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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Minding our language

There is no doubt that the Welsh Conservative's new policy aim of giving the Welsh language official status on an equal footing with English is a significant change in direction for them. However, the Western Mail is right to question what exactly this policy means:

Ms Francis, who represents Mid and West Wales in the Assembly, said, 'As it stands English is the de facto official language of Wales. Conservatives want to give Welsh that same status, enshrined in law.

'If we are seeking to review existing legislation, then giving Welsh official language status would be the starting point for strengthening both the law and future of the language.

'At present, the status of Welsh in the eyes of the law remains vague and limited.

'The way to get the Welsh language to thrive is through 75% education and 25% legislation.

'Reviewing and revising existing legislation effectively amounts to a new Welsh Language Act. Current legislation does not give clear information to the public about what language choices they have.'

Despite this the party says there is no prospect of a Tory-led administration in the Assembly forcing private firms to adopt Welsh-language schemes. So what exactly will a new Welsh Language Act say and how are they going to persuade companies around Wales to treat English and Welsh on an equal basis?
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