Big data shows positive shift in attitude towards Wales’ language, economy and culture worldwide
Attitudes towards Wales’ language, economy and culture among people of Welsh descent living around the world is shifting in a positive way, an online ethnographic study has revealed.
The Canadian digital anthropology company sapient.d conducted the research project measuring attitudes towards the Celtic countries – Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Manx, Brittany – and found that Wales had seen the biggest rise in positive associations.
The words people of Welsh descent associated with Wales became significantly more positive, they said. In 2008 key words included ‘poor’, depressing’, ‘uneducated’ and ‘dark’. In 2019 these words were replaced by new terms included ‘industrious’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘learned’, ‘adventurous’ and ‘ecological’.
The research also found that the Welsh language was increasingly popular with the Welsh diaspora, especially third and fourth generations who took pride in learning key words and phrases to share on social media channels, which gave them a greater sense of belonging.
Giles Crouch, managing partner of sapient.d, born in the UK and a dual citizen of Canada of Welsh descent said: “Wales is enjoying part of the renaissance of Celtic culture around the world.
“Wales has become much more prominent in the last few years. There has been quite a shift in perceptions over ten years in a positive and transformative way.”
The research specifically measured reasons the diaspora would travel to Wales. The highest motivator at 47 per cent was Heritage and Ancestry, wanting to ‘trace their roots’.
Second was Celtic Culture (33%), followed by Adventure and Eco Travel (12%) and the Eisteddfod, which alone accounted for eight per cent.
Wales was perceived as the ‘New Zealand of the north’ with Tolkein and similar fantasy references featuring prominently. The online activity of the diaspora also showed that their top interest was literature along with a wide range of other interests including travel.
Walter May, founder and CEO of GlobalWelsh said: “Wales is on the cusp of an exciting time of opportunity and the diaspora are a key part of that.
“They are engaged, are likely to be able to invest in Wales, understand the new economy Wales is growing, have very strong cultural associations and – usually! – are a strong source of tourism.
“As well as the opportunity for Welsh diaspora to invest in Wales GlobalWelsh believes this research points the way for Welsh businesses which are interested in trading and selling internationally to engage with this audience. By creating and targeting content in which the diaspora has an interest, businesses will see increased engagement.”