The latest discussion point of our consultation on Planning the Regeneration of the Welsh Language is how to promote the use of the language.
As before, we would be very grateful to receive your comments, suggestions and any practical experience you may have. You are welcome to use the questions and template below or send your comments in any other format that suits you.
Below is a summary of Dyfodol’s demands in relation to the role of the workplace. If you would like to read the full text of Planning the Regeneration of the Welsh Language, a copy is available on our website, dyfodol.net
Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to our discussion. We look forward to hearing from you – do get in touch:
or telephone 01248 811798
DISCUSSION POINT 5: PROMOTING LANGUAGE USE
Dyfodol believes that:
As we all know, it is one thing to ‘know’ Welsh, but another to use it. The tendency of pupils in Welsh-medium education to use English is almost a cliché, but not as much attention is paid to the fluent Welsh speaking Assembly Member who chooses to use English in our national Senedd, despite there being every facility to use Welsh, or indeed the Welsh-speaking witness appearing before a committee who turns to English. What this demonstrates is the need for a change in attitude and culture and to foster confidence, pride and resolve.
It is therefore obvious that we need to set about intelligently and energetically promoting the use of Welsh.
We have already argued that it is essential to establish language use during the early years, but this alone is not enough. What therefore are the factors which influence language choice? Here are some:
- The presence of the language within the social environment, both visually and aurally
- That Welsh language services are available, on offer and accessible; particularly in shops, cafes, bars etc. A cheap, simple but highly effective solution would be for all Welsh-speakers providing a service to wear an appropriate badge.
We believe that the Welsh Language Commissioner and the language standards process should place particular emphasis on these two aspects.
Another key matter is developing the Welsh language within the workplace. We should look at developing a Welsh-speaking workforce and Welsh-speaking workplaces – starting with the public sector in those areas where the language is strongest.
Even more important however is the range and quality of all kinds of activities and experiences that are available in Welsh.
Much of this work is to be done at grass-roots level, through a network of Welsh Language Centres working closely with the local Mentrau Iaith, the Welsh-medium schools, Mudiad Meithrin and other organisations. The aim would be to create a powerful, lively and creative network, nurturing the vitality of the Welsh community which becomes attractive to all.
DO YOU AGREE WITH US? HAVE YOU ANY FURTHER COMMENTS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THE USE OF THE WELSH LANGUAGE, EITHER GENERALLY OR WITHIN A SPECIFIC SPHERE OR SECTOR?
When I was at the Eisteddfod I picked up a couple of cards with Welsh for work etc. I would have happily paid for a complete set as I put them up in my office in London and it had a positive impact upon my English colleagues in their appreciation of Welsh. It also reinforced the words for me, words that I would would otherwise forget.
There is a need for materials that can be used in the workplace to help reinforce awareness & use of Welsh, especially words that perhaps we didn’t learn as children. (I never went to school in Wales and only learned a little from my father and elderly relatives as a small child – subsequently I have attended some classes) Perhaps sheets of labels with the names of equipment and materials.
Perhaps flash cards linked to approved texts. Perhaps also a daily simple Welsh news programme.
I think it would be helpful if people who are willing to help others speak Welsh could be identified and celebrated.
Most of all somehow we must breakdown & eradicate the embarrassment of not speaking Welsh well.
In addition, there must be a counter to the idea that English is ubiquitous and a celebration of Wales being different because of the language. Surely Wales could emphasise that people do speak Welsh normally and make it part of the tourist experience of the language being integral to a different culture so that visitors are disappointed if they don’t hear it. It occurs to me that the tourism based around that kind of culture experience is more profitable than tourists who arrive and expect Wales to be an extension of England.
Diolch yn fawr – very useful suggestions.