Census figures for Welsh

Here is a quick table I've produced comparing the 2001 and 2011 census percentages for Welsh. The 2011 data is from here.


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Glyndo said...

What are the actual figures? % can be misleading.

Efrogwr said...

Thanks for the quick post. Look forward to reading your views when you get chance. I think Carwyn Jones got his retaliation in first. Blame Welsh speakers' lack of "confidence" and blame young people for not speaking Welsh. But it ain't primarily about individual attidudes. The sociolinguistic research (Morris and Williams) suggests it's social norms, institutionalised usage that's key. Not just education, but planning, using Welsh at work (let's start with a couple of government depts working internally through Welsh - how about education and agriculture) and insisting it's treated as a serious civic langauge in important "adult" spheres of life. Oh, and how come the Basque Country has a number of radio and TV stations but the BBC only broadcasts one Welsh radio station? A losers' language?

Ioan said...

3-15 16-24 25-39 40-59 60+ Cyfanswm
1991 113280 59553 82666 112512 140373 508384
2001 168123 86349 88387 115594 123928 582381
2011 153888 95771 84455 109380 118522 562016
(2011 – 2001) -14235 9422 -3932 -6214 -5406 -20365

MH said...

The overall figure is down from 582,386 (although the BBC say 576,000) to 562,016, Glyndo. I can't do a quick county-by-county comparison because I don't have the 2001 numbers in spreadsheet form.

It might take me a while to think of something, Efrogwr. All I'll say now is that I didn't expect it to be this bad. I did expect the figures for the Fro Gymraeg to go down, but expected the overall figures for Wales to go up.

Efrogwr said...

D*mn! I was hoping you'd come up with a rapid action plan as glib and swift as mine, MH. Even on Radio Cymru at 8am this morning people such as Vaughen Roderick were saying they thought the headline figure would rise. But I'm a silver lining man, hoping that at least it's the end of delusion, boosterism and superficial, pseudo action.

Ioan said...

Efrogwr - dyma fo:

Ynys Mon a Gwynedd ddim hanner mor wael a Caerfyrddin / Ceredigion, ond mi fasa ni wedi gallu rhagweld huna...
2001 2011 Gwahaniaeth
Cardiff 32491 36735 4244
Torfaen 9799 13189 3390
Monmouthshire 7732 8780 1048
Caerphilly 18229 19251 1022
Newport 13152 13002 -150
Rhondda Cynon Taff 27946 27779 -167
Bridgend 13385 13103 -282
Isle of Anglesey 38897 38568 -329
Merthyr Tydfil 5534 5028 -506
Conwy 31297 30600 -697
Gwynedd 77841 77000 -841
Blaenau Gwent 6421 5284 -1137
Pembrokeshire 23981 22786 -1195
Flintshire 20580 19343 -1237
Wrexham 18101 16659 -1442
Denbighshire 23764 22236 -1528
Powys 25797 23990 -1807
Swansea 28935 26332 -2603
Neath Port Talbot 23402 20698 -2704
Ceredigion 37915 34964 -2951
Vale of Glamorgan 12987 8641 -4346
Carmarthenshire 84195 78048 -6147
Cyfanswm 582381 564027 -18354

MH said...

Typo in 11:16. Should be 582,368.

Thanks Ioan. Could you please tell me where your figures are from? Although the overall figure for 2001 is about right, I make the 3-15 figure 184,407.

3-4 ... 13,239
5-15 ... 171,168
16-19 ... 40,548
20-44 ... 146,227
45-64 ... 112,742
65-74 ... 47,692
75+ ... 50,752

Total ... 582,368

Table T39, here.

Anonymous said...

Looking at Ioan's figures - The most intersting figure there is the large fall in 3-15yrs old who can speak Welsh. Although at first sight that looks bad, I think it is a more realistic reflection of the actual figure. I think the previous figure fromm 2001 was unrealistically high due to parents wrongly filling in that their children could speak Welsh (especially in SE Wales) as they were studying it (as a 2nd language) in school (as a result of the 1993 language act). THis partly explains the slight fall (which most people expected to a rise) in the overall figures outside the fro. THis I believe is backed up by the rise in the number of 16-24 yrs olds (although no where near the number you would expect if the 3-15 yrs old figure in 2001 was correct) who are more likely to fill in their ability themselves on the census and therefore give a truer reflection. THere is still a large discrepency between the 3-15 and 16-24 figures (explained partly by the increaseing growth of WM education and the fact that a lot of people go across the border for their university education). So in all the gloom I believe there is at least a small chink of light - I was always slightly uneasy with the 3-15 figure but beieve the 16-24 to give us a much more realistic number (which for the reason I've stated might actually be slightly lower than the real number and with the increase in WM Education could expected to continue to rise). There are still massive issues facing the language however, but with all the dpressing stats coming out I wanted to at least look for something positive :-)


Ioan said...

Sorry, small typo - it's 3-14 not 3-15, and 15-24.

But the 1991 should be ignored - the breakdown was 3-4, 5-10, 11-15 in 1991, therefore 3-14 would only be an estimate.


MH said...

It's annoying that the age band figures for 2001 and 2011 don't exactly match. However we can make a direct comparison in these age bands:

3-4 ... 13,239 ... 16,495 ... +3,256
5-19 ... 211,716 ... 195,906 ... -15,810
20-44 ... 146,227 ... 150,742 ... +4,515
45-64 ... 112,742 ... 107,941 ... -4,801
65-74 ... 47,692 ... 45,112 ... -2,580
75+ ... 50,752 ... 45,820 ... -4,932

Total ... 582,368 ... 562,016 ... -20,352

We could also say that the 16-19 age band in 2001 (40,548) equates to 10,137 for each year, but that the 15-19 age band in 2011 (58,513) equates to 11,703 for each year ... meaning that there is a healthy increase in that group as well as in the young adult group.

Ioan said...

MH, 15 was in a band of its own in 2001: 16243 + 40545 = 56788 equating to 11357 for each year.

Not sure why I get 40545 for 16-19 and you get 40548..?

Ioan said...

Petha ddim yn glir yng Ngwynedd:
2011 2001 Gwahaniaeth
03-14 89.0% 88.5% 0.4%
15-24 61.1% 69.1% -8.1%
25-39 69.1% 71.2% -2.1%
40-59 62.8% 62.3% 0.5%
60+ 57.1% 62.8% -5.7%
Mi faswn i’n dweud
* Y grwp 15-24 yn cael ei effeithio gal y twf ym Mrifysgol Bangor (nifer o siradwyr Cyraeg fynu 700)
* Cynnydd bach yn yr oed 40-59 i’w ddisgwyl o ganlyniadau 2001
* 60+ : Hwn hefyd i’w ddisgwyl – Pobl 65-69 ydi’r grwp lleia tebygol o fod yn medu siarad Cymraeg yng Ngwynedd (53.7%)

Anonymous said...

MH - sorry, I'm getting a little fed-up with the 'I didn't expect it to be this bad' which I'm getting from you, and basically everyone from the Cardiff area.

People on the ground, in the West, were saying this for the last 10 years, but we were fobbed off with -'oh if Welsh goes down in Gwynedd, it's OK cos it's going up in Cardiff/Barry/Swansea'. Well it didn't did it really?

Leaving aside the deep colonial and psychological scars in our national psyche where even nationalists say we should accept language loss in any part of our country (the Brits would never accept it for English) we were ignored.

People would always point out to a new WM school. When people would politely point out that this wasn't an panacea and hardly touching the problems Welsh had and that Welsh-speakers on the ground were getting depressed by the lack of urgency in language development we were again fobbed off.

People have been saying this for years, but were were ignored and ridiculed. I really think we've now turned the corner, and unless something huge happens, it's down hill. Labour nor Carwyn Jones have no real interest in making a huge change - after all they will never challenge the English language. The Welsh language is a now a marginal interest like wind-farms or badgers (but even less contentious).

After years of being a canary in the coal mine, I'm tempted to say 'ball in you court' MH.


MH said...

Ioan, I'm getting my 2001 figures from the pdf report I linked to at 11:39, here.

I'd very much like to know where your 2001 figures are from. I don't, for example, have separate figures for 15 year olds. If you can't give me a link, would you please email the spreadsheets (or whatever) for 2001 to me at this address.

Ioan said...

Cardiff 2011 2001 Gwahaniaeth
03-14 26.6% 25.0% +1.6%
15-24 13.4% 13.5% -0.2%
25-39 9.7% 9.4% +0.3%
40-59 6.5% 6.3% +0.3%
60+ 5.1% 4.9% +0.1%

Anonymous said...

Turning against people like MH (or whoever M presumes MH represents) would be counterproductive.

I am really concerned we've turned a corner as M says. People are going to be very frustrated and take it out on their allies before they take it out on anyone else (how's that for a symptom of colonialism?).

MH said...

Why get angry with me, M? I've never said it was OK if Welsh declined in the Fro Gymraeg, I only said that it would and advised people to brace themselves for that news when it came.

And in terms of numbers, it's worth noting that the number of speakers has actually gone up in places like Cardiff (+4,231) and Caerffili (+1,014). The overall picture would be worse if it hadn't.

Anonymous said...

So this mass immigration into what was once called the 'Fro Gymraeg' is working......for the cause of British Nationalism and destruction of the native language.

Hogyn o Rachub said...

I agree with M (14:56) ... and I currently live in Cardiff by the way. For me, these statistics are heartbreaking.

For the 'rest of Wales' they're probably more realistic that those for 2001 as well, but if you are familiar with North or West Wales these figures will come as no shock at all; in fact I would even suggest that the figures for Ynys Môn and Ceredigion are better than expected.

There are many factors, but this has partly happened because of our obsession with status over Welsh as a community language and the survival of y Fro Gymraeg - it is essentially half what is was 10 years ago. And it has partly happened because people like Seimon Glyn were dismissed and scorned all that time ago, and since then.

If there's one good thing to come out of this it is that the alarm bells should now start ringing seriously, and perhaps some people who have dismissed one particular problem, namely that of English inmigration into the heartlands of the language, might actually sit up and and see that ignoring and denying that problem is no longer an option.

Unfortunately, for Ceredigion and Sir Gâr, it may well be too late. I predict the ward stats will paint an equally grim picture of Welsh as a community language.

Anonymous said...

MH - the implication always when someone pointed to the decline of Welsh in the Fro was 'but it's growing in SE Wales' which was sort of a polite way of deflecting or ignoring the problem and maybe, trying to keep one's spirits up.

The increase in Cardiff and Caerffili are the ONLY increases across Wales (+ Mons, which I take was from such a low start that it could hardly get any lower). Actually, less than 4,500 for a capital city and all the bigging up of WM education in Cardiff is less than I'd expected. To tell the truth, it's disappointing. Cardiff, as capital, is exceptional and unique. It can't be replicated and I'm guessing that a big chunk of Caerffili is also a Cardiff overspill.

I want to see an increase across Wales but for the last 10 year or more, a large section of the political class in Wales has tried to deflect the threat to the West with a positive spin in the east. Basically, it's not worked.

The reason why people are angry is that when people like myself have tried to point out that the influx of monolingual English speakers to the West is hindering growth in the language we've been painted as racists.

In some respects the language has held up, what's changed is that so many people have moved into Wales (and moved out - but we've always had outmigration) that it's further marginalised the language. It's also denormalising it in the West. There's been a lack of discussion on this subject.


Ioan said...

Hogyn o Rachyb, I agree re Anglesey:

Isle of Anglesey 2011 2001 Gwahaniaeth
03-14 75.7% 74.2% 1.5%
15-24 68.3% 73.9% -5.6%
25-39 60.3% 59.0% 1.3%
40-59 51.8% 53.4% -1.6%
60+ 48.8% 54.1% -5.3%

The -5.6% for the 15-24 could be Holyhead (which had a disastrous 5-14 results in 2001), and increase in Menai Bridge students - both areas outside "Y Fro". The 50-59 and 60+ figures are as expected - demographics and migration.

Ioan said...

The growth in the South East was not due to Welsh Medium Education - it was due to teaching Welsh in other Schools, and parents under the impression that the kids could speak welsh.

I think the 2011 figures are more accurate for the South East e.g.

Torfaen 2011 2001 Gwahaniaeth
03-14 36.9% 41.0% -4.2%
15-24 17.9% 17.6% 0.3%
25-39 4.9% 3.5% 1.4%
40-59 2.5% 2.6% -0.1%
60+ 1.9% 2.3% -0.4%

Anonymous said...

Is there any means of ascertaining what percentage of Welsh born people speak Welsh at both a national and a local level?

Anonymous said...

....and non Welsh born people who speak Welsh etc?

Anonymous said...

Some interesting and challenging points and I might write a letter to my paper in my own name soon. My one hope is that this deterioration will shake people out of their complacency about the language and spur an intelligent response from people like Dyfodol, Cymdeithas and people in civic society.

Hogyn o Rachub makes some really good points especially about the Fro. It is surprising they haven't dropped even more. I can sense though that alot of people will slip into negativity and defeatism. There needs to be an economic response to this problem. What policies or plans would keep (or allow the keeping of) Welsh as a community language, and how can those policies be implemented; who do you need to lobby and do they need to be enacted at local council, Welsh or UK level. Then use the same template about how to increase usage in workplace and social settings, then the same about how to get school pupils to continue using it.

None of the groups or organisations committed to the language have ever really addressed this in a way that is attractive or useful. Perhaps now this will shake things up.

MH said...

The data you mention was published for the 2001 census, 17:53/56. I don't think it's in this batch of information, but it might well be part of the next release in January.

Anonymous said...

The Cardiff increase isn't very "good"- only 4,231 people over the decade, a decade in which more national institutions have developed in the capital (requiring and attracting a layer of bilinguals). It's certainly not good enough to "justify" or in any way compensate for the decline in the communities, and also it's not good enough to have "captured" enough of the out-migration of young people from y Fro, though it's obviously been a major factor. Many of them will have moved out of Wales. Young people leaving peripheral and rural areas is a universal fact, but I don't even think we're "capturing" enough of them in our own country. Certainly not as many as I had assumed.

Anonymous said...

Cardiff is certainly disappointing. I mean, if the language can't gain 4,500 new speakers in 10 years in the capital, then, frankly, what hope for any where else?

Again, a person on Radio Cymru, Hefin Matthias, was trying to deflect the disappointment with talk of 1,000 children in WM in Ponty. Why do they do this? Why do people in the SE always have to try to try and big up the SE? Why can't we have an honest debate on the influx. Again Simon Thomas on Radio Cymru was quite good but again was going on about the need for jobs in Ceredigion. But there are jobs - but they're taken, for what ever reason - by people from outside Wales. And in any case, a significant number of those moving to Wales aren't economically active - they're retired or are unemployed. Plaid nor Labour nor the Welsh Language Commissioner won't just say what all Welsh-speakers know from their experience.

Until people are honest about this, Jac o' the North is the only one, then we're going to have this 'surprise' again in 10 years time. That is, no surprise to ordinary Welsh speakers, only to the experts!

Anonymous said...

OK - to try and be positive.

If 20% of population speak Welsh, and 75% are born outside Wales then it's fair to say that some 30% (?) of Welsh people or people born in Wales, speak Welsh.

Welsh has held it's ground to some extent. The big problem, and please let's be honest about this, is that the huge movement of English people (good, decent people) into Wales has marginalised the Welsh language. Now, how do we deal with this? The Language Commissioner, Labour and Plaid have to do something.

The Protestants of Northern Ireland are rioting and burning cars and threatening people because they feel they are losing ground. People are taking notice of the Protestants and will think of the consequences if talks begin on the constitutonal future of the 6 counties.

Wales and the Welsh language and her supporters on the other hand are ignored or humiliated even though we've not hurt nor threatened anybody.

Nobody in Wales is burning or rioting like the Protestants. Nobody is even thinking of that. But we have a right for the language not to be minoritised and marginalised further or ignored. That's all we ask.

The Welsh people have broadly, been supportive of Welsh (with the exception of Carmarthenshire). The language is being transfered. The 'elephant in the room' is the 'mewnlifiad' (in-migration).


Hogyn o Rachub said...

The two posts above mention Labour, but why on earth would Labour help Welsh? There is a deep, deep strain of anti-Welsh (language) sentiment within the party which borders on pure hatred amongst some of its members. One reason is of course that Welsh speakers are generally far less supportive of the Labour Party than non-Welsh speakers.

Less Welsh speakers simply make it easier for Labour to retain its grip on Wales, and in fact in some parts of the country remerge - it makes political sense for Labour to let the language die, and that's why they've been doing that for the past decade!

Bill Chapman said...

I'm a Welsh-speaking Labour Party member living in Conwy. I see no sign at all of "a deep, deep strain of anti-Welsh (language) sentiment within the party". At local Labour Party meetings I use Welsh with those who speak it. Our election literature is bilingual. When I was sworn in as a Labour town councillor last May, I made my promise to serve he public in Welsh, of course. There may be some individuals with such views in all parties, but I've not come across the sentiment you describe in the Labour Party.

I don't accept (and I've done a lot of door-knocking this year that Welsh speakers are generally far less supportive of the Labour Party than non-Welsh speakers.

MH said...

Perhaps it was just a slip, but only 27.3% of the population of Wales was born outside Wales, M. Data here.

Wales ... 72.7%
England ... 20.8%
Scotland ... 0.8%
Rep Ireland ... 0.4%
NI ... 0.3%
(plus some from elsewhere)

For what it's worth, only 83.5% of the population of England was born in England, with 4.9% of England's population born in Wales. Data here.

In terms of numbers, 506,619 Welsh-born people live in England and 636,266 English-born people live in Wales. Part of the difference would be that some mothers resident in Wales give birth in hospitals just over the border in England.

Anonymous said...

Labour is generally the second party for Welsh speakers in the south. But it's a very distant second. In the west and north-west I would imagine the Lib Dems are the second party for Welsh speakers, despite people like Elystan Morgan (and before him Cledwyn Hughes, TW Jones, Goronwy Roberts).

It would be fair game to challenge Welsh-speaking Labour party members and ask them what policies they're bringing forward to arrest the decline. The answer is none. But they should be challenged.

As should the Conservatives who have zero policies to support Welsh-speaking communities and would in fact cut (or are already cutting) the kind of jobs in which you can currently use the Welsh language.

And Plaid. All of the parties should be held to account by an intelligent and active movement.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that most people from Wales who move to England do so for work reasons. They are therefore helping the economy of that country. I very much doubt either if they are displacing the English language in any part of England or turning whole villages into Welsh ones whereby there's as much support if not more for the Welsh teams during international rugby or football matches. You cannot compare the two different and magnitude of migrations in terms of nature or effects.

Anonymous said...

I should have checked the above before posting...too late now

Aled G J said...

Here's how I see things here in Gwynedd.

Obviously there's huge external pressures on Welsh speaking communities because of an influx of non-Welsh speakers.But,I also sense an internal collapse in terms of the confidence, and dare I say it, faith in the language amongst ordinary Welsh speakers. It's partly to with this perception that the Assembly has delivered precious little for the West since 1999. But, I think there's also a deeper factor at work here. Namely, that the Welsh language industry has not really delivered for ordinary Welsh speakers over the last couple of decades, and I do think that has played a part in the great falling away we are now witnessing. Gwilym Owen, the doyen of Welsh journalism, has often been castigated for pointing out that it the thrusting and confident middle classes who have benefited from the revival in the status of Welsh, leaving ordinary Welsh speakers far behind in this respect- but I think he is absolutely right about this.

What we need now is a policy which addresses this problem: and which specifically creates jobs in Welsh for ordinary Welsh speakers. Why can't the Welsh Government create say a 1,000 new jobs in the Welsh speaking areas for people to work as Welsh language mentors to help Welsh learners make use of the language in our communities? In order to fund this new investment( say 2 million pounds), money could be shifted from other areas, e.g translation. I work as a translator myself, but sorry we have to get our priorities right to solve this crisis and everyday use of the language has to trump status on paper.

These language mentors need not be middle class graduates- the posts would be open to ordinary Welsh speakers and all they would need is a real pride in their language and a willingness to speak it with learners as they go about their lives in the community.

This initiative would serve three purposes:

i) it would create much needed jobs in the Welsh speaking areas
ii) it would show that there are jobs to be found in the Welsh language world for all kinds of Welsh speakers- not just one particular type of Welsh speaker
iii) it could bring learners and Welsh speakers together to boost the language in the heartlands.

Let's just hope that the reality call we have witnessed today can spark some new thinking about what really matters: use of Welsh as a community language. Let's get real, the much touted revival in the East is as far away as ever- we have to prioritise our resources.

Anonymous said...

Aled G J puts forward a decent sounding idea. I would certainly argue that employment should be the focus. There should be a dedicated employment agency for Welsh-medium jobs, with a specific geographic remit. I think Ireland has one, although it apparently isn't very successful. The jobs would have to be productive as well, and it would have to be strictly run, not wasteful.

Plaid Cymru has recently argued for 200% council tax on second homes (or for local authorities to be allowed to do that). This is within Welsh Government powers. I don't see why this hasn't been given promotion. I definitely saw it on twitter.

In-migration is as ever the issue people are afraid to discuss. Apart from being controversial though (I think most Welsh people in the south would sympathise with restricting it to be honest) I think it is legally and politically impossible to restrict freedom of movement within an EU member state. I hear bits and pieces about Lake district residency rules or national parks, but I could see this blowing up and becoming a legal nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Two points:

Firstly, the almost pathological hatred of the Labour Party amongst some nationalists leads them to make all sorts of ridiculous assertions - Hogyn o Rachub's post at 18.55 being a perfect example. Whilst there has always been an element of the Welsh Labour Party which is anti-Welsh, those who hold such views have become marginalised and have no influence over the party's current policies. The leadership of the party is universally pro-Welsh and the idea that they are deliberately allowing the language to decline for some imagined electoral gain is nothing more than a paranoid delusion.

Secondly, when it comes to proficiency in Welsh, the figures produced for the areas outside of the Fro Gymraeg in both the 2001 and 2011 censuses are hopelessly skewed by the very high numbers of parents who believe their school age children are Welsh speakers simply because they are taught Welsh as a second language. The figures for Torfaen given above illustrate this. An even more extreme is Monmouthshire where 47% of 3-14 year olds are judged to have one or more Welsh language skills. Total nonsense. Only those who attend Welsh medium schools actually have any level of proficiency - about 2-3%. I suspect that the 'fall' in Welsh speakers outside of the Fro is attributable to a decrease in the number of children attending English medium schools have been mistakenly identified as speaking Welsh - and that this masks a small but nevertheless 'real' rise in the number of children who actually do speak Welsh because they attend Welsh medium schools.

Anonymous said...

Anon 20:46 That's nonsense. The Danish have also adopted a policy which restricts the buying of homes to foreigners in certain areas.

Anonymous said...

Couple of points in relation to this.

1) We all knew this was coming, and we've been in denial about it. The figures speak for themselves. Qualifying the figures with talk about the "South-east" is not going to alter the fact that Welsh is being killed off (not dying - killed off) as a living language in the areas where it remains a living language - Y Fro Gymraeg.

2) If anything is highlighted, it's the near total failure of the "Statws" agenda pursued by Cymdeithas yr Iaith initially, and most of the rest of the Welsh political establishment since the creation of our "National" Assembly. Divorced from a wider economic framework, it's failure is glaringly apparent in the face of the escalating emigration of young welsh-speakers from ALL parts of Wales, as our economy sinks further into the morass created by Unionist inaction.

Meanwhile, in "Pobol Pontcanna", we've created a class of people who are every bit as dependent on the British State as the young jobseeker from Merthyr Tydfil. So it's quite understandable why their silence in the face of the destruction of their organic communities is so comprehensive.

3) The total failure of the Nationalist movement (led, or not led by Plaid Cymru) to address the continuing problem of in-migration not just into Welsh-speaking areas, but into Wales per se. This is in large part down to the dominance of the Left in Plaid, who are fixated with political correctness and gesture politics, at the expense of courage and genuine debate. Chickens are now coming home to roost.

I'm pretty sure that in the face of the near total silence from the Plaid heirarchy today, many voters in Ceredidigion who voted in faith for Plaid, will realise that Plaid's commitment to the language does not extend beyond Cardiff Bay, and draw their own conclusions.

Labour, meanwhile, can quietly sit back, and let "nature" take it's course in the Nationalist heartlands.


Jim said...

I had a phone call ages ago asking me questions about if I could speak Welsh or not.

Since then I have started learning.

I am an incomer. So is my daughter. We are refugee's here from Engirland (not Engirlish though...scottish).

We are learning the language and will continue to do so until we are fluent (however long it takes).

But kids go on xbox, PS3, facebook etc., and communicate with the western world.

Do you really expect them to only speak Cymreag?

Our western world speaks engirlish as its first language (america included).

Do we ban them from contact with them?

To me, as a parent, that is why Cymraeg is not a first language. Outside of the village, the world speaks engirish.

Anonymous said...

Bill - I've yet to see any tweet or comment by a self-defined labour supporter, AM or MP concerned about the Welsh in the census. Plenty of comments about religion in the census.

Labour does not have the Welsh language at heart. It's never debated internally by you except in a reactive way, your own FM said on Radio Cymru he doesn't know what to do. And Labour want to build 330,000 new homes = 1 million new people in Wales.

Labour are quietly very happy with this census. Wales is kept a marginal language. There's no Labour rally or protest to support the language, no meeting by Labour members like yourself to do anything.

You swore your oath I'm Welsh? So what.

The British state, the Brits in Wales, Labour is happy. It's all going to plant. 'Natual forces' will kill Welsh. Well done, mission being accomplished. Colonialism succeeded.

Unless you are upsetting your Labour party Bill then your part of the problem. This broad concensous in support of Welsh has failed. Labour would never allow English to lose ground in Conwy but your happy enough for Welsh to lose ground.

This is what Britain and Btitishness does Bill. It kills languages. And you support Britishness and Britain.

Anonymous said...

There are also people on facebook and twitter who communicate in Welsh...oh yes....and English. I'm one of them. Pob lwc.

Anonymous said...

"3) The total failure of the Nationalist movement (led, or not led by Plaid Cymru) to address the continuing problem of in-migration not just into Welsh-speaking areas, but into Wales per se. This is in large part down to the dominance of the Left in Plaid, who are fixated with political correctness and gesture politics, at the expense of courage and genuine debate. Chickens are now coming home to roost. "

Not at all. Ieuan Wyn Jones, Cynog Dafis and Dafydd Wigley shut down any talk of immigration are not really the "left" of the party. Elin Jones also stated (probably correctly) that Plaid has to get support from the "retired couple from Wigan". It's worth debating but the "left" being used as a scapegoat is pointless and will get us nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Instead of targeting scapegoats (i've seen Cymdeithas, Plaid, Syniadau, Labour targeted so far) i'm looking forward to some actual discussion from good commentators who can set out a way forward for the language & the economy it will need.

If you correct the novelty over-reporting in 2001 the language is holding its own, but the expansion in the south east is very slow. Saving it in the west would require some specific planning laws and probably some significant Government intervention in the economy of those areas. I think Cymdeithas has been supportive of that and some people like Jac o the North and offers just want to have a pop negatively.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Anon 20:46 That's nonsense. The Danish have also adopted a policy which restricts the buying of homes to foreigners in certain areas."

It's not nonsense at all. English people aren't foreigners in the EU's eyes because they only recognise the UK as the member-state.

Denmark has adopted a policy restricting non-Danish residents from buying second homes in coastal areas. If you are a non-Danish EU citizen (it mostly affects Germans) you can buy a home in the controlled area if you obtain a year-round residency permit. It is to stop them having empty homes. It isn't a direct control on migration. This is all they were allowed to implement within EU law although it has cut down on empty homes very successfully in the controlled areas.

A similar planning policy could be implemented in Wales with regards to second homes. But it wouldn't affect the issue of people moving from one part of an EU member state to another part of the same state, to live and work.

Anonymous said...

The Aland Islands have special policies to protect the Swedish language there, but they have been given special status by Finland's government to implement this, and also exemptions from a number of EU rules (including varying VAT within a member state). The UK could give parts of Wales special designation for residency requirements. But Wales as a devolved nation couldn't do that to itself, nothing in this respect is devolved apart from council tax, planning and housing.

Rh said...

This is what one Labour councillor on Conwy COuncil warned in today's Daily Post: Benefits claimants in England 'set to flee to North Wales'. His concern is the impact on services as opposed to the effect on language and culture, but at least it is raised.

Anonymous said...

EU Rules? There are always ways around rules. And the Peak district is another example.

Anonymous said...

One idea doing the rounds - the WG should require that all LAs advertise every job from now on as being mandatory bilingual, until such time as the proportion of jobs in that authority is equal to the proportion of bilinguals coming out of schools served by that area. Do the same for all public authorities (health, fire, police etc.) and before you know it there are plenty of jobs for bilinguals in their own communities and public services start to provide a service equivalent to the linguistic capabilities of the communities they're alleged to serve.

Tarian said...

The political class and their acolytes have consistently failed to recognise the true nature of the challenges facing the language and have repeatedly villified those who have attempted to point out the quite glaring and obvious problems. It seems that - faced with hard evidence that they were wrong - they have decided to obfuscate, deny responsibility, continue to ignore key factors and once again attack and mock those critics whose warnings have been proved to be accurate.

The political class and those in the language 'industry' have failed ordinary Welsh speakers and it seems they are so shameless that they will not recognise their failings or concede any points to their long term critics. I have virtually lost all faith in any solution being introduced by either the government or activity by the various Welsh political parties. Any path to survival must now come from the people themselves and, given the demoralised condition and financial hardship our communities face, that is a very big ask.

Trwy ddulliau chwyldro yn unig mae llwyddo? It will be through the hard work and sacrifices of ordinary people that success will come. The past twenty years have shown that we can't expect anything from our 'leaders' except self interest and moral cowardice.

Anonymous said...

As I see it (feel free to critisize as my knowledge of the situation particuarly in NW Wales is restricted to what I read and hear 2nd hand) but regarding the language and the problem it faces we can break it down to 3 areas i.e. NW&W, SW (Sir Gar) and NE/SE Wales. Although there are overlaps I believe the major challenges in these areas are slightly different. In SE Wales (and I'm assuming NE although my knowledge of this area is minimal) the growth in number and % of speakers is reliant on the contiuation of the growth in WM education. However, on its own this is not enough the link between the language at home and the school must be strengthened. There's a number of ways which this needs to take place but the most important factor is getting those who go through WM education to raise their children through the medium of Welsh after they've left and had families. THat is the biggest challenge. There's lots of other factors such as use of the language between young people outside of the school etc. but all this leads to the ultimate aim that these new generation of speakers pass it on to the next generation in the home, WM education then ultimately becomes a means of strenghtening what already exists instead of contiuously having to create new speakers from scratch. There are numerous positive knock on effects if this can be achieved.

In the SW i.e. Sir Gar/ upper Swansea Valley the biggest challenge is transmission of the language. This is interwined with socioeconomic factors which has lead to a generation giving up on the language. Where the coal mines existed in these areas (unlike in the east) the language of the mines was Welsh, with the industry disappearing it seems that the Welsh language is closely following it. THe most important action here is to find a way tooffer jobs and jobs in a Welsh Language setting where the company/oragnisation operates entirely through Welsh. If the council (together with Ceredigion and Mon) followed Gwynedds lead of operating through Welsh it would be a step in the right direction although nowhere near enough. Research needs to be done on how PEndragon operates in the Basgue region and whether in conjunction with the research and business deptartments of the unis and HE colleges something can be set up to operate in the Fro which offers Welsh jobs in the region. On top of that more needs to be done particuarly in the Camarthenshire and the upper Swansea valley regarding WM Education from Meithrin richt up to the Colleges. The drop off in numbers/ % in WM eduction as you go up through the key stages is shocking and more needs to be done to put this right as well as increase the overall provision especially in certain parts of the county where demand outstrips supply. Again there is much more to it than that largly tied in with the use of the language by young people, but I believe with the provision of Welsh language jobs in the area we will forever be fighting a losing battle.


Anonymous said...


I'm much less familiar with NW Wales and Ceredigion but it appears from what I read thatin migration it the biggest issue here. It's very difficult to know what can be done t halt this under the legal framework of the UK and particuarlly EU. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be looked at and some ideas are suggested above although most suggestions seem to be aimed at tacking holiday homes rather than those moving in permenantly which is more difficult to tackle. Again if a way through working with the HE institutions and whoever else that can help can be found to offer jobs where the employing company/organisation operates throught the Welsh langauage that would at least allow for young local people to stay in the area and if it were possible to make keeping a 2nd home there much more expensive then that may potentially release some affordable housing.

Just some rough ideas, feel free to shoot them down. I realise of course that suggesting we create Welsh Langauge Jobs is the easy part, how we go about doing it is another question. But has anyone been looking at this in detail. Surely some of our FE Colleges/Unis could be funded by the Welsh Govt to look at this in detail and come up with some solutions. Could we offer incentive to Private companies in the Fro the operate through the medium of Welsh? Fund starter businesses in the Fro? As I mentioned earlier Pendragon in the Basque region appears to be a relative success story in the sort of thing is a blueprint we could copy in Wales?


Anonymous said...

I indeed do know of a company in the Fro which must employ around 80% Welsh speakers and yet nothing within that company is done through the medium of Welsh except for it's name which is ....... a'r mab. They deal with government agencies continually but staff are never offered Welsh forms to fill in from those agencies. How often does this happen in Wales? I know of a few others but the above in particular and the above is a largeish company.

How do the Basques and Catalans etc manage to grow their language use? I know Calalunia is wealthy but is that the reason the Catalan language is a success?

MH said...

Many thanks to Ioan, who emailed me a link to the online 2001 census data, here. It's not easy to give a direct link to the Welsh language data, but people should get what they need by using the query wizard. The relevant table is "CAS146 - Sex and age by ability to speak Welsh"

I downloaded a spreadsheet showing Welsh speakers in 2001 by age and county, and modified it to add percentages. People can download it from here.


I looked at the 2011 data in more detail last night. My first thoughts are that the age breakdown is critical. What has happened is that far fewer children of school age are recorded in the 2011 census as being able to speak Welsh compared with 2001. The pre-school age and post-school age (young adult) figures are healthy. Beyond that, the figures for older adults are mostly a matter of demographic change.

Things aren't as black as the headline figures alone would indicate. But please don't misinterpret that, it doesn't mean things are good. There's plenty that needs to be done. I'll write something more later.

In the meantime I would advise people not to look for people or groups to blame. It's understandable that we all want to do that, and it's easy to say that if only "such-and-such" had been done, things would have been completely different now. Each one of us has our own "such-and-such" ... our own pet projects, our own axes to grind, our own hobbyhorses.

I would venture to say that the things we need to do in order to see the language flourish are exactly the same now as they were last week, last year, or ten years ago. Yesterday's census data will not change what we should be doing. But it should give us greater determination to actually do it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that people should be denied the right to move into Y Fro Gymraeg or even Wales for that matter. However, with 'rights' should come certain 'responsibilities'. Those 'responsibilities' need to be defined.

Anonymous said...

"How do the Basques and Catalans etc manage to grow their language use? I know Calalunia is wealthy but is that the reason the Catalan language is a success? "

I'm not qualified to speak about Basque but Catalan is widely understood in Catalonia and has some similarities to Spanish. Very different situation to English and Welsh. I don't know how appropriate it is to compare Catalan to Welsh at all.

There are alot of newspapers in Catalan, at least three public television channels, alot of institutions (including social institutions like FC Barcelona) promoting it. It's the primary language of education also. According to the Cat Govt 22% of all media is through Catalan language.

And politically all the parties except for the right-wing support it, and you've had pro-Catalan language governments consistently since Franco died. The same can't be said for Welsh despite some misguided people saying nice things about the Thatcher and Major governments!

I don't know how important party politics is but in the Basque country you've also had almost unbroken nationalist rule (but not independentist) since Franco died. Yet I have seen people blaming the current decline on devolution or even Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems (being junior government partners for a handful of years!).

With time a mature debate will emerge as more people contribute their thoughts. I don't see the value in slagging off different parties, or those who have chosen to move to Wales. I am happy to support policies which deter the loss of Welsh speaking people from heartland language areas.

Tarian said...

Criticism of political parties and prominent figures is NOT a pointless exercise and neither is it fuelled by some personal agenda. The political parties and prominent figures in the media and language organisations have quite deliberatley closed down the range of debate on the problems and solutions related to the Welsh language. In my mind it is not acceptable to kick these issues into the long grass, pretend they don't exist or hope that tinkering on the margins will lead to effective change.

The major factors are economic (viable jobs in the heartlands available to Welsh speakers), demographic (outward flow of the skilled and educated young Welsh speakers who would otherwise establish families in the heartlands, combined with an inflow of monoglot retirees and others)and housing. Those who have raised these issues in the past - often in the most sensitive and balanced manner - have been pilloried as loonies and racists. This has always been insufferable but the evidence now demonstrate that to silence these critics was immoral and damaging.

For those looking for glimmers of hope I would urge caution: these statistics do not show a static picture but rather a trend which, if continued, will lead to the virtual extirmination of the Welsh language in the very few places which were until recently considered unassailable bastions of Welsh language and culture.

Some people have bristled at criticism of Plaid, Lib dems etc. Ok, Labour as the party in power for so long can accept a fair part of the blame, but lack of control over the institutions does not absolve the opposition parties. It is the job of the opposition parties - Plaid especially - to provide an honest and accurate analysis of the transformation occuring in Welsh speaking areas, to highlight government failings, and to offer a range of solutions. Instead they have opted to chastise critics and ignore many of the issues for fear of upsetting the applecart and risking a hostile media reception. If handled properly these issues can be tackled without inviting spurious accusations of racism - don't allow our enemies to dictate the terms of debate,and don't allow yourselves to be silenced by those who seek to frighten and shame you into forsaking the inheritance we hold in trust for our children.

Anonymous said...

I thought the idea of the EU was the free movement of people to find work and free trade. What we have largely in Wales is the dumping of the economically inactive.

Anonymous said...

Just some thoughts, many of which have probably already been made

1) parents not transmitting the language - this has been portrayed as a problem particular to Carmarthenshire, but I would argue it's a problem everywhere however Welsh speaking the area. One parent speaks Welsh and the other doesn't so they don't speak Welsh at home and expect schools to do their work for them, or sometimes one or both parents speaks Welsh to the child but not to each other and the 'half Welsh speaking' household is not strong enough to resist the dominance of English elsewhere, including at school during breaks, etc. Carwyn Jones is a good example, he speaks Welsh and his wife has learnt it, yet he admits his children speak English to each other outside the classroom. As Welsh speakers are unlikely to stop marrying non-Welsh speakers particularly as Welsh speakers are becoming thinner on the ground, a partial solution to this could be more Welsh medium childcare for pre-school children, more enforcement of Welsh in specified Welsh-medium schools (just what the Ceredigion parents complain about), social activities in Welsh including for learners.

2)Education - we have to stop thinking Welsh-medium education will solve everything. Children learning Welsh in English-medium primary schools are taught by teachers who don't speak Welsh themselves - a ridiculous situation when they could be taught by specially trained travelling Welsh teachers. Ireland is probably a good example of how hours and hours of language lessons don't really work though. The language needs to be more than just a school language.

3) Opportunities for adults to practise their Welsh to prevent former pupils of Welsh-medium schools forgetting everything. The mentrau iaith are good at this, but more could be done to offer opportunities for people. This is just as important in anglicised as in Welsh-speaking areas. You only need one person who doesn't understand in a group for everyone to have to turn to English so living in a (relatively) Welsh-speaking area doesn't guarantee getting the chance to converse in Welsh.

These would apply to the whole of Wales in my opinion. For the Fro Gymraeg specifically, apart from what others have said about supporting local economies, we need to be stronger on opposing immigration without integration and by integration I mean learning the language. We need to have the guts to be more forthright about it. It is possible to limit immigration within the EU - look at the Aland Islands. Could the government also set up a fund from which local people could borrow deposits for houses?

The problem is that any money that is spent on these issues will be described as discrimination by the anti-Welsh. We need to explain that money should go to communities in need, so it's a case of spending where there is need, rather than special treatment.


Anonymous said...

If we want Welsh to be spoken to the same percetage as Catalan is in Catalonia then we must adopt the immersion method. As a start - In 5 years time ALL primary schools will have ALL lessons through the medium of Welsh. Then in 10 years time ALL

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 14:46 - that would be good, but how are you going to convince the parents?


Anonymous said...

Let's be frank about this.

The Welsh language is as dead as a dodo.

What modern kid would want to look in to a country
where industry and farming are long gone.

Where the only jobs are in the leisure industry.

Wales is like Cornwall a tourist vacation area.

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