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Cymraeg, keep on growing
Meirion Prys Jones is head of the Welsh Language Board (Bwrdd Yr Iaith Gymraeg) http://www.byig-wlb.org.uk/English/Pages/index.aspx, whose aim is « the promotion and facilitation of the use of the Welsh language
Kristian Le Bras Par Blaz Produktion le 3/11/09 9:30

Meirion Prys Jones is head of the Welsh Language Board (Bwrdd Yr Iaith Gymraeg) (voir le site) , whose aim is « the promotion and facilitation of the use of the Welsh language ». WLB spends an annual 16.5 million euros towards this. A substantial sum by any standards, « but it's never enough », says Prys Jones.

At the invitation of the Emgavioù etrerannvro (Interregional encounters on minority languages and their everyday use) in Landerneau (Breizh), Meirion gave a both factual and impassioned account of what has been done in Wales in the past decades, and mostly of what is presently under way to promote the daily use of the Welsh language. The focus is clearly on Welsh as a communication medium, as the voice of a community. On youth.

The struggle for the Welsh language (education, media, publishing, arts…) is – rightly – seen from abroad as a success story. Particularly by Breton language activists. However, when asked « Do you think you have secured the future of Welsh? », Meirion switched on his microphone, answered with a blunt « no » and switched it off, before adding « although we may have contributed to its survival, which no one can predict ».

This concise, articulate and modest approach (« what works in Wales may well not apply elsewhere »), this constant focus on the use of language in its social context and on « what works » was highly appreciated by the audience. For some, moulded in the French structuralist paradigm, it seems to have been a fruitful introduction to constructivism.

Want to learn more? Listen to video interview (interviewers Mikael Baudu & Kristian ar Braz)

Jack of all linguistic trades
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