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Former First Minister says he was nervous about using Welsh in formal contexts and says there should be ‘less criticism’

21 Dec 2021 2 minutes Read
Former First Minister Carwyn Jones. Picture: Senedd Cymru.

The former First Minister of Wales has said that he was nervous about using his Welsh in formal contexts in the past and that there needs to be less criticism if the language is to continue to thrive.

Carwyn Jones said that “we should try to support people more” and encourage them to use their Welsh. He told Radio Cymru’s Dros Frecwast program that people also “tend to be very critical of themselves”.

“Particularly in some parts of Wales, in the census, they describe themselves as people who understand Welsh and do not speak Welsh. They’re still there but we lose them as Welsh speakers because they don’t consider themselves to be Welsh speakers. ”

Despite being First Minister and Welsh Labour leader for almost ten years between 2009 and 2018, Carwyn Jones said that he himself used to be nervous using the Welsh language in a formal context.

“I never would have done that 20 years ago,” he said. “I would never have stood up and spoken in Welsh in public, especially without notes. By now, I’m comfortable enough to do that.

“One of the things I wanted to make sure was that people hear the voice and accent of east Carmarthenshire, and West Glamorgan, and see that it is possible to use Welsh and to hear an accent like mine,” he said.

“It was also my personal journey to ensure that I have the confidence to use Welsh outside of a social context.

“Not everyone needs to reach a standard where they can write cynghanedd or win something at the Eisteddfod,” he added.

“What matters is that people use the Welsh language.”


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Dewi Roger Price
Dewi Roger Price
6 months ago

Cytuno’n llwyr.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago

I agree with Carwyn 100 per cent – those of us who speak ‘ stryt ‘ Welsh and can cope well with our local paperau fro but certainly not ‘ Barn ‘or ‘ Golwg ‘ …. we tend to listen to Capital Cymru rather than Radio Cymru…apart from y Newyddion or panel discussions….my lack of the bilingual education my children and grandchildren enjoy/ed ceratainly tells. I have done a few radio imterviews where i could prepare but was dreadful on my only 2 S4C efforts. A tendancy of using Welsh in Council meetings on my fellow members was welcomed by… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Richard
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard

I think that if you can cope with the local papur bro then Golwg shouldn’t be too hard… Barn might be somewhat challenging, but Radio Cymru isn’t though you might have to deal with several differebt tafodieithau to your own.

But yeah, certainly there needs to be a lot less criticism, as at the end of the day it’s far more important that Cymraeg is spoken, even if imperfectly. Too many are discouraged because they don’t feel their Welsh is good enough. Most people would want to improve, and as I always stressed to learners, we learn from our mistakes.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Diolch a eu sylwadau cwrtais a cywir Padi 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿- Chyfarchion y tymor 👍🏼

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
6 months ago

Plaid supporter here. I always thought he sounded superb when speaking in Welsh, kudos to him and indeed everyone else who uses it, especially when nervous to do so, I applaud you all. Not being able to speak Welsh makes you no less a Welsh person than me or any other bilingual in this beautiful nation.

Arwyn
Arwyn
6 months ago

Seems a bit of a bad meme this whole “Welsh speakers are critical of learners” thing. Totally understand the confidence issue – my French is poor. Nid iaith perffaith ond ymdrech sy’n cyfrif. However, this story has now appeared on the BBC website. I’m acutely aware of the damage done when perpetuating damaging stereotypes.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I don’t think 🤔 it’s against learners but more on those of us who speak speak ‘ stryt ‘ Welsh or ‘Cymraeg y Cegin ‘ using local dialect….or not too hot on grammar , tenses etc. In my Chapel ( an English one ) around a third of the 100 or so members are like me but the half dozen first language folk mostly incomers from Gwynedd or Sir Fôn just don’t get it when we use our Welsh mostly at the start and end of conversation or on personal / medical stuff. I guess this is a transition because… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
6 months ago

He was looking very nervous when he was due to be questioned in the high court in London about the planing permission that that was given for the largest opencast in Europe in merthy Tydfil when the court stopped for lunch we came down stairs to the foyer and he was talking to a lady and he was looking a very very worried Man i couldn’t wait for the afternoon court to start to see how he could get out of the Lie’s that he had said in the planing meetings.when the court called out is name they said that… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

Mal there are people on here who’ll applaud any kind of gibberish coming out of a Welsh Labour mouth just cos they and Plaid are now political bedmates. Carwyn was typical of the Welsh Labour politician who wanted to be “dyn pwysig” but most of the hard yards were invested in building himself up rather than advancing the lot of his nation. To him the Welsh language was something to be used as a token but his attitude was at best ambivalent. I never expected much from Drakeford but so far he’s way ahead of CJ in terms of impact… Read more »

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