Welsh Survey Results

Radio Cymru has just mentioned these figures in its news bulletins. No idea how the survey was carried out…

The results of a survey show how many people use Welsh daily. Showing that 11% (310,600) of all citizens over the age of three in Wales could speak Welsh fluently while the figure was 12% (317 300) in 2004 -06.

There were 353,000 (13%) of people over three years old speaking Welsh daily while the figures showed 342,000 (13%) in the survey for 2004-06.

Nearly half (46%) of all Welsh speakers considered themselves fluent; while 22% can speak some amount of Welsh. The figures were 58% and 21% in 2004-06.

The survey was commissioned by the Welsh Government and the Welsh Language Commissioner.

BBC Cymru Fyw
Mae canlyniadau arolwg o’r modd mae pobl yn defnyddio’r Gymraeg o ddydd i ddydd yn dangos bod 11% (310,600) o holl bobl Cymru dros dair oed yng Nghymru yn gallu siarad Cymraeg yn rhugl tra oedd 12% (317,300) yn 2004-06.

Roedd 353,000 (13%) o bobl dros dair oed yn siarad Cymraeg yn ddyddiol tra oedd 342,000 (13%) yn yr arolwg ar gyfer 2004-06.

Roedd bron i hanner (46%) o’r holl siaradwyr Cymraeg yn ystyried eu hunain yn rhugl, tra bod 22% yn gallu siarad rhywfaint o Gymraeg. Roedd 58% yn rhugl a 21% yn siarad rhywfaint o Gymraeg yn 2004-06.

Cafodd yr arolwg ei gomisiynu gan Lywodraeth Cymru a Chomisiynydd y Gymraeg.

EDIT: Full survey


I do wonder about these surveys in the last census the number of people describing themselves as Welsh speakers was around 570,000 in Wales alone - about 20% of the population. How many people who are - well, to me - fluent saying in these surveys they aren’t when asked? I’ve actually met Welsh speakers who live their lives in Welsh and still say; “Well, I don’t speak proper Welsh…”
That’s something I wouldn’t think about if asked about my English level…But, someone like Tommo might question himself…about his fluency. Perhaps we should scrap the word fluent and replace it with socially confident in the language: using it at the bus stop, buying your paper or ordering a pint etc. I’m socially confident and has many people have told me that makes me a Welsh speaker. There’s hundreds of us on the Forum.
Personally, I’m sceptical and wonder if it’s a way of cutting funding.

Walesonline: with graphs.

Golwg article…Offering a different outlook…hmmm!

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Different surveys give varying figures from this segment I’ve taken from the report…

How many people in Wales speak Welsh?
“…The 2013-14 Welsh Language Use Survey showed that 23 per cent (673,700) of all
those aged 3 and over could speak Welsh. This compares with 19.0 per cent
(562,000) in the 2011 Census, 27 per cent (787,500) in the Annual Population
Survey and 24 per cent (723,300) in the National Survey for Wales…”

I agree, “are you fluent” can feel like a loaded question. When I have to send out questionaires for work, for instance to race entrants, in order to find potential Welsh speaking contributors, I ask them to rate their fluency from 0 to 10 - and then allow for those who put anything between 2 and 9 to be underestimating themselves! As a second language speaker myself, I now say when asked that I’m fluent, but it’s taken me a long time to feel able to say that, and even now I still feel a bit reluctant sometimes (I’d probably rate myself 9 on my own questionaire!)


That’ll be my benchmark now, Siaron. Diolch!!!

Yup, it’s an absolutely useless question. It would be massively more useful to have something like ‘How often do you speak Welsh? a) most of the time b) daily c) weekly ch) monthly d) never’…

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Also perhaps “how confident do you feel speaking Welsh?”
(harder to quantify though).

Yes, “fluent” is a loaded word. A lot of people who speak Welsh would say they weren’t “fluent”.

Still, it’s better than the census question which gave individual tick box responses for the five questions
“Do you-
Understand spoken Welsh
Speak Welsh
Read Welsh
Write Welsh
None of the above”
a form of question which was weird on so many levels.
Whilst the English langugae question simply asked-
“How well can you speak English?
Very Well
Not Well
Not at all.”
Far more people would be inclined to tick “very well” than fluent, in my opinion.

There does seem to have been a similar question asked in the survey -
“Q7 - How often do you speak Welsh?
Less often
with more or less everything except the important “mostly” option in there.

But it was only asked of people who had already identified themselves as able to speak Welsh of course.

I seem to remember the question form you mention being suggested by someoneorother (quite possibly you :wink: ) as the one to be used in the last census, wasn’t it? Seems a much better question to ask of everyone.


Yeah, 'zactly. I think it would be a much more revealing top level question - would catch all those people who don’t ‘talk Welsh’ but do ‘use bits of Welsh from time to time’.

For this question I would answer b. daily but if the question was ‘how often do you think in Welsh?’ that would have to be ’ all the bloody time’, it certainly feels like that sometimes anyway.

I like that you used the Welsh alphabet for your list too. :+1::wink:


I call myself fluent. The words more or less slip out. I can say anything I feel I have to say. This is a different matter from how correct and ‘proper’ the language is that emerges. In fact it is a totally different matter. Most of these distinctions are in our heads rather than measurable on any number scale. If they are in our heads, we can always change the way we think about things. I remember from my very first bootcamp meeting people who assured me they couldn’t speak Welsh but that their companion could, and then when they realised what our challenge was would join in with what certainly was more fluent than any language I was using. So now, when asked, I say I am fluent, and people are kind enough to agree with me. Let’s see how this stands up in the Uwch exam I’m aiming for in June!


Most ‘first language English’ people are fluent in English!! However, many of them speak in grunts, swear words, slang… , not ‘correctly’!! Learners judge by far higher standards and, in most cases, speak far too ‘correctly’. I used to have to explain to a ‘first language Cymraeg’ friend, when living in England, “I know it’s correct, Hywel, but nobody says that!!”. The best thing about SSiW is that it teaches how to speak fluently rather than ‘correctly’. from Jackie