The Welsh Government want your opinion

I’m going to put this link here very quickly because @Deborah-SSi will be sending the email very soon, and I want the link to be in it!

The Welsh Government are putting together a policy that aims to ensure that there are a million Welsh speakers (that’s slightly less than double what we have now)) in Wales.

It’s an exciting idea, and it would be great if the Government were to get an enthusiastic response from all sorts of people with all sorts of ideas. There are more details about how to respond, and about the policy documents here: Note, you can toggle between English and Welsh by clicking on the button at the top of the page. Also, take a look at the Document for children and young people (plant a phobl ifanc) below the main document - you’ll find the vocab useful!

The government are particularly interested in your response to the question on page 13, which is:‘A oes amcanion neu gamau nad ydym wedi eu nodi yn y ddogfen hon y dylid eu cynnwys er mwyn cynyddu nifer y bobl sy’n dysgu Cymraeg?’ / ‘Are there any other objectives or actions that should be included in this document in order to increase the number of people who learn Welsh?’

I’ve checked, and opinions / ideas / responses are welcomed from outside of Wales as well, so there’s no reason to not contribute! It would be good if we could discuss some stuff here as well, based around the document. The policymakers will have a look through this thread and use your responses here as part of the consultation process, so don;t contribute if you don;t want the government to hear you!

Here is the link to the document in English:

There is a Welsh version of the cosultation document here:

And the simplified introduction (for children and young people, it says, but I know some other people who might find it useful for cvocab. if nothing else!) here:


My initial thoughts are this can only be a success if Welsh is viewed as the primary language. Here in north wales as you drive west for example welsh is first on the road signs. It should in my opinion be a legal obligation to make welsh the priority in things like station announcements. If you think about it no welsh speaker these days will bother to wait for the welsh announcement. They have just heard it perfectly well in English.

Then there is education. This is more tricky in that the number of teachers capable of teaching welsh may be too few but if in early years welsh was pushed more then the current situation at GCSE might become better with more students getting better qualifications. However, education itself needs i think to move away from the current form of learning Welsh and move to a more conversational form.

Public bodies should do more things with the welsh language. Ireland for example has the garda. Why not have heddlu on all police cars etc?

S4C and radio cymru also need to be protected and investments made to ensure a quality provision of welsh language entertainment.

I could go on. But for me the underlying principle has to be that the language has to have priority over English. If its seen as second best many people will say why bother. So Welsh First. Or should that be Cymraeg yn Gyntaf!


I’ve thought a lot about the situation in schools where Welsh is taught as a ‘Second Language’ and the rest of the teaching is through English. To me, just giving it the name ‘Second Language’ somehow degrades it in importance. It should just be Welsh - whether it’s learnt from the cradle, learnt as a school child, or learnt as an adult.

I’ve worked with young people who have come through the education system in Wales, supposedly having Welsh lessons all the way through, yet couldn’t even respond to “Bore da”. One of these had done A Level Welsh as a Second Language and passed it! She had the grace to admit she felt ashamed that she couldn’t even hold a basic conversation.

It seems to me that Welsh shouldn’t be viewed as another subject in the Curriculum. People worry about children leaving their Welsh behind when they leave the school gate, but in many children it doesn’t seem to make it out of the Welsh classroom. It needs to be something that is woven through the school. Every teacher should be able to speak at least a minimum of Welsh, and they need to use it whether they are a teacher of Maths, Science, whatever. Children need to view it as something natural, used in society by lots of people. If this happens all around them when they start in Nursery school, and as they progress through Primary School, perhaps they won’t see it as just another school subject but part of their lives.

I also think that we, as adults who can speak Welsh, have an obligation to use it with children as much as possible - not just our own, but whenever we get the chance to speak to a child in Wales. Assume that they can understand Welsh and continue on in Welsh, even if they reply in English. The same thing with speaking to young adults. If they are serving in a shop, or wherever we come into contact with them, we need to keep in mind that they have come through the Welsh education system, therefore they should be able to speak at least a basic level of Welsh. If adults can be encouraged to do this, then children will hear more Welsh spoken around them outside school and they will grow up expecting to use it, at least some of the time, when they leave school.

Right - now I need to actually spend some time reading the consultation document :relaxed:


Diolch, Peter a Dee. Interesting views and points already. I’m looking forward to seeing how this thread develops over time!


Could i just add that the decline of the welsh language has been the result of the english first policies through the workplace and education. Whilst the welsh language act gives welsh some equal status it does not address the issue that welsh needs to be promoted in order to thrive. Welsh should be seen as the natural language of wales not the second language of wales. That is not the same as ignoring English. English should still have equal status given the sheer number of english speakers. But welsh should come first.

1 Like

If this consultation leads to action points which are implemented, it could be hugely valuable.

I hope that the relevant committee will consider:

  1. that Welsh as a Second Language has been an abject failure. When we have 50/50 for time spent in the medium of Welsh and English at nursery, primary and at secondary level (in those parts of the sector that are not already Welsh medium), the education system will produce fully confident bilingual students easily and naturally.

  2. that in a country with approximately 20% Welsh speakers (ie 1 in 5) it is inappropriate that only 1 county council out of 22 operates internally through the medium of Welsh. 3 or 4 other councils should be supported and encouraged to follow Gwynedd’s model, which would create a wide range of natural professional environments in which people could use Welsh normally.

  3. that micro-commitments are effective triggers of behavioural change - if we could make Dydd Dewi Sant a day when everyone in Wales is encouraged to use ‘Diolch’ and ‘Croeso’, for example, that would without any doubt lead to more adults choosing to learn and use other words. In the same way, work-based learning should focus on confident mastery of five (or fewer) key phrases/responses that can be used on a daily basis.


After reading through the document, some quick and rather telegraphic ideas to throw into the melting pot:

Involve young people in schools and members of the Urdd in consultation and planning

Additional targets: 1) also a percentage of Welsh speakers by 2050; 2) no decrease in proportion speaking Welsh in any area

Allocation of fixed percentage of government resources for policy

Regular consultation through to 2050 and flexibility to adjust programme (but with no option of retreating from targets!)

Annual well publicised presentation of report on progress

If Welsh is still alive but struggling in traditionally Welsh-speaking areas on English side of the Border consider if there may be ways for it to be supported

Need to ensure those who don’t speak Welsh and may not choose, or feel able to learn, are at least supportive and do not feel excluded

When people first move into a new area, the ‘welcome pack’ of material sent by local authorities provides an opportunity to include material publicising opportunities to speak, learn and support Welsh in the area.

Consider how to mitigate any effects of overt or covert hostility to the language by some, including ‘instant rebuttal’ if media involved

Parents to be provided with agreed individual language plans for their child at an early stage

Work to obtain commitment from all political parties

Non-devolved functions – work towards obtaining formal UK government agreement to support the target

Also work towards obtaining a formal commitment from public bodies at the UK level (i.e. not just Welsh divisions) to the targets for Welsh in Wales

Work to gain support of tourist industry in Wales

… and (bee in bonnet alert!) it seems to me that the way the alphabet is taught may be good for learning to read and spell (e.g.’buh’ ‘oh’ ‘buh’ for ‘bod’) but, in a world full of acronyms (well mine is at least!), in everyday life it simply encourages people to use the English alphabet (there are a few examples where the traditional Welsh alphabet is often used, e.g. for S4C and the BBC, but, if they don’t already know the Welsh version, people won’t want to say ‘buh’ ‘buh’ ‘cuh’ for BBC or ‘suh’ 4 ‘cuh’ for S4C, they’ll turn to the English version instead)


It is essential that Welsh is kept as a strong community language in the Welsh heartlands such as Gwynedd and Anglesey. It is important to halt the decline or increase the use of Welsh in other areas but it is crucial that we will always have areas in Wales where you can live your life through the medium of Welsh eg do your shopping , go to see the doctor , get your car fixed .
I think it is important that Welsh speakers always address people in Cymraeg before Saesneg and particular importance should be given to address children who are fluent Welsh speakers having learned Welsh in school but tend not to use it outside of school. My daughter and all of her friends for example are all fluent Welsh speakers but once they leave the school gates they always play in English. It is so important that children play together in Welsh ( which I know they still do in strong Welsh areas ) as they are the future of the language.
Next on to education. The best way to produce Welsh speakers apart from transmitting it as a first language at home is through Welsh medium education . I have seen first hand how well this works and believe that Welsh medium primary education should be expanded to lots more schools across Wales, particularly on the fringes of Welsh speaking areas such as Llanfairfechan for example which is right on the border with Gwynedd but has two English medium primary schools ! It would be great to see the day when all primary education in Wales is Welsh medium although there would be way too much opposition to that unfortunately.
Lastly I believe there needs to be more funding to create more opportunities for learners to go and practice their Welsh . Saith Seren in Wrecsam sounds like a great place to go and there should definitely be more places like that around Wales


It is a far-distant goal of course, but I think the ultimate goal is that there should one day be no “English speaking areas” in Wales, by which I mean of course, nowhere where English is considered the norm and the first language. Of course, Welsh people will always be able to understand English and speak it when it is appropriate, but it will be as a “second language” (or at least as a “joint first language” for truly bilingual people).


I agree with what has been said before and want to expand this to aspects that affect the psychology of language use outside of schools. We need to consider things that can help to normalise the language across parts of Wales where it is very rarely heard. This will lead to increased confidence and desire to so. This is something that is not a problem in the strong Welsh speaking communities, where it has always been normal and maybe unquestioned, but their strength is constantly threatened by the lack of Welsh speaking elsewhere…

This may be an obvious thing to state, but we need a lot more confident language users in the 18-25 year old age groups who are proud to use the language on the streets, in the bars, on facebook and in the shops. In my mind this will be the key to inspire school pupils to emulate the use of the language outside of school. If we can find ways to support this age group and instil pride and confidence in this generation, then that confidence will filter down through sixth forms and colleges to secondary schools and beyond.

We need to find ways to retain and strengthen the links between 18-30 year olds and their former schools and their former communities, even the ones who have left Wales to go to colleges around the world. This has to be driven by people in that age group, but with support from everyone else.

These can be role models for the current pupils. These are the ones who may find that their use of the language slips away, through lack of opportunities to use it. We need young people predominantly in the 17-25 year old age groups devising ways to build a common civic ethos for a new age that embraces our heritage and by its very nature embraces the language at its core.

We may possibly, although I’m not sure, need to incentify young people to do this and I think that this could be through recognition and access to things that would otherwise be too difficult or costly. Many, many young people in this bracket want CV building opportunities or the opportunity to learn new skills. Their investment of time and effort in being the future patrons of our heritage and culture could be rewarded with a very rounded CV and enhanced skills and opportunities to do things they might otherwise be unable to do.

Other possible incentives to be good citizens, supporting our heritage could be things that are very sociable and interesting, perhaps things that are otherwise only for the privileged or knowledgeable or well connected, they could be risk taking thrills and challenges, tall ship races, cave diving, mountain climbing, motorsport challenges, skills to build games and apps or make music, whatever excites young people these days.

Basically there is no Urdd after school, unless you chose to take on a role within it, so post school young people need something to engage and coordinate with – not a movement that some might link to something dark and sinister, but a key hub that helps people to build their own ideas and provide them with confidence to use the language more widely.

We also need perhaps to bring together our sports and arts organisation to help bridge any divides that may exist between any of our communities for other reasons, but reasons that may indirectly impinge on the language – could we show that our Football and Rugby traditions really are “stronger together” and very proud to support our heritage and the language.

I also think that we need many other people who are seen as apolitical and respected across all of our demographics to be the voice of rational and respected patrons. We need apolitical voices of reason as supporters of the language to give the language and the people who speak it the respect it and they deserve. I think it has to be very clear that there is no tolerance for those who snub or attack the language or the people who use it, but we have to win that battle through positivity and by growing pride and respect for a common heritage.

In my opinion, normalisation of the language in our streets and in our media is the key to its growth. The suggestion of everyone comfortably knowing a handful of phrases would be brilliant in that respect. We shouldn’t underestimate what has happened since the late 1990s, many in the 1970s and 80s never heard a single word of Welsh and not surprisingly are still unable to pronounce simple street signs and place names. That was a low point and it is a strong positive that school children and the young people of this millenium are starting from a much higher level of knowledge and awareness than many of their parents.

As for “yr ail iaith”, I’ll be very happy if I live long enough to never hear that term again. The aspiration to be a fluent and natural Welsh speaker is a strong motivation for many who wish to learn and whatever the truth and technicalities of the terminology or the reality of learning languages it serves no motivational purpose whatsoever.


Welsh in the schools is an important part of creating numerous new speakers, but it’s not enough. A recent documentary clearly showed that students from English-speaking backgrounds seldom choose to use Welsh outside of school. They’re capable of school-level conversation, but don’t have experience with all the little variations that occur in normal “chit-chat.” Opportunities to pair with someone the same age from a Welsh-speaking background (on Skype, arranged visits, group activities) are critical.

In addition, it’s so important to encourage families in whatever way you can to use Welsh as the home language. English-speaking parents seemed to appreciate that their children could speak Welsh but have the attitude that they themselves were permanently deprived because they hadn’t learned Welsh as children. Many of us who live abroad have learned Welsh as adults (a number of us started as seniors) just because we wanted to! I’ll admit that for me it’s a “hobby,” a most enjoyable one. There was no particular reason to learn, nobody in the area to talk to (though Skype works). The point is that parents and other adults in Wales need to believe it’s possible and get working on it!


I agree about the councils being encouraged to follow Gwynedd’s model.

Also, the elephant in the room is the huge flux of holiday cottage/ lifestyle influx from England. How to get them engaged?

I have some ideas around normalization based on my experiences last year. I will read through the document and try to respond.

Can’t we just say make SSiW compulsory? Then the job would be done. :slight_smile:


I’m volunteering to move to Wales to boost the numbers. Just have to get my husband on board. :slight_smile:


Slowly reading through the Welsh version, but a few responses now so the government will see it :slight_smile:

  • Why only 1 million in the long term? If the strategy works for 1 million, it will very likely also work for 3+ million, and if you have close to 100% Welsh speakers, you have won the future, I’d say. No need to hold back
  • Have the policymakers looked at attempts elsewhere to massively increase use of a particular language (Ireland :frowning: ,
    Basque Country, Israel…) and incorporated lessons learnt there?
  • The crux is in area 2 Normaleiddio, I think: it is about increasing the numbers of people who do speak Welsh, not of the number of people who can speak Welsh
  • Re the question on p.13, at the risk of creating a huge backlash, positive discrimination e.g. through legislation concerning usage of Welsh in the public arena, and in the form of financial/support incentives for parents who send their kids to Welsh schools, who themselves are learning Welsh, and who encourage use of Welsh at home, needs to be looked at

I haven’t got time to write an essay on this, so like Louis I’m just going to bullet point a few impressions:

  • Governments have surprisingly little power over social and cultural change. It’s no use stating that “people should do this that or the other” and then expecting the government, especially a government with restricted political and economic powers to be able to make them do it. This is difficult stuff, and in many ways is swimming against the tide of current social movements (globalisation etc.) There is hard work ahead.

  • Swimming against the tide of globalisation is additionally hindered by the lack of a national media. This hinders the ability of many people to see anything in a Welsh context, to see the value in Welsh culture both contemporary and historical, to see and value the differentness of Wales.

  • I keep wanting to ask “Why?”. It’s just taken for granted through the document that increasing the number of Welsh speakers is a good thing, a worthy aim, but the reason(s) why are never really clarified. It can’t be “just because”, so what is it? If we are going to convince the sceptical that all of this effort (and, since the subject is bound regularly to crop up, money) is worthwhile, we need to get our story straight, don’t we?


Unfortunately we live in a very materialistic world. Advertising is key. Not only because it assists with sales but because that’s what generates the subliminal. Watching S4C is great, but every 10-15 minutes or so it’s back into English. Posters, shop signs, etc. Although I’m very annoyed with walesonline’s dealing with the Gorsedd and Football situation, using coverage of the football and rugby and developing an association with things at the centre of Welsh culture, like these, with the Welsh language will be a huge boost.
Getting rid of Team GB and allowing Wales to compete as an independent country will be another boost. (Without getting too political about this). Culture needs to be associated with Welsh. There’s no point in driving up the amount of time teaching in Welsh if as soon as you leave that environment you’re surrounded by English. Music, TV, advertising, sport…they need to be in Welsh.


To be honest, I didn’t go through the document yet but reading some posts here my brains just throw back to me what my thoughts were once upon a time already.

  • Welsh should not be seen as “second” language in all Wales not just in some parts.
  • Maybe it’s time to stop looking back to the history be reminded all the time that this and that is guilty that so many Welsh people don’t speak Welsh anymore or they even are not taught the language at all. It has to be the future look with considdering every single idea of how to “make Wales Welsh” again if you want to put things like that.
  • In schools, just like @Deborah-SSi says Welsh should be considdered just Welsh (I prefer Cymraeg though) and not second or first or whatever language. This is language of Welsh people so they should speak it or at least be aknowledged to it.
  • More conversational approach could do the trick, why not?
  • Welsh language (and culture) should not be seen as a matter of centres, communities and people of the good will who are willing to put their effort into spreading it, teaching it and making people aware of it. It should be started by the government itself. Do all members of it speak Welsh and use it in everyday life? Here’s the start. The highest leaders should be example and those who all people are looking up to and not oposite way.
  • and, yes, daily life should adapt to use Welsh first and even then English (if neccessary at all). This is Wales and people should feel at the first glance it is so not only tourists who come, maybe learn and try to use the language “in the wild” (our popular expression on here). And maybe … in key institutions it might be good every employee should know at least basic Welsh. By key institutions I mean all those of th public services and those which are “highly neccessary” in daily life.
  • Not just schools, there could be other institution, especially those dealing with sport (like rugby clubs as rugby is highly popular and called national sport) should be considdered to play very important role in making Welsh to be taught and spoken in Wales. What people love they’ll adopt especially children. I’m happy to see WRU engaging with the public in Welsh now more then they did in the past so … this should be momentum to be used to promote the importance of the Welsh language and culture in general.

All the rest was said here already so I’d just waste anyone’s time to repeat it all. Wlelsh first then English should be the major and key thing to do first and of course making impression on children, young people that speaking Welsh is important, highly neccessary and great. … :slight_smile:

I’m looking very much forward to the day when there would not be needed signs in shops, businesses and pubs etc which read “we speak Welsh.”, “Welsh learners and speakers welcome.” etc, etc, but speaking Welsh would be rather so natural that no one would even think about whether speak/use their Welsh, no matter what small amount, at all but it would be totally natural to use the language just because they are in Wales.

From all this I just see I’ve done the only right thing when I was in Wales … spoke Welsh first and only then English if neccessary. However I think resorting to English was neccessary way too many times but, despite I’m not even close to be Welsh, that was not by my fault …


I still have not read the consultation document and will try to do this over the weekend, but want to pick up on comments by Rob Bruce who threw down the gauntlet – unfortunately with what is going to be an essay - sorry - why use one sentence, when a hundred will do.

The main point is “why” and to me that triggers feelings of talking to young children, whose favourite and most awkward of questions invariably start with “why” or “pam”. Why do birds fly?, why is the moon round?, why does it rain?.

Whenever you try to answer those questions they invariably lead to another “why” question and it keeps going until eventually you have to move on or simply say it is simply “because it is”.

I asked someone once for a welsh expression to help me with the inquisitive and curious chain of “pam” questions from my four year old daughter. He had in his memory something his grandfather used to say to him in Welsh, but unfortunately he couldn’t remember it very well and he wrote it down for me, half in Welsh and half in English, with all the spellings in English, because he hadn’t had any school education in Welsh. It went along the lines of “why is a question. It’s like a line that’s as straight as a figure of eight”. It is seemingly nonsense or maybe very philosophical. To me it does sum up differences of perspective – to many a line is something that you draw with a ruler and a pencil, something with a beginning and an end, but to others a figure of eight is a more beautiful line with no straightness and no ending.

Personally I am very content with answering “why” when it comes to the language with a “just because” and I don’t need to justify that to myself. I would often answer this with “why do you ask”. It is not a religious belief or anything, it is simply something that triggers warm feelings and contentment, like a beautiful piece of music or a lovely picture. I do wear my heart on my sleeve and I am very proud of it.

So to me the really important “why” question is why are people asking why. Money is always questioned and thrown into these discussions, but that is really because some people just don’t understand why. Even though the amount of money spent is actually very small, you will never be able to justify spending money on things that people don’t want or understand or cannot relate to.

To me we have to park the language for a second and take several steps back and link this to why do people like living in Wales or do they like living in Wales. Why do the vast majority of people in Wales choose to identify their nationality as Welsh, while some people clearly don’t. If there are divided loyalties or splits between how people think in terms of Wales, then what responsibilities do we have to ensure we can build a better Wales going forward. Unfortunately some things will always be non-negotiable and those things can lead to a rub.

There will be lots of reasons and language may not be part of that, but if people respond with things like the country has lovely beaches and scenery, the people are friendly, my kids are happy here in English medium schools. To me it is then about then offering people more insight into why Wales is like it is and think about how it could be better based on what has happened over the years to make this place what it is. Why should we abandon all the distinctive things from the past in order to build a different future. We embrace change, but the most important thing about change is recognising the strengths in what we already have and build from those.

Basically there could be lots of positive triggers and reasons, but there will still be people who say that the place is a dump, full of tribal village idiots or I was born here and I can’t wait to get out. These people have to be engaged with and made to feel part of a positive future, where the majority of people in Wales want to build on what we have. We should never have to explain why we don’t want tear down the house to build a completely different one.

The winners in globalisation are going to be the ones who are distinctively and positively different – difference is going to be a prize asset in an increasingly homogenised world. In Wales I feel we have a strong base from which to build our distinctive style of difference, both in outlook and respect for world cultures and other people’s traditions, wants and needs. To me why do we need the language has a simple answer. It is an essential ingredient in helping us to grow, with pride in our sociability and sense of community. This empowers people by providing a powerful sense of self identity which is a very, very valuable thing in what would otherwise be an increasingly bland world of globalised group thinkers.

Can we do all these things without the language – yes. Will it be harder to do without the language – well to me throwing away or not supporting any of our strengths will always make things harder. Can we have it all –
I think yes. The investment of any amounts of intellectual capital, time and finance is really tiny compared to the benefits.


I love this bit. Thank you.


I agree with this. See my post from June Does Welsh Have A Future...?