Welsh Language Use Survey: Welsh speakers mostly using English for texts / email.

Data from the 2013-14 Beaufort-TNS-BMRB Welsh Language Use survey conducted for the Welsh Government has been published today. This survey provides an insight into the use of the language nowadays across Wales, revealing:

• 11 per cent (310,600) of all people aged 3 and over living in Wales can speak Welsh fluently compared with 12 per cent (317,300) in 2004-06.

• The proportion of the population using Welsh every day is also unchanged. 353,000 (13 per cent) of all people aged 3 and over speak Welsh daily, compared with 342,000 (again 13 per cent) in the 2004-06 surveys.

• Fewer Welsh speakers consider themselves fluent in the language now compared with the previous survey, however. Close to half (46 per cent) of all Welsh speakers (310,600) consider themselves fluent in Welsh, and 22 per cent (148,900) can speak a fair amount of Welsh. In 2004-06 the corresponding figures were 58 per cent (317,300) fluent and 21 per cent (115,300) could speak a fair amount.

• Just over half of the people who can speak Welsh speak it daily; 1 in 5 speak it weekly; fewer than 1 in 4 speak Welsh less often than weekly, and 1 in 20 people who can speak Welsh never do so.

• At home 20 per cent of Welsh speakers always (or almost always) speak Welsh. This proportion increases steadily with age.

• 31 per cent of Welsh speakers said their most recent conversation with someone who was not a member of their family was in Welsh. Over half (56 per cent) of fluent Welsh speakers said that their most recent conversation was in Welsh.

• 1 in 8 of Welsh speakers always or mainly use Welsh when sending a text message to a friend, and 1 in 10 do so when sending an email. 9 per cent of adults always or mainly write in Welsh on Facebook and 6 per cent do so on Twitter. 

• More Welsh speakers now report that their employers are supportive of the use of the language and more also report they have been offered something like a badge to indicate they speak Welsh.

First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws have welcomed the publication of the survey into how people are using the Welsh language.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

“I am pleased that we have worked with the Welsh Language Commissioner on this important survey – it gives us a timely and extremely helpful picture of the use of the language across Wales.  There is a lot to be positive about from the report’s findings but there also challenges ahead.  This is a crucial time for the language and as a Government, we remain determined to address these challenges and ensure that the language has a thriving and secure future.

“Encouraging people to use the language in their daily lives is at the heart of Bwrw Mlaen, our vision for the future of the language. The new Standards, which will go before the Assembly in March, will also be an important milestone creating clear legal rights.

“It is crucial that people have the opportunity to practice their Welsh and boost their confidence levels – be it in education, in the workplace or socially.  There is already a great deal of good work underway across Wales which reinforces our policy vision of focussing on increasing use as well as numbers of Welsh speakers. By working together we can build on this and ensure a living language for the future.”

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said:

“Working with the Welsh Government on commissioning this significant research was important to me. The research provides a robust evidence base; and will enable me to as Welsh Language Commissioner, the Government and the many other institutions and organizations working towards making the Welsh language central to public life in Wales, to plan our work and our priorities. Data and research can lead to positive outcomes for those who use the Welsh language, as the response to our inquiry into primary care has proved.

“This is an interim report and I look forward to the publication of the full report, based on further evidence, by the end of the year.

“One of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s functions is to produce a five-year report on the position of the Welsh language. The findings of this survey will be important as I prepare this report, and will enhance the understanding about the Welsh language in various aspects of life for individuals and communities throughout Wales.”

Links to further information & reports can be found here:

- Full report: http://wales.gov.uk/statistics-and-research/Welsh-language-use-survey/?lang=en
- Media are reporting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-31028181
- Welsh Government News item: http://wales.gov.uk/newsroom/welshlanguage/2015/150129-welsh-language-survey/?skip=1&lang=en
- Welsh Language Commissioner News Item: http://www.comisiynyddygymraeg.org/English/News/Pages/Survey-on-Welsh-language-use-welcomed.aspx


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