Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Wrexham University professor under fire for criticism of bilingual road signs

10 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Professor Nigel Hunt’s Facebook post criticising bilingual road signs

A professor at Wrexham University has been widely criticised for describing bilingual road signs in Wales as ‘unintelligble’ and ‘potentially dangerous’.

After posting the comments on Facebook he has been lambasted for his views, with many reacting to his words saying they have submitted official complaints to Wrexham University and how they could scarcely believe a professor at a Welsh University could hold these views.

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

There Professor Hunt, who is a visiting professor at Wrexham University, 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.

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.’

On X, formerly Twtter, he faced similar criticism.

Ethan Jones wrote: ‘This is an appalling attitude from one of your professors @WrexhamUni

‘Your staff have a duty to treat your Welsh students with respect, calling their language “irrelevant” is certainly not the way to do this.

‘Deeply disappointing.’

Efan ap Ifor posted: ‘This is hugely disappointing to see @WrexhamUni

‘It highlights that not all educated people, that specialise in one field, are well informed people more generally.

‘They aren’t immune to lazy xenophobic tropes or possess values &/or morals that are grounded in inclusiveness.’

Meanwhile, Rhys Gethin added: ‘Could @WrexhamUni clarify if Prof. Nigel Hunt represents the values of the university?

‘Given the university’s recent decision to drop ‘Glyndŵr’ from its name, having a bigoted professor publicly mock the Welsh language and demand the removal of Welsh signage isn’t a good look.’

We have contacted Wrexham University for a response.


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
40 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
oatmaster
oatmaster
6 months ago

You might expect Professors to have original thoughts. Oh, he’s only a ‘visiting’ and ‘associate’ one. Keep trying, Prof! You’ll get there!

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  oatmaster

obviously doesn’t visit often because the signs still confuse him. He’s a visiting prof in what subject ……. ignorance perhaps.

David Zenati-Parsons
David Zenati-Parsons
6 months ago

Just to get this straight in my head, a Prof wants to stop bilingual signage in Wales because he gets confused? surely the answer to his distress is to learn Welsh after all he is living in Wales.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago

Maybe this “professor” would do better teaching in an English University somewhere like Kent. How supremely arrogant to insult the language of the original nation of these Islands, when his own language is just a pidgin German Belgian hybrid

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

I think he’d be better off going back to school. Certainly not worthy of being a professor. Numerous studies have shown time after time that bilingual road signs are not dangerous. He’s just a Wales hater, who feel threatened, it seems, by the aboriginal language. Maybe he should use himself as a psychological case study?

Twm Llewelyn
6 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

I am Welsh speaking brought up in a house that spoke Cymraeg cerrig calch but my reading in Welsh is not as good as it is in English. I often start reading signage in Welsh but cannot finish before I have driven past. What is bloody confusing for me as a non academic Welsh speaker is that the language signs are in the same colour and my brain tries the first sign it gets. It would be less confusing if the languages Were easily identifiable as Welsh or English.

Frank
Frank
6 months ago
Reply to  Twm Llewelyn

Now that the speed limit has been reduced in many areas to 20mph you should have more time to read the signs. However it is very sad that people born and bred have a problem with their own language. Only here in Wales could this happen!!!! Never encountered such hatered and disloyalty towards their own culture and language anywhere else on the planet. Some Welsh people are only Welsh during the Six Nations when they can be seen mouthing gibberish when singing Hên Wlad Fy Nhadau. By the way the word “hên” is pronounced “hane” not “hen” as in chicken!!

Twm Llewelyn
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Hey Frank the hatred is not mine good boy, my post is an honest one and not judgemental.

Frank
Frank
6 months ago
Reply to  Twm Llewelyn

At what point in my comment did you feel that the hatred was directed at you “good boy”? The comment was generalising the Cymry. You have obviously taken offence at what I wrote but believe me it was not meant to be personal.

Twm Llewelyn
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Frank your answer is both demining and personal. Remember sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. I think you need to consider carefully how others interperet your sentiments.

saveenergy
saveenergy
6 months ago
Reply to  Twm Llewelyn

sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

& often the highest form of observation !!

saveenergy
saveenergy
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Modern English consists of Germanic languages (Old/Middle English, Old Norse, Dutch) 26%

You missed out … Latin 29%, French 29%, Greek 6%, Scandinavian 4%; plus another 6% from around the world.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

Thanks. I knew it was a hodgepodge mix of other languages, but would never have investigated which ones. It does kind of make me wonder where a certain type of Nationalist gets the idea of being “pure English” comes from

saveenergy
saveenergy
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Absolutely; there are NO pure English, Welsh, Scots or Irish … the Romans saw to that ~2,000yrs ago.

In fact there are NO pure humans, people of European, Asian, and Australasian lineage have approximately 2% .neanderthal DNA.

I smile when I hear white supremacists rant on, as they don’t know we are all descended from a black pygmy called Lucy Australopithecus afarensis, from east Africa 3.2-millionm years ago

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Cymraeg is hardly ‘pure’ despite what some may try to tell us. All modern languages are a mixture, adopting and adapting from other languages as time passes and they evolve. I almost get triggered when I read others suggesting that English is somehow less of a language because it has evolved from many other languages and has adopted and adapted from those languages – it’s the sign of a successful language. Languages that don’t adapt, adopt or evolve are those that are either dead, or dying. Cymraeg is still adapting and adopting, just as it has for a very long… Read more »

Jeff.
Jeff.
6 months ago

It is not a problem, did he get a ticket for not reading a sign? All covered in the Highway Code.

A problem is poor signage or too many signs.

saveenergy
saveenergy
6 months ago

“Road signs in two languages are potentially dangerous as it takes longer to determine the message”

that is true … So;
why not have Welsh in one colour & English in another,
or at least have a line between the two.
That way you reduce reading time
[ giving more time to look at the speedometer (:-)) ]

Dave
Dave
6 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

Finally someone with a useful comment!

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

As someone has pointed out. English only speakers would have even more trouble without the translation. My very poor Welsh would struggle with some signs. Anyway, what other European country puts an English translation on all their official communications. I personally would be a little lost without them.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Bill

I don’t think many would really have that much trouble were the signs in Welsh only. Only idiots have problems with road signs in the national languages of Europe when they visit. Most signs are pretty self-explanatory, which is why the UK’s current road signage was adapted from European standards in the 1960s (and improved upon too).

Signs giving information take a little more time, but they tend not to vary in the information they give, so are soon learned – and we have Google Translate these days which will translate signs for us if we have a smartphone!

Frank
Frank
6 months ago

Twll dy din proff. Translate that!!!

G Williams
G Williams
6 months ago

Dechrau drwg iawn i ‘Brifysgol Wrecsam’ mae arnaf ofn!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
6 months ago
Reply to  G Williams

Yn anffodus, maen nhw wedi newid yr enw yn swyddogol, ond dw i ddim yn gwybod pam.

Last edited 6 months ago by Wrexhamian
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
6 months ago

Yawn…the old chestnut about bilingual road signs in Wales being ‘dangerous’. If there were even a iota of truth to that bogus claim then it’s a wonder that there’s anyone left alive in belgium, where its not unusual for road signs to feature 3 or 4 languages. Indeed bilingual road signs are commonplace throughout europe (and there’s not a scintilla of evidence anywhere that they pose a threat to drivers).

Last edited 6 months ago by Leigh Richards
Bwgan
Bwgan
6 months ago

That’s a very bad example of a bilingual sign. Mr Professor has deliberately chosen it to try to get his backwards point across.The design has large spacing between words and not enough spacing between the languages. Then there’s the worn out/missing letters in the English information. Not all signs are like this one!

Last edited 6 months ago by Bwgan
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

More anti-Welsh bilge from a so-called educated man. Although we all know that he has a Mickey Mouse Master’s Degree in ignorance. Nigel Hunt. Hmmm…… That name rhymes with a certain word?. Yeah, runt! And he’s a big one at.. We should show this clueless cretin no mercy. If this Cymrophobic rhetoric was made toward the Jewish community there would be severe consequences and calls of antisemitism, but hey it’s only prejudice towards the Welsh language and Wales. It’s encouraged you know. It’s open season when it comes to xenophobia towards Britain’s native language. And the irony is. This clown’s… Read more »

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
6 months ago

Denigrating the language of a significant and growing minority in a country that has given you a well-paid job, while avoiding directly slagging off the people who use, or support, or are learning that language, does not give you a free pass from accusations of xenophobia and blimpish bigotry, Professor. You’ve come with a set of preconceptions and found that they have no place here. Should have done your homework first.

Marc
Marc
6 months ago

May I suggest that if the ‘visiting’ professor dislikes bilingual signs he simply stops visiting’ Wales

Brian
Brian
6 months ago

Gonk!!!

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
6 months ago

‘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.’ ‘

Incredible!

Further comment is superfluous.

Last edited 6 months ago by Philip Davies
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

That utterance alone of his is hate speech.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
6 months ago

I think Scotland and Ireland do bilingual signs better than Wales. Ireland especially so, they use different typefaces for the languages, so you know immediately which one you want. Having just got back from the Basque Country they do it similar to Wales with their road signs in the same typeface and colour. The signing and public information in Bilbao reminded me a lot of how it is done in Wales. The one major gripe is the electronic VMS signs for things like roadworks, they alternate between English and Welsh, we need a better way of doing this so both… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

When bilingual signs were first rolled out the same argument was used, ie, they would cause accidents and cost lives . Nothing of the sort has occurred, and I would like him to post evidence of his claim they are dangerous. His title should be ” visiting bigot and associate racist “.

Geraint Parri
Geraint Parri
6 months ago

We, those who remember that is, heard of a similar complaint in south Wales in the 2010s. The so-called complainer turned out to be an anti-Welsh and especially anti-Welsh language man. Shades of the Welsh Not of the British Empire Victorian, colonialist attitude era. No Professor Hunt, Cymru is not a part of the Greater England vision you would like to impose on those outside England.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago

Professor Hunt’s comment ‘Much better. Most languages are intelligible and have a point.’ is actually hate speech.

As for the university dropping ‘Glyndŵr’ from it’s name, presumably so that it doesn’t scare away students from outside of Wales, should be challenged. High time for all universities in Wales to be brought back under a federal University of Wales system rather than the present free market system that allows bigots such as Professor Hunt to be employed.

Richard E
Richard E
6 months ago

This is another example of a move away from the founder Prof Glyn Phillips vision and no doubt Wrexham leader M Pritchard and chums will protect him… ? The vision of these folk to see Wrecsam as part of a greater Merseyside region continues.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

I’m a Glyndwr graduate from Chester and wholeheartedly agree with the professor. I have nothing but fond memories of my time at the university but as someone who is originally from Chester I was often confused by a number of road signs myself. I had never encountered written Welsh before living in Wrexham for 3 years and certainly wouldn’t find it practical to learn it as I was only there for full-time university and absolutely had no time for learning a new language on top of this. I find the spoken Welsh language beautiful but when it comes to important… Read more »

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

That’s standard Blue Books talk which some of your compatriots are slowly beginning to abandon for a less offensive and slightly more enlightened view.

Wynn
Wynn
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Go to a university in England then or the USA or anywhere

Stuart
Stuart
6 months ago
Reply to  Wynn

Ha.. Welcome To Wrexham… all of a sudden that has become a joke.

Our Supporters

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