I agree with what has been said before and want to expand this to aspects that affect the psychology of language use outside of schools. We need to consider things that can help to normalise the language across parts of Wales where it is very rarely heard. This will lead to increased confidence and desire to so. This is something that is not a problem in the strong Welsh speaking communities, where it has always been normal and maybe unquestioned, but their strength is constantly threatened by the lack of Welsh speaking elsewhere..
This may be an obvious thing to state, but we need a lot more confident language users in the 18-25 year old age groups who are proud to use the language on the streets, in the bars, on facebook and in the shops. In my mind this will be the key to inspire school pupils to emulate the use of the language outside of school. If we can find ways to support this age group and instil pride and confidence in this generation, then that confidence will filter down through sixth forms and colleges to secondary schools and beyond.
We need to find ways to retain and strengthen the links between 18-30 year olds and their former schools and their former communities, even the ones who have left Wales to go to colleges around the world. This has to be driven by people in that age group, but with support from everyone else.
These can be role models for the current pupils. These are the ones who may find that their use of the language slips away, through lack of opportunities to use it. We need young people predominantly in the 17-25 year old age groups devising ways to build a common civic ethos for a new age that embraces our heritage and by its very nature embraces the language at its core.
We may possibly, although I’m not sure, need to incentify young people to do this and I think that this could be through recognition and access to things that would otherwise be too difficult or costly. Many, many young people in this bracket want CV building opportunities or the opportunity to learn new skills. Their investment of time and effort in being the future patrons of our heritage and culture could be rewarded with a very rounded CV and enhanced skills and opportunities to do things they might otherwise be unable to do.
Other possible incentives to be good citizens, supporting our heritage could be things that are very sociable and interesting, perhaps things that are otherwise only for the privileged or knowledgeable or well connected, they could be risk taking thrills and challenges, tall ship races, cave diving, mountain climbing, motorsport challenges, skills to build games and apps or make music, whatever excites young people these days.
Basically there is no Urdd after school, unless you chose to take on a role within it, so post school young people need something to engage and coordinate with – not a movement that some might link to something dark and sinister, but a key hub that helps people to build their own ideas and provide them with confidence to use the language more widely.
We also need perhaps to bring together our sports and arts organisation to help bridge any divides that may exist between any of our communities for other reasons, but reasons that may indirectly impinge on the language – could we show that our Football and Rugby traditions really are “stronger together” and very proud to support our heritage and the language.
I also think that we need many other people who are seen as apolitical and respected across all of our demographics to be the voice of rational and respected patrons. We need apolitical voices of reason as supporters of the language to give the language and the people who speak it the respect it and they deserve. I think it has to be very clear that there is no tolerance for those who snub or attack the language or the people who use it, but we have to win that battle through positivity and by growing pride and respect for a common heritage.
In my opinion, normalisation of the language in our streets and in our media is the key to its growth. The suggestion of everyone comfortably knowing a handful of phrases would be brilliant in that respect. We shouldn't underestimate what has happened since the late 1990s, many in the 1970s and 80s never heard a single word of Welsh and not surprisingly are still unable to pronounce simple street signs and place names. That was a low point and it is a strong positive that school children and the young people of this millenium are starting from a much higher level of knowledge and awareness than many of their parents.
As for "yr ail iaith", I'll be very happy if I live long enough to never hear that term again. The aspiration to be a fluent and natural Welsh speaker is a strong motivation for many who wish to learn and whatever the truth and technicalities of the terminology or the reality of learning languages it serves no motivational purpose whatsoever.