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A statistical overview of the Welsh language

Jones, Hywel 2012. A statistical overview of the Welsh language. Cardiff: Welsh Language Board.

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This volume looks at a wide range of statistics relating to the Welsh language. Several areas are examined in detail, but it is not a comprehensive document. A decision was made to concentrate on the number and percentage of Welsh speakers, their literacy skills, and the practical use they make of the language. The media are not touched on at all. The volume’s main concerns are the sustainability of the present situation and the outlook for the future. These are some of the most important conclusions. The percentage of people able to speak Welsh increased between 1991 and 2001, principally owing to the growth in the teaching of Welsh as a second language in schools over that period. The number and percentage of first-language speakers among the young continue to increase as a result of the growth of Welsh-medium education. Out-migration is having a substantial effect on the number of people in Wales able to speak Welsh. In-migration is having a substantial effect on the percentage of people in Wales able to speak Welsh. At the time of the 2001 Census, 20% of the population had been born in England (Figure 72). We can expect the percentage to be higher by this time and still rising. There appears to be a net out-migration of fluent Welsh-speakers from Wales. The figures suggest that the number of fluent speakers in Wales is decreasing every year. The geographical distribution of Welsh speakers changed between 1991 and 2001. This meant that the likelihood of one Welsh speaker meeting another at random decreased over that period. Such a change has implications for language use and for the formation of households where Welsh is used. Neither the results of recent surveys nor the calculated projections suggest that we shall see a substantial increase in the percentage of people who can speak Welsh in the near future.

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Welsh Language Board
ISBN: 9780953533480
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2020 15:00

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