Debate on Welsh language's future after census blow
A CONFERENCE to discuss the census and the Welsh language will be held in the Amman Valley.
The Mountain Gate Hotel, in Tycroes, will be the venue for the event on March 14, providing a forum to discuss, analyse and interpret the census results in terms of the language.
The event has been arranged following disappointing results in the census, which showed a seven per cent drop in Welsh speakers in Carmarthenshire over the past decade. In 2011, 43.9 per cent of the population aged over 3 could speak Welsh, down from 50.3 per cent in 2001 and 54.9 per cent in 1991.
The conference has been sponsored by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and arranged by Mudiad Dathu'r Gymraeg (MDG).
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Gaynor Jones, of MDG, said: "The results clearly highlighted that we face significant challenges.
"The next decade will be crucial in protecting the future of Welsh as a living community language.
"As an umbrella group representing a wide spectrum of organisations working to promote the Welsh language at a grass roots level, we feel a duty to facilitate an open and creative discussion in response to the situation."
Experts, politicians and experienced practitioners in the field will attend the conference to discuss challenges facing the Welsh language.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews will be the keynote speaker, with others already confirmed including Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws and Heini Gruffudd, of Parents for Welsh Medium Education
Cathryn Ings, business manager at Menter Cwm Gwendraeth, welcomed the conference.
She said: "The results of the 2012 Census were a huge blow in terms of the Welsh language, but at least it has opened up all sorts of discussions about the future of the language and what must be done to increase its use and ensure its survival into the future.
"I think its important that these discussions continue and I am encouraged that there will be a conference held in Cwm Amman which, like Cwm Gwendraeth, is one of the heartlands of the Welsh language in Carmarthenshire and Wales.
"I hope it will come up with some workable suggestions for the way forward from here."
Translation facilities will be available at the conference, which runs from 9.30am to 4pm.