Welsh Is Vanishing from Heartland Households; Report Says Many Pupils Fail to Develop Their Use of the Language

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Byline: Steve Dub

CAMPAIGNERS are claiming that Welsh has become a minority language in another of its traditional heartlands.

A survey of the households of the Dinefwr region of Carmarthenshire shows only one-quarter use Welsh as the prime language of the home.

And the survey shows that language skills are being lost as children progress from primary education to secondary education, with more than 40% of fluent Welsh-speaking pupils failing to build on their language acquisition skills after the age of 11.

The findings revealed by the report The Language of the Va

e y has sparked a public meeting this Thursday to discuss the future of the Welsh language and education in the area.

The meeting at Llangadog Hall is hosted by the Tywi/ Cothi Welsh Medium Education Working Group.

``The survey shows that the Welsh language in the Dinefwr area is in a critical state,'' said working group chairman Cefin Campbell, chief executive of Mentrau Iaith Myrddin language initiative.

``We need a radical and comprehensive strategy to reverse the situation.''

Mr Campbell said it was clear that education has a key role in any scheme to rejuvenate the Welsh language.

``As a working group our aspiration is to ensure co-operation in the best possible manner between the various sectors, to ensure that the future of the Welsh language is safeguarded,'' he said.

``Now is the time to take action to rectify this serious situation, and this public meeting is critical to the future of the Welsh language within the area.''

In 1991, 60% of Dinefwr's residents spoke Welsh and 71% of young people between the ages of three and 15 spoke the language.

The survey shows that twothirds of households have one or both Welsh-speaking parents, although only a quarter use the Welsh language as their only or primary language. …