Welsh Language Survey, part 3: Final thoughts

Most of what is in the survey is very positive, but not everything in the garden is so rosy. The biggest negative is this:

Welsh is heard less frequently in this area these days

Agree strongly ... 19%
Agree ... 38%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 15%
Disagree ... 18%
Disagree strongly ... 6%

Net agreement ... 33%

The number of Welsh speakers has risen, in the main because of a large increase in the numbers of Welsh speakers in areas where the language has been most weak. But one of most disturbing trends is that there are fewer communities where Welsh is spoken by nearly everybody (80% or more). This is largely because of population movement ... both outwards because of limited employment opportunities for the young, and inwards because of people moving in to retire.

Personally, I would not want to see anything done to restrict free movement of people. I think the answers lie in better economic opportunities, better use of planning controls to prevent the sort of developments that would have a detrimental effect on communities, and better controls on holiday homes (both through the planning process and by rates of tax).


But that is the only big negative. Most of us believe that Welsh is not irrelevant to modern life, and that it is not dying. But it still needs help:

Welsh is relevant to modern life

Agree strongly ... 15%
Agree ... 31%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 19%
Disagree ... 21%
Disagree strongly ... 9%

Net agreement ... 16%

Welsh is a dying language

Agree strongly ... 9%
Agree ... 27%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 17%
Disagree ... 32%
Disagree strongly ... 11%

Net disagreement ... 6%

Finally, these are some of the statistics I found intriguing, although not especially meaningful:

Welsh is hard to learn

Agree strongly ... 33%
Agree ... 35%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 12%
Disagree ... 9%
Disagree strongly ... 2%

Net agreement ... 57%

Welsh can be awkward socially

Agree strongly ... 9%
Agree ... 28%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 22%
Disagree ... 25%
Disagree strongly ... 8%

Net agreement ... 4%

But the bottom line is this. We are moving in the right direction, and we will reach the goal of a fully bilingual Wales in the end:

Welsh will be stronger in 10 years' time than it is today

Agree strongly ... 13%
Agree ... 28%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 22%
Disagree ... 20%
Disagree strongly ... 7%

Net agreement ... 14%

Future generations will be grateful to us for maintaining and reviving the Welsh language

Agree strongly ... 30%
Agree ... 39%
Neither agree nor disagree ... 16%
Disagree ... 6%
Disagree strongly ... 4%

Net agreement ... 59%

Because learning any langauge as an adult is not easy, the best way of changing things is by ensuring that our children and grandchildren become bilingual when they are young. That means it will take a generation or two to get a fully bilingual Wales. But this is something that we want, and something that we are acting to bring about ...

... therefore it is something that we will achieve.

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