Thursday, March 06, 2008

Our survey says

A very large 10-volume document was deposited on my desk this week. It contains the findings of Assembly Government research into what we think of public services. And lo, it found we are very happy with them.
Of more interest is a finding that 24% of people "preferred to access services" bilingually in English and Welsh. One per cent said English or Welsh, two per cent said Welsh only and 73% said English only.
Because of the rather awkward way this is phrased in the report, I'm not entirely sure what that 24% is saying. No-one can access services in English and Welsh at the same time, unless they are clever enough to fill out two forms at once or conduct the same conversation simultaneously in two languages.
Of late there has been an increased focus on encouraging Welsh speakers to use the language, a development I applaud because as a Welsh speaker I can certainly identify with the type of person described here who does not use Welsh when dealing with officialdom.
Does this survey mean that only a quarter of the people in Wales agree with the principle, indeed the law, that says public bodies should operate in English and Welsh?

1 comment:

Rhys Wynne said...

I thinks a Welsh speaker's more likely to want to have the option of 'bilinguaul' or 'English and Welsh' (what's the difference?) for a variety of reasons I'm sure. Mainly:
a) Sometimes Welsh forms are written in such a formal way that it scares those who are not confident in the language, especially those who have not read and written in Welsh for years, even if they speak it daily
b) In my own experience, no matter how confident you are in Welsh, if the English has been written in such a poor standard that it's impossible to understand what they're on about, you're then forced to look at the English version to get the gist
c) As the provision in Welsh isn't always the same as the English, some will automatically go for English believing they'll get a better service.

The question relating to ability to communicate in Welsh while using the bus is interesting. Do the mean speaking to the driver, getting times/info from a website/timetable or what I wonder?