skype to chat to friends in Welsh and I also use the BBC website for reading material and games. There are also weekend Welsh courses held in Halle (Germany) every now and then by a woman who’s written a book for Welsh learners in German".

Bettina also makes a point of thinking in Welsh at least twice a month e.g. when preparing her shopping list. And lastly, although slightly less willing to confess this, Bettina says with a smile on her face:

"I also record myself on the Mega Phone occasionally and play it back - so, yes, I also talk to myself!

And why not, they say that it’s the wisest conversation you can ever have! The rest of this year’s students include 5 from Argentina, 3 from the U.S.A, 2 from Germany, 1 from Finland, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Italy and Ireland, 6 from England, 37 from the Cardiff and Vale vicinity and 7 from the rest of Wales. What more constructive way to spend your summer?

Notes to Editors:

School of Welsh

The School of Welsh encompasses a broad range of research specialisms. Its particular strength lies in the scope and breadth of its representation of both language and literature studies. In the latest Research Assessment Exercise the School was assessed under Celtic Studies, and was awarded one of the top Grade 5 ratings, indicating research of an international standard, particularly given its emergence as a strategic node in the area of national and international Language Planning and Language Policy.

The School’s research encompasses Welsh Literary Studies (including Medieval and Modern Narrative, The Bardic Tradition, and Textual Criticism and Cultural Interpretation); Welsh Linguistic Studies (including Historical and Contemporary Linguistics of Welsh, and Sociolinguistics and Geolinguistics); and Applied Welsh (including Education, and Language Planning and Policy).

2. Image available on request

Further Information:

For more information, please contact:

Llion Pughe (Marketing Officer)
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre
Tel: 029 2087 4710