Times criticised for ‘should the Welsh language be taught?’ poll

The Sunday Times. Picture by Howard Lake (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Sunday Times has been criticised after running a poll asking readers whether the Welsh language should continue to be taught in schools.

The poll followed a story in the newspaper about Eve Myles, who had learnt Welsh in order to star in S4C drama Un Bore Mercher – screened in English as Keeping Faith by BBC Wales.

As part of the interview, Eve Myles said: “It’s important to protect our heritage and language, and Wales should support that. We should be encouraging each other to keep the language alive.”

However, the Sunday Times appended a poll to the story asking: “Should Wales continue to support the teaching of Welsh in schools?”

BBC broadcaster Huw Edwards responded to ask: “Should England continue to support the teaching of English in schools?”

Labour Llanelli AM Lee Waters said that he “wasn’t quite sure where to start” on what was wrong with the poll.

Plaid Cymru Rhondda AM Leanne Wood also weighed in, asking: “What the hell kind of a question is this? What are you trying to do Sunday Times? Does anyone buy this paper in Wales?”

This isn’t the first time the Times has been accused of a negative attitude towards the Welsh language.

The newspaper infamously declared the Welsh language deceased in 1866, saying:

“The Welsh language is the curse of Wales. Its prevalence, and the ignorance of English have excluded, and even now exclude, the Welsh people from the civilisation, the improvement, and the material prosperity of their English neighbours.

“For all practical purposes, Welsh is a dead language.”

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