Couple of questions about million Welsh speakers by 2050 target

1, Putting aside any political hype, how realistic does it look based on current growth/decline data? Are the mechanisms in place that will allow it to happen or does something drastic need to change to push things on beyond what is currently happening in terms of language uptake.

2, Has there been any specific information on what will be classed as a Welsh speaker? If it’s a case of being able to string together a few phrases then that’s fairly easy but if it’s a case of being able to fully use the language in day to day life then that’s quite another matter. Call me cynical where politicians are concerned but I think when they set a target they’ll normally move the goalposts or massage the figures to say they’ve achieved it.

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It’s all quite vague on parameters - inevitably so, since we don’t even have one clear reliable set of data for current numbers - on the other hand, the goal as a headline is an important motivator, and has clearly created new work and new officials in gov, which really helps drive change. There’s some good work going on.

There’s some really useful information on the Welsh Government website about the data and how it is generated here: Welsh language in Wales (Census 2021) | GOV.WALES If you scroll down to the “Quality and methodology information” section there are also links to things like the Chief Statistican’s blog with further explanation and analysis.

I understand (and share) your scepticism about politicians, goalpposts etc. But I’ve met and talked to some of these people (including the Chief Statistician) ad I am wholly convinced that they are striving to do the best they can for the language.

An interesting issue in the “what constitutes a Welsh speaker” question is the difference in figures between the Census and the Annual Population Survey. (It is the Census against which the Cymraeg 2050 plan is measured, and that is the lower figure of the two - whereas the population survey is higher and going in the opposite direction.) The statistician’s blog discusses this also.

Enjoy the rabbit hole! :wink:

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I guess one question that springs to mind based on the fact that much of the data is collected in Wales, is how any speakers are there in the rest of the UK? There must be a fair number.


Although that would obviously be an interesting stat, it’s outside of the remit of the Welsh Government.

I’ve seen statistical projections (didn’t check their validity) that allege that the target is easily reachable with just a modest increase in Welsh medium education. The theory here is that they’ve set themselves too easy, too achievable a target because of their record in consistently missing targets in other social spheres. I don’t know enough to comment.

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Had a quick search. Could potentially be over 100,000 in England… although no indication of level. Given there’s over 600,000 Welsh people in England (300k) in London alone, that figure is perfectly possible.


I agree with the people who think that it’s not a particularly ambitious target, particularly in terms of the timeline - I also agree with Sara that there are a lot of senior people in gov who are very, very serious about building a properly bilingual country.

I also tend to think that the symbolism of a ‘million’ is important - 1,250,000 would have been more ambitious but perhaps less memorable - and the key is to establish an upwards trajectory - the work needed to shift the trajectory upwards is very similar to the work needed for a greater level of change. :crossed_fingers::slightly_smiling_face: