Welsh Language Issue On Par With Saving Our Planet

The BBC have reported that more than half of the Welsh population feel that preserving the Welsh language is as important to them as saving our planet from global warming.

In recent years the Welsh language has dramatically increased in popularity. Today 64% of the people in Wales think it is important that they speak Welsh with their children, and almost 70% think that future generations will be thankful for all the efforts being made to preserve the language.

The study was conducted by Beaufort Research in November 2008, questioning 1,071 people over the age of 16 and living in Wales.

11% of those questioned were fluent in Welsh, 14% could speak it a little with the remaining having no understanding of the Welsh language at all.

It seems there has been a distinct change in attitude regarding the Welsh language in the past 10 years. Young people in Wales can now see the benefits of keeping the language alive.

Will we ever see the day when children in Wales are fluent in Welsh, educated in Welsh and use Welsh in a social context?

Welsh Language Expert Wants Parents to Learn, Too

For languages like Welsh, which almost died out in the early 20th century before making a strong comeback, reaching the next generation is seen as key to its survival. Teaching children in Welsh is a big part of that effort, and Welsh-medium schools have become increasingly popular as more and more parents encourage their children to treasure and preserve their Welsh heritage.

However, many of the parents that send their kids to these schools want their children to be fluent in Welsh but don’t speak the language themselves. Lisa Jones, a Welsh language expert, told Wales Online that this situation is far from ideal, and called on parents to learn the language, too. Read more

New Welsh Language Law Proposed

A new measure has been proposed in Wales to help encourage the use of the Welsh language there. According to the BBC, the new proposal, which was just published by the assembly government, has several key features. First, it would require some private sector companies to provide services in Welsh when requested by Welsh speakers. Telecoms, electricity and gas providers, bus and railway companies and companies providing sewage services would all be affected and could be fined for not providing adequate Welsh-language services. Public sector companies would also be required to comply.


According to the Daily Post, the fines could be as high as ₤5000, and any company that receives more than ₤400,000 worth of money per year from taxpayers would be affected by the new requirements. Second, the proposed law would scrap the Welsh Language Board in support of appointing a Welsh language commissioner with increased power to enforce language laws.

First Minister Carwyn Jones told the BBC that “The proposed measure provides us with some of the tools we need to ensure that the Welsh language can continue to prosper into the 21st Century alongside the English language.”
However, some Welsh language advocates don’t feel that the proposed legislation goes far enough. For example, the BBC quotes Menna Machreth, chair of the Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg), who welcomed the proposal but cautioned:

“This measure doesn’t affect much of the private sector. The assembly doesn’t have the powers for shops to be included in this measure, which we’ve been calling for because they are a massive part of day to day lives, and if we want to see the Welsh language as a living language around us, I think the Welsh language should be mainstreamed and pulled into the private sector as well.”

Welsh Town Tries to Protect Language

The Welsh community of Abergele has a long history that stretches back to the days of the Roman Empire, when it was an old trading town. However, residents are afraid that the community will lose its character under a new development plan, which calls for 855 new homes to be built over the next 10 years.

According to the North Wales Weekly News, the Conwy County Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) calls for the new houses to built in 6 sites across the community. Many local residents believe that’s too many, saying the proposal leaves too little green spaces and natural areas and would turn the region into a suburb of nearby Chester. Read more