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Call to focus on Welsh as the language of community and home before census results published

30 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Children and a Welsh flag.

Campaigners have called on the Welsh Government to focus on Welsh and the language of the community and the home before the census results are published next month.

On 6 December 2022, the Welsh Government will be publishing information on Welsh language skills in Wales, including an age breakdown.

The 2011 results showed a fall in the number of speakers from 20.8 per cent in 2001 to 19.0 per cent in 2011, and supporters of the language will be hoping to see a reversal in that trend.

The Welsh Government have already set a target of 1m Welsh speakers by 2050.

But Dyfodol i’r Iaith said that whatever the results they wanted to see a greater focus on strengthening Welsh as the main language of homes and in the community.

“There is plenty of evidence that children’s linguistic behaviour starts in the home,” said Heini Gruffudd, Chair of Dyfodol i’r Iaith.

“The Government, Mudiad Meithrin, The Welsh Language Learning Centre and others have placed emphasis on the language in the home. It is now time for a national scheme to inspire parents to make Welsh their main home language.

“The ‘Cartrefi Cymraeg’ (Welsh Speaking Homes) scheme should involve schools across the country, and create a greater awareness of the linguistic role of parents.”

‘Development’

Dyfodol i’r Iaith has already called for Welsh to be prioritised as a community language. Heini Gruffudd said, “Having more Welsh speaking homes will be a foundation for increasing the use of Welsh in communities.

“There is ample research that shows that children’s first years are important in their linguistic development.

“While Welsh medium schools are doing remarkably well in teaching Welsh to an increasing number of children from non-Welsh speaking homes, the future of the language will be ensured eventually by having more Welsh-speaking homes.

“That’s why we need a national Cartrefi Cymraeg scheme to co-ordinate and strengthen the work now being done by the various organisations.”

The census results have already revealed interim data for minority languages in Wales.

As in 2011, Polish was the second most common language after English or Welsh in Wales (0.7%, 21,000). The Welsh local authority with the highest proportion of people that had Polish as a main language remained as Wrexham (2.5%, 3,000).

Arabic was the next most common main language in Wales (0.3%, 9,000). The Welsh local authority with the highest proportion of people that had Arabic as a main language was Cardiff (1.4%, 5,000).


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