Travel writer defends Welsh language in wake of plane announcement storm
A travel writer has mounted a passionate defence of the Welsh language in the wake of a storm about its use on planes.
Kerry Walker responded to comments by fellow travel writer Simon Calder, who suggested that the Welsh language could make planes less safe.
According to Walker, his “gripes” have been deemed “insensitive” and “ignorant” and have “reignited the old English-Welsh divide”.
She accused some visitors of talking about Wales “as if it were nothing but an appendage to England” and added that “embracing” the Welsh language “is part of the wonder of being on holiday here”.
Calder, had complained about Welsh language announcements on aircraft that fly into Wales in an article for the London-based news organisation, The Independent.
In the column he claimed that including “more guff” in announcements was a “burden” to airmen and women as “they carry out their duty to fly us safely and professionally” and said that he doubted it would cause “any harm” if the Welsh language was axed.
‘It’s own country’
Kerry Walker, wrote in The Telegraph: “As you cruise on along narrow single-track lanes, tailgating tractors and letting your gaze drift across sheep-grazed meadows, hills and swooping valleys, the place names and road signs are a reminder that Wales – or Cymru – is very much its own country, with a distinctive language and culture.
“So when Simon Calder grumbled about Covid announcements made in Welsh on a recent flight to Cardiff, his gripes, deemed ‘insensitive’ and ‘ignorant’ by some, reignited the old English-Welsh divide.
“For years, the Welsh have been the butt of many a joke and their language has been dismissed.
“Still today, many visitors talk about Wales as if it were nothing but an appendage to England – a county rather than a country.
“Yet Welsh is the sound of Wales: rising and falling with a lilt that ripples like a summer breeze through heather on the moors.
“This is a language of song: its beauty captured in the tenor and bass of a male voice choir.
“And it is a language of poetry, as expressed at August’s National Eisteddfod, a jubilant celebration of culture and language that has been going strong since 1176.
“Embracing Welsh is part of the wonder of being on holiday here. Just look at an OS map and slowly the penny begins to drop.
“Llyn for lake, cwm for valley, mynydd for mountain and coedwig for forest. These are the markers of language and land.”