There is “more support than ever” for the Welsh language, according to a government-commissioned report.
The annual Cymraeg 2050 report has been published, looking at the language’s progress.
The Labour government in Cardiff has set itself a target of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
But the 2021 census showed a decrease of 24,000 speakers in the last 10 years.
The total number of Welsh speakers in Wales over three years of age stands at 538,000 – 17.8% of the population – data showed.
Last month, Duolingo said it would look at how it could support the target despite pausing updates to the app’s Welsh language course.
The first report of its kind since census results were published last year acknowledged the “challenges presented by the census results” but said “progress” had been made.
“The narrative around the Welsh language has certainly changed and there is more support than ever for the language,” it added.
“The entire nation was disappointed with the census data, and we need to take hold of the energy, enthusiasm and desire around us to work together to make a difference for our language.”
Plaid Cymru‘s Heledd Fychan said there were things that “must” be celebrated.
“But we must also remind ourselves that warm words don’t create Welsh speakers and neither do they generate progress in terms of language use,” she added.
The Welsh Conservatives‘ shadow Welsh language minister Samuel Kurtz said making the language accessible to all was “key to developing confident speakers”.
“It is a worrying trend that, in the 20 years before devolution, the number of Welsh speakers increased, but the numbers have now decreased in the two decades since. It is essential that this decline is reversed.”
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Responding in the Senedd on Tuesday, education minister Jeremy Miles said it was important to be “open about the challenges” faced.
“But it is also truly important that we look at the Welsh language as something that is for everyone and create a welcoming environment in that regard, not just looking at it as a constant battle,” he added.