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Welsh Language Commissioner explains more about the Cynnig Cymraeg

13 May 2024 5 minute read
Welsh signage in an Aldi supermarket

Efa Gruffudd Jones

This week is Cynnig Cymraeg Week and here Efa Gruffudd Jones, Welsh Language Commissioner explains more about the Cynnig Cymraeg (Welsh Offer), its importance to the Welsh language, and how this work aligns with the Commissioner’s broader remit.

The role of Welsh Language Commissioner was established following the passing of the 2011 Welsh Language Measure and, in establishing the Commissioner’s role has as its principal aim the promotion and facilitation of the use of the Welsh language.

Since then, the role itself has developed considerably but the principal function of facilitation remains the same. We aim to do this by ensuring regulatory compliance of organisations under the Welsh Language Standards, and our promotional work with the private, third and charity sectors.

At times there has been a tendency to see these two ways of working as being two distinct approaches that run in parallel but do not intersect. However, if the language is going to survive as a living, thriving language, one approach cannot exist without the other.

Approach

We have recently published our co-regulatory approach for the future that ensures organisations who come under the Standards have a self-regulatory role in ensuring compliance. As part of this new approach, we invited feedback from those organisations on our approach and how we can improve for the future. Moving forward this will allow us to direct our resources better and support those organisations in improving their Welsh language services.

WRU – Welsh Language Policy Launch at Royal Welsh Show – Nigel Walker and Efa Gruffudd Jones, Welsh Language Commissioner.

Before the end of this calendar year, we will see more sectors come under the Standards including rail bodies, housing associations and water companies and we have regular discussions with the Welsh Government as to other sectors that can be considered in the future.

A year and a half into this role and I have consistently reinforced my view that a sign of success for me at the end of my seven years as Commissioner would be that there are more opportunities for people to use the Welsh language in their everyday lives across Wales – and that they choose to do so.

Everywhere I go, people are enthusiastic about the Welsh language, and there has been a significant increase in the past years in Welsh language provision by organisations and in those wishing to learn the language and embarking on different courses.

We fully support the Welsh Government’s aspiration of a million Welsh speakers by the year 2050 but in order to achieve it, there is more work to be done.

Working with different sectors, I have already mentioned the significant strides we are taking with those sectors who must comply with the Welsh Language Standards. But organisations in the private, third and charity sectors are also keen to show their commitment to the language and we need to be able to support them.

In June 2020, we launched y Cynnig Cymraeg (Welsh Offer) that gave organisations working in those sectors the opportunity to work with us on developing their own language plans, thereby demonstrating their commitment to the language and culture.

Delighted

I have been heartened by the response and was delighted earlier this year as supermarket Aldi became the hundredth organisation to secure Cynnig Cymraeg accreditation. Others who have been awarded the Cynnig Cymraeg include national companies such as the Principality building society, Boots and Lidl, well-known charities such as NSPCC Cymru and RSPB Cymru and local organisations such as Tir Dewi and Arfon Foodbank.

We don’t of course stop there and I am glad to report that over a hundred more organisations are in discussions with us and at various stages of developing their language plans.

As these bodies develop their Welsh language plans, it is fair to note that not all elements of their services will be available through Welsh at once. They will build on their current provision and increase their existing offer over time.

This week is an opportunity to celebrate the Cynnig Cymraeg. We want to recognise those organisations that do not fall under the scope of the Standards but are keen to develop Welsh language schemes.

These schemes help to improve their relationships with their customers and make bilingual services naturally available. But in celebrating their achievements I would ask people across Wales to use Welsh when given the opportunity to do so, whether at the local supermarket, volunteering with a charity or supporting your local sports team.

Securing the future of the Welsh language is not the responsibility of one person or one organisation, it is a collective responsibility. So this week let’s celebrate the Cynnig Cymraeg and if you know of anyone who would be keen to start the journey or would like to receive more information please encourage them to get in touch.


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Another Richard
Another Richard
11 hours ago

Ms Gruffudd Jones certainly writes very fluent Bureaucratese, which is perhaps a more useful accomplishment than speaking Welsh if one wants to get on in Wales. However if I go into a shop or bank or whatever I have no idea if the person I am dealing with speaks Welsh. Nor have I ever seen a Welsh-language menu in a pub or restaurant. All these accreditations Ms GJ extols somehow don’t seem to make a difference in real life.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 hours ago

When you go into a shop it’s up to you to initiate a dialogue, even a conversation, in Welsh. If they can’t respond you can switch to English or leave. If they are rude about the language you should definitely leave. My beef is with organisations that in the past made a big thing of the language only to dump its use later. HSBC is the worst recent example and maybe Efa should mount a personal initiative at the highest level at the bank. After all the bank employs Welsh speakers so given the technology they deploy it should be… Read more »

Geraint
Geraint
9 hours ago

I agree there is a long way to go, but my experience is some what different. In my bank signage is bilingual and staff are clearly identified as Welsh speakers and I hear a lot of spoken Welsh when I queue up, so it is natural to carry on in Welsh. If I use the cash machine Welsh is available. In Aldi and Lidl Welsh is prominent in their signage and announcements are all bilingual. The Lidl cashless till in Pontardawe almost shouts out in Welsh when I go for the Welsh option. M&S and Tesco also have signage and… Read more »

Another Richard
Another Richard
3 hours ago
Reply to  Geraint

I’ve never seen a staff badge or a Welsh option on the tills at M&S or Tesco in Llanelli, though Lloyds bank offers Welsh at its ATM. The availability of services in Welsh is really very patchy.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
14 minutes ago

Ms Gruffudd Jones needs to get in contact with the parking company One Parking Solution to get them to issue parking charges notice in Cymraeg and get the government to strengthen the law to enable Cymry to use Cymraeg in all aspects of daily life!

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