Language has ‘bright future’

People believe the Welsh language has a bright future, according to findings by the official agency set up to promote Welsh.

Research commissioned by the board to uncover attitudes toward the language in the new millennium showed that most respondents felt bilingual skills put people at an advantage in the job market.

Of the 1,200 people questioned, 75% said Welsh had a forseeable future as a living language.

They also predicted an increase in demand for bilingual facilities in education, local authorities and the health service.

Chairman of the Board, Rhodri Williams, delivered the message at a meeting in Aberystwyth on Friday.

“There are many hopeful messages here for the future of the language,” he said.

“But, of course, there are other messages which emphasise the challenge facing the language and the board.

“Although the overall situation is hopeful, it’s obvious that there are years of work ahead in some areas.”

Mr Williams said it was apparent that many Welsh speakers lacked confidence in using the language in some situations.

“This is a clear indication that we need to develop and raise the profile of the services offered through the medium of Welsh and to ensure that there are enough opportunities to use the language in a wide range of activities,” he said.

The study was carried out by Beaufort Research and took place in every local authority area in Wales.

The proportion of those interviewed who could speak Welsh was higher than that in the general population, but the results were then adjusted to make them reflect the linguistic make-up of Wales, where just under 19% of the population can speak Welsh.