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