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1 in 5 Welsh speakers ‘prevented’ from speaking the language with someone else

01 Oct 2021 3 minute read
Picture by Alan Fryer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One in five Welsh speakers have been prevented from speaking the language with someone else who wants to speak it, according to a new report.

The figure was included in the Welsh Speakers’ Omnibus Survey in November 2020, as part of ‘Stepping Forward’, the Welsh Language Commissioner’s latest assurance report.

The report said: “20% of Welsh speakers noted that someone had prevented them from speaking Welsh with someone else who also wanted to speak Welsh – a 5% increase in the percentage who reported experiencing interference last year.”

In the report, the Commissioner, Aled Roberts, shared his views on how public organisations operate when it comes to the Welsh language, and the experiences of service users.

This year’s report was based on evidence from organisations about how the pandemic has impacted their ability to provide Welsh language services, and a national survey of Welsh speakers about their experiences of using the services.

According to Roberts, Covid-19 has highlighted the gap between organisations with good arrangements to provide Welsh language services and those without adequate arrangements

Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts said: “Covid-19 has forced us all to live our day-to-day lives in different ways, and public organisations have had to adapt quickly to a ‘new normal’. T

“The pandemic highlighted the already emerging gap between well-compliant organisations and those without adequate arrangements.

“Some organisations took the opportunity to innovate while others took a step back. Overall, it became clear that organisations need to do more to promote their Welsh language services to increase their use.

“This report is not intended to point the finger, rather to highlight the lessons to be learned to enable organisations to take steps to strengthen their Welsh language provision and to increase their use in the future.”

‘Other results’ 

Other results in the Welsh Speakers’ Omnibus Survey included:

  • 82% of Welsh speakers agreed that they are usually able to deal with public organisations in Welsh if they wish to do so.
  • 70% of Welsh speakers surveyed agreed that the Welsh language services of public organisations were improving – an increase of 6% over two years.
  • That 35% of Welsh speakers believed that opportunities to use the Welsh language with public organisations were increasing and 45% felt that they remained the same – a 2% decrease from last year in those who agreed that there was an increase.

Aled Roberts added: “Despite all the challenges this year, the research shows continuity in the pattern that Welsh speakers’ experiences have improved since language rights were established through Welsh language standards.

“But these experiences need to be further improved, and to enable me to place standards on more organisations, the Welsh Government must prepare standards and introduce regulations.”

“I have submitted a schedule for the Government to consider for taking this work forward as soon as possible, and I look forward to seeing their plans.”

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2 years ago

Still work to do im afraid despite the very brst efforts of of leaders in public bodids – many if whom hail from over Offas Dyke. Only yesterday in. Health setting admi nistrating tests – i experienced three distinct ways lf how intersctions with the public hapoen in real life. One from tbe receptionist was wrll away from the health trusts polocies when i was told ( in front of others waiting – to ‘ turn over my appointment invite to the English ( ie the proper ) side as the receptionist could not see my name on her list… Read more »

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard

I am sorry but I have no idea what you are saying. Can you write it again please?

Seán F Ó Drisceoil
Seán F Ó Drisceoil
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Owen

I don’t know what you mean, Stephen – I understood every phrase and word. It was interesting that the technician with little Welsh showed him courtesy while the Secretary caused him embarassment even though it was merely a form with the exact information on both sides i.e a robotic task for a human. She had missed the fact that the name was on both sides of the form and obviously had not been trained in ‘Language Courtesy’. Incidently we in Ireland have developed such a module and if anyone wants details, feel free to contact me. Seán F Ó Drisceoil,… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
2 years ago

It just unfortunate that the Welsh Language Commissioner doesn’t have far more enforcement powers and also a proactive role in ensuring that the rights of Welsh speakers are respected by all public bodies and semi-public bodies, such as housing associations. I rent my home from a Cardiff based housing association, and over the years I have frequently had to complain about their lack of consideration of Welsh. In the past they have made a few token attempts to present an image of an organisation based in Wales through producing a bilingual corporate image with bilingual headed notepaper and compliments slips… Read more »

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
2 years ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Very well said.

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