In spite of its promotion by local media and government, the number of Welsh language speakers has continued to decline in recent years. Hugh Muir writes in this article for the Guardian about the the uphill struggle to keep the language alive. Citing economic troubles as a primary factor, he discusses how the loss of young, new speakers to emigration has left Wales more susceptible to the influence of English.
Muir meets with Heini Gruffud, a language activist and author of over 25 books in Welsh, to discuss the language’s waning usage. In spite of the difficulties it is facing, Gruffud remains confident that it will continue to endure:
“People have been saying that Welsh would die out for hundreds of years. With all the pressures it has faced, its survival is a bit of a miracle.”
His optimism draws upon the language’s ongoing appeal in social circles: “I met a man the other day who said they run 11 rugby teams in his area and all through the medium of Welsh. That’s important. People using Welsh in a social way. More important than a bilingual gas bill.”