Protecting a minority language is not racist. This is the claim of Dyfodol i’r Iaith, the
Welsh language lobbying group, in response to a row that has erupted as a rapper
says he will not be singing at this year’s National Eisteddfod due to its Welsh only
language policy.

“The UN has repeatedly identified the importance of protecting minority languages,
and placed a duty on governments to promote it,” says Dylan Bryn Roberts, Chief
Executive of Dyfodol i’r Iaith.

“Promoting a minority language culture is not a racial issue, especially one that has to
live in daily competition with one of the world’s most powerful languages.

“In the language is wisdom, traditional knowledge and expression of art and beauty
and it is essential to seek to preserve this wealth in an increasingly ambivalent

“The National Eisteddfod is the only institution in Wales that offers a week where
speakers, new and old, can immerse themselves in Welsh culture. This was not
achieved lightly, and it would be an extremely negative step to allow the Welsh rule to
be broken. It needs to be protected more now than ever from the constant calls to
become more Anglicised and be more inclusive.”

“Everyone is more than welcome to learn and enjoy the Welsh language, of whatever
race. Also individuals are free to rap in the two languages but the Eisteddfod is a
festival to celebrate the Welsh language not bilingualism.”


620,000 is probably the maximum number of Welsh speakers by 2050, according to a discussion paper by Dyfodol i’r Iaith. Although the growth of Welsh schools and improving the teaching of Welsh in English schools would contribute to the numbers, the goal of one million will be far from being reached.

Even if the growth of Welsh education doubles and other plans succeed, the paper suggests that 750,000 Welsh speakers is the most hopeful outcome.

The paper states that there is a need to invest much more extensively in the Welsh language in the early years, in recruiting staff and in developing intensive Welsh learning courses.

If the current aim of establishing 23 new Welsh language schools and 25 additional Welsh classes by 2033 continues, Dyfodol i’r Iaith claims that 28% of primary school children will be in Welsh medium education by 2040. The Government’s target was to have 30% in Welsh medium education by 2030.

Heini Gruffudd, Chair of Dyfodol i r Iaith, said “It is clear from education statistics, and numbers who learn Welsh as adults, that much more extensive investment is needed to have any hope of approaching the million.

“We need to make the teaching profession attractive once again, and we need to plan a comprehensive programme of learning Welsh on intensive courses for prospective teachers, and for playgroup staff.”

Dyfodol i’r Iaith will request a meeting with the Government based on the discussion paper, asking for specific targets on how the million will be reached.

“The important point,” says Heini Gruffudd, “is that credible and achievable targets are set in order to ensure solid growth, rather than throwing somewhat optimistic figures into the air.”