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"No substance" to language plan say Cymdeithas

The Welsh Language Society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, held a 36 hour vigil on the Senedd steps before the First Minister's announcement on government action to support the language. Their chair, Robin Farrar, criticised Carwyn Jones for "delay and lack of ambition".

There was no real substance in Carwyn Jones’ statement today. The Government has been promising an announcement for weeks and it’s been a year and a half since the Census results. All we have here is a draft of a policy - when will we see them act? The report says that the Welsh language will be core to the definition of sustainability in the Future Generations Bill - this is encouraging but there is no move to make the language a material consideration within the planning system.

There is further delay and a lack of ambition in terms of education, we are calling for Welsh education for all - there is no clear aim, and no reference to the foundation phase. And although the figure of a £1.2 million investment in the Welsh language, there is only a £400,000 increase - the rest is money being shifted around, and not extra money. It is clear that the Government understands what areas need to be addressed but there are no significant steps, or bold and innovative plans still, and there's no detail.

– Cymdeithas Chair Robin Farrar

Language announcement "disappointing" say Plaid

Plaid Cymru have said they're disappointed by today's announcement on more support for the Welsh language.

In the three years since the census, we have been waiting for action by the Welsh Government, but all we have had is a series of consultations, endless investigations and empty statements, with no rigorous action.

It’s high time we saw some progress on the Language Standards so as to ensure appropriate provision for the Welsh language for public service consumers and a rapid move towards ... Language Standards which extend those rights to the health service and areas such as transport.

We are still waiting for details regarding the designation of areas such as Carmarthen, Aberystwyth and Bangor-Menai as growth areas for the economy and the Welsh language. Similarly Plaid Cymru is of the opinion that we must move towards having every child receiving Welsh-medium education at the Foundation Phase.

The Welsh language must be treated as we would treat anything which is endangered – we must use all our resources to protect it. This is a battle that Wales cannot afford to lose.

– Plaid Cymru Welsh Language Spokesperson Simon Thomas AM

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Economy key to language's future says Carwyn Jones

The First Minister has told AMs that £1.6million will be spent over the next two years to strengthen the link between the Welsh language and the economy and create more opportunities for people to use the language every day. £400,000 will be for a pilot to improve how businesses use Welsh.

Most of the rest of the money will develop the work of the existing Mentrau Iaith (Language Initiatives) around Wales, which encourage Welsh language activities. The policy states that councillors and other local leaders must take greater responsibility for the language. Other commitments include:

  • to change the system of learning and teaching Welsh in English-medium schools to ensure that all pupils in Wales are supported to speak Welsh confidently
  • to improve the planning of Welsh language provision in pre-school education and childcare
  • to launch a national campaign to change people’s behaviour so that they are encouraged to use the language more in their daily lives

The consultation was launched in response to the results of the 2011 census, which showed an unexpected drop in the numbers of Welsh speakers. The First Minister said it's still a draft policy and he wants to hear from the public before a final announcement at the Eisteddfod.

There is no denying that this is a crucial time for the Welsh language. The next decade will show whether or not we have succeeded in responding to the results of the 2011 Census. The [consultation] put particular emphasis on Welsh in the context of the economy and the community. I am convinced that these are central challenges and therefore I’m pleased that we have been able to invest in projects which maximise the link between the language and the economy as well as organisations that promote and facilitate the use of Welsh at grass roots level.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

First Minister to make statement on Welsh language

First Minister Carwyn Jones is to make an oral statement in the Senedd on the Welsh Government's Welsh language policy later today.

It follows a Government consultation over the future of the language, after the latest Census showed the number of Welsh speakers in Wales had fallen over the last 10 years.

The protesters want the Welsh Government to adopt six measures including Welsh language education for all

Members of the Welsh language pressure group Cymdeithas yr Iaith set up camp outside the Senedd yesterday as part of a campaign calling for greater investment in the language.

"More action needed" to nurture Welsh speakers

The Welsh language pressure group Cymdeithas yr iaith have called on the Welsh Government to take more action to nurture Welsh speakers.

Members of the group held an all night sit in outside the Senedd ahead of an announcement later on the government's Welsh language policy.

They say little has been done by the Government since the release of census results 18 months ago, which indicated a drop in the number of Welsh language speakers in the country.

Opinion divided over road sign language row

A row has broken out between the Welsh Language Commissioner and a number of Welsh councils, after the commissioner recommended all road signs should feature the Welsh place name before English.

It already happens in around half of Welsh councils - but as Tom Sheldrick reports, opinion is very much divided on whether or not the recommendations should go ahead.

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Road sign language row: your views

You've been sending us your views on calls for Welsh to be first on road signs. Here are a few left on our Facebook page.

I feel I am one of the proudest and patriotic people in Wales. However, what a waste of money. That could be ploughed into social services which would actually have an impact on Wales for years to come.

– Sam Ryan

Welsh should be first on signs in Wales. There will be English on them as well so any non-Welsh speakers just need to read the lower half. It's like anything, people will soon get used to it and maybe pick up a few new Welsh words in the process.

– Meryl Richards

Total waste of time and money. I'm Welsh and can see no benefit to this at all. We are a nation where around 90% of people speak English. Just leave the signs alone and debate really important topics such as health, education and jobs.

– Matt Charles

Send us your comments: email wales@itv.com, tweet @ITVWales or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

GCSE Welsh second language short course dropped

The Welsh Government says the current system for teaching Welsh in English-medium schools here "must change", and announced that the GCSE Welsh second language short course will be scrapped.

The short course has previously been criticised, for not allowing pupils to progress towards becoming strong Welsh speakers, leading to calls for it to be removed.

The Welsh Government has acknowledged standards in Welsh secondary language are not good enough. Credit: PA

Ministers are responding to the 'One language for all' report, which they commissioned in 2012 into "poor standards and low attainment" in Welsh at secondary school.

The Welsh Government also said today that it would look to promote Welsh as an important skill for the workplace, work to ensure that revised GCSE, AS and A Level Welsh second language qualifications are appropriate, and monitor the availability and take-up of AS and A level Welsh second language.

Could dot-cymru replace dot-com in Wales?

A mobile that predicts Welsh text messages. Credit: PA

A report published today by the Welsh Government recommends 27 ways that Welsh can boost business.

The report examined how the use of the language and bilingualism could support business growth and economic development and how economic development could raise the use of Welsh.

Among it's recommendations are that businesses be encouraged to use the “.cymru” internet domain suffix if the opportunity arises.

It also says an on-line networks in Welsh could maintain contact with Welsh speakers who leave Wales to study or for work and these networks will encourage experienced Welsh speakers to return to Wales.

Wales should also learn from the experience and good practice in other bilingual communities such as the Basque country, Quebec, and Catalunya says the working group who compiled the report.

Research should be also be undertaken to examine the effect of improving road and rail communications between strong Welsh speaking areas and main employment centres and public sector contracts should require tenderers to demonstrate an ability to provide a bilingual service.

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