Being the only native Welsh speaker on the Lingua Translations team, I feel it’s my “duty” to write my first blog about the Welsh Language in Wales and its endangered future. Is there a place for this beautiful language in today’s society? And more importantly what does the future hold for Welsh?
It is a bit of a strange situation – the language of a country not being its first language – there are so many historical and political reasons for this current state of affairs that we don’t really need to discuss at this point in time, the important thing is not to dwell too much on the past, looking at what could have been done to avoid this current bizarre situation. Instead we need to look to the future and come up with new and innovative ideas to protect and promote the use of the Welsh language.
Statistically, the amount of Welsh speakers in Wales has fallen in recent years. According to a recent article published on the BBC news Wales website, the number of towns where more than half of the inhabitants speak Welsh has fallen from 192 in 2001 to 157 in 2013.
So what can and should be done to ensure that these figures begin to rise instead of continuing to fall? The Welsh Assembly Government has decided that it must start at home and from a very early age.
A relatively recent scheme that has been introduced by the Welsh Assembly Government is “Twf – Cymraeg o’r crud” which translates literally as “Growth – Welsh from the crib”, which is trying to encourage prospective parents to raise their children bilingually from the very beginning. Leaflets, short Welsh story books and CDs of Welsh nursery rhymes are being distributed at antenatal classes and hospital appointments.
The Welsh Assembly Government states that raising your child bilingually can be extremely beneficial, not just for the Welsh language in general but also for the child’s personal development. Studies have shown that learning two languages from a young age provides you with better communication skills; the natural ability to pick up further languages at a later stage; greater comprehension with grammatical structures and enhanced vocabulary; an increased advantage in certain careers.
Being raised bilingually has certainly had its advantages for me and I’m very grateful to my parents for that. Maybe the Welsh Assembly Government has the right idea, by encouraging bilingualism in children they will also be helping with their personal and eventually professional development. This will also result in a lot more Welsh speakers in the future. I think that’s what you call a win-win situation!
For more information please visit our Welsh Translation page.