Top 10 most common anti-Welsh language arguments and why they’re stupid

Picture by National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

 

Don’t like the Welsh language? Are the phrases ‘someone just mashed a keyboard’ or ‘it’s just alphabet soup’ marching with ill-judged confidence in the direction of your social media conversations?

Stop! Before you pull a bees nest on your head (a Welsh idiom), read this. We don’t blame you for your ignorance, but we ask that you at least try to educate yourself.

Here are the top 10 most common anti-Welsh language arguments and why they’re daft:

  1. The Welsh language doesn’t make sense

That’s because you don’t speak it. No language makes sense to people who can’t speak it. It’s remarkable that this needs pointing out.

  1. The Welsh language is dead

Translation: you wish it were dead. People have been claiming the Welsh language was dead since the mid-19th century, when it had a million speakers. Almost 600,000 people still speak it today.

It must be a vampire language, dead and alive at the same time!

Let’s face it, you and me, we’ll both be dead long before the Welsh language is. It’s not going anywhere, so just learn to live with it.

  1. Everyone can speak English anyway

And everyone in Wales could speak Welsh anyway before English arrived. But you know what, speaking more than one language is *drumroll* a good thing:

  • It has cognitive benefits – a bilingual brain is a better brain, with better memory, a better attention span, an increased ability to multitask, and enhanced executive function
  • There are health benefits: it can delay the onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and lead to faster recovery from a stroke
  • It gives you a different way of seeing the world and a deeper understanding of your own and other cultures
  • It makes it easier to learn other languages
  • It’s an added skill that can give you an edge in the job market
  • People who speak Welsh like speaking it. Which is enough reason in itself for them to continue doing so

Did you know 56% of the world is bilingual? So we’re not the odd ones out, here. Speaking just the one language is.

  1. Children in Welsh language education don’t learn English

This completely contradicts the ‘everyone who can speak Welsh can speak English anyway’ argument, but hey ho.

It’s nonsense though – Welsh language education is a bilingual education, so the kids end up completely fluent in both.

They get all the education children in English schools get, and the Welsh language. Buy one get one free, with no drawbacks, and all the advantages listed above.

  1. The Welsh language is insular

So, speaking one language makes you a citizen of the world, and speaking two makes you insular? What a ridiculous argument.

A Welsh speaker has access to all the culture an English speaker does, and everything in Welsh too – books, films, games, you name it. What exactly is he or she missing out on here?

And as already mentioned, being bilingual makes it easier to learn a third language, broadening your horizons yet further.

Let’s face it, if you’re an English-only speaker and are frothing at the mouth because there’s another living language within 100 miles, maybe *you’re* the insular one?

  1. They should learn a useful language instead

In Wales, Welsh is a useful language. Sure, it would be great if the kids learned Spanish and Chinese too, but opportunities to use them in Wales are, y’know, rather limited.

Whereas you can live your life in the Welsh language in Wales and use it at home, in the street, and in your job.

And let’s face it, it’s not like schoolyards in England are awash with the sound of kids chatting in Chinese or Spanish, are they?

Take away the Welsh language and Wales’ kids would join the vast majority of kids in English-only education – speaking English and bugger all else.

  1. Welsh is a made-up language

No, it isn’t, you buffoon. It’s descended from the British language that was spoken by the population of what we now call Wales, England and the lowlands of Scotland since the Bronze Age.

A proud Brit, are you? Then how about taking some pride in our own home-grown language?

  1. The Welsh language costs too much money

Welsh language speakers have jobs too, you know, and pay income tax on them. A lot of which goes on things that they don’t benefit from, but hey, that’s what taxation is about.

The Welsh Government’s only spends £14m of their £15 billion yearly budget on their Welsh language unit, which is quite easily covered by the taxes of 600,000 people.

The Royal Family costs three times as much. For a woman in a hat, waving.

  1. The bilingual signs are confusing

Then you’re an idiot, sorry. There’s nothing the Welsh language can do to cure your condition.

By the way, most road signs in Wales are bilingual because of pointless English translations – ‘Merthyr Tudful/Merthyr Tydfil’, ‘Cydweli/Kidwelly’, ‘Caerffili/Caerphilly’.

It wasn’t us that insisted on this utter pointlessness, but a strange insistence on ‘anglicising’ all names by changing one or two letters for no good reason.

  1. Welsh speakers are rude

No, you are. Try going to any other country and telling them they’re rude to speak their own language within ear-shot of you.

If we’re speaking Welsh, and you don’t, we weren’t talking to you in the first place.

And don’t give us that ‘I walked into a bar and everyone started speaking Welsh’ crap. They were speaking Welsh before you arrived and will continue to do so long after you’ve left.

If the sound of Welsh really is too much for you, I suggest you take your fragile sense of identity to a safe space where it won’t be challenged.

***

So, in summary, if you think you have a genius anti-Welsh language argument, you don’t. We’ve heard it all before.

The people of Wales have had long enough to think it through and a clear majority support Welsh as a thriving language.

So let’s put these silly, dated arguments aside, and get on with it, shall we?

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96 Comments

  1. A bod yn gywir bu rhai enwau llefydd yng Nghymru yn Saesneg yn wreiddiol, wedyn creu fersiynau Cymraeg ee. Wrexham/Wrecsam a Caldicot (Calde Cot)/Cil y Coed, Ond ie, eithriadau yw’r rhain.

    Beth am

    11. Welsh doesn’t have words for everything

    12. Everything in Welsh is just -io on the end of an English word.

    13. Welsh doesn’t have a word for entrepreneur

    • Tri pwynt mewn un? triptych? (super English word there, Triptych)

      If we hadn’t been so oppressed/supressed then our literary figure heads would have coined words where we needed them. Hofrenydd etc. The English seem to claim dominion on words which have their etymology outside of the UK’s borders entrepreneur etc. And much like any language spoken by people who aren’t proficient they fall back on a word they do know (add the io to mask how out of place it is)

      • The monoglot assumes that all the words in their language originated there because they lack the experience and knowledge to know otherwise.

    • Mae enw Wrecsam yn dod o’r Ty Gwraig Sam yn wreiddiol. Yn erbyn yr 12 canrif Ty Gwraig Sam wedi newid i Wregsam ac wedyn i Wrecsam.

      • Nid ydym yn gwybod tarddiad yr enw ‘Wrecsam’. It may indeed be Anglo-Saxon, but let’s not worry about that. It’s a Welsh town with an increasingly Welsh profile despite the recent large in-migration.
        The important thing is that this was a really uplifting post by Nation.Cymru, and we should all learn it off by heart so we know how to deal with the put-downs instantly.

    • gwnewch yn siwr o’ch feithiau os gwelwch yn dda

    • 1. Language is a living thing. No language has a word for everything, but as new inventions occur, so words are created. We didn’t have computers or the internet 100 years ago so each language has had to add them.
      2.i suggest studying some Welsh grammar & vocabulary to understand this statement is rudicukous.
      3.Entrepreur is a French word.

  2. I have rarely if ever heard any of these anti-Welsh language arguments first hand. However, I have frequently observed objections as to how the language influences the employment market unfairly.

    • Yea, I hated it when I went to France and someone identical to me in experience and education got the job over me JUST because they could actually communicate in the country’s language. Really pissed me off.

      • I hear this nonsensical false equivalence so often. How are you not embarrassed by your own stupidity? Imagine instead that, although the national language was French the universally used and understood language was Spanish and only 11% of French people were completely fluent in French…and even they were also fluent in Spanish. A Spanish speaker who came from Spain might well consider that he was unreasonably discriminated against if he was denied a job for not being French fluent.

        At some point this myth that “Cymraeg” is the “language of Wales” has to be abandoned even by the most half-witted. Cymraeg was ONCE the language of Wales; it is no longer.

        • How are you today Mr Jaques Prozac?

          Cymraeg will always be THE language of Cymru. Even the most half-witted understand that.

        • That’s the most ridiculous fucking argument I’ve ever heard.

          So if you have 2 identical candidates and one speaks both Welsh and English and the other only speaks English, then you don’t have 2 identical candidates do you you fucking numpty.

          They’re not being denied jobs, it’s just that if you speak Welsh you have an additional marketable skill. You might as well complain that graduates from proper universities get more jobs than those from ‘the university of life’. Actually forget that, you probably would!

        • John Jones………. Ive lost out on jobs in England for not speaking French or German matey….where have you been?

    • I heard them in English medium schools among the pupils and their families

      • Is there discrimination against an application from a Welsh national for employment in England?
        There is, it’s called a prejudice, often hidden. Read about it. It’s ingrained from birth. And is recognised all over the world as a mainstay of your decision making and behaviour. Often tribal and a doctrine.

  3. Peter Freeman

    I would be happy to give a welsh word for entrepreneur if I first heard the englsh word for it.
    I used to live in Los Angeles and I just hated it when I walked into a cantina. I knew those Mexicans were speaking english but as soon as they saw a gringo walk in they immediately turned to Spanish.
    Sounds ridiculous and of course it is.

  4. All ok as long as you don’t actually look at the reality…much of what the author says is just plainly wrong, not the complete truth or un provable. I have seen much fun made about Welsh online but have only once come across it in reality when a woman staying with us, who was married to a black Brazilian and often complained of racism in London, heard some Welsh on our TV and broke into a babble of nonsense supposed to approximate to Welsh…followed by “why do you listen to this rubbish”.

    • Here’s John everyone, a prolific sad old man who whinges about Welsh on all public fora. When will accept that people in Wales speak Welsh John? Get a life.

    • Thank you John Jones for providing this anecdote. It says so much about you and your friends.

  5. The two arguments « Children shouldn’t have useless Welsh forced on them at school » and « People who can’t speak Welsh are discriminated against in the jobs market » are frequently promulgated by THE SAME PEOPLE. Substitute Maths for Welsh in both cases and the lack of logic is clear.

    • Llewelyn ap Cuthbert

      With respect there is some logic to the compuasion of teching maths, however to welsh there isn’t the same logic at all. It’s taught purely to resurge the language and encourage it’s growth in Wales because without compulsion to do so it truly and sadly would have died long ago.. Maths is something that is universal and would benefit a child or adult anywhere in the world, or universe for that matter and transcends language barriers too. Really poor argument for that side of things frm you Ann, and certainly no logic in it either.
      People who can’t speak welsh ARE discriminated against in the sphere of employment in wales, only that isn’t admitted or labelled as such. Instead it’s called the welsh language act that forces public bodies to employ people not necessarily with the best skills and experience for the job, but perhaps the second best because they have the benefit of the ability of welsh.

      Now, don’t shoot the messenger, i’m providing fact here not opinion.

      My opinion on teaching by compulsion of language is that only one should be like that, whether that’s welsh english swahili or whatever i don’t care. the second language education imo should be taken up for a language that is more worldly beneficial such as japanese, mandarin, or spanish perhpas, and from primary level too. I’d rather see our future benefited by skills that can lead them around the world than potentially never gaining that experience.
      I have no clue why kids are even taught french or german anymore either, but i digress.

      • You contradict yourself here, you say ‘second best because they have the benefit of the ability of welsh’. If they have a necessary skill that the other candidate doesn’t have then they’re not second best are they?

        I work in sales and I can tell you it’s definitely an advantage when dealing with people speaking a language they’d prefer. Or as a nurse trying to explain to an Alzheimers patient what she’s doing because the patient isn’t good with English any more. Or as a council clerk having to file forms that people have filled in in their native language.

        It’s not discrimination if I get rejected for a job based on my lack of qualifications. If you want a job that requires you to speak Welsh you can learn it.

    • Alys Griffiths

      An hilariously stupid comment. What exactly would you define as ‘useless Welsh?!’ And ‘being discriminated against’ is the biggest excuse for just not being good enough for a job. You get a job based on your merit

      • Llewelyn ap Cuthbert

        And here’s the thing that’s idiotic, merit is certainly not base solely on language ability. Not all public sector jobs are customer facing, yet require bilihinualism. You miss the Libby I make completely. As it currently stands the public sector language policy is exclusively as opposed to inclusive and wncouraging and certainly not aiming to employ the best value for money’s for the tax payer either.
        Example: a lady works at her local council for 20 years in an wnglish speaking council. She moves to wales and would like to apply for a similar role in wales.
        Now she can’t speak Welsh but would like to learn, she appies for the job but as she yet hasn’t had time or enough lessons to be able to become fluent she is then unqualified to do the same job base purely on language, not merit. Language alone. Someone who may well have no experience and could even be a school leaver is instead given the job based on their language ability as opposed to actual merit based on all factors. That is a form of discrimination. However as it’s welsh language policy it’s sanctioned discrimination so is hidden under the name of policy instead.
        It doesn’t give the job to the best candidate and at the same time creates an exclusive environment too, the employer would be better off employing the best person with the FULL range of merits for the job and then making it a point of employment that they teach the best candidate for the job, Welsh.
        There is nothing idiotic about that And Ceri Amy not contradictory. It’s common sense,

        With respect Ann, and you’d do well to keep your insults to yourself, it’s not constructive to developing an understanding of all the factors and to just dismiss something as idiotic because you don’t agree with it is idiotic itself.

  6. Erthygl ffantastig, diolch! Fel Gwyddel, dwi’n medru deall yn dda, achos mae gan siaradwyr Gwyddeleg y problemau hyn hefyd!

  7. There’s a strartling inebriation in the tone of criticism in some contributors. I thought they could do better. Disappointing to see such low appreciation of textual meaning of language and the differential aspects in regards to other languages such as English Also the value of identity even to the minority. Soap box rhetoric of the most inane.
    If you challenge at least address the article preferably , by each point by point, to seek to offer a more substantial critique of the the reason to be dismissive of a National language. There are some of us who would like to hear and learn from why there is an anti feeling to at least be aware of it in a substantive sense.

    The author has made the point that by far the majority is pro the language, and why shouldn’t they.
    I suspect there will be a lot of shouty stuff in response. It’s the way debate is in some minds

  8. I’ve had the roadsign argument with people who I know have driven in continental Europe. When I asked how they managed with Portugese or French roadsigns, despite not speaking either language, they had no response other than silence. They haven’t injured or killed themselves in an RTA abroad, so I guess they can cope with non-English roadsigns.

  9. It does make me laugh when I hear people say about Welsh words being made up for the English ones. Most of the English language is made up of different languages from around the world. Bungalow for instance is Indian. Entrepreneur for instance is French not English. Café is French from Caffe/coffee_ Italian. restaurant is French from restore. to describe a thick French soup. So to say there are no Welsh words so they use English words with io on the end is ridiculous as there is no such language as English as it derives from many languages. The reason there are perhaps no Welsh words for certain things is because many words today in the ‘English’ language are also made up and as Welsh is an ancient language there are no words to cover for modern terms.

  10. Llewelyn ap Cuthbert

    Such a supposed Anti-Rascist (realty that’s what it is) light hearted list yet number 5 and 6 are rascist theselves, and ironicly quite an insular argument.

    Not all english are monoglots, far from it actually. most of them just don’t speak welsh, but they speak other languages. the ignorance of that astounds me every time i hear it. And it has a subtle racist undertone all of it’s own. I also think the focus on “The English” so constantly is so misdirected, the english in general couldn’t give a monkeys and probably don’t even think about wales or even england in their day to day lives for that matter, wales isn’t the centre of the world, although i can understand and respect it is for some of you 😉

    To complain of and anti-welsh rhetoric by using a number of fallacies and racist hypocrisy using words of anti-english sentiment is disgraceful to be honest. And completely undermines any point being made in this tired and wheeled out all the time list of nonsense. THere are much more involving and better arguments to make about anti-wleshness and they can be done in so much of a better way too.
    I really enjoy reading nation cymru, in fact every day. But by god some of you don’t half live in the clouds when it comes to this sort of thing and how it’s actually damaging to the cause of furthering welsh-ness and welsh itself.

    • Hi ‘Llewelyn’, please point out where in the article ‘the English’ are referred to. You’re simply projection your own hang ups about race on an article that doesn’t mention race once. The Welsh language, and anti-Welsh language attitudes, has nothing to do with race.

    • Llewelyn, if I recall correctly, the article said “vast majority”, not ‘all’. And the ignorance of saying there are some racist undertones in the article baffles me! Neither the English or the Welsh are a race, just because you speak a different language doesn’t mean you’re a different race.

      • They (the Welsh and the English) are in fact different races.
        While it clearly has implications for the survival of one race (the Welsh people), the issue under discussion is about the survival of their language. My advice to all is to avoid getting sucked into arguments with pro-British trolls who use ‘race’ as an anti-Welsh weapon in an argument about the language, since they are doing so in order to make a spurious (and unsuccessful) attempt to claim the moral high ground.
        We should not need to justify ourselves to a group of people who, if they do (as they claim) live in Wales, have chosen not to invest emotionally in their new country (if English) or the land of their birth (if Welsh). Ignore them.

  11. A very well said article! How many times have I seen people complain aboug the Welsh language being dead, or that not many speak it so there’s no point. I don’t get this people. I even here people say English is the universal language, lkkevwe should forget about are own. I’m half Filipino, and most people I know where my friends and relatives are from can speak at least three, Bisaya being the regional language, Tagalog (Filipino) and English being the national languages, nobody there complains abouf the several languages spoken.
    There are many countries out there with two or more languages.

    I speak Welsh and English fluently, as well as French and German, but at an intermediate level, which we learned in highschool, and Spanish which I taught myself, aswell as Bisaya and Welsh didn’t make it any harder. Strangely with Spanish, there are a few words similar to Welsh, English has many Latin/French words.. Currently I’m still trying to learn Korean. (I’m a bit of a linguaholic). I know language learning is difficult, but being bilingual doesn’t deter or make it difficult to learn international languages.
    The anglo-centric anti-Welsh language lot need to open their minds a little. (If that is possible:p)

    I read something online where some people complain that their kids with autism are struggling in school because of the Welsh language, I don’t think the language has anything to do with it. I volunteer helping people with autism and they are able to learn new skills, gain confidence in themselves and many are bilingual.

  12. Alison Mostyn

    Welsh was the original Brithonic language of Britain spoken as far as the Solway Firth….Glasgow is a Welsh word for goodness sake. Glas cae. This needs to be taught in all schools across Britain….people just don’t realise how important a language it is and was. The invasion of the Anglo Saxons changed all that.

  13. I find this article quite upsetting. I was born in Wales, educated in Wales in an area with no Welsh medium education, my parents had no Welsh either. So does it upset me when I can’t apply for jobs requiring Welsh? Yes. I could learn, yes, but I just don’t feel I should have to in order to be considered Welsh enough to deserve to live in Wales…. I’m all in favour of bilingualism, but with family in Germany, my preference would probably be for German as a second language, rather than Welsh.

    Welsh and English have equal status; we should all have a choice about which we use without it causing any issue. I worry that accusations on both sides of the argument are causing division when really we are all Welsh, regardless of mother tongue. It”s not only language that determines Welshness, surely?

    • “I just don’t feel I should have to in order to be considered Welsh enough to deserve to live in Wales….”

      This is a straw man argument. No one, in this article or elsewhere, has said this.

      “So does it upset me when I can’t apply for jobs requiring Welsh?”

      Why should it? Neither of us can apply for most jobs in Wales because we don’t have the skills to do them. I can’t apply for a job at Airbus because I have no engineering skills, in the same way someone who can’rt speak Welsh can’t apply for a job where the Welsh language is a required skill. These jobs are very much in the minority so it’s very unlikely it would make any material difference to your circumstances.

  14. Brian ap Francis

    Who said “For every argument “for” there is an equal and opposite argument “against””? Not worth wasting powder and shot on this minority group.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      For every discussion “for” Welsh language at least two Protic accounts chirp up to voice their opinions “against”. Tell me… do all your multiple accounts on all these websites constitute a minority group?

      @Ifan: This users attitude mixed with the use of the patronymic is clearly used with the intent to demean us and our culture.

      • Brian ap Francis

        Not sure that is meant by “protic” as it is not a word in my “English” dictionary. Pray what multiple accounts do I have? I am just me but not afraid to speak out against this annoying language that is thrust upon all of us who happen to live in Wales whether we want it or not . So to clarify, I hate the way that the language is thrust upon me. Do you really think I am alone in this? I was born in this area of the United Kingdom, brought up here, and for the most I enjoy living here. Except that the dreaded minority language is thrown at me to the point of annoyance. Now I do respect the minority of people whose first language is Welsh, but that really is as far as it goes. I am British/European and wish I had command of some of their languages that are spoken by a vast majority not minority. Trouble is – I was denied that opportunity in school which is just one of the reasons that I hate the minority Welsh language. Incidentally, my parents were born in Wales, lived in Wales, but were British through and through before they died bless them.

        • nonsense, surveys constantly show support for the language and it’s key role in Wales’ future. The problem is people are too lazy and don’t like learning languages. I am learning Welsh and I speak some Italian too. I have knowledge of four languages in total. It’s like playing instruments. Why play one when you can play 2,3 etc.
          No one is forcing you to speak it, though I believe everyone in the Fro should learn it. Hit the road Jacques…

          • Hooray, for your challenge to the meek, and those fine creatures of Wales who can side step with the best of Barry John and Phil B. Fine arguments have been written by contributors teasing what are fundamental issues affecting the the teaching , learning and promotion of the Welsh language. Indeed most, if not all ,other bilingual countries. But it’s a good trade off too, when under attack to exemplify all the positives of a Welsh traditions many of which arisres from its proud language. It’s been an interesting look at the 10 anti reasons, with considerably more positive reasons by comparison. Nice one, indeed a clever promotion.

            What now, a spread of a dedicated Welsh language outlets in every major town and commercial street to begin with, and increasing in numbers throughout Wales. Given the spread of libraries it should start there.
            I know my own town of Mountain Ash has a small but effective section given to Welsh language books. And updated . More recently Cofiant Hedd Wyn 1887 – 1917. By Alan Llwyd. But it’s insignificant compared to the volume of stored literature there.

        • It sounds as if CambroUiDunlainge has touched a nerve here. I wouldn’t normally waste time conversing with internet trolls, but the words “malu cachu” spring to mind with regard to the position taken by our friend Brian ap Francis (I love the faux-Welsh patronymic, which another contributor also pointed out). Go out and learn a foreign language, man, if that is your wish! I am saddened that you were denied the opportunity, and in like manner I’m sure you will feel sympathy for the likes of me when I tell you that I and many others like me – over two generations – were robbed of the opportunity, and the birthright, to learn our native language (Welsh) as children. Which is why I, and very many others, are now learning the language properly as adults, and applauding any move to give it a central place in the education of today’s children.
          Best of luck in your endeavours to find a language that suits you.
          “This area of the United Kingdom” – you mean Wales, right? It occurred to me (and I mention this purely in order to help you) that you might begin to get over your troubles by moving to another “area” – England, perhaps.
          Good luck. By the way, ‘protic’ refers to the properties of solvents and derives from the word ‘proton’. Hope that helps.

  15. Tony Pritchard

    Great article which made me think. I spent 4 years learning French and 2 years learning German at school, neither of which I have used in 40 years. I didn’t learn Welsh at school but now use the language every day

  16. Can’t help feeling we have missed a trick with this over the past few years.

    My fear is that the constant emphasis on e.g” Welsh language commissioner’, as useless and toothless Meri Huws actually is, has proved to be a huge turn-off for lots of Welsh people, who perceive the post to be something to placate the Welsh language lobby alone- and of no relevance to them at all.

    What’s desperately needed in Wales is something along the lines of a National Centre to Promote Bilingualism- to be set up somewhere in Y Fro Gymraeg, e.g Caernarfon or Llangefni.

    This centre could undertake the vital task of persuading people of the huge benefits of bilingualism, not only for school pupils but for people of all ages in this age of Life Long Learning.

    It could focus on the proven cognitive benefits of being able to speak both Welsh and English, flag up the myriad of job opportunities for bilinguals in Wales today, show how two languages help people to be open and receptive to new experiences in life, how two languages can make people more confident and help keep the mind active and so on, and so on.

    It could showcase the psychological, cultural, social and economic benefits of bilingualism in a way that”’s never been done in a focused and systematic manner in Wales before.

    It could also seek to show the people of Wales that bilingualism really does mean being open to the world of today with almost 60 per cent of the world”s population now bilingual at least.

    I know that promoting Bilingual skills and the Welsh language are to all intents and purposes identical.

    I just think that putting the emphasis on being ‘ bilingual’ rather than just ‘Welsh speaking’ is much more likely to appeal to the majority of non- Welsh speakers in Wales: the people we must attract on board to develop Welsh as a truly national language for our country.

    Such a centre should be an absolute priority, especially now as Wales has to redefine itself in preparation for Brexit.

  17. There was a quiz on the radio today and one of the questions was something along the lines of “K is the symbol for which chemical element”. So after I said potassium I wondered if quizzes were the only time I have ever needed to know this since leaving school. Then I remembered that I have need this knowledge for memes where swear words were written as chemical symbols but apart from quizzes and memes I have never needed this pointless information.

    I can use Welsh every single day.

  18. Truly support the ideas of Cymru Rhydd. That’s if we are serious about the future of our historic language.
    Just re run the Raymond Williams commemoration speech by Michael Sheen. The answer lies somewhere between courage, self belief and the teachings of the prophet Jeremiah, second of the major prophets called to give prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction. Otherwise referred to as the ‘weeping prophet’ .

    There need to be leadership in the fight for the high ground of opinion. The demons of doubt and ridicule are too often given oxygen. Only in the UK , not Europe in particular, is there opposition to bilingualism. It’s a British orthodoxy. A colonial epitaph. A conviction or creed. The more it diminishes the more obvious becomes the vitriol. Sometimes a sudden gush, but more often a drip feed of complaint , a variety of which borders on fatigue of ideas of what to dispel.
    At times I think we over think. Take too much notice that feeds the fragile under belly of conviction born into our psyche from centuries of being dismissed.
    Then let the words of Michael Sheen rebound and fall on mature minds. For its here it will florish, and not die.

  19. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the ‘comedian’ who thinks it is funny to mimic Welsh and insert random English words like ‘washing machine’ or ‘Ford Cortina’. I always laugh … at them. Then I point out how Welsh is such a beautiful and poetic language that becomes laughable with the addition of English words. And what do the English do if they want to sound sophisticated? – they sprinkle their bastardised language with foreign words, vis-à-vis, chic, chauffeur, boutique, status quo … the list is endless. What a cliché!

  20. diddorol

  21. I am not sure why in Wales in particular there is a minority of people who are so hostile to the Welsh language. I can understand people who don’t speak it being apathetic but why be actively hostile and hate your own national language?

    1. The correspondence between spelling and pronunciation in Welsh is much more consistent than English.
    2. Welsh is more widely spoken than the majority of the world’s 7000 languages.
    3. If you go abroad, you may find that not as many people can speak English as you might think, particularly away from tourist hotspots.
    4. Welsh language schools teach subjects through the medium of Welsh, it isn’t that they’re doing only Welsh lessons all day every day.
    5. The Welsh language is spoken on Ynys Môn but also in mainland Wales and by some people elsewhere. With neighbours like England it might have been easier if Wales was an island though.
    6. Those who are Welsh and English bilinguals are more able to learn another language not less.
    7. Every language is created by people.
    8. Does the Royal Family really only cost £42 million?
    9. The argument that bilingual signs are ‘confusing’ is a cover for saying that they don’t like to see the Welsh language due to their prejudice.
    10. In dealing with the opponents of the Welsh language who wish it was dead, i.e. wishing the speakers were dead, I think Welsh speakers are maybe too polite when faced with these genocidal monsters.

  22. One downside of making signs bilingual is that some authorities have used it to introduce new English equivalents that never existed before.

    Words like Heol and lon which were well known words in common usage have now been replaced by road and lane.

    Consequently heol is now a much less familiar word to non Welsh speakers.

    When the Welsh equivalent is underneath it tends to be lost and not used.

    I only realised how bad this was when seeing signs in Neath Port Talbot – an authority that seems to have gone above and beyond the call of duty to use the law as a means of Anglicisation.

  23. Barry Bethell

    Quite a few of these comments are anti-English, consequently points come across poorly. As an Englishman living in Wales I like to hear the Welsh language, in fact I’d be keen to learn it if it were more accessible to adults and free. Wouldn’t funded community hwbs be great to cater for this? On the other hand, I’m not sure 5 hours compulsory Welsh for 14-16 year olds is a good thing, it seems to be fueling more resentment amongst the demographic than anything else. I’d be intrigued to know your opinions on why (in my experience) the vast majority of Welsh speakers in South Wales seem to be middle class.

    • Hi Barry! On your question about the socio-economic status of Welsh speakers in South Wales I’d say it depends on what you mean by South Wales. That is, there’s a lot of difference between a student of Garth Olwg (Pontypridd), Ysgol Cymer (Rhondda) and Ysgol y Fro (Vale of Glamorgan). Broadly speaking the socio-economic background of students varies widely, as would the degree of Welsh spoken at home. These factors combine to affect educational attainment and transmission of Welsh.

      From a Cardiff perspective (and some of this might touch on wider than the capital) again it’s speaking generally but I’d clumsily guess that a lot of the students at the three Welsh-medium schools are a combination of children of parents who work in Welsh language / wider public sector institutions, and middle-class non-Welsh-speaking parents who view Welsh-medium education almost like pseudo-grammar education. Again this isn’t very accurate though particularly as Welsh-language schools in the city have very large catchment areas so get a wide variety of kids. I’d be interested to know the correlation between socio-economic status and transmission of language / graduation from school into a Welsh-medium working life. I’d imagine the results wouldn’t be very positive but I’m speculating.

      On your point about compulsory Welsh I get what you mean but aged 14-16 I didn’t much appreciate my French or Spanish lessons either! This is something I now regret, much like some people may regret not taking to Welsh.

  24. It’s all very well quoting the many linguistics experts who have linked bilingualism with all sorts of benefits from increased intelligence to protection against Dementia and other degenerative brain diseases but it is very hard to come up with any research on Welsh English bilingualism that supports the conclusions in other countries.

    It would be a waste of time pointing out that there is no evidence of any of these much vaunted advantages in Wales since the posters on this site would just ignore that evidence.

    Pretty well the one concrete advantage in being a fluent Welsh speaker is an advantage when it comes to employment in the public sector.

    • Ah Mr Jones. It’s interesting how you only pop up on the threads on Welsh language. You give the game away there. You have NO interest any other aspect of Wales or Welsh culture.
      As an academic I would floor you in a discussion about bilingualism, statistical tests, and statistical analysis (and my knowledge of Welsh, and other languages which I have learnt). a quick 5 minute research through various journals I could come up with 20 pro bilingual papers for every one you could.

      How many languages do you know? One. Ok I’ll let you another. The language of hate. Your pretty good at that.
      You and Ruck will have gone in 20 years but you can go down swinging if you want, it won’t make much of a difference- but wouldn’t you rather enjoy your retirement rather than couped up writing to Wales online etc.?

      • Oh Goody! An academic. As an academic can you come up with some research that looks at Welsh/ English bilingual studies that support bilingual advantage in Dementia for instance?

        • It’s the bilingualism that’s the important factor not the combination of languages.
          Pleased to be able to help you out.
          CapM (not an academic)

  25. Darn ardderchog – diolch yn fawr.

    i pity y Bnr ap Francis: my mother – god bless her soul – never taught me the language i needed to communicate with my Austro-Hungarian Oma/mam-gu. So i got a teach yourself book and learned german. i left school at 15 as an uneducated ‘uneducatable’ oik – tells us more about schools than me.

    Actually, for me as a 2nd language speaker of cymraeg, speaking cymraeg and being proud of it is a serious hindrance in the private and public sectors here in Gwynedd. i was once accused of being a bomber (yes!!!) by the manager of Halfords bangor when i went to a job interview and asked about the company language polisi in English.
    (
    As i have learned cymraeg as an adult and since i see no point in using unnecessary loan words ‘hatio’ instead of casau, my usage of the language is regarded as too formal and ‘not the thing’ for the public sector.

    I personally feel cyngor Gwynedd is doing a secrect hatchet job on the language.

    The children of the einglish are able to attend bi-lingual schools and leave without having a word of our language to their command – yes i see it all too often. (Dangerous fall out is our children learn to use English in the schools as the norm – very worrying).

    Wonderful piece, but we are nowhere near out of the woods with regards to the survival of the language.

    We need attitude – like the article

    but we also need to be realistic as to where we are: the number of children who are proficient – not just able to say hwyl. or bore da – is declining rapidly. This can be managed, and dealt with if we had a government that actually meant what it mouths about our language and the inheritance of our children.

    Welsh labor, I’m afraid has been shown to be unwilling to face up to a looming reality.

    Time for a local, not uk-wide left of centre party.

  26. I’ve looked through the IP address locations of all the anti-Welsh trolls on this comment section, and unsurprisingly none of them are located anywhere near Wales (despite the usual claims of not being able to get a job because of the Welsh language). So I would recomment not bothering with them. Best – Ifan

    • Llewelyn ap Cuthbert

      Sadly the ip address will only show the location of the server they’re connected through from their isp. Someone in Pwllheli may well be shown as being in Maidstone for instance.
      The internet doesn’t work as you’ve assumed.

      • Have a care Llew. It is a tenet of the Culture and language zealot’s creed that everyone who doesn’t agree with them actually lives in England or is an incarnation of poor old Jacques Protic.
        This piece is, of course, just a pathetic excuse to sneer at anyone who isn’t a Welsh speaking Nationalist, and believe me, when it comes to sneering, Welsh Nationalists could sneer for Wales in the Olympics…and take Gold Silver and Bronze medals!

        • CambroUiDunlainge

          Nationalism is by degree Jacques. Anyone who identifies as Welsh is to a degree a nationalist. Many nationalists do not speak Welsh. Although I would not expect you to understand… some one who thinks they’re clever by using proxies before posting on comments sections isn’t so clever at all. A written article is a unique to an individual as a finger print – you can change name, hide behind a proxy but you can never truly change the way your write.

          • Seriously…are you saying that you can’t tell the difference between the way that I write and the way Jacques writes?

            • CambroUiDunlainge

              There’s differences but they are superficial. I use that word because the way you try to sound different to… well… yourself… and it often feels forced and awkward. You give yourself away and its really no fun.

          • As much as I disagree with John Jones-he is not Jacque. I had an exchange with John on the election in Wales board this time last year.
            JP is an out and out racist. John isn’t. Although one may mistake him for a stats based machine (an elementary one at best…with respect). Call me when you start looking at P values and ANOVA and CI’s

            • Quite right Adlewyrchiad; strictly a product of a life as a hairy- arsed worker in heavy industry. Not an academic like what you are but I can read and I can reason.

              What do you make of this?:-

              https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/downloads/file/7/local_dementia_uk_statistics_wales

              Very unscientific I know and therefore nowhere near “proof” but where is the relationship between Local authority populations with a high percentage of Welsh/English bilinguals and lower levels of dementia?
              Or indeed where is the link between higher levels of dementia and LOW levels of Welsh /English bilinguals?

            • CambroUiDunlainge

              “The language of hate. Your pretty good at that. You and Ruck will have gone in 20 years but you can go down swinging if you want, “. but… “JP is an out and out racist. John isn’t.” Losing track? Whoops? Sigh.

            • Here’s a study from Prof Clare at Bangor University which looks at Welsh/English bilinguals and Dementia onset:-

              https://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/schoolofpsychology/reach/documents/BANC_summary.pdf

              • For healthy older people, being bilingual did not result in better performance
              on executive function tasks. There were either no differences between
              bilinguals and monolinguals, or a tendency for monolinguals to perform better.
              • For people with AD, being bilingual did not result in better performance on
              executive function tasks. Bilinguals were diagnosed with AD on average three
              years later than monolinguals, although this difference was not statistically
              significant. The bilinguals were also more impaired than the monolinguals at
              the time when they were diagnosed, suggesting that they may have sought
              help at a later stage rather than developing the condition later.
              • For people with PD, being bilingual did not result in better performance on
              executive function tasks.
              • The results do not support the view that being a bilingual Welsh/English
              speaker helps to protect against age-related decline in mental fitness, or that it
              helps to maintain executive function abilities in the presence of either AD or
              PD.

              • I do find this analysis a far better way of challenge. Indeed interesting and revealing. As a latter day entrant to learning the Welsh language although I have attended a 2 week induction into Welsh many years ago, at at Aber Uni, when by the way many were English, I was believing that at any age bilingualism was an advantage to learn for brain activity. I even thought learning a musical instrument was too.
                But we need to show studies of all age groups since the reference made is as prejudiced as the it can be to the values of bilingualism.

              • Well I’ll give it a shot (disclaimer- i’m not in population statistics, I’m in molecular biology- quite a difference). The above analysis, I believe is the Hindle et al 2015. Indeed there was no difference, but the issue here is that many of these studies use small smaple sizes. A better source of information would be the Atkinson review which looked at several studies, some with over 1000 participants.
                Atkinson, A.L., (2016). Does Bilingualism Delay the Development of Dementia?. Journal of European Psychology Students. 7(1), pp.43–50. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jeps.375
                I won’t go over the findings in detail- you can all read, but here is a segment form the abstract “Based on current evidence, it appears that lifelong bilingualism, where individuals frequently use both languages, may be protective against dementia. However, becoming bilingual in adulthood or using the second language infrequently is unlikely to substantially delay onset of the disease.”

                But here is the issue I have with bilingualism and neurodegenerative disease research- they are trying to attribute causality of a non biological attribute (languages) to something that has a clearly defined aetiology (Parkinson’s or Alzeimers). These are FAR more correlated with toxins in the environement, genetics and diet.
                Therefore the question is like asking does living in the country side protect against obesity- with the hypothesis that a more outdoorsy lifestyle means more exercise etc etc. Sure you may find a weak correlation but in the face of overwhelming correlation with diet and exercise it becomes a bit of a moot point.
                So this is where the Perani et.al 2016 study comes . They use PET/CT scans to look at German/Italian bilingual patient’s hence why they got in to a prestigious journal (PNAS). What they find is bilingualism acts as a cognitive reserve in dementia and exerts neuroprotective effects against neurodegeneration- with the PET/CT scans as evidence. Mechanism and correlation

                So from about 20 minutes of research, it would seem that studies are variable in their outcomes between studies (most likely due to geographical variation and there fore a difference in environment, smoking, genetics etc). However on the balance of available evidence, the meta studies available, in addition to the mechanistic study referred to above (I’m sure there are more) which controlled for the above factors, I would say that there is a likely correlation.
                What is clear is that being bilingual is unlikely to have any negative effects, and that the cultural rewards are simply immeasurable (personal experience)

                Many of the studies seem to show that it is life long bilingualism, and the use of the second language that are important here. Simply knowing another isn’t enough. An argument for providing bilingual services perhaps, and also getting kids bilingual in Welsh English from a young age through WME.

                However the other benefits need to be discussed.

                -Increased appreciation for Wales and its history
                -An increased sense of identity with Wales.
                -Being able to read books, go to the theatre, gigs, watch tele.
                -In elderly people- it gets them out of the house and provides them with a community
                -It contributes to keeping the language alive.
                -A trivial point but valid nonetheless-Speaking other languages is fun.
                -Unlike instruments or sports equipment- one takes the language with them however and wherever they go. There’s no ‘warming up’ required.
                -It established rapport when you meet other speakers of that language

                saysomethinginwelsh.com

        • John, if people who post demonstrably stupid anti-Welsh comments online don’t want their stupidity pointed out, they can always choose not to post those comments. Best, Ifan

          • Ifan, who is the arbiter of what is demonstrably stupid? You? Wasn’t it you who dishonestly claimed that I was in England? Now you are blocking a post which gives a link to Bangor University research and quotes from it.

            The reality is that YOU can’t stand to have any opposition to any particular dishonesty you wish to publish.

            Nation Cymru? Well I have lived here for 61 years and it’s my country.

            • All comments were stopped for moderation for a while because of the sheer number of trolls – most using different made-up names but the same IP address based in rural towns in the east of England – leaving multiple comments.

              Anti Welsh arguments are stupid. And when this is pointed out, the trolls quickly create straw man arguments such as ‘you’re treating us like second class citizens’ or ‘you’re racist’ which have no basis in reality and are just projections of their own fragile sense of identity.

              I see no reason to put up with this crap, and I don’t. Have a good day!

              • Ifan, Ifan!

                On the one hand, I can see the advantage of allowing the trolls to wind people up and get a lot of comments. But on the other hand I think to myself, ‘Why give these bastards a platform’?

                After all, they’re trolls; their raison d’etre is to wind us up, and by giving them a platform you’re helping them succeed. And it’s no longer amateur trolls, for the British army now has the 77th Brigade dedicated to online ‘warfare’, supported by Territorials (or whatever they’re called now).

                Why can’t this site serve as an exchange for people of goodwill to air differing views of what they believe to be best for Wales, and just blank out those who have nothing to contribute beyond contrived names and bigotry? (God knows such people already have enough outlets for their bigotry!)

                Too much time and effort is wasted on these people that could be better spent having serious, well-intentioned and hopefully productive exchanges.

                • Not much productive about your blog site Roy is there unless you are putting bile in barrels. And of course you block anyone who challenges your wild conspiracy theories so that the sweet light of reason can never be seen. It’s so much easier that way isn’t it? Utterly cowardly of course…but I would expect no different.

                  • Spot on! I tell trolls like you to fuck off and then I block them.

                    Though if we’re talking about cowardice, then I’d suggest that hiding behind a phoney name like ‘John Jones’ isn’t going to win you a medal . . . unless it’s from the 77th Brigade.

                    I’m beginning to think that ‘Jon Jones’, the ‘reasonable’ alter ego of Jacques Protic, may have mutated into ‘John Jones’. Especially as, in a comment below, you mention being located in Anglesey.

                • We do have a dilemma. The article was directed at anti Welsh comments. It’s reasonable for those opposed to these comments to justly reply. If there’s no comment then this too is feeding only the patriots. Like me. The point is how you you counter bigotry means one of two things. First it shows how unsubstantiated many if all of the anti brigade comments are dealt with. This is learning to me. Even reinforces the belief in the article.
                  That there are prejudices as exampled by cross reference to a study of the aged, dementia and bilingualism

                  Secondly it has shown by some reason although with challenge, that most criticizms are from over the border.

                  I share this dilemma but wonder who it serves best

            • Of course those born in Wales are Welsh by birth and have birthrights and belonging. It’s not in dispute. Those who, born elsewhere, and choose to live in Wales be they English or otherwise are deserving of the same birthrights. To land, customs, civility, history, opportunities and tolerance within communities. But above all treated with respect. It’s respect is at the corner stone of how we are all perceived. Roughish, anti, detached, critical, amusing and many other descriptions of self to others .

              But what is not a trade off is how people perceive their motherland,, their degree of patriotism and respect for other people’s views. This will vary from person to person. From those born and bred in Wales and incomers
              Yet incomers have proven to quickly adopt to ours ways and become patriots to their new Country above and beyond those born here. Therefore there is room for argument, debate, opinions that differ and even agreeing to disagree. But at least respect the differences and values people hold and seek always common ground. It becomes tedious and of prejudice should bold patriots affirm they own or adopted County’s culture and language to be always met with displeasure, but that should this not be possible then to move elsewhere where such irritation is less likely must be preferable.

  27. I’m Welsh but don’t speak the language and I have to be honest that sometimes I think Welsh speakers think they are superior. But then again I must admit that not being able to speak it does make me feel a bit guilty and unpatriotic too. Not enough to do anything about it, admittedly. I do worry though that Welsh pride can go a bit too far into making non-speakers feel second class.

  28. Yeah, well if you were any good at this you would have found me in Anglesey Ifan. It’s just nonsense; you can’t find anyone by their IP address:-

    https://www.whatismyip.com/can-someone-find-me-with-my-ip-address/

  29. Argument 3 and Argument 6 are actually related in an important way. English is clearly the most useful language that anyone can speak. Everyone who speaks Welsh also speaks English. Therefore there is no point telling Welsh speakers to learn “a more useful language” (instead of Welsh) when they already speak the most useful one available. The practical advantages of speaking say French or German over Welsh are really not that significant if you already speak English as well. It is also worth bearing in mind that the idea of a “useful language” seems to change in different parts of the English speaking world. Look up debates about the role of French in Canada & you will see plenty of people saying French is useless. I have even come across people in the US saying Spanish isn’t really a “useful” language because it is only spoken in poor South America. The call for a more “useful” language to be learned or taught is usually nothing more than Anglophone bigotry trying to use the mask of “logic” to hide its true intent of stamping out other languages. As the author of the post notes, the vast majority of people who make this call are almost always monoglots themselves.

  30. I used to work in a school with a rather proud, anti-Welsh language person. She was covering a Welsh lesson, within which I was working with an ALN pupil, The pupils had to write a passage about eating something and all I heard was:
    “Pizza, there isn’t a Welsh word for pizza” she turned to me and announced “how ridiculous is that”
    “What is the English word for pizza?” I replied calmly.
    That stopped her in her tracks – it was priceless.

  31. Surely the point, and I address this to You Ifan, is that this article rightly ridicules ignorant people who choose to make fun of Welsh or pass comments from a position of ignorance which are offensive. Even I find people who do this offensive and you will not find anything anywhere that I have written that mocks the Welsh language or says anything about bilingual signage being stupid or any of the old myths about people switching from English to Welsh when an English person walks into the pub.
    The article, however makes misleading and false statements. Isn’t it right to criticise it on this basis? As I have pointed out, if you want to claim advantages for being a Welsh English bilingual then you have to look at any specific research that relates to Welsh/English bilingual advantage. Prof Clare came up blank when she tried to replicate Bialystok’s research into a delayed onset of dementia. Prof Gathercole similarly could find no bilingual advantage when studying Welsh/English bilinguals in WM schools. Pisa of course finds a distinct DISadvantage to Studying through the medium of Welsh and recent data shows that pupils from English only homes, who are put into WM schools are more likely to be designated Special Needs than similar pupils in EM schools.
    The author of this piece obviously expects to be “Preaching to the choir” here on Nation Cymru but his casual lies do need to be scrutinised.
    ” Almost 600,000 people still speak it today.”
    Well no, not really, 58% of those people who “CAN” speak Welsh prefer to speak English and just 11% speak Welsh daily so you can pretty well cut that 600,000 in half. So this “People who speak Welsh like speaking it. Which is enough reason in itself for them to continue doing so” is called into question. There is no real reason why someone taught Welsh in school would choose to speak Welsh if it isn’t their first language.
    “It makes it easier to learn other languages” maybe, but just 21% of GCSE pupils who have been taught Welsh all their school lives took a GCSE in a Modern foreign language and, when SES of schools is taken into account, Welsh medium schools had the lowest entry on average. Gwynedd Welsh medium secondary schools entered just 13% of pupils for a MFL in 2016.
    A study by the British council:-

    https://wales.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/language_trends_wales_2016-17_0.pdf

    Found that neither teachers nor pupils thought Welsh tuition was helpful in learning a MFL.
    This is the trouble with articles like the one above…it just regurgitates all the old cliche’s and makes up a few unlikely stories in order to sneer and to make out that the author and people like him are “superior” by extension.

    He isn’t superior, he’s just sad.

    • John, you need to be very careful about accusing people of “casually lying” and attempting to mislead others. All of the ‘lies’ you allude to are matters of debate, not ‘lies’, and to claim otherwise is defamatory. I don’t allow libel on the site and suggest you temper your language as it doesn’t help your argument at all.

      There is a wealth of evidence that bilingualism has cognitive benefits and that is what the article is referring to. One thing working in academia has taught me is that while every paper helps to build up the jigsaw of the overall picture, you can’t simply pick and choose individual papers that suit your case. The actual paper on dementia that you have linked to a summary is a first stab at the question and makes clear that many of those sampled make little use of the Welsh language in their day to day lives. I have attended conferences where researchers have argued the opposite – that Welsh-English bilinguals are likely to see the same benefits as other bilinguals. You’re free to disagree in this, and academic debate on the matter is healthy, but to accuse those who argue that there are benefits of ‘lying’ is nonsense.

      Your complaint about ‘Almost 600,000 people still speak it today’ is just fussy semantics. Everyone reading this would know it refers to the ability to speak a language, not that 600,000 people are, this very second, using it. Unfortunately some people have the opportunity to use the Welsh language more than others, depending on their geographical location and social networks. You yourself then undermine your own apparent commitment to academic rigour by saying that 58% “prefer to speak English”. On what basis, exactly?

      Your complaint about “It makes it easier to learn other languages” on the basis that few students studying Welsh are also studying a MFL. That’s clearly a bad thing, but how exactly does it invalidate the point? We need more students to take a MFL, but that’s another separate battle, completely unrelated to what I was discussing in this article.

      If you’re going to accuse someone of lying on the basis that you disagree with them, you set yourself a very high bar for the quality of your own posts that you then run headlong into. – Ifan

      • These conferences that you attended…did anyone publish a study specifically of Welsh /English bilinguals and the onset of dementia. Was it you who claimed with complete certainty that all those that you deem anti-Welsh Trolls were actually in England…without looking at the IP addresses of the pro-Welsh posters and finding that their IP location also actually roamed to the nearest centre or HQ, wherever that may be, and could be in different places on successive days? It isn’t “pedantry” to point out that the census actually asked “can you speak Welsh” not “Do you speak Welsh”. I say 58% of those people able to speak Welsh prefer to speak English because the Welsh language use survey asked that question in the form of “more comfortable using” and I consider it common sense that no one busts a gut to speak a language that they aren’t comfortable using if they can avoid it; and in Wales everyone can avoid it. Prof Clare wasn’t the only one to depend on Welsh English bilingualism for their research:-

        https://www.hindawi.com/journals/pd/2015/943572/

        Conclusion:-

        “5. Conclusions

        In a study of Welsh/English bilingualism in PD monolinguals showed an advantage in performance of English language tests. There were no differences in performance of EF tests between monolinguals and bilinguals. Those who used Welsh less in daily life had better performance on one test of vocabulary. Although the degree of bilingualism showed a correlation with individual tests of nonverbal general reasoning and working memory there was no overall effect on EF. The reasons why the expected benefit in EF in Welsh-English bilinguals with PD was not found require further study. Future studies in PD should include other language pairs, analysis of the effects of the degree of bilingualism, and longitudinal analysis of cognitive decline or dementia together with structural or functional neuroimaging.”

        Now I note your “be careful calling people liars” (we know where you live???)defamation threat. I find it repugnant and completely what I would expect from a Nationalist.

        • Hi John, I say you need to be careful calling people liars because a) it undermines the rest of your argument, and b) there is a genuine danger of defamation if you continue to accuse people who disagree with you of deliberately misleading others. If you look back through the comments I’ve had to issue the same warning to several people on the site. We don’t have the budget to deal with any action that may arise from libel published on this site and so if there is a danger of that it is dealt with. The only reason I allowed your comment to stand unedited was because it referred to me (the one person least likely to sue this site…). But please, temper your language or your IP address, be it pointing to Holyhead or Timbuktu, will have to go on the flagged list alongside others who couldn’t moderate their own comments. 🙂

          “completely what I would expect from a Nationalist.”

          While I take pride in being a Welsh nationalist I would point out that we’re all nationalists of some kind, if we have any kind of opinion on the borders, culture and language of the nation-state in which we live. More here: http://ifanmj.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/yes-youre-nationalist.html

          The IP addresses of the multi-pseudonymed anti-Welsh language trolls which you claim are roaming freely around the UK are still pointing firmly at their location several hundred miles from Wales, 48 hours after I first checked. Yours and mine are pointing at where we live, so they’re clearly not that far off. It’s quite a leap from people being more comfortable using English to being uncomfortable using Welsh. I’m more comfortable using English in some settings, Welsh in others. The data simply does not say what you claim it does. The paper at the conference did indeed discuss Welsh/English bilinguals.

          The End – Ifan

    • “The next few years provide a unique opportunity to remedy the situation [the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages, MFLs in schools], drawing on the expertise of teachers who have a deep understanding of the potential of bilingualism to benefit the learning of third and subsequent languages, especially but in no sense exclusively in Welsh medium schools.”

      That’s from the British Council report you provided a link to.

      There is no credible argument that Welsh/English bilingualism is anything other than an advantage when it comes to learning a third or more language. Statstics that you insist show otherwise are evidence ultimately of the low status MFLs in the UK have.

      The UK as a whole performs badly with regards to MFL acquisition and the many reasons are rooted in the continuing cultural promotion of English language monoglotism and the idea that the world speaks English so why bother with any other MFL. Most of us in Cymru still adhere to this outmoded and detrimental expression of Britishness and that probably similarly applies whether we’re monoglots or bilinguals.

      • Let this really be definitive analysis of the benefits of speaking more than one language.

        I’ve looked at the references of the study of those with Parkinson disease and exploring whether bilingualism makes a difference. Like many studies it seems to be more of a prototype where more research and greater clarification of the determinants and extent or otherwise of the term bilingual and it’s useage is needed.

        I think the inclusion of other examples of speakers with two different languages of study would be important as well. This is not to minimise the importance of such studies. The opposite. Much more research is needed in areas of dementia and pathways of learning, life experience and what factors that could be instrumental in prevention or delaying onset. There is no evidence from this study point to anything with confidence, even the suggestion that bilingualism when Welsh is limited in daily use had a bigger compatible score in one of the tests. This too has interest. Those who live their lives using Welsh will be at a disadvantage using English.

        This has relevance to the clear need to ensure the study identifies bilingualism with as much precision as possible.

        But we need to be serious about this and ensure the sample size is significant, pan European and draws on the experience of the teaching professions across the wider sample size who on a daily basis assess the ease and proficiency with which students learn two languages. I know where my money would be resting.

      • A favourite Irish poet WBYeats once wrote. ” Irish poetry and Irish stories were made to be spoken or sung,
        while English Literature ….. shaped itself in the printing press.
        I think the same for Welsh poetry and Welsh stories. Who would wish to deny this wonderful culture but only to thrive and be saved.

  32. Well … once while hiking in the South America’s, Patagonia I think it was. Our party got a little turned around , well totally lost really. . Lucky we came across one of the local tribesmen there who directed us on the correct route and the crazy thing was THIS MaN COULD CONVERSE IN WELSH .. Thankfully I was gifted with learning that same language half a world away.
    I live in what’s now known as England. (Claiming country back bit by bit) frequently get told to sod off back to Wales so I can upset sheep. BUT THIS IS ALL BANTER so I’m told. English is a langiage borrowed and stolen from every other language and wasn’t poker until about 480 yrs ago. Welsh thousands of years even through the prohibition of the language , usage of the Welsh knot etc. We are Welsh I am Welsh I speak Welsh. My children speak Welsh as will theirs and this is how we will keep an ancient culture alive. Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn anwyl I mi.

    Wales and and being Welsh is something we are proud of . Maybe it could be the oppression that has been directed at us by the Saxon ,Norman ,Scandinavian invaders that stole our lands and tried for centuries to quite the Celtic heathens.

    Aaahhh well
    WE ARE STILL HERE AND ALEAYS WILL BE.

    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME
    DIOLCH AM EICH AMSER

  33. Welsh is a Celtic (pictish) language that was spoken long before the Angles and Saxons invaded…even before the Romans.
    I was born in Bronglais hospital, Aberystwyth. My parents are English but I am fluent in Welsh as all the neighbouring farms were Welsh speakers.
    I can speak other languages as can pick up the grammar just by listening.
    I now live in Kent, as when I was younger there wasn’t many engineering jobs in electronics in Dyfed, although I did my Higher education in Cardiff.
    Welsh was here long before the invaders, and will still be here as long as the generations keep it alive, even in Patagonia., Argentina.

  34. John Jones. The problem is the media- Any thing that isn’t white anglo saxon is the whipping boy for the public grievances. Classic example- look at the church
    I could claim that as an example Christianity is forced upon the population for the following reasons.

    Most of the top politicians identify as Christian
    Vast numbers of schools have some sort of bearing to Christianity, whether it be singing hyms or prayers.
    Songs of praises on the tele every Sunday (I don’t know how many people switch off when this is on)
    The fact that Church has entitlement to land
    The fact that most of our laws, by way of being based from Roman law, are based in Christianity.
    The fact that businesses are forced to shut on Xmas
    The head of the state has to be christian.
    The number of church goers is falling.
    Churches are tax exempt.
    etc etc I could go on and on (there may be some errors above but that’s besides the point)…..

    Now I don’t care for Christianity. But I have nothing against the above given that Christianity is part of the history of these isles etc etc.

    But do you see how easy it is to belittle a culture under threat? Do you see how easy it is to claim that something has no relevance today? Do you see how easy it is to claim something is shoved down our throats when its actually not- it’s just trying to survive?

    You only seem to pop on to this forum when it’s something regarding the language. You claimed above that you’ve lived in this country for 61 years and it’s your country but you only write to the Western Mail and Wales online etc on matters regarding the language. Do you have no regard for other aspects of this country?

    Take a deep breath and a hard look in the mirror. Do you really want to spend the next few decades doing this? Posting to the same outlets and getting more isolated in your views…

    Also your stats based approach- I don’t know where to begin with this.
    Where are the stats for the value of a mother singing Welsh nursery rhymes to her new born baby?
    Where are the stats demonstrating the value of hearing the wonderful language down the streets of the Fro?
    How can you attribute stats to the atmosphere of 60,000 Cymry singing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau?

    Stats just don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell you the humanity of the situation and it takes all life out of the debate. They don’t tell the worth of something in real terms.
    As Benjamin Disraeli said ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics’

  35. I learned Welsh when I was in the Army. I speak French, German and Italian fluently and also can speak Spanish and Dutch fairly well.I’m now learning Polish. I have worked in Languages and never ever been out of work. I learned Welsh well and I never regretted the time it took to master it. I feel proud to be a Brit that can communicate in its oldest language ( Welsh) I lead two Welsh meet up groups in East Anglia ( one in Cambridge and one in Norfolk) .

  36. Ianci ‘ma, sy’n trio dysgu Cymraeg yn America. You could count the number of Welsh-speakers in my area on the fingers of a retired lumberjack, but I do live among a lot of Spanish-speakers and number 5 is spot on for them. It amazes me how many monoglot gringos view bilingualism as somehow disreputable, and actually regard themselves as smarter or more educated because of their ignorance of a second language. The suggestion that those monoglots could perhaps learn Spanish is greeted with frank disbelief. Never mind that many of the people they sneer at for speaking Spanish are third- or fourth-generation Americans and have lived here longer than their detractors. It must be much more galling for Welsh people whose language is (a) more intimidating to learn and (b) actually indigenous to the country to be looked down at by foreigners.

  37. Here’s another one:
    ‘The Welsh language creates social divisions by promoting the interests of a privileged middle-class Welsh-speaking elite who live of public funds, and are unconcerned about the circumstances and needs of unemployed or underpaid people in predominantly English-speaking parts of Wales. They are the ones who should be getting the Welsh-language money’.
    For an anti-Welsh-language diatribe (along these lines) masquerading as analytical journalism, see the following link from 2013:

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/evan-harris/home-truths-decline-of-welsh-language

    Anyone got any ideas about how to respond to such accusations?

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