As parents in Wales teach their children about the symbolism of daffodils and dragons on St Davids day, how many of them will do it speaking in Welsh? A recent study shows that the future of Welsh language is threatened by the fact that many parents are not speaking in their own language to their children. "We found that many Welsh-speaking parents were not transmitting the language to their children," says Dr Delyth Morris, who led the study on behalf of the University of Wales, Bangor. "This is particularly the case in families where only one parent speaks Welsh."
This research, which is of great importance not only for forming language policy within Wales, but is also extremely valuable for language planning for all the minority languages across Europe, is part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) sponsored study which sought to identify the reasons why some parents in Wales transmit the language to their children and others do not.
Through the year long study, researchers found that a number of factors affect childrens learning of the language including the amount of time spent with the Welsh-speaking parent, the amount of contact they have with grandparents who speak Welsh, and whether the familys friends and neighbours speak Welsh or not. In addition, it appears that the power relations within a family can have a significant influence.
Alexandra Saxon | EurekAlert!
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