We’re used to seeing maps that show us where in Wales speakers of the language are concentrated in relative terms, but what about absolute numbers? It’s often said that there are more Welsh speakers in Cardiff than there are in Gwynedd (I’m not actually sure how true this is) but, of course there are loads more English speakers in Cardiff, too, so the Welsh is less visible (audible?).
This tweet by Huw Waters shows an interesting perspective by taking 2011 census data and creating a point for every Welsh speaker. The points are spread evenly over their parent area. These vary in size, but are small enough to give us some sense of density. There are a few blank areas due to lack of data.
From my (Powys) point of view, it’s interesting to note that the towns of Brecon, Llandrindod and Builth are all obvious despite the local received wisdom that ‘no-one round here speaks Welsh’ while Rhayader is invisible. This could be because it’s a small enough town to be counted as part of a wider area, and therefore its Welsh-speaking population has been diluted, though I can’t tell for sure. Same for Llanwrtyd, possibly.
Further north, Llanidloes and Newtown stand out but not so much Welshpool (though the hinterland seems more populated). So, here’s the thing: Welshpool has just got a Welsh primary school, yet we in Llandrindod/Builth are still waiting for ours. Come on Powys CC, do the right thing - the evidence of demand is staring you right in the face.
Can anyone else see a story from their locality?
Click through to see the map.
A wnaeth o hwylio i ffwrdd, trwy nos a dydd, ac i mewn ac allan o wythnosau, a bron ar draws blwyddyn… (That’s probably horribly, awkwardly literal, but I couldn’t resist trying. And all the prepositions in English are weird, anyway: “And he sailed off through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year…”)
I was just wondering if it is worth updating this post to give any recommendations of places throughout Wales and further afield where our Welsh could be used naturally on a day to day basis.
Perhaps this could supplement the excellent sections that already exist regarding meetups and businesses, although they would certainly be worthy of an extra mention and deserving of our support.
I was thinking of settlements and perhaps particular locations, where it could be expected that natural Welsh conversations could take place.
Obviously, places like Caernarfon, Bangor, Ynys Mōn etc wiil figure strongly. But it would also be great to give mentions to hot(ish) spots elsewhere.
If OK with you all, I’m kicking off with the mid to upper reaches of the Swansea Valley.
I hope ok to mention here as I’m not sure if this one will show up on Neil’s map. Hopefully of interest.
My wife (Glenda) and I popped into the Saturday Resolven Market (Neath Valley) today. The 2nd hand crockery stall holder was really happy to talk Welsh with us at length. Even though he was busy, it didn’t seem to phase him at all. He is from Garnant, near Ammanford/Rhydaman I loved the way that he referred to Glenda and I as “bois” although he did use “bach” for Glenda by herself. His stall was the 2nd on the left as you go through the entrance; the one after the sofas.