Language focus | 23.07.2009

Bilingualism is Killing The Welsh Language

According to recent research undertaken by Dr Richard Glyn Roberts, bilingualism is killing the Welsh language.

Dr Roberts, a lecturer at University College Dublin in the School of Gaelic and Celtic Studies has published a book in which he argues that Welsh is being dominated by English within Wales. The Welsh language although taught in the majority of Welsh schools is not being used outside of the classroom especially if there are non-speaking Welsh people present.

When it comes to public meetings and conferences Welsh people feel obliged to speak English rather than ask for the use of a Welsh to English interpreter.  This is more often than not because Welsh speakers are also fluent in English and feel obligated to use the more commonly understood language.

Dr Roberts, in his book which is published by the University of West Brittany, claims that “it is becoming more and more difficult to conduct official business and to organise cultural activities in the Welsh language”. He feels there is a clear need for Welsh language interpretation services to make the language more predominant in Welsh society.

Meirion Prys Jones chief executive of the Welsh Language Board said in response that they urge all Welsh speakers “not to turn to English if there is an interpreter present” and to encourage the use of the Welsh language.

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