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Guardian columnist fires back at ‘anti-Welsh language’ comments beneath her article

31 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and response to Guardian comments.

Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett has taken to the comments section of her latest article to respond to the ‘anti-Welsh language lobby’.

The Welsh journalist said it was ‘intensely depressing’ to see some of the messages left beneath her article about the slate landscape of north west Wales, following its recent Unesco heritage award.

The article is a personal and historic reflection on the ‘eerily beautiful’ quarries of north Wales but has attracted the ‘inevitable’ comments about the Welsh language.

Reacting below her article, she writes: “I have to say, I find it intensely depressing to see yet another article thread about Wales hijacked by the anti-Welsh language lobby, who seem to have a real chip on their shoulder about the language.

“Especially an article about my childhood, family background and Welsh-speaking ancestors. It is not a good look.

“Weirdly, there never seems to be anything controversial about other nationalities speaking and promoting their own language in their own countries, which says it all, really.”

The article talks about how the Unesco heritage award is not just about the landscape but also reflects the language, culture and progressive politics associated with the north Wales slate workers.

‘Second-class’

One commenter stated: “The danger of promoting Welsh is the English speaking community are made to feel like second class citizens in their own country.

“They are excluded from many public sector jobs, by requirements for fluency in Welsh that they do not process. Their children are excluded from local schools because often the only option is a Welsh language school.

“Welsh is a minority language in Wales. It should be preserved but that shouldn’t be at the expense of the English speaking majority. The main language of Wales is English, not Welsh.”

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett responded by saying that most English speakers that she knows made an effort to speak the local language and saw a value in preserving it.

She said: “Happily, among younger generations, it has become unfashionable to denigrate and dismiss the languages and cultures of other countries, and this gives me great happiness!

“I think you have to counteract negativity with positivity and enthusiasm, and I have met a great many Welsh learners over the years who embody this!”

Rhiannon Lucy Coslett is a feature writer and editor for the Guardian newspaper but has worked as a freelance for a wide range of titles including Elle, The Independent and the New Statesman. She is also an author with her first novel, The Tyranny of Lost Things, published in 2018.

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#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago

And yet some Welsh people inexplicably want to be tied to a Union that hates everything about us. You can claim it’s a minority, but what other nation gets this level of sh1t for daring to practise our own culture? I don’t know of ANY Non Welsh speaking people living in Wales, either native born or immigrant who feels the slightest bit intimidated or excluded by the Welsh language. On the contrary all those who have expressed an opinion (apart from one drunken english boomer with a chip on his shoulder) wholeheartedly support efforts to grow the language and keep… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

It is a forum for and against and peppered with anecdote, the most disturbing thing was all those advocating jumping into cold deep water. Dorothea Quarry is awesome but deadly, same for the Blue Lake near Fairbourne.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

Although an English speaker, one thing I love to see and hear is our Urdd Eisteddfod.

*** Ein hiaith a’n hanes am byth! ***

kais
kais
1 month ago

Who could write “…. feel like 2nd class citizens in their own country” ?
I am a proud Welshman, but I don’t speak Welsh as my 1st language.
I have never ever felt like a 2nd class citizen. It seems to me that the writer of that piece of nonsense has a self confidence and self image problem.

I want to see and hear more of the Welsh language not less.
These negative attitude people are becoming more and more tiresome.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  kais

Quite right Kais, and their day is almost over.

George
George
1 month ago
Reply to  kais

I’m an English speaking Welshman who is intrigued that English could both be the main language of Wales, to the extent that Welsh is supposedly a minority language, and English speakers treated as second class citizens. Isn’t that contradictory?

Anyway, Wales has two official languages and UNESCO praised Welsh language and culture in their recent award so there is certainly value in maintaining and promoting that feature to our nation.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Why the anti-Welsh lobby have such a problem with two official languages is beyond me. Plenty of countries have two or more official languages – for example, Switzerland has four official languages, the Belgium has three and the Indians have 22.

Vaughan
Vaughan
1 month ago

I skimmed through the comment section in the Grauniad and out of about 400 or so only a small proportion expressed bigoted views about the Welsh language.

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago
Reply to  Vaughan

Really? Which bit of the Guardian were you reading? “I skimmed” – for an intelligent newspaper ‘proud of its journalism’, the Guardian lets a lot of b***ks through its comments pages. I read the whole thing including seeing RLC herself pop up.

Shan Morgain
1 month ago

I was originally a Londoner but for 35 years I am adopted / honorary Welsh. Bery proud to be so. I have had only two incidents of being ‘closed out’ by Welsh speakers in all that time though admittedly both incidents were cruel and distressing to me. (I also didn’t flourish in unfriendly Haverfordwest but perhaps significantly they are not very Welsh there, unfriendly place.) Only two incidents in 35 years. Welsh people have been overwhelmingly king and courteous to me, a strong, pragmatic and fascinating people. I wish the language courses were better but that’s another story..

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago
Reply to  Shan Morgain

If you’re serious about learning Welsh, search under learnwelsh/dysgucymraeg to find their nearest learning centre to you. Professional and very affordable.

As for Haverfordwes people, many of them are of Flemish or English descent, but they wouldn’t thank you for their description of them as “not very Welsh”.

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago

Message to Rhiannon. The Guardian seems to push forward the occasional piece on a Welsh or Wales subject specifically to draw out the Wales-haters. See the Simon Jenkins pieces, for example. It never fails as a ploy and there seems to be very little moderation there. Why do let yourself be used as a stooge when you could come home and contribute to building a much-needed Welsh media? I read your piece in the New Statesman back in 2013 on the “dying” Welsh language. It isn’t dying thanks but you attracted the same patronising and snidy comments then. Get the… Read more »

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandi A

It’s not just the guardian, nearly all of the english based media, red top or broadsheet all push baited articles, for exactly the reason you state

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandi A

The BBC are just as bad if not worse. Just try reading the comments section of any BBC news article about the Senedd, the Welsh Government, Welsh elections and, if you’ve got the nerve, Welsh independence. The hatred and bile is unbelievable and is allowed to pass without any moderation whatsoever. If the same level of hatred was directed towards English people by Welsh people we would get the normal ‘anti-English racism’ crap. As an aside I complained about a BBC news item on the 6 o’clock news a few months back in which they said that Wales had a… Read more »

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Oh Gods YES! The BBC is HORRIFIC. Pro Unionist propaganda with many articles with not even a pretence at fairness or truth
And their HYS forum is appalling. Possibly the worst forum in existence. Every single article is haunted by the same 30 elderly English Nationalists and Uncl Tŵms who are given free reign to abuse all things Welsh in the Welsh HYS section. Yet those who oppose this onslaught of hatred are routinely banned.

Last edited 1 month ago by #1Chris
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
1 month ago
Reply to  #1Chris

Yes no point complaining to the BBC either, we just get Englishplaining why we should not be offended. Totally outrageous and unacceptable

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

BBC reporters often use the word Welching and I have complained many times, but each time I have been told it is not offensive. Examples are Paul Mason on Newsnight who had the arrogance to tell me I am free not to watch the programme, others are Andrew Marr and Laura Kuenssberg. Not only do we all pay for the BBC but we are affected by such prejudice. As a Welsh person living in London I have often heard people say “never trust a Welshman”. It is outrageous and unacceptable that the National broadcaster of the UK should use such… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen Owen

Funny, I never heard anyone say ‘Never trust a Welshman’ when I lived up there. There was plenty of ‘Are you from the vaaaaaleeeeeeys?’, ‘Hide the sheep!’ and ‘F*** off back home with that monkey language’ whilst on the tube. I was also asked to return back across the bridge by a policeman, told by a bloke who’s pint I accidentally spilled that ‘he loves beating up taffs most of all’ (didn’t end well for him). Still, never heard that one before… There was also a huge amount of positivity, wonderful friends made and a deep, abiding hope for London… Read more »

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

I have heard it a few times as well as the things you list.

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandi A

It attracts smug, kale-eating metropolitan wankers, who wring their hands over Nigerian lesbian knitting circles being threatened with funding withdrawal in Islington, or shout “Free Palestine!” at every opportunity, but sneer at the last holdout of the indigenous culture of this island. Still, the joke is on them, having to live in London.

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago

Kind of over the Guardian’s virtue signalling TBH.
Many times we in Cymru have felt the subtle knife in the ribs from behind.
Oh they love tame, subservient quaint little Wales with its dragons and daffodils and Tom Jones.
But they very much dislike confident, optimistic vigorous Cymru, looking to a free future without capricious and corrupt Westminster interference and have left a thousand Grauniad anti-Cymry fingerprints on a thousand knives in our backs.
They are no more our friends than the Daily Heil

Last edited 1 month ago by #1Chris
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  #1Chris

They are a strange lot indeed, from what I can tell they are pro ‘Let them drown in the Med’

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  #1Chris

rabid anti-anything-not-white-and-English to the right of us, limp stay-with-us-you-cannot-make-it-alone-but-keep-speaking-your-lovely-little-cant-and-maybe-we’ll-build-you-a-waitrose to the left of us. Stuck in the middle with indy?

Rhyddid i Gymru, nawr ac yn fythol

Dai Ddim
Dai Ddim
1 month ago

Preserved? It’s a living language, not jam mun!

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago

That comment board is full of tossers. It’s as bad as the Daily Mail, but with none of the humour derived from laughing at them!

Paul Evans
Paul Evans
1 month ago

There’s this thing called Duolingo. Free to learn Welsh. You can learn it if you want!

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