As a learner, my answer would be an emphatic 'Oes!' Not just because it's easier to say either.
   However, figures from the 2011 census would suggest the opposite, as the percentage of Welsh-speakers is slightly declining and it has become the minority language in the heartlands of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
   First Minister Carwyn Jones rightly pointed out that even young people educated through the medium of Welsh tend to use English outside school with their friends and that is a real cause for concern.
   I'd suggest that his Government have failed to be proactive enough in remedying this situation and , indeed, in producing a series of policies which promote Welsh.
   In terms of young people, it's absolutely crucial to engage them in committing to the language out of desire rather than compulsion.
   It may be difficult for some to accept, but one Welsh-speaker on TV, who had abandoned the language, was correct in his assessment.
    It's a fact that too many schools operate punitive measures when pupils speak English. These are totally counter-productive and only add to pupils' rebellion against the system and their elders.
   Instead of punishment, schools must instead offer incentives to those who regularly employ Cymraeg. Above all, they must emphasize constantly that a young and vibrant culture exists in Welsh.
   It's no use confining Welsh culture to Urdd Eisteddfodau and trips to Llangrannog and Glanllyn. Pupils need far more opportunities to meet Welsh authors and artists, see contemporary drama, listen to scientists and be open to Welsh music from roots and rock to classical.
   The songs of Meic Stevens and the Super Furries should be as much part of their lessons as the novels of T. Llew Jones are now.
   S4C must appeal to young people (both fluent speakers and learners) as a matter of urgency. Contemporary and exciting  dramas are fundamental to this, as are programmes covering sport and music in a topical, entertaining manner.
   The teaching of Welsh in English language schools must be treated far more seriously. At present, it's too often a sop.
   In Primary schools there must be a mass re-training of teachers, so they become proficient in Welsh and then a move to make it essential in the Education departments of our universities. In far too many instances, only a few teachers bother to teach it properly.
   In Secondaries, Welsh needs to be shown not just as a living language, but one which can be used regularly in future employment. Too often it is regarded as peripheral to the curriculum and, in some schools, constitutes only  half a GCSE, along with subjects like RE.
   The Urdd, together with Menter Iaith, should channel more energy and resources ( as they did years ago) into promoting youth culture.
   I'd like to see a revival of the gigs they used to organise to bring Welsh-speakers together in social environments. Too many current events are stuffy and conservative.
   In terms of everyday use of Welsh, a very basic yet vital aspect would be the wearing of the red 'C' badge by every Welsh-speaker in their workplaces.
   In shops, pubs, banks etc, it would be extremely helpful to both speakers and learners and the Assembly Gov. could offer awards to businesses who encouraged this scheme.
   One of the most important changes should be in the heartlands themselves .
   Ed Miliband talks about the mistakes of his party in the past, when they failed to realise that ghettos would be created when immigrants haven't had the opportunities to learn English.
   It is equally applicable to the heartlands of Wales and the Assembly Gov. must encourage all those moving to these areas to attend lessons and courses in Cymraeg. Again, it should be a matter of incentives and not compulsion.
   If Welsh is to thrive, then the private sector must come on board. They have generally failed to do so voluntarily, therefore the Assembly Gov. must try to pass a law as soon as possible to ensure they become entirely bi-lingual.
   If this is vetoed by Westminster, then that will send out a clear signal that they are not committed to the future of the language.
   Though the census was depressing about the future of Welsh in parts of Wales, it was encouraging in others and places like Casnewydd/Newport show that Cymraeg (like that old lager advert) can reach parts it never had before.
   Moreover, the statistic that two-thirds of our people now regard themselves as Welsh before British is most heartening. This seems astonishing when you think of this year's unprecedented propaganda, with the flag-flaunting fervour of the Jubilympics.
   There's no doubt that possessing an Assembly with distinctive policies has helped greatly in this sense of a separate identity. In the face of a Tory -Liberal Gov. from London, Welsh Labour have revelled in this. However, should Miliband be elected in future, I wonder if - with his 'One Nation' brand - they would be able to maintain this.
   As a learner, I meet many others - young, old, Welsh and English - with similar aspirations. We may not agree politically ( some are pro-monarchy), but we all agree on one thing : 'Mae Cymraeg yn byw!' ( 'Welsh lives!).

   This is a fairly recent poem I wrote in Welsh , then translated non-literally, into English.


Y  LLYFRGELL YM MHARGOD / BARGOED  LIBRARY


 

Capel o geiriau,

cynulleidfa o lyfrau


y seddau gyda’u cefnau galed ;

weithiau, dyma’r ysgrythur newydd


piben yr organ ond dim swn,

cerddoriaeth yn y brawddegau ym mhobman


llechen yw’r  cyfrifiadur :

chiliwio am y gwirionedd yna


mae’r drws ar agor i bawb nawr,

meddyliau yn eistedd yn lle y cor.


           ********************************


 

Chapel of words,

congregation of moods

 

the pews with their hard backs ;

new scriptures sometimes stacked

 

organ pipes yet no sound,

music from sentences all around

 

tablet of the computer :

searching for truth there

 

you’ll find an always open door,

your thoughts can sit in place of the choir.


 


B Griffiths
12/16/2012 06:33

Cytuno a phob gair Mike. Taro hoelen ar ei phen, angen i bawb darllen hon.

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07/01/2013 04:52

May I aks what language you are speaking?

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