Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Professor who slated Welsh language no longer working with Wrexham University

13 Oct 2023 4 minute read
Wrexham University / Professor Hunt’s derogatory comments about bilingual road signs

Wrexham University have confirmed they are no longer working with a visiting professor who was condemned over slurs about the Welsh language and bilingual road signs.

A row broke out when Professor Nigel Hunt was widely criticised for describing bilingual road signs in Wales as ‘unintelligble’ and ‘potentially dangerous’, leading to the university issuing an apology for his comments, while also launching an investigation.

Now Wrexham University have confirmed that Professor Hunt has been removed from his role.

In a short statement a spokesperson said: “We have ended our visiting arrangements with Professor Hunt, and he no longer has a relationship with the university.”

After posting the inflammatory comments on Facebook, Dr Hunt was lambasted for his views, with many reacting to his words saying they had submitted official complaints to Wrexham University and how they could scarcely believe a professor at a Welsh University could hold these views.

The furore stemmed from Professor Hunt’s post in a Facebook group called Department of Petty Rage.

There he posted a picture of a bilingual road sign and wrote: “Signs like this. They are confusing as they contain irrelevant and – to most people – unintelligible information. Road signs in two languages are potentially dangerous as it takes longer to determine the message. As most people even in Wales do not understand these signs (the Welsh language is declining despite the attempts to popularise it) then please just use English.”

Once his post was published he was quickly picked up on his views across social media during the last 24-48 hours.

One poster wrote: How would you cope in a country without a translation?

He replied: ‘Much better. Most languages are intelligible and have a point.’

The row led to Wrexham University quickly issuing an apology after being inundated with complaints.

A spokesperson for Wrexham University said: “First and foremost, we would like to apologise for the offence caused by these remarks – and are in the process of investigating this matter internally. We are keen to stress that these comments absolutely do not reflect the views or values of our university or its staff.

“We are proud to be a Welsh institution and are proud of our Welsh history and heritage.

“We are also committed to promoting and celebrating the Welsh language, and are proud to say that more students than ever before have opportunities to study bilingually across a range of our courses at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham
University, thanks to the implementation of our Welsh Language Academic Strategy and Action Plan in November 2022.

“As an institution, we are also committed to the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 and as part of the legislation – the Welsh language has equal status with English and must not be treated less favourably.”

However, since the furore, it appears Professor Hunt has doubled down on his comments.

In a statement to Sky News, he said he would not apologise for his comments “which reflect [his] beliefs”, but he did apologise for “the way in which these comments emerged”. He called Welsh and other Celtic languages “moribund languages” which are “unlikely to survive” if left alone.

He added: “While I accept that the University of Wrexham has a position on the Welsh language, it is critical that members of that university are free to express opinions that go against that position.

“This is academic freedom, and more fundamentally, free speech.

“We should not be restricting freedom of speech, the right to have opinions that differ from other people.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
42 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Good. I don’t wish him jobless, and I am not some constantly aggrieved “patriot”. But he has no place lecturing in the country whose language and culture he so nastily derides in public. I hope he has a long and successful career somewhere that better suits his personality. Like Kent. The spiritual home of UKIP

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

I think he would have been OK had he not crossed a line when he replied ‘Much better. Most languages are more intelligible and have a point’. That is hate speech, as the comment was intended to demean and devalue.

John Davies
John Davies
7 months ago

Professor Hunt comes across as a typical beef-witted Saxon bully. Actually that is unfair. Not all the Saes are as bad. It is always a pleasant surprise to find one who isn’t.

A good case could be made that road signs ought to be monolingual… in Cymraeg. It would encourage people to learn the basics at least.

Well done Wrecsam University, anyway. They appear to have made the right decision.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  John Davies

Yes, he’s an Anglo-Saxon nationalist – thinks that the British Empire was God’s gift to mankind as a means of civilizing barbarians and ending slavery. (!!) His tweets are nauseating.

Riki
Riki
7 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

If he was an Anglo Saxon nationalist the last thing he would be doing is glorifying the “British” (The Welsh) Empire up. Quite simply, the people of Wales always lose because they are so willing to let the English claim British nationhood.

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
7 months ago
Reply to  John Davies

I am Welsh speaking and as far as I know and Ancestry DNA knows of pure Welsh stock but my Welsh of the cerrig calch variety like my father and his father before him. I don’t like the bilingual signs as they are and find them very confusing because my reading in Welsh is hesitant and I have often passed the sign before I have read it in Welsh. Why cant the English and Welsh be in different colours so they are easy for people like me to deal with. My Welsh is not academic or cultured it is cyffredin… Read more »

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

That’s an issue about design though, which is a legitimate point – unlike the phoney professor’s fraudulent claims that bilingual signs are dangerous. They’re not, as numerous studies have pointed out. He let his Anglo-Saxon nationalism get the better of him on this one.

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
7 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

If as you say it is a legitimate point why do I get downticks? My Welsh is not good enough for some but then I grew up with that and I am used to it. My father spoke about ninfa, dwr drewllyd and Edward y March and I spoke like him. As for some of his points about other languages being easier to understand than Welsh I understand that too. I think some people who comment hear are the ones with imagined problems about Anglo Saxons and I am sorry he lost his job.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

No idea. I didn’t downtick you. His points about other languages actually proves his bigotry though. He says he understands the Cyrillic alphabet – that’s presumably because he learnt it. Any language is unintelligible until you make an effort to understand it. Hardly rocket science. The real question is – why the emotional outburst by a supposedly intelligent bloke against one language in particular. It is – I believe – because he sees it at as a threat to his ‘British’ (i.e English/Saxon) identity, in a way that other languages are not. Many of these ultra British nationalists type cannot… Read more »

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
7 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

All I can say is your experience of life is different to mine. I try not to judge but then I have never come across an ultra British Nationalist.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

Then you are very blessed. I hope you never have the misfortune of meeting one. Although this breed are quite widespread unfortunately.

Winston
Winston
7 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

You’re jumping to conclusions but the point about signs being confusing to anyone who doesn’t read Welsh (not just Anglo Saxons) is correct. His wording is insensitive though.

J R Hartley
J R Hartley
7 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

You sound like a low skill driver. The only time you should be on the road is if being driven by someone else. Maybe get your mum to ferry you around.

Shells
Shells
7 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

You’re making this up.

Sally-Anne
Sally-Anne
7 months ago

“We are proud to be a Welsh institution and are proud of our Welsh history and heritage” ….so why don’t they refer to themselves as Glyndwr University any more then?

Riki
Riki
7 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

Because they are still sell outs, this however just crossed the line and was said out in the open. It’s definitely likely that they share his views.

Attila96
Attila96
7 months ago

Professor Hunt rhymes with…

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
7 months ago

Da iawn. Totally incorrect statements by this academically challenged academic.

Richard Burton
Richard Burton
7 months ago

During the previous cyfrifiad in the Basque country the number of speakers had increased. This goes to show, with a positive attitude and a lot of collective work minority languages can be saved (Basque has roughly the same number of speakers as Welsh). Whenever any Brits claim that Welsh should not be saved nor is it worth fighting for, please remember this.

Riki
Riki
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard Burton

The irony of “Brits” claiming such a thing is that “Welsh” is British. The People of Wales are British! Always have been and always will. The English converted to Britishness in the 1600s.

Shells
Shells
7 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Our DNA is different to the English. But yes, we all live in Britain.

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
7 months ago

Dr Nigel Hunt is a doctor of social psychology, which is a branch of psychology that deals with social interactions, including their origins and their effects on the individual. From this example it seems that he needs to re-learn his own subject as he seems to be a wind up merchant.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

He’s probably trying to get himself “cancelled” so GBNews or the Times / Mail / Torygraph will take him on as another spleen for hire

J R Hartley
J R Hartley
7 months ago

Racism is not “academic freedom”

What a fool this man is.

J R Hartley
J R Hartley
7 months ago

His position at the University of Nottingham is untenable. Racism is wrong. This university must disassociate itself from this clown academic, also.

Winston
Winston
7 months ago
Reply to  J R Hartley

Racism? Welshmen aren’t different race. This is xenophobia but definitely not racism

Gywn Tomas
Gywn Tomas
7 months ago
Reply to  Winston

Huge insult to the many millions of black slaves shipped from the African continent and also to people who have suffered real racism. You cant be racist to the welsh just like you cant be racist to the English ,

Riki
Riki
7 months ago
Reply to  Winston

They are! Genetics suggest so. Colour changes in skin pigmentation change all the time. Even the Romans mentioned how most of the people of Wales in their day were olive skinned akin to iberians.

Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago

Everyone has a right to an opinion and express that opinion so long as it’s non
discriminatory.

The good professor and his chums can now spend their time watts apping each other with their colonial views and little England opinions to their hearts content

Wynn
Wynn
7 months ago

He shouldn’t be driving if he cannae read the English bit of the sign and he shouldnae be a professor if he’s that thick he cannae find the English bit in time to follow directions.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
7 months ago

I wonder what a decent Psychologist would make of it all? Why was he so threatened by my first language? Was his heart broken by a Welsh person… No matter, what a silly silly man, all he has done is show himself to be an unpleasant bigot; I truly hope he can learn from this.

Brian Gourley
Brian Gourley
7 months ago

To start with, for a man in the position of Nigel Hunt to make those kinds of remarks about the Welsh language is both saddening and astonishing. From what I gather or what I.have read online he describes himself as both a psychologist and a historian, and yet he apparently sees fit to denigrate and resent the Welsh language in its own homeland. Perhaps he has this imperialist British/Anglo-Saxon attitude that fails to understand the cultural and linguistic diversity of the UK. Yes, it is the UK and yes it is part of Britain but it is an historic nation… Read more »

Vicky
Vicky
7 months ago

In terms of his comments on free speech and holding differing opinions. There is absolutely nothing that has stopped him expressing is right to free speech, nor can he be forced to change his opinion. Those fundamental rights remain. However, most employers nowadays have policies relating to employee behaviour (including in relation to social media) and not bringing the company/organisation into disrepute. Professor Hunt, in this instance, appears to have fallen into the common trap of treating a very public platform as though its a much smaller, private space. Expressing your opinion to a handful of friends is one thing,… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Vicky
J R Hartley
J R Hartley
7 months ago
Reply to  Vicky

His opinion is stupid. His decision to advertise his stupidity: even more stupid. A stupid man.

Vicky
Vicky
7 months ago
Reply to  J R Hartley

I’d say less stupid (he’s clearly intelligent enough academically), and more ignorant, deliberately provocative and entirely thoughtless in terms of considering the outcome. Regardless, the outcome is deserved.

Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago

I read this guys web site – which is worth a look . An x taxi driver / lorry driver and East Midlands background and poor educational start in life seems to have shaped his views. A whole moving update on cancer battles and trauma focus – he writes well and personal if introspective which I guess is natural. He obviously saw bilingualism in Finland 🇫🇮 ( Swedish / Finnish ) but hitting Wrexham a red wall x Labour very European city must have been a challenge . His comments were crass and insulting to us in this nation –… Read more »

J R Hartley
J R Hartley
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

Being working class isn’t a reason to be a racist.

Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago
Reply to  J R Hartley

or a Taxi 🚕 driver ?
..,.things a bit slow on the fishing 🎣 scene

Richard
Richard
7 months ago

Whilst I have no sympathy whatsoever with his views, I must say that I am not entirely comfortable with the notion of an academic being punished for expressing unpopular views. Academic freedom is at the core of a free society. This has the potential to set a dangerous precedent.

Vicky
Vicky
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard

He wasn’t punished for having an unpopular academic opinion (and as an opinion its not even close to being acadmically robust). His contract was terminated for bringing the university into disrepute – most employment contracts will have a clause on behaviour and social media use. If you behave publicly in a way that causes your employer problems then this is the likely outcome. It’s certainly not a precedent.

Richard
Richard
7 months ago
Reply to  Vicky

So if a Welsh academic made some remarks that some interpreted as being anti English, do you think that their employer would be justified in acting similarly against them?

Riki
Riki
7 months ago

Good, there should be no place for people who show contempt for our nations culture and legacy. People like him would have a bit of legitimacy had English been a minority language and/or endangered but it isn’t, and won’t ever be. There is no excuse for such attacks on our language and the only reason they belittle and demean it is convince the people of Wales just go along with their views and abandon one of the very few things left that connects us to our past.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.