No Welsh speaking communities by 2020, says language group

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Aug 29 14:50:14 UTC 2005

No Welsh speaking communities by 2020, says language group
Felinheli, Friday, 05 August 2005 by Dafydd Meirion

There could be no Welsh speaking communities by 2020. That was the message
from Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) during the
National Eisteddfod in north-west Wales this week. The National Eisteddfod
of Wales is an annual festival celebrating Welsh culture and language.
Some members of the society went on a fast - some for the whole week,
others a day at a time - to draw attention to the situation in which,
although there has been an increase in the number of speakers, the
percentage of Welsh speakers in the language's heartlands is declining, in
some areas rapidly.

"During the Eisteddfod week, we have the freedom to live our lives using
the Welsh language as a natural part of our daily lives," says Steffan
Cravos, chairman of Cymdeithas yr Iaith. "However, should present trends
continue, there is a real danger that by 2020 the Eisteddfod field will be
the only place where this will be possible. Without a period of urgent
campaigning by the people of Wales, it is possible that the Eisteddfod
field will be the only Welsh speaking community left within fifteen
years." During the week, Cymdeithas yr Iaith members have been asking
people to sign a national petition calling for a property act which would
secure housing for local people and a language act that would give people
the "right to use Welsh in every part of their daily lives." During a
rally on the Eisteddfod field, members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith heckled
Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of the National Assembly of Wales.

Mr Cravos added that, "We call on the Assembly Government to introduce
these measures... We also call on local authorities and other public
bodies... to begin to administer and operate through the medium of Welsh.
This is a necessary step in order to ensure that the Welsh language is not
simply seen as a language to be translated, but also as a medium that is
central to the public life of the communities." (Eurolang  2005)

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