Conference calls for Welsh language rejuvenation

Cynghrair Cymunedau Cymraeg organised the conference

Cynghrair Cymunedau Cymraeg organised the conference

A CONFERENCE held at Aberystwyth’s Morlan Centre on Saturday 12th January discussed how the language can be rejuvenated, following the results of the 2011 census, in which was found that the number of Welsh speaking people has declined over the past decade.

The conference was organised by Cynghrair Cymunedau Cymraeg (Federation of Welsh Communities), an alliance of 20 Welsh-speaking communities ranging from co-operatives and community groups to town councils. One of the community groups that has joined the alliance is Felin 70%+, who help and support people wanting to learn Welsh.

Menna Machreth, the organiser of the event, said that the meeting was about “language planning from the bottom up”. “By bringing them together we hope to start that discussion and hopefully we can work together, inspire each other, share good practice and hopefully come up with ideas for our own communities”.

“Clearly the Welsh language has won a lot of battles over the last 50 years. It’s improved its status massively, but there’s a steady decline of people who are using the language in their communities. More and more people are learning the language which is a good thing, but we’re very concerned about less people using the language in their locality” she added.

Despite an increase in the Welsh population, the number of Welsh speakers has dropped from 21% to 19%. In Ceredigion the language is now a minority with 47.3% being able to speak the language, down from 52% in 2001.

Unofficial figures suggest that in the academic year 2011-2012, there were 1347 students at Aberystwyth University who could speak Welsh fluently, with 516 choosing to study some of their course through the medium of Welsh.