Campaigners call on Welsh Government to ensure ‘everyday’ use of the Welsh language is accessible to all
Campaigners have launched a new video calling on the Welsh Government to focus on ensuring that the Welsh language is accessible as a medium of everyday communication for everyone in Wales.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith‘s video ‘More than a Million – Welsh Language Citizenship for All’ is a reference to the Welsh Government’s stated aim of a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
The Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Mabli Siriol Jones, said that in addition to ensuring that one million people were able speak the Welsh language, the government needed to ensure that there were opportunities for all to speak it every day.
“From the single mother who wants to learn Welsh, to the young couple who can’t afford to buy a house and the sixth form pupil who’s in the process of choosing their career path: the people of Wales want more opportunities to learn and use the language in their daily lives,” she said.
“The Welsh language belongs to all of these people and to everyone living in Wales, without exception — we want to see everyone being able to live in Welsh.
“We are therefore calling on the Welsh Government to fully adopt our ‘More than a Million — Welsh Language Citizenship for All’ vision. This means deepening the current agenda by focusing on the everyday use of the language in our communities, workplaces and public services, and extending the Welsh language to everyone, not just the lucky few.
“We know that people face barriers in accessing the language — including geographical, economic, and class barriers — and that these affect certain groups in particular, including deprived communities, migrants and people of colour.
“The right structures and policies aren’t in place to ensure that everyone has meaningful access to learn, enjoy and use our national language. This pattern is a matter of social injustice that must be tackled – Welsh language citizenship needs to be extended to everyone.
“The other side of this coin is the failure to maintain, support and create Welsh language spaces; it is far too often said that Welsh is not an inclusive language. This results in a perception among Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers alike that maintaining spaces—from geographical communities, to workplaces, to events—that are entirely Welsh in language is unacceptable.
“Therefore, ensuring real access to the language for all is an essential part of the task of increasing the number of spaces where Welsh is the medium of communication.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that they were inviting the people of Wales to ‘join the campaign for the language’ in their new video.
The video, created by Cadi Dafydd Jones, follows the stories of Elinor, Rhydian, Siân and Sarah as they all try to live their lives through the medium of Welsh. But the costs of Welsh lessons and the lack of Welsh language spaces are a barrier for Elinor, a single mother, while the housing crisis and lack of Welsh-medium apprenticeships threaten to force Rhydian, Siân and Sarah to leave their communities, taking the language with them.
Mabli Siriol Jones said that aims included securing a home for all in their own community, free Welsh lessons, Welsh-medium apprenticeships and increasing the language’s presence online.
“The Government has the power to turn this vision into a reality, and we will work over the next few years to ensure that they do so,” she said.
“I would like to invite the people of Wales, regardless of their ability in Welsh, to join us in the campaign for the language and achieving our ‘More than a Million’ vision.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith launched its ‘More than a Million – Welsh Language Citizenship for All‘ document last year before the Senedd elections.
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