By Liz Estal

We all start the New Year with the best intentions. New Year resolutions let us rethink our behaviours and help us make a change for the better.

Babies apparently absorb language from birth…

This year I decided to make more of an effort to speak and sing to my baby in Welsh instead of English.

Thanks to a Welsh school education I am a fluent speaker, but have always found it difficult to habitually use Welsh in a social and domestic setting. This is an issue the Welsh Government has promised to address in light of recent census findings; the number of fluent Welsh speakers has declined by over 20,000 in the last decade. Nowadays you can send your children to Welsh school, follow Welsh road signs when driving and even pay utility bills through the medium of Welsh.

Charities like Twf promote the use of Welsh from day one and make every effort to ensure the use of the language is accessible to everyone from babies and toddlers to parents.  Twf recognise the benefits of bilingualism, from making new friends to embracing different cultures. They provide everything from interactive calendars to nursery rhyme CDs to make Welsh culture as accessible as possible in a social context.

It is encouraging to feel the government and charities will help us to facilitate Welsh speaking in all aspects of our lives but it is possible that, ultimately, the responsibility to uphold this falls on the individual. In this particular case this means me; the parent.

Only I can make sure my baby has a bilingual upbringing. If the facilities are there then why is it so easy to slip back into English conversation? What more can the Welsh Government do to rectify things?

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