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Colin H. Williams, (born 1950, Barry, South Wales, UK) is Research Professor in Sociolinguistics in the School of Welsh, Cardiff University.



Williams attended Ysgol Gymraeg y Barri and Ysgol Uwchradd Rhydfelen before pursuing university studies at the Swansea University. He graduated summa cum laude B.Sc Econ in Geography and Politics in 1972. He began his PhD research on 'Language Decline and Nationalist Resurgence' comparing the Welsh and Québécois situation.

In 1973 he gained an English Speaking Union Scholarship tenable at the Department of Geography, the University of Western Ontario' and undertook field work on the challenges facing the French language in Quebec and Acadia. Returning to Wales he was appointed an Open University Tutor and a Demonstrator at the Department of Geography, University College of Swansea, 1974-76 before taking up an appointment teaching in the Departments of Geography and Politics and International Relations at North Staffordshire Polytechnic, now Staffordshire University, where he was successively, Lecturer,Principal Lecturer and Professor of Geography.In 1993. while he was working in Toronto as a Multicultural History Society of Ontario Fellow. he was appointed a Research Professor, School of Welsh, Cardiff University, the post he occupies currently.

His main scholarly interests are Sociolinguistics and Language Policy in Multicultural Societies, Ethnic and Minority Relations and Political Geography. He is a former Fulbright Scholar in Residence and Visiting Professor, The Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University, 1982-83, a SSRC/SHFR Exchange Scholar (1982) and Swedish Institute Scholar (1988) at the Centre for the Study of International Conflicts, Department of History, University of Lund, and an Adjunct Professor of Geography, University of Western Ontario, 1994- to date.

In April 2000 the National Assembly for Wales appointed him to be a member of the Welsh Language Board. He is an Honorary Professor of Celtic Studies at the University of Aberdeen, and at Sobhal Mor Ostaig, University of the Highlands and Islands.

He is the author/editor of numerous books, including:

  • Called Unto Liberty: On Language and Nationalism Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, Avon, 1994
  • The Political Geography of the New World Order, J. Wiley, London, 1993
  • A Welsh Language Board sponsored project on Community Language Planning and Policy, whose first major report was published as Williams, C.H. and Evas, J.C.
  • Y Cynllun Ymchwil Cymunedol (The Community Research Project), Welsh Language Board, Cardiff, August 1997, 3rd Edition 2000
  • Language Revitalization in Wales: Policy and Planning (University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 2000)
  • Language and Governance, University of Wales Press, 2007
  • Linguistic Minorities in Democratic Context, Palgrave, 2008.

He is currently engaged in research projects on comparing the office of Language Commissioner in Canada and Europe and on the role of Language Boards in Europe.


He is a member of the Scientific Committee of Lingua Mon, Barcelona, and of the Basque Academy's Social History of the Basque Language. In January 2008 he was appointed by the Government of Ireland as one of six specialists charged with preparing a 20 year strategy for the Irish language.


  • Language Revitalization in Wales: Policy and Planning, University of Wales Press, Cardiff. 2000.
  • Language and Governance, University of Wales Press, 2007.
  • Linguistic Minorities in Democratic Context, Palgrave, 2008.
  • Marquis Who's Who in the World, 2008

External links



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