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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?