1 million Welsh speakers by 2050? It’s a fake policy

Picture by Sarah Joy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tim Richards

When the Welsh Government recently announced that they planned to increase the number of Welsh speakers to a million by 2050 my reaction was, so what?

It is a fake policy, meaningless when it comes down to ensuring the future of the Welsh language.

It might sound like a solid target but it ignores the reality of whether the language is actually spoken in our communities, and the census figures are no guide at all.

Let me let you into a little secret about census figures – they can be very misleading.

I live in the Aber valley, just over the mountain from Cardiff and the census reveals that 15.8% of the population here can speak Welsh. But you rarely hear it spoken and never in public.

When I go into my local pubs, shops or cafe I never hear Welsh spoken. Unless, of course, that the moment that I walk in that they switch from speaking Welsh to speaking English!

So, while one in seven people in my community can speak Welsh, frankly I have to say it does not matter a damn. And nor does the Cymraeg 2050 target because it entirely misses the point.

Now, before anyone accuses me of being against yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh language, becoming the living language of Wales I can assure you that I’m not.

I fervently believe that we need a renaissance of Welsh language culture if we want our nation to survive and become more than just an English county.

But we must realise right now that a) increasing the number of Welsh speakers, and b) making Welsh a living language in the community are two entirely different things.

Ych-a-fi

Let me explain where I am coming from. I was born and brought up in Cardiff in the 1950s and while my father was a Welsh speaker my mother was not.

In fact, she was hostile to the Welsh language and used to tell me from an early age that there was no future in speaking Welsh and that if I wanted to get on in life I should speak English – preferably with a strong English accent.

Ironically, her father was a Welsh-language speaker but she got her beliefs from her mother’s side of the family who were from Lancashire. There are definitely shades of the same kind of arguments still around today from people of English descent.

However, the Welsh language was never far away. My dad’s sister, my Aunt Jennie, lived near us in Cardiff and it was on visits there that I met the only grandparent I remember, my Taid.

I inevitably became familiar with various Welsh language phrases, like “chwarae teg” and “ych-a-fi” which I will always associate with stepping in a dog turd.

Unfortunately, when it came to learning Welsh in school I never got beyond “yr ydwyf fi”, yr ydwyt ti” – which is how it was taught in the 1960s.

And so, it might have stayed that way until the family moved from Cardiff to Swansea in the early 1960s.

It was like moving from England to Wales because suddenly I had school friends whose first language was Welsh, particularly those from the Morriston area. It woke me up more to Welsh being a living language.

It was from that point on that I began to rebel against my mother’s views on Wales and going to Aberystwyth University to do a Law degree brought me in to more contact with the Welsh language.

While I was still an English speaker, I had no idea what my accent was like, until I left and started working for Oxfam.

I was based in Oxford where, much to my amazement, they soon began to call me Taff. When I asked why, their reply was, “well we don’t say ‘by here’ and ‘by there’…”

But it was when I moved back to Wales that my attitude began to really change.

By the 1980s I began, off and on, to learn Welsh, making real progress after going on an intensive Welsh learners “Wlpan” course just before the Eisteddfod – where, for the first time in my life, I went around the Maes actually speaking Welsh.

Education

But, when I came back to Abertridwr after the Eisteddfod it became too difficult to practise speaking Welsh every day and so I forgot almost all I had learnt.

And that is the point of this article. Sending children through Welsh Medium education is a start but without the chance to keep on speaking Welsh, it can seem to be a pointless exercise.

I did send my children to Ysgol Ifor Bach, the local Welsh medium primary school, with the full support of Judy, my English wife, who believed that it would be a good thing for them to be bilingual, because she was a French teacher.

My boys went on to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni and contrary to what many anti-Welsh critics believe (that all Welsh medium schools teach you is to speak Welsh), then went to University to do Physics degrees.

Alas they do not speak Welsh these days for the simple reason they have got jobs in England.

But I believe that their Welsh-speaking friends who remained in the Rhymney Valley probably don’t speak Welsh much these days either – because where are they likely to be able to converse?

Mobile app

I am, once again, learning to speak Welsh, by using an online web-site “Duolingo” but I have to say that without the chance to use the language in a social situation then it is an uphill task.

However, I have been thinking about this and have been discussing an idea about overcoming this handicap by carving out a space where I can use my Welsh in conversation, and it is a simple idea.

We need to have places that I call “Lle Cymraeg” that can create anywhere, starting online and then arranging to move into real places, such as a table in a local cafe or pub where Welsh learners like myself could meet up to practise speaking the language.

I have come to the conclusion that if we created a mobile app that would allow people to find, nearby, other Welsh speakers, of varying abilities and enable them to meet up to speak Welsh, then that would overcome what I feel is limited about the Cymraeg 2050 plan.

It might even be used to encourage English-speaking incomers to start using the Welsh language.

Beth dych chi’n meddwl?

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Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

Bull and sound bites from a Welsh government that is totally useless!

Marconatrix
Guest

Sut mae hynny yn ateb ei gwestion?

Dewi
Guest
Dewi

Tim, c’mon, they ARE different but by no means unrelated. As long as they are defining speakers in plain English as those who have received a Welsh education and are fluent then a million speakers is 1 in 3 of the population, a doubling of the market for Welsh language music, novels, film and tv etc. And if we assume they are going to leave the language die back in it’s strongholds then the growth will have to be even more spectacular in the anglasised areas. So more thab 31.6% Welsh speakers in Abertridwr. The real problem with the target… Read more »

Owain
Guest
Owain

Build it and they will come

Nia Jones
Guest
Nia Jones

Mae gymaint o agweddau am lesteirio’r ‘polisi’ hwn, ac er nad ydw i’n hoff o’r gair, normaleiddio’r Gymraeg yw’r ffordd ymlaen. Lle roedd yr iaith Gymraeg yn iaith y werin bobl, erbyn hyn, mae sawl un yn gweld yr iaith yn elitaidd. Yn anffodus hefyd, rydym ni fel Cymry wedi’n labelu fel ‘cwynwyr’, a dwi’n teimlo bod ni’r Cymry angen bod yn fwy gweithredol o ddydd i ddydd. Mae angen i ni gychwyn sgyrsiau siop yn y Gymraeg, defnyddio’r ATM yn y Gymraeg, defnyddio ffurflenni Cymraeg o fewn y gwasanaethau cyhoeddus ac ati- ond yn fwy na dim, stopio barnu… Read more »

Cynan
Guest
Cynan

You make a very good point, Nia: ‘normalising’ Welsh can only begin with Welsh speakers. I hate the fact that I cannot speak Welsh fluently (but I’m an adult learner) and just wish that people who are fluent, would do exactly what you propose because many Welsh learners, for example, are just not at a high enough level/confident enough to use public services in Welsh despite wanting to. Furthermore, the more us second-language Welshies who hear and see Welsh, the better. I am also reminded that whilst I am very glad to see, what seems to me at least, a… Read more »

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

You make some very interesting and valid points that I can, to a degree, relate to. I learned Welsh as an adult, though I had the advantage of learning it in the Harlech area. I was perhaps atypical as I was so determined to learn it I sought out hapless victims amongst the local publicans and shop keepers, as well as the domestic staff at the college to practice my Welsh on. It was an experience, and it didn’t take me long before I became conversationally fluent. Being in an area where Welsh is spoken as a living language is… Read more »

Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

Great and positive post here and reassuring for a re-learner too. Can groups where speakers and learners are brought together be helped by organisations like YesCymru?

We the people action need to take not believe in political soundbites, their fake!

Dewi
Guest
Dewi

Also. I am sure as a Welsh learner it is very hard to summon the confidence to do so, but there really is only one way to find other Welsh speakers …. “dechreuwch bob sgwrs yn y Gymraeg”.

I do and even here in Sir Fflint, in amidst 5 or 6 days of disappointment and rudeness I get the odd joyous day where I use Welsh more than 50% of the time.

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

Diolch, Tim! I enjoyed reading your opinion piece. I’ve learnt Gymraeg as a second language to, I’m told, a fair conversational standard by using the online resource – Say Something inWelsh – which has allowed me to live, when I’m in Wales, through your nations beautiful language. Like, DuoLingo another great resource using modern techology and new ideas. On their website you’ll find lots of information about loads of chances to use the language throughout Gymru, a tu hwnt. There have been many positive developments in recent years allowing people to use whatever amount of the language they have without… Read more »

Euros WJones
Guest
Euros WJones

Cytuno’n llwyr.

Bryn Daf
Guest

A vastly powerful and wealthy capitalist system dominated by the English language – ALL while there is a vast explosion in communications technology and tech in general…….. – means there is a massive uphill struggle to keep smaller languages alive – without MINDSET change

Radical change has to happen in communities

Rhodri D
Guest
Rhodri D

Yn gyffredinol, rwy’n cytno – ma’ angen ysgogi’r Cymraeg i dod yn iaith cymdeithasol. Hoffwn i glywed syniadau am sut i gyflawni hyn…

Yn y cyfamser, fel ysgrifenes di
“Sending children through Welsh Medium education is a start”
– mae’n dechreuad!

Os hoffau ti cyfathrebu a Cymro Cymraeg – danfon ebost a trefnwn ni Facetime / Skype

Aled Bishop
Guest
Aled Bishop

Cytuno’n llwyr. Nid yw dysgu Cymraeg yn ysgol yn ddigon, rhaid ei ddefnyddio er mwyn cael a gweld ei werth.

Melindwr
Guest
Melindwr

The story of your Welsh language learning is very like my own, Tim, though it was chapel, good teaching at school, and holidays at the Urdd camps in Llangrannog and Glan Llyn, that helped me to turn the corner. I live near Cardiff now, and I hear Welsh spoken around me far more than I did as a child; it almost seems to be a requirement for a certain metro persona. The numbers vs practise analysis is a good one. Bilingual signage and paperwork, Welsh language television, and “Incidental Welsh” in schools won’t raise the profile of spoken Welsh in… Read more »

Peter Evans
Guest
Peter Evans

Trist. Try saysomethinginwelsh.com by the way. They concentrate on getting you speaking Welsh and hold bootcamps to help you on your way. It’s great.

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

I would be happy to meet new friends on an ap in greater Cardydd/Casnewydd and use my fluent Cymraeg with people who have not been given the opportunities I have.

Tudor Williams Rees
Guest

A thoughtful interesting article. We must help Welsh learners as much as we can, and modern developments can help e.g. Duolingo and SSIW. Perhaps a “Virtual Total Immersion” would help those living where little Welsh is spoken. Building on the S4C Sunday morning programmes, as comprehension improves, this could be supplemented by tuning in to Radio Cymru for periods during the day, also viewing other S4C programmes, using English subtitles at first. Programmes of particular interest could be recorded, and played back in manageable chunks, consulting a learners dictionary when necessary. Daliwch ati a phob lwc!

Teilo
Guest
Teilo

Great idea for the app “Grinder” for Welsh Speakers.

Marc Konijnenberg
Guest

Speakers of Esperanto recently got exactly that kind of app, it’s called Amikumu and the creators are planning to expand the list of languages. I’d say that a lot of languages like Welsh and Yiddish will greatly benefit from this app.

M Davies
Guest
M Davies

There used to be a ‘Lle Cymraeg’, where learners could spend time with other Welsh speakers in pubs, cafes etc, and very succesful it was too, meeting in places all over Wales on a very frequent and regular basis. It was calld CYD, and attracted lots of attendees; much was due to the sterling work of its skeleton (paid) staff.
But the (then) Welsh Language Board decided we did not offer value for money and withdrew our very modest grant, thereby closing down a valuable resource.

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

Oen i’n gweithio mewn Siop newydd Rhiannon (Aur Cymru) yn Aberystwyth, sef cwmni Cymraeg IAWN a oedd pawb yn wybodol byddwn yn siarad Cymraeg tu fewn. Ond achos doeddwn nhw [cwsmeriaid] ddim yn digon hyderus a’n meddwl buasai’n ei farnu ar ei allu i siarad y iaith oedd nifer jyst yn siarad Saesneg. Hynny yw cyn i mi esbonio am adeg o’n mywyd pan symudes i i Loegr, colli llawer o’r iaith a dim ond trwy ymarfer cynyddes fy safon, hefyd teimlais y barnu yma ar fy hunan. Ar y diwedd o’r dydd dylwn cymeradwyo unrhywun sy’n ceisio’i wella ei… Read more »

Meredith
Guest
Meredith

I think Lle Cymraeg is a great idea! I’m in the US and learning Welsh online from a teacher here using Hangouts. But it is really slow going without opportunities to practice. I found another person in my city who is taking class from the same teacher and we have started meeting together once a week to practice speaking Welsh. It’s really helpful! So I hope you pursue this idea, and I would love to join any online groups if I would be welcome. 🙂

Llywelyn ap Gwilym
Guest
Llywelyn ap Gwilym

I’m not sure that I would go so far as calling it a “fake policy”, however I would agree that it is not the silver bullet that some seen to think: it is a part of the solution, but not the whole solution. As Mr. Richards rightly points out, the language needs to be normalised, so that a Cymro (or Cymraes) Cymraeg can live and work to the greatest extent possible through the medium of Welsh, whether in the North or South, East or West. An app helping to link Welsh speakers could be part of the solution (I really… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I’m hoping that phone technology these days might enable an app to let you know who might be close by or share similar interests etc, whether thats work or hobbies or just general things. The same idea that I imagine dating apps like Tinder might use, but I honestly have never tried a dating app, because I’m sure that my wife would find it a bit strange. I would like an app like that, that wasn’t associated with dating, so that I could use it maybe for professional work and business use as well as other interests like sports like… Read more »

Leia
Guest

There’s a lively discussion going on in the SaySomethingInWelsh forums about what we can do NOW to make it happen – joing up Welsh speakers is certainly one aspect – might be worth floating the ap idea over there too?

https://forum.saysomethingin.com/c/welsh/million-speakers

Nic
Guest
Nic

I agree. Without accompanying progress in opportunities to use Y Gymraeg in everyday life, children loose their language skills after leaving school. Like algebra or writing a story, it becomes “something I learned in school but can’t ‘do’ anymore”. The idea of ‘Lle Cymraeg’ could work well, but of course it needs to be part of a much larger social change. The biggest hurdle is convincing non-Welsh speakers to accept hearing Y Gymraeg, to not be intimidated, to drop the “it’s rude” Victorianism and to not constantly make it ‘about them’. There are very complicated (not to mention bizarre) social… Read more »

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

I get you here, though I’ve never been constrained as to where I speak Welsh ever since I gained the ability to speak it at the age of 27. I’ve been accused of being variously rude and ignorant for speaking Welsh in the presence of non-Welsh speakers, (who weren’t even part of the conversation), even sometimes by other Welsh speakers who had obviously swallowed the book about being obsequious and servile. I have also put told the Cardiff housing association I rent my home from that I’ll ignore any communication or staff member that is English only. It is only… Read more »

Elizabeth Jane Corbett
Guest

The app is a great idea. But have you been on the Say Something in Welsh forum? They have meet ups everywhere! In Wales, England, America, Australia – by Skype, face. There are hundreds of members committed to siarad Cymraeg as often as possible. Saysomethinginwelsh.com. I’ve got religion on it!

Pol
Guest

For me the absolute priority regarding the future of Welsh is that the Fro Cymraeg needs protecting. Protecting from speculative market driven developments. Without the Fro theiving Welsh will never be able to truly grow. It is the only resource left on the planet for the Welsh language! The Fro should be treated as a special area economically too,with bespoke packages of funding and development. When this has been succesful a strategic spatial plan connecting Welsh speaking communities,with areas on the edges of the Fro should be developed . At the beggining these would act as a kind of buffer… Read more »

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

Yes Pol, cytuno cant y cant.

Mabon
Guest
Mabon

Fi hefyd, dw i’n cytuno. In fact, here is a blog on the current state and future of the Fro Gymraeg, and I highly recommend a read of it: http://politicsbyrebuttal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/will-welsh-language-survive-my-thoughts.html?m=1

Rhys
Guest
Rhys

This is an excellent article and touches on an important truth which we need to always bear in mind: the path to Welsh language regeneration needs a variety of approaches in tandem. Ultimately the endgame must be to fully normalise the use of Welsh in everyday contexts. I think the idea of using an app to meet up with other Welsh speakers is a great start, but naturally it won’t be the answer on its own. Being something that you have to seek out yourself means that it will be the preserve of people who are already enthusiastic about learning/preserving… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

Well Labour is not the Welsh party. It’s the Socialist Party. Something Plaid seems to want to be at the expense of being the Welsh party. I come from a similar background but I’m a few decades younger… and that should really show how many of us have lost our identities over recent generations. I happen to think we’re the most important people in Wales… because being born in the South to families who have experienced that loss gives us insight into Welsh speaking Wales and English speaking Wales. It also makes us the best people to fight for the… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

It’s one of many needed good ideas . . it’s no good having 3 million people that are able to speak it but don’t use it . . . so the biggest problem is finding people that speak it. . . There really are lots everywhere. . bumping into each other, serving you in the shop, at the bank etc. . but our initial greeting is what let’s us down. . . I found out a few years ago I’d been speaking English to a good friend of mine for years. . when we could both speak Welsh, but neither… Read more »

Dave M.
Guest
Dave M.

Perhaps you should use the home-produced ‘Say Something in Welsh’ which is far and away better than Duolinguo. It offers you a practical knowledge of spoken Welsh in a very short time via a non-doctrinaire but carefully cumulative course in terms of vocabulary and functional language with multiple opportunities for immersion across Wales and England and as far afield as the US and Australia, and also access to a worldwide forum of many thousands of Welsh learners.

ejcorbett2013
Guest
ejcorbett2013

I second this. They have Bootcamp, meetups, and incredible culture of starting every conversation in Welsh and staying there. I have learned in Australia using SSiW. I now have friend I only relate to in Welsh.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

Yes, it make sense to build on something that already exists, but in terms of the development of an app, perhaps funding from the WAG could be forthcoming for that? I’d go even further and suggest that we start a campaign to demand that the WAG provides funding to translate the Android interface into Welsh. The cost would not be great, as there is already a well established process to translate the interface, and all that is needed is to get it officially adopted as one of the default languages for the phone. I’d also suggest that money be made… Read more »

Richard Blacklaw-Jones
Guest
Richard Blacklaw-Jones

Syniad da. Mae grwp o siaradwyr yn cynnwys gwahanol safonau yn cwrdd pob nos Iau ( 9 yh tan amser cae ) yn tafarn y Pembroke Yeoman yn Hwlffordd. Croeso i pob un sydd eisio ymarfer sgwrs Cymraeg.

Dewi
Guest
Dewi

Mae grwp yn cyfarfod I ymarfer eu Cymraeg yn Nhafarn y Llong Uchaf ym Magillt ar nos Fawrth.

Dauwe f.d. Meulen
Guest
Dauwe f.d. Meulen

David of Willem(s), government has to control us, we control government. We can help by tools and gadgets like Lieu Cumraey app of Tim Richards. Cymru is Old School, Medieval spelling. New is Cumry. Cambria. Cimmer. Beth dych chi’n meddwl? What do you think of it? I guess. W/O-mega, oo. Cumry am buth? Picture of Sarah Joy. The Best? Frieslawn b’uppe! Sorry. By dog turds: Ych-a-fi is Frisian Ach-en-wee? Chwarae teg? goddamned? My Taid, granddad. Taffy is a nickname to be proud of by here – by there. Ysgol ifor Bach, basic eschool. Ysgol gyfun, gymnasium? Coom Rumney Valley Swansea,… Read more »

Dauwe f.d. Meulen
Guest
Dauwe f.d. Meulen

//forum.SaySomethingin/c/welsh may be good enough.
Diolch, Nia J. Duolingual comment, I read them both. But
Don’t stop judging people for the lack of Welsh. Welcome …
Dave M. M Davies, Liewellin of William, Cambro of Langdon.
Yn cytuno’n llwyr, I totally agree. Ych-a-fi, yuck! a dog turd.
Chwarae teg, Fair play! Cumry am byth, Wales for ever!
Frisian needs an Anglo-Friesic spelling, iinterfriesk too.
Friesic and Welsh write Y, more than any other tongue.
Stop using archaic spelling -wyr, -our. Bolshevik, shop!
EisteddfodD Sitting that Session way wise anghydfod.

Dauwe f.d. Meulen
Guest
Dauwe f.d. Meulen

//forum.SaySomethingin.com/c/welsh I’m sorry.
Diolch, Thanks. Shwmae, Bore da. Good dispute.

Brynhp
Guest
Brynhp

I think the way forward is to encourage everyone to use Welsh first and to try to make Welsh the default rather than English. It is a bit easier for me as I live in Ceredigion where most local people speak Welsh as their first language but until we do this, Welsh will always be second best. Also, the big problem I think is that of confidence in our language. This is where we need a sea-change so that the next generation see speaking Welsh as a really positive thing, not as our parents and grand-parents did, a negative thing.… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

That won’t work in the Valleys. There’s a different idea of what being Welsh is here… and those two identities need to be reconciled into one nation before something like that would work. For starters you’d need a nationalist party to be running Wales… and that doesn’t look like its going to happen at its current pace. Welsh needs to be seen as a language for anti-establishment (which its probably viewed as by the establishment anyway) ideologies, with our identity as a whole portrayed as under attack (which it is – and always has been).

Padi Phillips
Guest
Padi Phillips

Not sure how to make speaking Welsh anti-establishment in the Valleys, when the language is viewed as elitist, and if the only exposure to Welsh is through Welsh medium education and the dead hand of the Urdd! I once made a kind of off the cuff statement to a friend to the effect that I wouldn’t be happy until Welsh was being used by socially marginalised kids from Barry’s Gibbonsdown estate as their language of counter-culture. I have little doubt that that could be achieved, but there would have to be a radical shake up in the way Welsh is… Read more »

woganjonesblog
Guest

App Cymraeg Syniad da – good idea. Agree with this: 2050 target is ambitious and worthy However Welsh Labour don’t practice what they preach Agree with this too: When leaving school, pupils don’t use their Welsh and can lose it Lots of time and effort is therefore ‘wasted’ However, first we all need to use the Welsh we know to normalise the language in all our communites: e.g. these phrases we can all use Shwmae/S’mae / Bore da / Prynhawn Da./ Noswaith dda / Diolch / Diolch yn fawr and some others – Ych a fi / Bendigedig etc. This… Read more »

Mabon
Guest
Mabon

I’m of the opinion that it is definitely worth while promoting Welsh as a second language and increasing the percentage of learners in non-welsh speaking areas. But what I believe is even more important is conserving the Welsh language where it is still alive which today is mainly in North West Wales – Gwynedd, much of Anglesey and areas of Conwy still. What this blog (https://politicsbyrebuttal.blogspot.co.uk/…/will-welsh…) shows is that while Welsh is holding well in many of these areas, there are other areas where Welsh appears to be other areas there where it seems to be collapsing as we speak.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

I certainly agree with you there. However, it is in these areas that bilingualism actually undermines the Welsh language, in my opinion. I think a policy of eradicating bilingual signage and replacing it with Welsh only signage would send out a very powerful psychological message that Welsh predominates in these areas. Some would of course, not be supportive of such a proposal, but I think that if we are going to conserve Welsh in these areas then something like this kind of thing is going to happen. Indeed, on linguistic grounds alone it could be strongly defended, as any linguistics… Read more »

llio e
Guest
llio e

Hoffen i pebai fy hunaniaeth siaradwr Cymraeg yn fwy gweladwy- tatw tafod y ddraig fel tatw y bluebirds yn dangos fy mod yn hapus i siarad Cymraeg. Wedi cael digon o fod yn ofnus i gyfarch pobl yn Gymraeg, ac o fethu teimlo colled. / I’d like it if my Welsh speaking self were more visible – a tattoo of the dragon’s tongue, like the bluebirds tattoos . I’m happy to speak Welsh, in fact I prefer it, and have had enough of those daily decisions whether to greet people in Welsh, and feeling real loss and stupidity when I’ve… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

Another point I wanted to make is that a problem for groups often regarded as minorities is market reach. If we want to secure investment and uptake for great idas, then it has to be to a large market. In this, we have the advantage, because when you think about it minorities all put together are more than likely the real majority of people in the world. So if its an app we want to develop and we’re worried about tje market, the make it an app that all of the minority groups in the world can use. An app… Read more »

Llywelyn ap Gwilym
Guest
Llywelyn ap Gwilym

Download SwiftKey – it does a fantastic job of predictive text in Welsh!

Chuck Smith
Guest

You’re totally right and that’s why we’ve been developing the Amikumu app for the past year with the goal to connect speakers of all the world’s languages together (to see full details you can look up our Kickstarter campaign which was over 300% funded). We soft launched in Esperanto in April 2017 and are opening up to over 7,000 languages (including Welsh) later this year. We already have over 5,000 members in over 100 countries, including 24 people who speak Welsh too. We’re really excited to see the interest in this app and we look forward to expanding for the… Read more »

Trail or boys
Guest
Trail or boys

that’s fantastic news. All the old research on language decline and loss may need revisiting one day to examine the role of new technologies and social media.

Will definable get this app and look at the kickstarter campaign to lend my support.

Next step is to take on Alexa as well.

Phil Lewis
Guest

Hi Tim. Wi’n lico’r dy syniad “lle Cymraeg” Wi’n byw ym Mhenfro, De Sir Benfro ond wi’n dod o Sir Ģâr yn wreiddiol. S’dim lot o’r Gymraeg rownd fan hyn .. ond wi’n cwrdd â phobol Ceredigion a Gogledd Sir Benfro a Sir Gâr o gwmpas y dre ac ni’n cael cyfle i siarad Cymrâg nawr ac y’man. Mae na lot o ddiddordeb gyda phobol Penfro pan ydynt yn clywed y Gymrâg ac mae nifer ohonynt yn gweud .. “My daughter is in Welsh school and I’d like to learn it too” ayb. Mae’n pwysig i ddefnyddio’r iaith ar y… Read more »

Mab y ddraig
Guest
Mab y ddraig

Joined up thinking would be good. Whilst the Say something in welsh intentions are good, they themselves need to work with other people in order to make this a reality. I think also its a shame the private language companies can’t work together. I wonder how much is motivated by profit and how much by the language. One organisation sells a 5 day self catering course (both foodwise and lessonwise) for £1000. It smacks of profiteering and doubtless leaves many a potential learner scratching their head saying “how much?”. Over 686,000 people have tried duolingo. So…..can we work with duolingo… Read more »

Cukoo
Guest
Cukoo

I can only endorse the view of previous contributers, say something in welsh is the best online method of learning the language. As other people have also said on that website are details of weekly/monthly meetups where all are welcome use their welsh.

Gareth Bailey
Guest

sign me up! dwi’n defnyddio duolingo hefyd achos dw i’n taithio llawer hefo fy waith. we dont want to see the same regression as our gaelic cousins which means Welsh needs to be a living language. i think the reason it is decreasing is primarily economic (young welsh speakers going to work elsewhere) which was highlighted in another article. any means to increase daily use is supported by me!

Akerbeltz
Guest

In this context it always helps to look to other places which have gone further down this route. One such place is the Basque Country (at least the EAE part) where they do a lot of socio-linguistic research. In short what they’ve found is that there seems to be a subconscious cut-off for switching to another language. They were equally puzzled that 10% or even 50% speaking ability did not automatically translate into equal % usage. But when it reaches 60% (give or take), it suddenly flips. Of course it’s more complex than just speaker numbers and just pushing fluent… Read more »

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

You cannot depend upon any government to save your language for you.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

No, but governments can smooth the way, or stand in the way, as is their wont, or as we have in Wales, Labour is allowed to get away with half measures ably aided and abetted by Plaid who don’t say a dickie bird.

Chris Evans
Guest

(English version to follow) Cytuno’n llwyr Tim! Erthygl dda iawn! Rydw i’n athro mewn ysgol cyfrwng Cymraeg yn Wrecsam ers chwarter canrif, ac yn dod ar draws cyn-ddisgyblion yn reolaidd. Mae rhai yn dal i ddefnyddio’r iaith, ond nifer yn ei cholli. Rydw i hefyd yn helpu rhedeg Canolfan Gymraeg Saith Seren, sef tafarn Gymraeg yng nghanol y dref. Daw cyn-ddisgyblion i mewn yn aml, ac mae hi’n gret i glywed nhw’n defnyddio’r iaith, am y tro cyntaf ers blynyddoedd i rai, ac mae’r Gymraeg yn llifo’n well fyth ar ol cwpwl o beints! Mae criw mawr o ddysgwyr, Clwb… Read more »

Chris Evans
Guest

Totally agree Tim! Very good article! I’ve been a teacher in a Welsh medium school in Wrexham for a quarter century, and come across former pupils regularly. Some still use the language, but many lose it. I also help run the Saith Seren Welsh Centre, a Welsh pub in the town. Former pupils to come in often, and it’s great to hear them use the language, some for the first time in years, and the Welsh flows even better after a couple of pints ! A large group of learners, Clwb Clebran meet there every Monday night to practice their… Read more »

Petroc ap Seisyllt
Guest
Petroc ap Seisyllt

Say something in Welsh is good, one learner used it, and my welsh class in London so well he went on to write Duolingo welsh, and moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
https://forum.saysomethingin.com/c/welsh/million-speakers
http://www.duolingo.com or as an app
Petroc

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

One of the best things about Saysomethinginwelsh is that it removes a lot of barrriers to learning – no books, no need to write anything down, you can download lessons to use in your own time, whenever it suits your own schedule. Duolingo and memrise are complimentary tools and all together they make a great learner package. All of these have come about by the hard work of passionate people who have had little if any public financial support. I personally would like to think there would be a way to repackage and extend the best of these things into… Read more »

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

Llangrannog = Urdd = Kiss of death for anyone over 12!. I’d far prefer to see an initiative that isn’t school based, and indeed is part of a co-ordinated and country-wide youth initiative that provides a space for the youth of Wales to discover what it is to be Welsh, with perhaps exchanges between the Valleys of South Wales and places like Blaenau Ffestioniong and Bethesda with their more ‘in your face’ (but far from hostile) approach to the Welsh language.

ljaynature
Guest

Dwi’n cytuno efo ti. Lle Cymraeg is a great idea. I know Say Something in Welsh tried to do something similar on were a learner could be paired up with fluent speaker in their area but it wasn’t successful. I live near Chester and I go to Welsh class, watch S4C etc.. but really struggling as i don’t know anyone in my area to speak Welsh to and I have no confidence at all. I know if I could speak it regular it would just become second nature so my confidence speaking would rocket. Its been so interesting to read… Read more »

Mab y ddraig
Guest
Mab y ddraig

Mae ‘na llawer o gyfarfodydd ger caer. Yn y Fflint, wrecsam, cei connah ac yn y blaen. Hefyd, mae menter iaith yn trefnu nosweithiau cwis.

ljaynature
Guest

tybed os mae ‘na gyfarfodydd ym mharc Wepre dal? …This is were a Lle Cymraeg app would be useful

Mab y ddraig
Guest
Mab y ddraig

Wrth gwrs. Pob mis. Hefyd pob prynhawn dydd iau yn y hen lys yn y fflint (1.00 tan 3.00).

A paid ag anghofio seren seren nos llun.

Mab y ddraig
Guest
Mab y ddraig

Wps….prynhawn dydd mawrth!!

Tim Richards
Guest
Tim Richards

Rhaid i chi mynd i Saith Seren yn Wrecsam. Practise your Welsh by going to Saith Seren in Wrexham – it is a Lle Cymraeg that does a decent pint
t too

Lars Sözüer
Guest
Lars Sözüer

Tia programo por poŝtelefonoj jam ekzistas: http://www.amikumu.com
Ili nun testas ĝin por la lingvo Esperanto, kies parolantaro estas bona testpubliko.
Baldaŭ ili lanĉos ĝin por ĉiuj lingvoj, do ankaŭ por la kimra!
Ili estas tre kunlaboremaj, mi rekomendas kontakti ilin.
(Pardonu ke mi ne povas komenti kimre.)

Such an app for mobile phones does already exist: http://www.amikumu.com
They are testing it now for the language Esperanto, the speakers of which are a good test audience.
Soon they will launch it for all languages, thus for Welsh, too!
They are very collaborative, I recommend you contact them.
(Sorry that I can’t comment in Welsh.)

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

just downloaded the app – brilliant to see this happening. not sure if ill benefit yet since i haven’t learned esperanto yet, but that could be fixed.

James Mahoney
Guest

> such as a table in a local cafe or pub where Welsh learners like myself could meet up to practise speaking the language. This already happens. Here in resolutely English speaking Newport there are around 40 regular meetups, in the city or nearby. Some of them are run by groups like Menter Iaith or Coleg Gwent, but many are run by a group of learners or speakers who get together in a pub once a week or month. I’m sure this extends to other parts of Wales. Finding out about them can be tricky though, since information is spread… Read more »

Mab y ddraig
Guest
Mab y ddraig

The issue here is surely lack of coordination. Saysomethingin has probably only around 2000 subscribers and an active forum base of maybe 50 users. Many of these are overseas. Compare that with 15,000 on welsh for adults courses. I wish i knew the figures for active duolingo users. We need a much more coordinated approach, one which is inclusive of all groups and societies which in turn will have more weight to it as a result. Eg language groups, groups like yes cymru etc. As it stands we have several relatively small groups of people lobbying and this opportunity needs… Read more »