Cymraeg wins; English – 0

Wales is slowly a’changing as far as language is concerned.

Overwhelmingly English-speaking in the South-East for a century, it happened today for probably the first time that a premier public body in the capital city published an important document solely in Welsh.

The National Assembly’s Petitions Committee announced that its agenda for Thursday’s meeting was available only in Welsh, and that no translation into English was available.

This move – which will no doubt be rectified before the meeting commences in the Senedd – seems to parallel another not-insignificant advance on the language front.

Elin Jones, rural affairs minister, took last week to replying purely in Welsh to questions asked of her in plenary session in English.

Ms Jones replied in Welsh, of course, only to AMs whom she knew spoke fluent Welsh, both from her own party, Plaid, and from the Tories. All spoken words in Welsh are, of course, interpreted via headphones into English.

But Ms Jones’s move overturned the seeming Assembly agreement that had quietly assumed that English is the superior language down there – previously a formal question was only answered in Welsh if it had been asked in that tongue.

A small advance, but perhaps not insignificant.

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