‘Part of who we are’: Wales boss Chris Coleman endorses 2050 language plan
Welsh football manager Chris Coleman has argued that Welsh “is part of who we are” as he attended the launch of the government’s new language strategy.
The Welsh Government published their plan to double the number of Welsh speakers in 30 years today.
Coleman told Golwg 360 that he was keen to show off the language when Wales took part in the Euro football championship last year.
“We had a responsibility to show the world that this is Wales, this is what we are, here’s how passionate we are about our country,” he said.
“That’s why I sing the national anthem. It honors those who fought hard and represent their country.
“That’s what we do in terms of football, and it’s very important that people understand what makes us as Welsh.
“This is our national language. Not everyone can speak it, but it’s part of our culture, and we must remember that.”
To reach that target, the Welsh Government estimate that 70% of pupils will need to be fluent in the language by the time they leave school.
Welsh medium education will be increased by a third over the next 14 years, they say.
By 2030, 30% of seven-year-olds will be taught in bilingual schools. The current figure is 22%.
“Reaching a million speakers is a deliberately ambitious target to so that the Welsh language thrives for future generations,” said the First Minister, Carwyn Jones.
“If we are to succeed, we need the whole nation to take ownership of the language.
“Politicians can’t impose that, but politicians can lead. By raising our expectations and adopting an ambitious vision, we have the potential to change the future outlook for the language.”
Speaking before the launch, the Chair of the Welsh language society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said that revolutionary steps must be taken in order to achieve a million Welsh speakers.
“It’s almost exactly two years since we published our ‘million’ vision document aimed at the new Government in Wales,” said Heledd Gwyndaf.
“We’re still waiting for the firm action that’s needed in order to turn the tide. But we believe that it’s more than possible to achieve a million Welsh speakers, and to do so before 2050.
“In order to succeed, we need revolutionary steps in a number of fields, for example in planning the workforce, especially the education workforce.
“It means normalizing and expanding Welsh medium education on every level, and doing so on a greater scale and at a faster pace than ever before.
“In addition, we need to normalize the language in every aspect of life, by strengthening language legislation.
“We also need a revolutionary language strategy that will overturn the enormous migration of people outwards from our Welsh-speaking communities.
“Industry and jobs that are native to Wales need the support of the Welsh Government, recognizing the link between work and language. Nothing short of a revolution is needed in order to succeed.”