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Concern about the impact of Covid on people’s daily opportunities to speak Welsh

15 Sep 2021 2 minutes Read
Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Sir Conwy 2019

The Welsh Language Commissioner has expressed concern about the impact Covid restrictions have had on people’s daily opportunities to speak Welsh.

Today saw the publication of survey results showing an increase in the numbers of Welsh speakers using the language on a daily basis from 53% in 2015 to 56% in 2020. However, the survey only ran to March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.

Aled Roberts warned that Covid-19 could lead to a reduction in the figures, and said that the Welsh Government’s target to double the percentage of the population that speak Welsh daily by 2050 was “very ambitious”.

The survey results showed that:

  • 12% of Wales’ population spoke Welsh every day
  • 4% spoke it weekly
  • 4% spoke it less often
  • 1% could speak it but never spoke it
  • 78% couldn’t speak Welsh at all

“The results certainly show a step in the right direction,” Aled Roberts said. “However, the Government’s target to double the percentage of the population that speak Welsh daily by 2050 is very ambitious.

“The challenge now is to look at the statistics and see how further progress can be achieved.

“Between the publication of this report and the previous report, there have been a number of important developments in terms of Welsh language promotion – from the introduction of Welsh language standards and establishing language rights, to the Government’s strategy and the target of a million Welsh speakers, to name but a few.

“During the autumn I will publish a 5-year report on the position of the Welsh language, a comprehensive report that weighs up the different developments and factors that have affected the language between 2015 and 2020. The report will provide context for the survey results, and will also include recommendations to ensure further progress.”

Other survey results indicated that:

  • Those aged 3-15 were most likely to speak Welsh every day, and those 16 to 26 the least likely
  • Only 48% of Welsh speakers considered themselves fluent in the language
  • 43% of Welsh speakers learned the language at home as young children
  • Two thirds of Welsh speakers agreed that speaking Welsh is an important part of who they are
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