Wales politics

Welsh speakers email, text and social media mostly in English, survey finds

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Media captionOne in eight Welsh speakers said they tended to text friends using the language

Welsh speakers mainly use English in email, texts and and social media, according to a new survey.

At least 80% always or mainly used English in email and social media, and 74% while texting, with older Welsh speakers more likely to use Welsh.

One in eight said they always or mainly used Welsh when texting friends, and one in 10 when sending them email.

On Facebook, 9% of Welsh speakers always or mainly wrote in Welsh while on Twitter it was about 6%.

Around 46% of Welsh speakers considered themselves fluent - down from 58% in previous surveys carried out from 2004 to 2006.

Image copyright Welsh Government

The research published on Thursday was carried out for the Welsh language commissioner and the Welsh government.

  • 11% of all people in Wales said they could speak Welsh fluently compared to 12% ten years earlier
  • Just over half of Welsh speakers spoke the language daily, while one in 20 never used it
  • At home, one in five Welsh speakers always or almost always spoke Welsh
  • An increasing number of Welsh speakers said their employers supported the use of the language
  • Young Welsh speakers were more likely to use English in email and text messages than older Welsh speakers
Image copyright Welsh Government

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "There is a lot to be positive about from the report's findings but there are also challenges ahead.

"This is a crucial time for the language and as a Government, we remain determined to address these challenges and ensure that the language has a thriving and secure future."

Analysis by Vaughan Roderick, BBC Welsh Affairs Editor

Today's statistics present a mixed picture on the state of the language with the numbers of speakers and the use of the language broadly similar to the findings of an equivalent survey conducted a decade ago.

While the number of people fluent in Welsh has dropped slightly, the number with some grasp of it has risen - particularly amongst children and young people.

Language planners will be worried though by the tendency of Welsh speakers to use English on social media and when dealing with public bodies.

They will also be concerned about the suggestion that young Welsh speakers are far more likely to use the language in school rather than when talking to friends.

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