Welsh Language Policy:From Promotion to Regulation

Colin Haslehurst Williams

School of Welsh, Cardiff University, UK

WS121: Language Policy, Planning and Management: From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa

This paper will analyze the application of Welsh language legislation and offer an evaluation of how adequate the current arrangements are to agree, deliver and monitor bilingual services. Currently agreed language plans specify under what conditions the public may expect a range of services from a nominated body. However, such arrangements have proved inadequate in guaranteeing both a consistent and a comprehensive service at the point of local contact and demand.

The key issue is the extent to which existing legislation, which is predicated on the responsibilities of bodies to deliver services, should be amended so that the rights of the individual and the rights of the employees within public bodies and organizations should be specified more clearly. The paper also argues 1) for the extension of language plans into the private and voluntary sector; 2) the establishment of a Language Commissioner; 3) the incorporation of language clauses into the various equality legislation; 4) stronger powers for the Welsh Language Board to regulate and force compliance on recalcitrant authorities and Crown Bodies;5) a central role for the National Assembly for Wales to legislate within the field of bilingualism and language policy.

The final part of the paper will refer to selected developments within other European contexts where language promotion has gradually been reinforced by more binding legislation and stricter regulation.

Session: Workshop (part 2)
Language Policy, Planning and Management: From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 11:00-12:30
room: 04