Welsh situations staged a rally recently to highlight what some see as a growing threat to their native language. Statistics indicates that levels of Welsh fluency are dropping to new lows, with only 19% of the population. 10 years ago, the number sat at 21% – a slow decline, perhaps, but still a clear trend. The rally put forward a manifesto with over a dozen policy suggestions that could be implement to turn around the decline of the Welsh language. The decline has continued despite the government’s publicly stated intentions to increase the number of Welsh speakers. Their failure, the group points out, has come as the result of the wrong policies being put in place and poor implementation – a new approach is required to achieve the desired results.
However, Welsh Language Board chair Lord Else-Thomas has criticized the census figures which led to the protest in the first place, calling them ‘crude’ and arguing they don’t accurately reflect the status of the language in the real world.
In other Welsh language news, negotiations continue to stay in a deadlock between the BBC and Welsh musicians. The group of musicians are currently dissatisfied with the level of royalties they receive from tracks played on the BBC’s Welsh language radio station. If a solution is not reached, this could cause another blow to the Welsh language as it becomes less financially attractive for Welsh musicians to carry on making their music in Welsh. With potentially 30,000 songs on the chopping block from the BBC station’s playlist if no agreement is reached, this could also mean much less availability of Welsh music via radio – another big blow to the language in its own right. However, all is not lost yet – the negotiating body representing the Welsh musicians said that while they are currently unsatisfied with the offer the BBC has put on the table, the chance for an agreement to be made is still wide open.