Gah! Anti-Welsh sentiment online (how fun)

10 03 2006

Okay, So I joined this online political game at All went dandy initially, I picked my party name and looked forward to a bit of debate and an excuse to waste half an hour, although it turned  sour in the first day.

One of my first proposals (which have to be passed by a majority of the other parties) was my “Preservation of Native Language’s” bill, which entailed exactly the following:

“The stated departments of education shall henceforth protect and promote the use of our native languages, and to ensure that our native languages do not become extinct due to the internationalisation of the English language. Children in our nation should be raised bilingual, educated in both English and specific language, to ensure our ancient heritage and culture is passed onto our children and their childrens children.”

Now I don’t see anything particularily offensive there at all (let me know if anyone else thinks otherwise), and my chosen party name was hardly controversial “The Welsh Eudaimonic Party”, but within hours I got this response:

“What is it with the welsh why do you want to learn a language wich absolutly no one on earth speaks and then write your sign posts in it. (dont accuse me of being anti welsh as i visit frequently and love Bullet for my vallentine and Funeral for a friend)”

I mean seriously was there any need for it? What’s funny is that his choice of music is somehow a guarantee that he isn’t anti-Welsh. I really don’t understand that. Well, being the complete Welsh whackjob I am, I had to reply =p

“No-one on Earth? There is over 3 million Welsh speakers across the world! I want to speak Welsh because it’s my birthright, my heritage and MY language, and the language of my forefathers. We write OUR signposts in bilingual text because, GET THIS. THOSE SIGNPOSTS ARE IN WALES *shock horror*. Your comments are as illogical as offensive. It’s like saying signposts in England shouldn’t be written in English!

I really don’t see your argument against this bill, if you’d like to propose an actual REASON, why children should NOT be raised bi-lingual than please propose that, instead of going off on one about bilingual signposts in Welsh and English in Wales.

This bill ensures that our native languages can continue to prosper for our future generations.

Also, I think you should look into the Welsh colony in Patagonia. Lots of Welsh speakers down in that part of the world.”

Okay, I may have exagerrated the number a bit, but since when is a language only a language if it has a certain critera of speakers? What a complete toss-head. Unsurprisingly he was from Yorkshire. Go figure that one folks.

This was the funniest bit later in the argument though:

 “Dammt I wish Yorkshire had a langage.”

I could have been cruel and told him that Yorkshire had a dialect of Welsh at one time, but I’ll take the higher ground 😉

Read the horror for yourself, if you’d like:




14 responses

10 03 2006
wonderful electric

I hate to correct your English, but: “There is over 3 million Welsh speakers across the world! ” — it should be are. 😉

Feel free to correct fy Gymraeg at any time!

I also think the ‘tension’ comes from the cross-purposes. The uninitiated and the English fear that the Welsh want to preserve their language to reinforce the sense of a closed isolationist community, one they can’t join in with. Which obviously is not necessarily the case – although sometimes, alas, it is. Sometimes, you just want to preserve and continue to speak a language you grew up speaking. Whether anyone else wants to join in is up to them!

5 12 2016

That’s all they are, ‘fears’, often only in the minds of those English people whose ears are burning, perhaps in fear that their guilt will be exposed. No one is ever excluded from conversation in Welsh, it’s simply a matter of choosing to opt in and learn. If anything Welsh people (particularly in Welsh speaking areas) are far too accommodating to monoglot English speakers. That’s a quality that is admirable when applied to visitors, but tends to be self-destructive when applied for too long to those who domicile themselves in Wales.

Personally I feel that whilst, in general, a bilingual, Welsh/English policy is a good policy for the whole of Wales, at a local level I think it should be a case for an aesthetic Welsh language bias in the majority Welsh speaking areas, i.e. public signage appearing solely in Welsh, (but with a common understanding that both Welsh and English can be used, for example, to access one’s fundamental human rights as a bare minimum) and that all internal local government activities are Welsh medium. This would create a situation that would make a very powerful psychological statement supporting the Welsh language to both Welsh speakers, and visitors/those domiciled but not Welsh speaking.

I’d like to see that adopted as a policy for Welsh central government too, that would boost the numbers leaving school bilingual, as it would be a basic requirement, and provide a concrete reason for being able to speak Welsh. Languages that have an economic value tend to flourish.

12 03 2006
Nic Dafis

“Fy Nghymraeg.” Nasal mutation, not soft.

Hey, you started it 😉

The thing that always amuses me with anti-Welsh nutjobs like this guy is that they are so rarely fluent in the One Language they believe should Rule Us All.

Dude, if you can’t even spell the names of your favourite Welsh bands, don’t be dissin’ our lingo.

(But trying to argue with them is like piso yn y gwynt.)

19 03 2006
Gareth Williams

LOL, yeah my bad. I should make a mental note not to write long debates in the early morning.

Good points raised W.E, I suppose that’s true, what annoys me is that other foreign languages aren’t nearly held with such contempt and adversary in the UK than Welsh. Perhaps that’s just the way I see it?

“One Language they believe should Rule Us All”. Been at Tolkien again again Nic? ;-). Though, quite true, I’ve often found that those that are English and opposed to Welsh language or identity for that matter, have often poor English themselves. Perhaps that’s a constant?

hahahah @ piso yn y gwynt!

12 06 2007
Ellis Williams

sorry mate I couldnt disagree with you more I have to sit in welsh class 3 hours a week or somthing. There is no bigger waste of my time and tax payers money in my opinion. I’m forced to go as a low atendence will make it hard for me to get into 6th form and go into further education. I wish I could spend time revising for more important subjects. There are more people who can speak “klingon” (yes the language from star-trek) globaly than welsh speakers. FACT.

12 06 2007

That’s your opinion and you are of course entilted to it. 😉

12 06 2007
Ellis Williams

I dont know one more word of Welsh than I did 3 years ago (royn hoffi coffi) I’m not saying it’s a waste of everybodys time but it sertainly is for me and the majority of my class. I dont think that it should be a compulsory subject at GCSE. Thank you for respecting my opinion the teachers sertainly dont.

13 06 2007

I’m not going to judge anyone’s succes at learning a language at school as I was ‘forced’ to learn French for 3 years at school. I totally disliked it
1. The teacher was horrible (or at least we thought she was)
2. I therfore disliked here and the subject. Also the media in the UK is quite anti-French (and anti-German, and anti-anything foreign come to think of it), and the attitudes of others probably influenced me.
3. There was nowhere to use your French outside class

All the above made me not try very hard, then it obviously becomes harder and then I fail.

I regret it now of course. Not that I’d ever want to go and live and work in France, but I’ve only been on hols ther once and don’t like going as I’m not fluent. Of course many speak English over there, but it’s not the point and I’d feel a daft.

I regret it now of course, especially with the internet and blogs etc, as i could following what’s happening in the sub-cultures of France on-line without ever having to visit the place.

Anyway you might say that learning French and Welsh are completely different, but I would say that the reason so many don’t learn much Welsh at school are
1. The way it’s delivered
2. Attitude towards the language in/by the media and certai public bodies + plus look at the story about Thomas Cook in Bangor
3. So few opportuniteis in some areas of Wales to speak the language unless you come from a Welsh speaking background.

In a few years time you might fancy travelling around Wales, and not speaking Welsh shouldn’t stop you from doing that of course, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to chat to your fellow countrymen/women in their first language? Also you’d be opening yourself up to a completely different world (book, music, friends etc) that exists on your own doorstep which you might not even know about even. I don’t know if you come from Newport like the author of this blog, but there are young people from Newport who speak Welsh, i heard a radio programme about a group of them discussing what it’s like being brought up in a city where people frown at them when they speak Welsh together, and how they enjoyed going to see Welsh bands playing at the Eisteddfod in Swansea last summer and meeting kids from all over Wales.

13 06 2007

Ellis, you remind me alot of myself actually, when I was your age. I’m only 23 btw, so not quite “granny” fodder yet!

I really didn’t enjoy Welsh in school for a few reasons, I thought it was pointless and had no bearing what so-ever on my life in an almost wholly English speaking Newport/Casnewydd.

It was when I went abroad on an exchange scheme (to the United States) through the University of Glamorgan that things really began to change, on a personal basis. What defined me as a Welsh person? What made me different than the English, the Scots etc?

On exchange, I met many people from all over the world, many of whom spoke their own language (Swedish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese etc). These languages had a profound effect on their identity and their culture. Something that I felt was lacking or absent in mine, to an extent.

I was never taught Welsh history in school, or had any insight into Welsh culture (bar the Eiseddfod), so I could never define to others what made me, as a Welshman different than others. Sure I can use Stereophonics, BfmV, Lost Prophets etc as musical examlesof Welsh culture but, I thought “Surely there must be more, From a country so old?”

After my 6 months away from home and my return back to the UK, I enrolled onto a Welsh course and actively sought to find out about Welsh history and culture to better my own understanding of “me”, my identity.

I’m not a nationalist or anything like that, my own path to learning Welsh (in such a lingually isolated place like Newport) and history comes from a personal place, the need to discover aspects of me. 🙂

Heritage and whatnot.

This is something you will find time and time again in the South East, People do not know what they are mssing, because they’ve never had the opportunity or the allowance to find and explore their Welsh roots. I understand where you are coming from, believe me, I’ve been there, but before you slam it too hard. Try and look into it if you can, there’s a whole world out there most of us southerners are completely absent from.


4 09 2007

Ellis – sixu’s post answers you better than I ever can. But just a short note that it certaintly is not FACT that there are more Klingong speakers than Welsh – it’s a a myth which is rolled out in arguments against all kind of minority languages. The myth began when The Onion (like an online Private Eye) published a joke story saying that more people spoeaks Klingon than Najavo (one of the red indian languages in the USA). Najavo has 100,000 speakers, far less than Welsh and far more than Klingon (even that fake article put the Klingon soeakers number at 7,000 people)

14 01 2008

i am english and live near in rural north wales and a local primary/junior school i know of teaches all lessons in welsh and the pupils are told off if they speak english including at can imagine the effect on learning that this policy has on non welsh pupils at the school.i personally know one pupil from an english only speaking family there age 10 whose reading and writing skills are akin to a six year old.his welsh is pretty good though.personally i think it is a disgraceful policy where learning for the sake of nationalism is put ahead of learning to prepare for life.i am not saying all of wales has this attitude but in the parocial rural areas if you are english and you live here you are a second class citizen unless you are there for the weekend in which case they are only to happy to relieve you of your money on the the understanding that you sod off back where you come from come sunday afternoon

14 03 2008

message to putupwithitorgetout

Its true that (if this is true) a Welsh only school that disallows their students to speak English at school is wrong, it merely sinks down to the same level where Welsh speakers were disallowed speaking Welsh at work, church, school etc. Yet your point about learning a language simply for nationalism is flawed. Why don’t you start speaking French in England? Because you wouldn’t be English any more. Welsh is the oldest living language in Europe and the language of our ancestors. It’s history and should be kept alive. After all millions of pounds a year are spent keeping our castles and whatnot going so why shouldn’t we venerate a language that survives to this day against all the odds and the mist of time. Also it was not all that long ago when English pupils were expected to learn Latin and yet Welsh is far richer, not to mention more bloody useful (and still alive), that Latin.

17 07 2009

Some interesting views/opinions here. Makes me wonder a bit about some of my compatriots. However, it is pleasing to see that the once common, rabid, (and foaming at the mouth) detractors of the Welsh language that were a part of the 1960s scene in Wales are now very much an animal on the brink of extinction. Most people in Wales are now at least passively supportive of Welsh. And though sometimes a little bemused, most are far from being hostile, and many, on a rational level actually agree that both Welsh and English should have parity in Wales. Many believe that both languages do have parity, but as they are not daily users, (and that is their rightful choice) are unaware that this is not the case. When this issue is discussed with people in this group, many express feelings of anger that Welsh isn’t more equally regarded, even though they themselves are unlikely to ever want to speak Welsh.

What angers them is that many of their compatriots are not being allowed to use their own language in their own country when shopping, dealing with the council etc. (Yes, I know that councils are supposed to treat Welsh and English equally, but how many of them really do?) I remember a demonstration outside Marks & Sparks on Queen Street, Cardiff in the 90s when over 1,000 signature were collected for a petition to try and persuade that chainstore to accept cheques, (remember them) written in Welsh, and to put up bilingual signage inside the store in just over an hour and a half. Most of those signing were NOT Welsh speakers, and most probably had no desire to speak it either, but they were supportive of the rights of others to be able to use Welsh whilst shopping to put their names to a petition.

It’s a sad fact that 80% of school leavers from Welsh medium education in South East Wales do not continue to use/speak the language after leaving school. Leaving aside the usually mediocre ‘kultur’ of the Eisteddfod, the Urdd and S4C, (that should rattle some cages!) and the definite lack of a vibrant popular culture in Welsh, there are few work places other than those employing either language nerds or those very people who control the three mentioned ‘cultural’ institutions, (and perhaps the Welsh Langwidj Bored) where Welsh is an every day social phenomenon. Most local authorities have language schemes, where one can often find grandly worded statements that they ‘support and encourage’ their staff to learn and use Welsh whilst fulfilling their duties, the reality is that most local authorities in the South East don’t actually do this. Many frustrated members of staff of local authorities/government bodies have complained to me about the lack of an infrastructure that would allow them to do this. The Language Board should be policing the act adequately, as is their remit, but in actuality they seem, in my opinion, to be in collusion with local authorities in NOT enforcing compliance with the 1993 Welsh Language Act or the Language Schemes themselves. Perhaps this stems from a desire to not want to ‘rock the boat’ as there is the cynical opinion in circulation, to which I subscribe, that the Language Board is staffed by members of the elite, or ‘crachach’ who get paid very well to collude with the Imperial interests that framed the legislation in the first place – anyone who has even a scant knowledge of Welsh history will get my drift. It may have been true that the Welsh language was the preserve of an elite in South East Wales, but that was at least 25 years ago now. Most people who are able to speak Welsh in this area are far from forming part of that elite, and are more likely to come from a working-class background than a middle-class background. However, in reality it is very difficult to usse Welsh on a daily basis unless you want to make a fuss, and most people just don’t want to do that. After all, why should anyone have to put up with second rate service just because they want to use the national language in their own country? It’s usually just easier to use English, especially as those charged with delivering services to us, and who also come under the Welsh Language Act do not habitually ask us which language we’d like to use – something they are SUPPOSED to do!

I understand the unpopularity of a subject that appears pointless, and as a child compulsory Welsh was the least popular of a range of unpopular subjects to me. I didn’t seriously study the language until in my late 20s. When I learned, I was living in a very Welsh speaking area. I then came to Cardiff, where it was obvious to me that for the average person it was enough to express a Welsh identity with pride, (and this appeared to be something new). Opinions on the language varied from the hostile, (not many) to the completely bemused. Most people were somewhere in between, i.e. not hostile and permissive. After having spent over twenty years in the city attitudes have changed, and many non-Welsh speaking parents wish to send their children to Welsh medium schools, so much so that demand far outstrips supply. Many adults express a desire to learn Welsh, many stating as a reason that they are Welsh, so should speak Welsh. There are also many other reasons for learning Welsh, of course. Even in Newport, where the national schizophrenia seems to be at its strongest, (Am I Welsh or am I English?) things have changed, with many people expressing a desire to learn the language and reclaim their birth right. My impression is that Newport is today where Cardiff was some twenty or so years ago.

It may not be a majority of people (yet) who wish to use Welsh as an everyday medium, but if it became easier, many would I believe, avail themselves of the opportunity. How many times have I heard people supportive of the Welsh language complain that there’s little point learning a language that cannot be used in daily life? And that I believe, is the nub of the question. It’s fine if a minority wish to learn Welsh as a hobby, but for most people, myself included, there has to be a practical reason, namely that a person can viably live their daily lives through the medium of that language, in work, and at play, and also at home should they so desire. This is true of all languages. It may seem that this could never happen in S E Wales, but I believe that it could become a reality quite quickly if people were really encouraged to use it whilst dealing with their local authorities,in the post office etc. There would need to be an element of compulsion to achieve this, it is true, but that compulsion should be on the businesses and services we all use to offer a real choice, be ‘learner friendly’ etc. There should be no compulsion on people to use it. or indeed learn it, (unless they’ve agreed in order to get a job etc). Compulsory Welsh at school is a difficult one. The Tories, in their infinite wisdom imposed this in their Education Reform Act of 1988, (though compulsory Welsh didn’t come into force until 1990). However, I suspect that Welsh is as unpopular now as a subject as it was when I was at school – it’s probably as badly taught, and seemingly of no relevance in the daily life of a teenager whose main interests are teen culture and an awakening interest in sex – all quite normal. It’s difficult enough to do this in the more Welsh speaking areas of Wales, nigh on impossible in Newport or Cardiff. The ultra-conservative chapel mentality of the Welsh establishment, which seems to include most Welsh teachers mitigates against a vibrant youth counter-culture expressing itself in Welsh. The creation of such a counter culture may scare the pants off the Crachach, who are still firmly of that perverse belief that all bad things emanate from England, and through the English language, and that Wales, and particularly the Welsh language must somehow be kept ‘pure’. I’m sure that there would be a few non-Welsh speaking parents who would be concerned about such a counter culture as this would mean that their teenage offspring were even less intelligible than they are anyway. Instead of Welsh being a language of compliance, (i.e. a compulsory subject at school) it could become one of rebellion. Now when are Goldy Lookin’ Chain releasing their first rap in Welsh?

11 12 2009

Oh my god loved reading this article. I submitted your feed to my reader.

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