Saturday, 17 February 2018

Some Good Welsh Language News that the Press just isn't Reporting

Anyone who reads one of Wales’s main daily newspapers, such as the Western Mail, the Wales Online, or the Daily Post will be well aware of the many controversies affecting the Welsh Language, such as the Llanegennech school dispute, Gwynedd’s Local Development Plan and rows over Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey, as well as numerous crises, such as Anglesey council not finding enough bilingual staff. 

But will they be aware that there is actually some good news about the Welsh Language too?

Some Good Welsh Language News
You may be surprised to learn this, but the following is completely true:
·      In the towns of Caernarfon and Blaenau Ffestiniog, the percentages of primary school children speaking Welsh at home increased between 2013 and 2017, from 75.6% to 78.7% in Caernarfon, and, from 73.3% to 77.0% in Blaenau, and in both towns, overall pupil numbers also went up.

·      In Llangefni, the county town of Anglesey, the number of children speaking Welsh at home increased from 309 to 337, although in percentage terms, the increase was small – from 72.0% to 72.2%.
·       Overall, on Anglesey, of the 25 primary schools which had a Welsh-at-home majority either in 2013 or in 2017, 15 saw an increase in their percentages speaking Welsh at home.
·       Similar news from some places in Gwynedd, such as the villages of Llandwrog and Waunfawr.  In the PS in Waunfawr, children speaking Welsh at Home rose from 66 out of 98 pupils in 2010 to 78 out of 100 pupils in 2017.  This was mirrored by an increase in the percentage of people able to speak Welsh in that village between the Censuses of 2001 and 2011.
·      Some weaker areas also saw some good news:  In Dolgellau, the percentage of PS children speaking Welsh at home increased from 27% in 2010 to 30% in 2013, and to 32% in 2017.
·      Moving on to Welsh as a second language, as of February 2018, there are 939 thousand learners of Welsh on the online app Duolinguo, more than the number of English-speakers learning either Romanian, Hungarian, Czech, or Swahili, and nearly as many as the numbers learning Chinese!

Welsh with nearly as many learners on Duolingo as Chinese,
as of February 2018.                                                               
Not bad for a language that’s supposed to be dying.  

Sadly though, you won’t see any of these news stories in Wales’s main newspapers.  In fact, when I emailed both the Wales Online and the North Wales Daily Post in November 2017, about the good news from Anglesey, only the Daily Post sent a reply, and as far as I am aware, neither newspaper provided any coverage of it.  If I am wrong then please let me know!

Certainly, the coverage that the Welsh Language is getting at the moment is making anti-Welsh language campaigners like Jack Protiques very happy.  You only have to look at the comment section of any such article to see what I mean.
One of the two emails that I sent to the two     
respective Newspapers.  The word Anglesey
is highlighted due to that being the word I keyed
into my email search bar.                               


  1. The largest falls in the percentage of pupils who "speak Welsh fluently at home" are as follows (between 2012-2017):-
    Gwynedd 2.2%
    Carmarthenshire 1.8%
    Powys 1.0%
    Ceredigion 1.0%
    Swansea 1.0%
    Torfaen 0.8%
    Wrexham 0.8%
    Pembrokeshire 0.6%
    Conwy 0.5%
    Anglesey 0.2%
    Flintshire 0.1%

    All other counties had modest percentage increases with VOG the highest at 1.6%. Overall a fall of 0.1%

  2. Nothing has really changed since 1986:-