Wales could become a global leader in helping nations support at-risk languages, following its own success in growing the use of the Welsh language, the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan will say today.

First published:
21 May 2019
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Speaking in the National Assembly to mark the UN year of indigenous languages later today, the Minister will set out her ambition of presenting Wales to the world as “a country that has seen a resurgence in the drive to increase the number of Welsh speakers and to show others the efforts we are taking, and to sell our story of how we approach linguistic planning in Wales.”

Nations across the world are facing challenges to support the use of indigenous and minority language within the context of globalisation. The UN Year is an opportunity to focus global attention on this important issue.

In Wales, the Welsh Government has set an ambitious target of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050. Increasing the profile of Welsh internationally is a key aspect of the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 strategy.

The Minister will say that the Welsh Government’s objectives, though its participation in the UN Year of Indigenous Languages, is to provide a platform for Wales to raise its international profile as a bilingual nation, raise Wales’ profile - post-Brexit - amongst global international institutions and networks, celebrate the history of Welsh and its culture internationally, and consolidate Wales as a leading nation for language planning – and to learn from others.

Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan said:

“Welsh is in a stronger position than many languages globally. Experts estimate that one of the 7,000 or so languages in the world dies every other week. It is encouraging however that the UN is leading efforts to stem this decline.

“This provides us, as a nation that has seen a resurgence in efforts to increase the numbers of Welsh speakers, with an opportunity to show others our efforts and an opportunity to tell our story about how we have implemented language planning in Wales.

“This is a real opportunity for us to share our expertise and experience. It also provides us with an opportunity to learn from the experience of other countries and create new international connections.

“I am keen to ensure this Year of Indigenous Languages helps strengthen the Welsh language’s footprint internationally, allowing us to contribute our expertise, our experience and our vision to help the situation of languages across the world.”