How Valuable will the ability to speak welsh be in Wales?
I know that everyone in Wales speaks fluent English.
Many young children from first language families have very limited English, so it's important for health professionals, nursery workers and teachers.
Many older people need medical and nursing care in their first language, they may even have forgotten much of the English linguistic skills.
In the public sector of the economy, especially local government Welsh skills are seen as something that is advantageous for its employees because of the demand for Welsh language services and also the pressure from the Welsh government to meet basic standards.
There is a shortage of Welsh speaking staff in all areas of education, especially in the expanding Welsh medium schools movement.
In addition for the experienced learner there is access to a rich Welsh language culture.
Picking up on the teacher part. There is talk of all children in Wales being offered trilingual primary education in the future, so if this takes off there could be a possible shortage of teachers who can comfortably teach the third language required in a Welsh medium school environment, where all other activities are conducted in Welsh.
It is still early days and lots of talking and no concrete policies etc. The stance of the Welsh Givernment a couple of years ago was for "bilingual plus one", while the third party in Wales - the Conservative party was promoting "trilingual", as was Cymdeithas yr Iaith. It is on the political agenda, but may take some time for anything to follow through. Certainly many other countries are way ahead of us in Wales here, but in some countries like England the notion of bilingual education would still seem a bit strange.
http://gov.wales/newsroom/educationandskills/2015/10351415/?lang=en https://www.welshconservatives.com/news/movement-inspire-love-language http://www.iwa.wales/click/2015/01/welsh-medium-education-for-all-or-just-for-the-lucky-ones/ http://castleschoolprep.co.uk/trilingual-education/
It sounds like a great thing to do in my eyes and the Scaninavian countries and many other European countries (also perhaps many countries around the world like China) seem to have no problem with this and view it very positively.
I believe the Basque Autonomous Community have instituted trilingual education, with English teaching starting in Kindergarten. I believe the main emphasis (in most streams of schooling, the small mainly Spanish stream is an exception) is on Basque, and Spanish is taught as a school subject, and picked up automatically from the media and wider social environment.
Well, not quite accurate! Every adult in Wales will be pretty fluent in English, but not all are completely confident in it if they do not use it regularly. Not all young children speak it, either - they may have no need to.
In Monmouthshire, in south-east Wales, about 10% of the overall population can speak Welsh, but about 40% of children can use Welsh to some extent - the challenge is to encourage them to keep it up. In parts of west and north-west Wales, 80% or more of people will speak Welsh. In the Mochyn Du pub in Cardiff it will be pretty close to 100%!
Where I am living right now, nearly everyone is fluent in English, but first-language Welsh speakers definitely appreciate you making an effort to learn their language. And it only seems polite to try.
I have friends living a little further north from here, and while everyone in their community can socialise fluently in English, there are many people who find it difficult discussion more complex or specialised topics in Welsh. For example, when they took their tractor in for repair, the mechanic had to get a translator to explain to them what the problem was because he couldn't explain it in English and they didn't understand it in Welsh!