Issue 6

Y Gymraeg yn amod cyflogaeth: Cam derbyniol o safbwynt rhyddfrydol? (Welsh as a job requirement: An acceptable step from a liberal perspective?)

Policies introduced to revive the prospects of minority languages have often been the source of substantial disquiet. At times, objections to these policies are expressed in moral terms, with certain measures being accused of transgressing normative principles such as individual freedom and equal opportunity. Given their nature, these moral objections pose interesting questions for liberals. Therefore, how should liberals respond? This article will explore this question by focusing on one controversial aspect of language policy in Wales: the steps taken to set Welsh-language requirements for some jobs in the public sector. This is a practice which has generated substantial debate, with opponents claiming that it undermines the liberal commitment to equality of opportunity in the field of employment and, in particular, transgresses the principle of appointing on the basis of merit. Do such arguments stand up to scrutiny? Do minority language requirements in the field of employment go beyond what liberals would consider acceptable, or can a coherent defence that is clearly rooted within a liberal framework be developed?


Language policy, minority language, employment, philosophy, liberalism.


Lewis, H. (2010), 'Y Gymraeg yn amod cyflogaeth: Cam derbyniol o safbwynt rhyddfrydol?', Gwerddon, 6, 55-73. 

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