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Langue et culture

  • Less than half of Welsh teenagers think they'll speak the language as adults. By Daniel Evans

    Teenagers are apathetic about learning Welsh. Can we keep the language alive

    Teenagers in Wales believe it is important that Welsh remains a living language, but fewer than half believe they will go on to speak it as adults. This is what we found when we surveyed over 800 young people from across Wales about their attitudes to the language.

    Our initial results show that despite the Welsh government’s efforts to create an “infrastructure” for the language so that Welsh speakers can use it on a daily basis, there is still a lot of work to be done. The narrow vote in favour of Welsh devolution in 1997 was seen as a defining moment in the history of the Welsh language. The Welsh Assembly was heralded as the ultimate tool to safeguard the language, which had consistently been declining throughout the 20th century.

    Initially, things looked very promising. The 2001 census results seemed to mark a historic turnaround in fortunes for the language, showing a 13 per cent increase in the number of Welsh speakers since 1991.

    Yet this proved to be a false dawn. In 2011, the numbers of Welsh speakers had again declined, with 19 per cent of the population “able to speak Welsh” compared with 20.8 per cent in 2001. Disappointingly, this decline also included the younger age groups, aged between five and 15, which had shown slight increases in ability in previous years.

    To address this decline, in 2011 the Welsh government published the policy document Living language: a language for living. Its aim was to ensure that Welsh remains a living language used in everyday life – as opposed to a language merely associated with school or “high culture”.

    Over the past few years my colleagues and I at WISERD Education have been visiting schools (both primary and secondary, Welsh and English medium) across Wales surveying different groups of children as they pass through key phases in their education. In one survey done between April and July 2013, we asked 849 students, drawn from Years 8 and 10 (aged 12-13 and 14-15), their views on the Welsh language.

    Attitudes v practice

    The students were generally positive towards the language, with 75 per cent feeling that it is important that Welsh “remains a living language”. Of those we surveyed, 65 per cent of students claimed it was important for them to learn Welsh – a positive sign for the Welsh government’s strategy – although only 59 per cent stated it was important to “actually speak Welsh”. This also raises the spectre of a disjuncture between attitudes and practice.

     

     

  • Fiche synthétique

     

    PAYS DE GALLES

    CYMRU (gallois)

    KEMBRE (breton)

    WALES (anglais)

     

    Superficie:    20 276 km2      /  Bretagne: 34 200 km2

    Population :  env. 3 millions d'habitants  / Bretagne : plus de 4 millions

    Capitale:  Cardiff  , jumelée avec Nantes, Bretagne

    Jumelages: A ce jour, 44 villes bretonnes jumelées avec des villes galloises.

    Langues: le gallois, langue celtique, comme le breton : 19% de la population parlent le gallois; l'anglais .

    Universités: Cardiff, Aberystwyth et Bangor constituent l'Université Nationale du Pays de Galles.

    Administration: 8 comtés.

    Statut particulier: Assemblée nationale galloise (référendum du 18 septembre 1997). Voir détail ci-joint.

    Economie: Industrie (construction navale, sidérurgie, ardoisières, tourisme, agriculture, artisanat). Agriculture (élevage de moutons essentiellement).

    Partis politiques: outre les partis politique britanniques (Labour, Tories, Libéraux), le Plaid Cymru est un parti autonomiste qui a plusieurs députés à Westminster.

    Drapeau: «  Y Ddraig doch » le Dragon Rouge (emblème du Roi Arthur)

    Hymne: Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (le vieux pays de mes pères) Paroles: Evan James/Ieuan ap Iago; musique: James James(fils de Evan)/Iago ap Ieuan. 1856. Traduit en breton par François Jafrennou, barde Taldir sous le titre « Bro Gozh ma zadoù » en 1902.

    Fête nationale: le 1er Mars, jour de la Saint-David, patron du Pays de Galles.

    Religion: Plusieurs églises protestantes en majorité (Anglicans, Méthodistes, Non-Conformistes, Presbytériens, Calavinistes) et Catholiques.

    Traditions: Puissante culture traditionnelle qui atteint son summum avec la grande fête de la culture galloise , 'l'Eisteddfod ' qui rassemble près d'un million de personnes au début du mois d'août .

    Sport: le rugby est un sport national de renommée mondiale.

    Boissons: la bière, le thé

    Climat: doux et humide

    Montagnes: le Snowdon (Parc Naturel de Snodonia , au nord du Pays de Galles). Les Black Mountains, au  sud .

    Musique: la harpe est l'instrument le plus pratiqué. Les chorales galloises font le tour du monde...

    Bilinguisme: toutes les pancartes sont bilingues. L'enseignement en gallois est généralisé. Tous les documents officiels sont en gallois.
    La télévision a un chaîne entièrement en gallois , la S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru).

    Littérature: plusieurs trésors de la littérature médiévale occidentale, en particulier les Quatre Branches des Mabinogi /Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi, (Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan, Math), et d'autres textes : Culluwch et Olwen, le Rêve de Mascen Wledig, Lludd et Llefelys, Peredur, le rêve de Rhonabwy, Owein, Gereint et Eneid et l'histoire de Taliesin ,  traduits en anglais par Charlotte Guest en 1838 et 1849 qui réunit tous ces textes sous le titre des Mabinogion.