Mae tynged yr iaith yn nwylo Leighton Andrews

Robin Farrar sy’n esbonio pwysigrwydd cael penderfyniad ar unwaith ynghylch dyletswyddau cyrff cyhoeddus a rhai cwmnïau i gynnig gwasanaethau yn Gymraeg

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Yn nwylo Leighton Andrews mae un o’r penderfyniad pwysicaf a fydd yn llywio tynged y Gymraeg dros y pumtheg mlynedd nesaf a mwy. Mae’r safonau iaith newydd yn offeryn statudol fydd yn llywio holl ddarpariaeth Gymraeg cyrff a chwmniau ac maent yn hollbwysig i obeithion pawb yng Nghymru i sicrhau twf yn yr iaith.

Dyfodol y Gymraeg

Yfory: Harold Carter a John Aitchison fydd yn dadlau mai economeg ac nid hawliau yw’r hyn sy’n hanfodol er mwyn sicrhau dyfodol y Gymraeg. Ddydd Sadwrn, bydd Rhodri Talfan Davies yn edrych ar swyddogaeth Radio Cymru.

Mae’n hawdd anghofio mai pobl ar lawr gwlad yw canolbwynt y ddadl, nid gemau gwleidyddol Bae Caerdydd. Ni ddylai’r gweision sifil, na’r gwleidyddion, fyth anghofio pobl fel: Mae llawer iawn yn y fantol. Gall y safonau sicrhau pethau gwbl sylfaenol, fel bod plant yn gallu cael gwersi chwaraeon yn Gymraeg, bod pobl hŷn cael mynediad at ofal yn yr iaith, a bod gan weithwyr yr hawl i’w siarad neu ei  ddefnyddio yn y gwaith. Gallai’r safonau newydd weddnewid eu bywydau, a thrwy hynny, gallent sbarduno twf yn y niferoedd sy’n gallu’r Gymraeg ac yn ei defnyddio pob dydd.

  • Y gweithwyr sydd yn cael eu gwaharadd rhag siarad Cymraeg yn y gweithle.
  • Y plant niferus, o Aberystwyth i Abercynon ac o Rydaman i’r Rhos, sy’n methu cael gwersi nofio yn Gymraeg.
  • Yr holl bobl ifanc sydd â sgiliau yn y Gymraeg yn gadael Cymru i chwilio am waith, tra, ar yr un pryd, bod cyrff a chwmniau yn methu cyflenwi gwasanaethau yn Gymraeg.
  • Y gweithwyr a’r plant nid oes mo’r hawl ganddynt i ddysgu Cymraeg yn rhugl.
  • Y bobl ifanc nad ydynt yn gweld yr iaith fel un fodern oherwydd nad oes rhyngwyneb ar yr I-pad neu ffonau symudol yn Gymraeg
  • Y cleifion, rhai ohonynt yn eu cyfnodau mwyaf bregus, sydd yn dioddef oherwydd nad oes gweithiwr iechyd sydd yn siarad Cymraeg.

Mae pobl Cymru wedi aros yn llawer rhy hir am well gwasanaethau Cymraeg: undeg-tri o flynyddoedd ers i’n hymgyrch dros ddeddf iaith newydd cychwyn, pum mlynedd ers i’r broses ddeddfu dechrau, a thros ddwy flynedd ers pasio Mesur y Gymraeg yn y Cynulliad.

Mae’r oedi’n gwbl annerbyniol, ac yn awgrymu llusgo traed a diffyg blaenoriaethu’r Gymraeg gan y Llywodraeth. Mae’r holl oedi yn dod wedi i ni, a llawer o bobl eraill, ddisgwyl yn hir ac ymrwymo’n llwyr i’r broses ddemocrataidd.

Ar y pryd, dyna oedd y darn o ddeddfwriaeth hiraf a mwyaf cymhleth a ystyriwyd gan y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol. Enghraifft arall o ymrwymiad Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg i ymdrechu i bwyso ar y Cynulliad er lles yr iaith. Buodd ymgyrch fawr gyhoeddus y tu ôl i’r Mesur hwnnw, gyda chytundeb eang yn y diwedd i’r angen am statws swyddogol, Comisiynydd cryf a hawliau i’r Gymraeg, fel amlinellwyd yn y cynigion a gyhoeddwyd gennym yn 2006. Fodd bynnag, er gwaethaf yr holl frwydro – ers dros ddegawd – rydym yn aros am well gwasanaethau Cymraeg o hyd.

Llynedd, bu ymgynghoriad arall ar gynigion am y safonau iaith, y tro hwn gan Gomisiynydd y Gymraeg. Fel cannoedd o gyrff eraill, ymatebon ni i’r ymgynghoriad. Er nad oedd safonau’r Comisiynydd, yn ein tyb ni, yn ddigon cryf, maent o leiaf yn pwysleisio mai ar y cyrff eu hunain y dylai’r cyfrifoldeb i ddarparu er lles y bobl fod, yn hytrach na bod y dinesydd yn gorfod brwydro trwy’r adeg. Mae cynigion Meri Huws hefyd yn sefydlu’r egwyddor y dylid darparu isafswm o wasanaethau yn Gymraeg ledled y wlad – o Fôn i Fynwy. Mae gwir angen cryfhau cynigion y Comisiynydd, nid eu gwanhau.

Pryderwn, fel awgrymir gan lythyr diweddar y Gweinidog at y Comisiynydd, fod penderfyniad Leighton Andrews i wrthod y safonau iaith arfaethedig yn mynd i arwain at wanhau, yn hytrach na chryfhau, y cynigion a chyhoeddwyd ganddi ym Mis Tachwedd y llynedd.

Yr hyn rydyn ni eisiau gweld y Gweinidog yn ei sefydlu yw hawliau penodol, megis yr hawl i addysg gymraeg, yr hawl i ofal iechyd, yr hawl i weithio yn Gymraeg, er mwyn newid profiad pob dydd pobl. Dylai’r safonau hefyd sicrhau bod rhagor o gyrff, rhai awdurdodau lleol yn enwedig, yn dilyn enghraifft Cyngor Gwynedd ac yn gweinyddu’n fewnol trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.

Heb amheuaeth, mae canlyniadau’r Cyfrifiad wedi dangos i’r Llywodraeth bod angen newidiadau polisi pendant, a phenderfyniadau dewr er mwyn cryfhau’r Gymraeg. Gobeithiwn fod Leighton Andrews yn barod i gymryd y camau heriol hyn – wedi’r cwbl mae’r penderfyniad sydd yn ei ddwylo yn un hynod o bwysig i’n hiaith genedlaethol unigryw.

Mae Robin Farrar yn gadair ar Gymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

 

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Leighton Andrews holds fate of language in his hands

Robin Farrar explains the importance of an imminent decision on the duties of public bodies and some companies to provide services in Welsh 

Education Minister Leighton Andrews’ will shortly make one of the most important decisions on the fate of the Welsh language over the next fifteen years and beyond. The new standards that will determine the use of Welsh by public bodies and some companies will be a vital to the hopes of everyone in Wales who want to ensure its growth.

Future of the Language

Tomorrow: Harold Carter and John Aitchison argue that economics rather than rights are critical for the survival of the Welsh language. On Saturday Rhodri Talfan Davies examines the role of Radio Cymru.

So much is at stake. The standards could deliver essential things like children being able to receive sports lessons in Welsh, older people having access to Welsh-medium care services, and workers’ rights to speak the language and use it at work. These standards could transform their lives, and, as a result, could spark growth in the numbers who are able to speak it and those who use it every day.

It’s easy to forget that people in the country are the focus of the debate, not political games in Cardiff Bay. Civil servants and politicians should never forget people such as:

  • The workers who are banned from speaking Welsh in the workplace.
  • The numerous children, from Aberystwyth to Abercynon and from Rhydaman to Rhos, who can’t get swimming lessons in Welsh.
  • All the young people who have Welsh language skills who leave Wales looking for work, while, at the same time, bodies and companies fail to supply services in Welsh.
  • The workers and the children who don’t have the right to learn Welsh fluently.
  • The young people who don’t see the language as a modern one because their i-pad or mobile phone interface isn’t available in Welsh.
  • The patients, some of them in their most fragile moments in life, who suffer because there’s no health worker who speaks Welsh.

People in Wales have waited much too long for better Welsh language services. It has been thirteen years since our campaign for a new language act began, five years since the legislative process started, and over two years since the Welsh Language Measure was passed by the Assembly.

The delay is completely unacceptable. It suggests the dragging of feet and that the Government is not prioritising the language. All this delay comes after we, and many others, have waited a long time and been committed completely to the democratic process.

At the time, the Welsh Language Measure was the most complex and longest piece of legislation considered by the National Assembly. It was another example of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s effort to put pressure on the Assembly for the benefit of the language. There was a large, public campaign behind the Measure, with a wide agreement in the end for the need for official status, a strong Commissioner and rights for the language, as outlined in the proposals we published in 2006. However, despite all the pressure – for over a decade – we are still waiting for better Welsh language services.

Last year, there was another consultation about the proposals for language standards, this time by the Welsh Language Commissioner. Like hundreds of other bodies, we responded to the consultation. Although the Commissioner’s standards, in our view, were not strong enough, they at least emphasised that bodies themselves are responsible for providing services for people’s benefit, rather than the citizen having to fight for them all the time. Meri Huws’ proposals also established the principle that a minimum of Welsh language services should be available across the country – from Ynys Mon to Monmouthshire. There’s a real need to strengthen the Commissioner’s proposals, not weaken them.

We fear, as implied by the Minister’s recent letter to the Commissioner, that Leighton Andrews’ decision to reject the proposed standards is going to weaken, rather than strengthen, the recommendations she published in November last year.

We want to see the Minister establish specific rights, such as the right to Welsh medium education, the right to health care, the right to work in Welsh, in order to change people’s every day experience. The standards should also ensure that more bodies, especially in some counties, follow Gwynedd Council’s example and administrate internally through the medium of Welsh.

Without a doubt, the Census results have demonstrated that specific policy changes and bold decisions are needed in order to strengthen the language. We hope Leighton Andrews is ready to take the challenging steps needed – after all the decision in his hands is a vitally important one for our unique national language.

Robin Farrar is Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

10 thoughts on “Mae tynged yr iaith yn nwylo Leighton Andrews

  1. This is all too vague Robin. It’s not enough to assume these people are out there suffering from a lack of Welsh Language provision without putting a number or percentage on it.

    The 2011 Welsh Language act gave Welsh superiority over English in Wales and, by extension, gave Welsh speakers rights and benefits that Non Welsh speakers and English-by-preference speakers don’t enjoy.

    It is always the case that Cymdeithas has a monotheistic view of the Welsh Language and Welsh Language rights but we, the 88%-92% of English speakers, have our rights removed by degrees in each Welsh Language measure.

    It’s all very well saying that Welsh and Welsh speakers enjoy the support of the majority in Wales, so they do, but it isn’t a profound support and it is a very unquestioning support. Few people in Wales realise that there is a universal right to Welsh Medium Education and provision but no universal right to English Medium education or provision for instance. Few people realise that an employer can freely refuse to employ a non-Welsh speaker because he doesn’t speak Welsh. Few people realise that when a Welsh Language scheme is adopted there is a legal, contractual obligation to abide by it; the employer can’t just change his mind and scrap it.

    Leighton Andrews rides two horses; if he is going to be minister for the Welsh Language then he shouldn’t be minister for education; the best interests of Education are not served by a dedication to the furtherance of the Welsh language.

  2. @Jon Jones

    “..the best interests of Education are not served by a dedication to the furtherance of the Welsh language.”

    Please don’t present your own prejudiced opinion as fact, or present ‘facts’ without evidence.

    It would be fair to mention that although parents may have a ‘right’ to a Welsh medium education, most have had to struggle hard for years to get their education authorities to provide it – take Swansea as an example. That is still the case, as demand continues to outstrip supply. The growth of Welsh-medium education is not due to government policy, but rather to demand from parents.

    Education involves the broadening of people’s horizons. Language is simply the vehicle by which it is delivered. One can be educated well in any language. All pupils in Welsh-medium schools are taught English. I really don’t see what your problem is, other that it appears you have a chip on your shoulder about the Welsh Language.

    “Welsh-medium schools also provide a good grounding in English language skills. A child’s English skills will be developed at the same time as their Welsh-language skills. Results from Welsh-medium schools show similar levels of achievement on the whole to those from English-medium schools.”
    http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/allsectorpolicies/welshmededuca/?lang=en

    If anything it is Welsh speakers who have suffered massive discrimination down the decades, within their own country. As a native Welsh speaker, living in an anglicised part of Wales, I find it a joy when some service or other is available is Welsh, or I by chance find a member of staff who can speak it. That is a rarity. Until very recently not one of the hospitals in the local NHS Trust had any bilingual signs – even Tesco had some. It would be wonderful if, for example, doctors and nurses who are Welsh-speaking could wear a badge. It’s embarrassing or difficult to enquire, as I sometimes do, of someone who ‘sounds’ Welsh, in the hope I can converse with them. This is something of which I’m sure that many monoglot English speakers don’t have a clue, or of how important one’s native language is to a person’s identity. In Wales, English is taken for granted, whereas Welsh is not. You have to have direct experience of it to understand what it’s like.

    There are a few people, a handful of whom comment on Welsh issues regularly here, who have no empathy whatsoever with our predicament. Somehow they see a language under dire threat of extinction as a threat to them, when clearly the opposite is the case. Their narrow mind-set seems to mirror that of the Anglican commissioners of 1847. I can only conclude that they wish to see its demise, or at least relegated to a place where they can completely forget about it; where it has no effect whatsoever on their lives.

    Leighton Andrews has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the use of the language, now that the Welsh government has the power to do so. He, and the rest of Carwyn Jones’ Labour administration, have their part to play in the survival of Welsh, and I’m sure that history won’t forgive them if they shirk it.

  3. Rwy’n meddwl bod tair elfen pwysig i ddyfodol yr iaith:

    1. Statws/hawliau cyfreithiol
    2. Statws ym meddyliau pobl
    3. Pwysau

    Mae 1 wedi’i gwneud i bob pwrpas a thrwy 2 gellid cynyddi 3.

    Siariedir ieithoedd yn bennaf oherwydd 3. Dylem ni ddim fod yn swil neu’n wân am roi bwysau ar bobl i ddysgu ac i ddefnyddio’r Cymraeg. Dyw’r Saeson ddim yn becso. Gallem golli ambell i un ond ennill llawer mwy. Wrth gwrs mae pwysau’n gallu fod yn gas ac anghyfiawn. Dyma beth a wnaethpwyd yn ein herbyn ni (a dal i fod i raddau) a dydw i ddim yn awgrymu gweithredu yn yr un modd. Beth bynnag gall bobl (fel y Cymry Cymraeg eu hunain) fod yn styfnig dros ben.

    Mae’n rhaid clodfori’r iaith yn yr un modd i’r Saeson ei gwneud (a bron pob cenedl arall). Yn Saesneg yn ogystal â’r Gymraeg. Fel mater o ffaith dyw’r Gymraeg ddim yn anoddach i’w dysgu mewn cymhariaeth ag ieithoedd eraill.

    Byddai pethau cymharol syml megis llaw-llyfrau teclau electronig a cheir yn Gymraeg yn creu delwedd ffafriol ym meddyliau pobl.

    Mae llawer iawn o bobl eisiau siarad y Gymraeg. Dylai’r cyfryngau Saesneg yn Nghymru (yn cynnwys y rhai sy’n dod o Loegr) helpu’u haddysgu nhw a “hysbysebu’r” Gymraeg. Bydd eithafwyr gwrth-Gymraeg yn cwyno ond maen nhw mor gil-feddyliol iddynt gwyno fod y Gymraeg yn bod o gwbl.
    _________________________________________________________–
    I think there are three important elements to the future of the language:
    1. Legal Status/Rights
    2. Personal status perception
    3. Pressure

    Number 1 has largely been done and through 2 number 3 can be achieved.

    Languages are largely spoken because of 3. We should not be shy or weak because of creating pressure for people to learn or speak Welsh. The English don’t worry about it. We could lose a few but gain many more. Of course pressure can be unpleasant and unjust. This is what was done to us (and still is in cases) and I don’t suggest acting in the same way. In any case people (like the Welsh themselves) can be very stubborn.

    We have to talk up the language in the same way the English do (and most other nations). In English as well as Welsh. As a matter of fact Welsh is no harder to learn in comparison with other languages.

    Doing relatively simple thinks such as instruction books for electronic goods and cars being in Welsh could create a favourable impression in people’s minds.

    Very many people want to speak Welsh. The English media in Wales (including the ones that come from England) should help in educating them and to “advertise” Welsh. Anti-Welsh extremists will complain but they’re narrow-minded and are against Welsh existing at all.

  4. Jon Jones
    “The 2011 Welsh Language act gave Welsh superiority over English in Wales and, by extension, gave Welsh speakers rights and benefits that Non Welsh speakers and English-by-preference speakers don’t enjoy.”

    Wrong! Absolutly wrong! Welsh has now been given status of legal parity with English. Note! not the other way around. Welsh speakers do not have any more rights or benefits than monoglot English speakers. English has all the advantages of English money and pressure, in all sorts of ways, that we don’t have. So come off it!

  5. “Wrong! Absolutly wrong!”

    Well Gwyn You are mistaken; Welsh has not been given legal parity with English. If the two languages were treated equally then it’s quite obvious that the positive discrimination enjoyed by Welsh would disappear.

    What the Welsh Government was careful to say was that English could be treated “No more favourably than Welsh”.

    In other words it is quite possible (and common) for Welsh speakers to enjoy some quite deliberate advantage or monetary benefit that Non Welsh speakers cannot access. The Urdd is given millions because its aim is to provide activities in Welsh. The Guides and scouts do not enjoy any state funding. The Women’s institute gets no funding from the WG, Merchedd Y wawr, because they are a Welsh speaking organisation, do. Similarly hundreds of thousands of pounds are given by the state to RHAG, Parents for Welsh medium schools but, of course no support for parents who would like to have their children educated through the language of the hearth….if that language is English. Many Local Authorities give large Welsh Medium “Supplements” to Welsh schools for no apparent reason. If English and Welsh were equal this would be impossible.

    So you see Gwyn, Welsh can be treated “More favourably” than English but English cannot be treated more favourably than Welsh.
    It’s time that we in Wales realised that those Welsh speakers who perpetually moan about their lot are actually the pampered and spoilt minority forever stamping their feet and demanding MORE

  6. I find it mindboggling and incomprehensible of the shear extent of the Y Fro arrogance insisting on more compulsion and more state dictate in promoting Welsh language and related culture above all else.
    All I can say is that Leighton Andrews should be very mindful that he is practicing an Inverse Democracy that has no sustainable future and Welsh language fate should be strictly in hands of Welsh people and not the politicians or the Y Fro pressure groups.
    There is huge evidence in the public domain that the Welsh language experiment has failed after some twelve years of unprecedented social engineering and it has failed for the simple reason that there is neither popular demand nor the support for the ‘Bilingual Nation’ concept.
    Welsh people need democracy and freedom of choice to live their lives through English or Welsh language as they choose – Anything else is simply a totalitarian approach that can’t be accepted or tolerated!

  7. Flabbergasting, unbelievable, difficult to fathom, shell shocked. Hopefully that communicates sufficiently my absolute gobsmacked-ness at Jon’s belief, that he, as a monoglot English speaker, a member of a speech group of hundreds of millions and the majority in Wales, is at a disadvantage.

    Jon, here’s an exercise for you, and hopefully this will smash your hypothesis to bits. Try using any public service, and any legal service in Welsh. Then take a tour around the comment sections of various newspapers/ blogs with articles about Welsh and read the tripe that we have to put up with. Then try and get a job, pretending to be a monoglot Welsh speaker in your own country. This will, without a shadow of a doubt, make you realize who the disadvantaged group is. The half a million Welsh speakers, or the 2.5 million English speakers?

    Also you have misinterpreted the legislation (which isn’t hard to do it’s a door stopper of an act and full of legal jargon). Subsection 4 in Part 1 of the act says quite clearly ”this does effect the status of English in Wales”. English is also a de facto official language in Wales. It isn’t official per se according to statute anywhere in the UK as we have no written constitution here

  8. “Please don’t present your own prejudiced opinion as fact, or present ‘facts’ without evidence.”

    My opinion is stated as opinion, however, it is informed opinion. Over several years now I have asked for the assessment and external examination figures for Welsh Medium schools and English Medium Schools separately all benchmarked for the percentage of pupils eligible for Free school Meals. This allows for a fair comparison.

    You can access the results on the Welsh Government Disclosure log and work it out for yourself. Up until last year the BBC ran an article online called “At the school Gate….” They discussed the reasons for and against putting a child into Welsh Medium schooling. Part of that said that children in Welsh Medium school did as well in English as pupils in EM schools. I complained that this was untrue at all key stages and sent them the data sets. The BBC was honest enough to remove the untrue statement.

    The Welsh in Education department is a different kettle of fish however. When asked for the documents or evidence that proved that the statement that pupils in WM schools did as well as in English as pupils in EM schools I was immediately warned (before any effort to find the documents) that it looked like my FOI request would be too costly to fulfil.

    As for your personal problems getting shop assistants to speak Welsh to you, you have my commiserations ….and I believe that I have a solution. Where I live you will almost always find a shop assistant to speak Welsh to you, by all means move up here. If you stay in a predominantly English speaking area then you are expecting everyone to foresake their own first language and learn Welsh to satisfy your demands and this is what is being asked of Leighton Andrews; that he makes it the LAW that first language English speakers and their children subjugate themselves to the will of what I estimate to be less than 4% of the population.

    I have a counter proposal: “Neither Welsh Nor English can be treated more favourably than the other.” should be the basis of linguistic policy.

    As for the growth of pupil numbers in WM schools outside the Fro Cymraeg; it is driven by the educated middle class and migrating Welsh speakers to a large degree. One reason why parents are seduced into sending their child to a Welsh Medium school is the propaganda that is sent out along with “Parental Preference” surveys.

    You can read about that here:-

    http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/welsh-parents-wooed-questionable-propaganda

    And you can read the propaganda if you follow the links in that article.

  9. Yes Jon, but there won’t be Welsh-speaking shop assistants for very long if Mr Protic has his way. Your advice to Gwyn cuts both ways. You can’t expect people to speak Welsh to you in Newport but colonialists like Protic expect to go the Y Fro and get all their public services in English so they are not put to the trouble of acquiring even minimal Welsh. And in your more considered way, you aid and abet them in that attitude.

  10. You are right about the demise of Welsh shop assistants R. Tred. but holding either Jacques or me to blame is a bit of “shooting the messenger”. I’ll go further; if just WHAT I was saying was analysed and acted on then it is my certain belief that the language would thrive in a much more meaningful way than is being aimed for in present policy.

    I’m not, I hasten to add, pretending that I care about it as much as you do but I have a strong dislike of the abject stupidity of present Welsh language measures.

    On the plus side… Jacques Protic isn’t an English colonist. Although “Franco-Serbian Colonists OUT” doesn’t have such a ring to it I’ll admit… but then neither does “Anybody who doesn’t speak our language and have our culture and attitudes OUT!”

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