Understanding the use of Welsh in everyday life


Why the client needed the research
Sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales, BBC Wales, S4C and the Welsh Language Board, Beaufort was tasked with informing the clients on the extent to which Welsh speakers (and, in particular, 22-45 year olds) lived their lives through the medium of Welsh; and identifying strategies for increasing participation in Welsh medium activities.

Our approach:

We executed three key elements for this broad-ranging study. First, we undertook quantitative research with 861 Welsh speakers aged 16 and over across Wales, profiling their current levels of participation in a range of Welsh (and equivalent English) medium activities, as well as their attitudes towards the Welsh language.

We then carried out multivariate cluster analysis, taking into account attitudinal, behavioural and demographic data. For the final element, we focused solely on those aged 22-45 and conducted 21 free-flowing depth interviews (mostly paired, some with individuals) across Wales. These interviews allowed us to explore in great detail the reasons why Welsh speakers were (or were not) using Welsh in different contexts; and to understand what might influence them to change their future behaviour.

The outcome

At the analysis stage, we developed six discrete cluster groups, each with their own distinct characteristics and different levels of usage of Welsh in their everyday lives: Embracers, Mainstreamers, Enrichers, Desirers, Apathetics and Strivers.

Our work demonstrated the complexity and inter-related nature of the factors which influence the extent to which Welsh speakers live their lives through the medium of Welsh. We also found that the significance of the factors often differed between clusters, although some remained important across segments.

Five main themes emerged from the study, around which our recommendations to increase participation were centred: marketing, choice and relevance, distribution, education, and information and opportunity.

What the client said

“Beaufort’s work delivered genuine insight in what is a particularly complex area of study” (Carys Evans, Head of Research, S4C)