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December 13, 2010
» Iaith Fyw : Iaith Byw

WAGs proposed new Welsh Language Strategy is now open for consultation, or perhaps not as it appears to be listed as a “closed” consultation

http://cymru.gov.uk/consultations/welshlanguage/wlsconsultation/?lang=en&status=closed

September 10, 2010
» Video on the language measure

The WAG has uploaded a short video about the Proposed Welsh Language Measure onto their YouTube channel.

It is interesting to see how web2.0 is gradually becoming an accepted part of the media world – press release, check! – Tweet, check! – YouTube, check!

Two things in particular about the content struck me – firstly the strong mention of mobile phones (1:20) – and secondly the extent to which the cattle auction rooms (2:56) resemble the Assembly debating chamber (don’t get me wrong, I love the building, was just struck by the resemblance!).

March 17, 2010
» Is having a language enough?

Last night I watched Week In Week Out: A Broken Heart – “Reporter Phil Parry returns to the village of Llangeitho after twenty years as he investigates the health of the Welsh language in its traditional strongholds, and asks some uncomfortable questions about its future.” Part of the programme was an interview with Alun Ffred Jones, the Minister for Heritage. A couple of the comments he made brought me back to thinking about what it would mean for Wales to be a truly bilingual country…

The particular comments (around 20:43) were: ”...the success is that people have two languages, whether they choose to use both of them in equal measure is not [interrupted by interviewer]” and ”...and that is the important point; that it [the Welsh language] is there for them to use…”

Does this suggest that the WAG would consider a Wales in which everyone could speak Welsh, but no-one actually does, to be a truly bilingual country? I’d like to think not. But is does raise the critical issue of how we move from speakers who are bilingual (in the sense of being able to use both Welsh and English) to a bilingual society where both languages have vibrant communities of users. Without users, individual competence and confidence diminishes, opportunities for use diminish and the production of new, quality materials in Welsh also diminishes. This distinction between speakers and users is an important one, and whilst producing speakers might be relatively easy, it is not clear how government policy can create users.