‘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.”
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This is exactly why I’m learning Welsh. It’s part of who we are and I feel embarrassed that I’m in my 30’s and don’t speak it.
Speaking your own language is very fine and totally laudable but nobody outside of Cymru speaks the language so you’ll be speaking to yourselves. If that’s what makes you happy. What is the point of having your own Welsh history culture and identity if you are no more than a Welsh speaking county of England! I would have thought running your own country for the benefit of your own people instead of a bunch of Tory billionaires in London would be a much more effective way of seeing your families fed clothed and give your children a positive future to… Read more »
I’m not sure if you meant it to come across as such Gordon but your comment is extraordinarily ill informed and regret to say echoes many of the sentiments expressed by anti welsh language bigots down the years. As it happens seeing the number of welsh speakers grow and running our own country are not mutually exclusive – indeed many of us want to achieve both of these things.
There’s a lot of ignorance in this comment Gordon – to the point that it turns a comment which is supposed to be an exortation to action into a simple insult. Let me turn your rhetorical question the other way: What’s the point of being anything other than a county of England if we have no history, culture and identity? You belittle the use of Welsh as “speaking to ourselves”. Of course we speak to ourselves when we speak in our own languague – just as the Dutch do when they speak in the Netherlands. Should the Dutch abondon their… Read more »
Gordon , Increasing the number of Welsh speakers does not exclude going after political goals. We want more than being able to feed and clothe our children though ,we want also to keep our souls too.
Hit the nail on the head gordon – there’s no better feeling that speaking your own language in your own country. But your statements, is of course, WRONG and a factually incorrect. 300,000 speakers in England, Patagonia, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA – I know this, because I know someone in each of those countries – NEXT.
Thanks for the lecture Gordon, but it seems to me that you have a good amount of work to do in Scotland as it is!
To the above comment. . Some of us would totally agree with you. . . Self belief and self determination would make a huge difference to Wales . but keeping to the language, identity issue . .
. . . MOST countries languages, with a few exceptions (English, Spanish etc) are only spoken in one country . . that’s the ENTIRE point. Even languages with millions of speakers like German are only of use in a handful of countries outside of Germany. . “A Country without a language is a country without a heart”
Gordon Murray! What a prat!
Malta is actually an excellent example of a small independent country with its own unique language. Maltese, which is a unique form of Arabic only spoken on Malta, is co-official alongside English. So as the example you chose shows, this is not an either/or choice. Just as Malta is a small independent country with its own language, Wales could be the same. There is no reason we cannot support the Welsh language AND campaign for independence.
From Wikipedia about Malta :- The Eurobarometer states that 100 per cent of the population speak Maltese. Also, 88 per cent of the population speak English, 66 per cent speak Italian, and 17 per cent speak French. This widespread knowledge of second languages makes Malta one of the most multilingual countries in the European Union. A study collecting public opinion on what language was “preferred” discovered that 86 per cent of the population express a preference for Maltese, 12 per cent for English, and 2 per cent for Italian.
Cymraeg yw heniaeth y Cymry
Welsh is the ancient language of the Welsh
Only ignorant people can’t see that it must be encouraged and not stifled!
You just don’t understand
And anyway Welsh is spoken to some degree or another in several places out in the big wide world, I know I have travelled and I have spoken it ! But lets take Patagonia as an example, imagine your visiting, your bilingual , Welsh / English you meet a Patagonian who has no English,. and you have no Spanish ! Try your Welsh, you just might just find that you can communicate !. In addition, if you actually knew something, anything, about the Welsh language, you would know that it is much influenced by Latin making Welsh a great bridge… Read more »
The typical British Nationalist argument that Welsh people should ‘learn a more useful language’ is completely null and void when one considers that in the world at this present time, there is no more ‘useful’ language (i.e. for business and commerce – to which I presume these people are referring) than English which most/all Welsh people already speak fluently. Including children taught at Welsh medium schools. Next!
Thus, learning and speaking Welsh / Cymraeg will help strengthen their Welsh identity and allow them to engage more readily with Welsh history and culture.
As someone with mixed Welsh and English ancestry I support 100%% the use and leaning of Welsh. It is an integral part of the history, heritage and culture of the Welsh. My great grandfather was bilingual and I would love to be. I welcome this new initiative.