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Cymraeg

New book makes learning a new language easier

20 September 2007

The difficulties facing people practising and using a second language is the subject of a new book by a Cardiff University tutor.

Lynda Pritchard Newcombe is a part time tutor in the School of Welsh’s Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre.

Her book Social Context and Fluency in L2 Learners: The Case of Wales is based on the research for her PhD thesis, her own experience of learning Welsh as an adult, as well as her teaching experience.

The book explores how people use and practise a second language outside the classroom and suggests that the learning process can be enhanced by encouraging learners to practise their new language skills in a community setting where they feel comfortable despite many obstacles that may arise.

Until comparatively recently scholars held that ability and aptitude were the most important factors in language learning. However, today many scholars acknowledge the role that factors such as anxiety, motivation and willingness to communicate may play in a learner’s success.

Lynda Newcombe said: "The focus in the book is on learners’ experiences using Welsh outside class but the issues discussed have implications for a wide range of other situations where the population is bilingual or multilingual and interaction takes place in a language of wider communication.

"Hopefully this book will raise the awareness of these issues for tutors and researchers. Learners too could be encouraged by reading about other learners’ experiences. The realisation that others go through similar peaks and troughs before attaining fluency may well help struggling language learners persevere when going through unsettling times."

The book is published by Multilingual Matters and is available now.