Former First Minister says he was nervous about using Welsh in formal contexts and says there should be ‘less criticism’
The former First Minister of Wales has said that he was nervous about using his Welsh in formal contexts in the past and that there needs to be less criticism if the language is to continue to thrive.
Carwyn Jones said that “we should try to support people more” and encourage them to use their Welsh. He told Radio Cymru’s Dros Frecwast program that people also “tend to be very critical of themselves”.
“Particularly in some parts of Wales, in the census, they describe themselves as people who understand Welsh and do not speak Welsh. They’re still there but we lose them as Welsh speakers because they don’t consider themselves to be Welsh speakers. ”
Despite being First Minister and Welsh Labour leader for almost ten years between 2009 and 2018, Carwyn Jones said that he himself used to be nervous using the Welsh language in a formal context.
“I never would have done that 20 years ago,” he said. “I would never have stood up and spoken in Welsh in public, especially without notes. By now, I’m comfortable enough to do that.
“One of the things I wanted to make sure was that people hear the voice and accent of east Carmarthenshire, and West Glamorgan, and see that it is possible to use Welsh and to hear an accent like mine,” he said.
“It was also my personal journey to ensure that I have the confidence to use Welsh outside of a social context.
“Not everyone needs to reach a standard where they can write cynghanedd or win something at the Eisteddfod,” he added.
“What matters is that people use the Welsh language.”
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