Using Welsh within the community
As part of an evaluation of the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy, Dr Rhian Hodges and Dr Cynog Prys, of Bangor University’s School of Social Sciences conducted a research study into the opportunities to use Welsh in six communities in Wales. The Welsh Language was found to be in a fragile state within the communities studied: Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Llanrwst, Porthmadog and Ammanford. Despite this, evidence of the use of Welsh was found in the communities, along with a desire to have more varied opportunities to use Welsh within daily life (i.e while shopping or receiving Public Services).
According to Dr Rhian Hodges, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Sociology & Social Policy Lecturer at Bangor University:
“One specific gap which came to light was a lack of opportunity for older young people to use Welsh beyond the classroom. It became apparent that more community activities were needed to build on the formal opportunities offered by the education system.”
A number of recommendations emerge from the report including:
- Strengthening the link between education and the wider community through a range of attractive leisure activities for older young people.
- Emphasising the use of Welsh in day to day activities (e.g. use of Welsh in shops and accessing public services) in addition to the use of Welsh in community arranged events.
- Enabling opportunities for Welsh learners to use Welsh beyond the formal Welsh classroom.
According to Dr Cynog Prys:
“Assessing opportunities available to the public to use the Welsh language day to day is a vital measure in order to plan for the future. While the six communities differed, similar needs were seen in each. The hope is that the research will assist the Welsh Government to continue to support sustainable Welsh language communities for the future.”
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“Though the report only deals with a small number of communities, it will improve our understanding of the way in which we can increase the use of Welsh within communities. It creates a useful image of the way in which people use the language in their daily lives and will be of assistance in assessing the effectiveness of our Welsh strategy.
“I have stated on numerous occasions that enabling people to use Welsh socially within their communities is essential. This report acknowledges this and draws attention to the need to continue to create opportunities to use the language in daily life, for example, while shopping or in the workplace, and in dealings with organisations.
“It’s great to see that our commitment through Moving Forward is creating opportunities for people to use Welsh while socialising and enjoying leisure activities. We face several challenges, however, and we will carefully consider how we can create more opportunities for people to use the language in their daily lives. We will be cooperating with other key stakeholders in order to achieve this.”
Follow the link below to access the research report:
Publication date: 9 October 2015