Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?

Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language

by Tom Law
27 December 2013 96 Comments

Angry about the 150 year crushing of his native Welsh language, the writer asks 'How would you feel if you were made to speak German?'

It’s hard to give a toss about language when you’re an English speaker. Because losing your language is not something you’ll ever have to worry about; thanks to the glory days of the British Empire.

English is a dominant language – the third most common in the world. It’s a source of national pride – a gift to the planet. It helped to civilise the fuzzy wuzzies and spread culture and joy throughout distant lands.

So when you hear people bleat on about their language disappearing – it doesn’t really register. There are more important things to worry about in life than some bloke in Aberystwyth demanding a bi-lingual sign on his local fish and chip shop.

But what if things were different – if the cultural boot was on the other foot? If the English language found itself under attack. Let’s say those loony UKIP types were right – Brussels really did want to absorb Britain into some creepy all-powerful Euro state.

And that’s exactly what they did.

The Welsh language has declined so rapidly because the English placed a pillow over its face and smothered it.

Germany emerged as the dominant player and German became the common language. It started being used in the legal, government and business worlds, so more English began to learn German as a way to improve their job prospects.

German corporations controlled the media and began to bludgeon the public with anti-English messages. The English language was causing many of the country’s problems – it was dusty and outdated. It helped to explain why the English were such a backwards, thick and bigoted people. The language was holding the nation back – blocking its progress.

Middle-class parents wanted the best for their children, and that meant giving them the gift of German. The BBC began to broadcast more of its output in German. And society started to split and divide along language lines.

Your prospects in life became determined by the language you spoke. German became something for the educated and the powerful. English for the manual classes and the poor – for the people who clean your office toilets.

And within a couple of generations, it was all over for English. It’s now a cultural curiosity – spoken only by weirdos at clog dancing festivals in Northumberland.

As a German speaker you’re sick of hearing these people drone on about their language. You’re sick of them chuntering on about Dickens and Keats and Dad’s Army and The Beatles and all the rest of the cultural twaddle that you don’t understand. You don’t care about some bloke in Altrincham moaning about the German signs on his local fish and chip shop.

Now, this all sounds absolutely nuts; like the deranged ramblings of some purple nosed Daily Mail columnist. But this is what has happened to Wales and the Welsh language over the past 150 years. It was done by England and it continues to tear the country apart, affecting every aspect of Welsh life.


An Englishman In Scotland

Is Milford Haven Britain’s Strangest Town? 


Because back in the 1840s, around 80 percent of people living in Wales were Welsh speakers, many of them spoke no English at all. Fast forward to the recent 2011 census and that number has dropped to below 20 percent.

But this hides the true scale of the decline. Welsh used to be the language of the everyday world, people would spend their entire lives never speaking English. Now, it’s rare to hear Welsh being spoken on the streets, apart from in a dwindling number of communities in north west Wales.

You probably don’t care much about this if you’re an English speaker – it doesn’t affect you. And that includes the majority of Welsh people who were brought up speaking English; who have been taught at English language schools, watched English telly, listened to English music and read English books.

And I’m one of them. Language was a choice made for me by the school I went to. I was taught to read and write in English with Welsh only taught at secondary school. It was treated the same as any other foreign language – like French or German. It gave you tourist Welsh – enough to ask directions to the nearest zoo in Colwyn Bay – and not much else.

So why did Welsh schools stop teaching children to speak the language?

The popular narrative is that it’s just a natural process – a stronger and healthier language replaces an older and weaker one. That the Welsh language is dying of natural causes – like an elderly relative withering away. It’s sad but inevitable. What can you do?

That’s the common explanation – but it’s bollocks.

The Welsh language has declined so rapidly because the English placed a pillow over its face and smothered it. It has taken around 150 years to complete, there have been occasional bouts of kicking and thrashing against, but it’s pretty much job done.

And it was only when the body was limp that England placed some chocolate biscuits on the bedside cabinet – bilingual road signs, a Welsh TV channel. And then started to berate the lifeless patient for its lack of appetite.

England’s policy towards Wales is not the only reason for the decline, but it’s the main one. It’s the consequence of the state treating the Welsh language as a sickness which needed to be cured.

Eric Fraser’s dragon art

It’s the way that the British Empire used language to control their various colonies during the C19th. It was a benign method of dominating occupied nations with minimal bloodshed or confrontation – a very English form of tyranny.

Whether it was Ireland, Singapore, Nigeria or North Borneo – the method was the same. English would become the official language used for government, commerce and law. Natives chosen for positions of power would be sent off to English public schools to learn the language and the ‘British’ way of life.

It would seep down through society, exploiting people’s natural desire to better themselves, to have the best opportunities in life. In doing so, it created a vicious form of divide and rule – collaborators versus separatists, English speakers versus native speakers. It was a seed which, once planted, took on a malevolent life of its own – spreading and mutating over generations.



This is exactly what happened in Wales. The country in the C19th was viewed by the English as being a dangerous and lawless land – Wild Wales. It was a fear fuelled by the growth of Welsh working class radicalism; the rise of the Chartist movement, outbreaks of rebellion such as the Merthyr Rising of 1831 and the Rebecca Riots of the 1840s.

These were Welsh people joining together to fight against corruption, inequality and injustice. But they were portrayed in the London media as being a kind of sub-human rabble; wild and barbaric people who babbled and plotted in their primitive language. It was a view endorsed by the Government; an 1847 report into the state of Welsh education and morality found the country’s population to be dirty, lazy, drunken and over-sexed.

The report concluded that the main problem with Wales was its language. And the cure was simple – the eradication of Welsh from the education system. It proposed that state funded English language schools should be set-up – and that’s what happened. It’s one of these schools where I, like most Welsh people, was taught.

So a deranged report by three English inspectors who couldn’t speak Welsh and who didn’t have any background in education became the blueprint for Welsh schooling; the reason that generations of Welsh people have been taught only English.

But the report’s other toxic legacy was to give many Welsh speakers a deep-rooted sense of inferiority and shame about their language. It was no longer something to be proud of, it was a problem that needed to be tackled. It was a sickness infecting the country, something the English had found the cure for.


The power of this feeling can be seen during the late C19th with the practice of ‘Welsh Not’. The ‘WN’ initials were carved onto a wooden plaque which school kids were made to wear around their neck if heard speaking Welsh in the classroom. The pupil wearing the plaque at the end of the day would be beaten. It was a practice endorsed by Welsh parents who wanted the best for their children.

This division of the population by language has been eating away at the country ever since. It has created two versions of Wales, two distinct cultures which view the other as a threat. What one side gains, the other side loses. What’s good for one, is bad for the other.

It has left non-Welsh speakers feeling like outsiders in their own country, forever left out in the cold and staring back in at a history and culture they can’t access; at jobs they’re not qualified to do. For Welsh speakers, they have been battered from all sides, endlessly under attack, having to justify the use of their own language – mostly to fellow Welsh people.

It’s a cultural civil war which has brought out the worst aspects of both sides. A nation which once fought for its rights, which fought against inequality and injustice has been effectively turned in on itself.

If the attack on the Welsh language was done to subdue and weaken the country, to create a servile and utterly compliant people who would accept their British medicine – then it can only be seen as a monumental success.

Wales has become a husk of a nation. The decline of the language, the stripping away of links to its history and culture, has induced a kind of dementia. It’s a country which no longer remembers who or what it is – so it simply exists. And accepts the guiding hand of its neighbour.

The removal of the Welsh personality has created a void which is being gleefully filled by the English media’s tub thumping brand of Britishness – the royal family, the Armed Forces, Team GB and all that. And there seems little hope of anything changing.

There’s no fight or energy left. No upsurge of anger. No dissent. No political will. No obvious solution. Just a blank stare, a rugby top and a grim Welsh cheeriness; a nihilistic acceptance of fate. While Scotland gains confidence and considers independence, Wales is left retreating into the arms of its abusive partner and going gently into that good night.

If you like it, Pass it on

image descriptionCOMMENTS

Elwood 9:12 am, 15-Feb-2013

And your solution is?

Harry Paterson 9:23 am, 15-Feb-2013

Excellent article. A vivid and sickening picture of English/British cultural imperialism.

Rachel 9:51 am, 15-Feb-2013

Superb article. The hostile attitude towards the Welsh language infuriates me, it's based on ignorance and intolerance and you are spot on in all you say. Da iawn!

Marisa 9:58 am, 15-Feb-2013

so, so sad. I hope Welsh will find the strenght to rebel and reconquer language, history and self-confidence.

Mark 10:12 am, 15-Feb-2013

Excellent summary of historical events and internal tensions in Wales. And there's no mistaking the cause of it all.

Gareth 10:17 am, 15-Feb-2013

An exceptional read for a Friday morning. Fascinating, illuminating and understandably furious.

Fred 12:50 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Or, to put it a different way - Wales was a nation of a few hundred thousand prior to industrialisation. When the industrial revolution occured, people came from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Poland, Italy, Spain, Haiti, Somalia, the Far East, the Caribbean, and Scandiavia to live and work in the mines, iron works, steel works, and docks. Somewhere a language had to be found that would act as a middle ground between them all. At the beginning when fewer immigrants were present, that was Welsh. Later, when the vast majority of immigrants came from England, that was English. To say that Welsh was "suffocated" is a crass misreading of history. But hey, that's the nationalists for you.

Richard 1:30 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Fred - What has this got to do with Nationalists ? I'm no nationalist, but I am a proud speaker of the Cymraeg. Go grab your copy of the the Daily Mail, place it under your arm and goand get rid of some of that crap !

Geraint 1:35 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Fred, you miss the point entirely. It's not that there was mass immigration to parts of Wales, but it's that there have been deliberate and concerted attempts over centuriess to marginalise and stifle the language too. There's immigration to England at the moment but that won't kill English, because it's a language of power and status - as Welsh wasn't and isn't. You misread history egregiously.

Cymrodor 1:35 pm, 15-Feb-2013

An interesting read. "There’s no fight or energy left. No upsurge of anger. No dissent. No political will. No obvious solution. Just a blank stare, a rugby top and a grim Welsh cheeriness; a nihilistic acceptance of fate." This certainly isn't true of all individuals, but unfortunately is apparent in those who matter, including, sadly, our Welsh-speaking First Minister. There's an amusing clip (and probably informative for many) of a 1980s Welsh kids TV dramatisation of Lingen, Symons and Johnson's blue books report on YouTube:

Han 2:03 pm, 15-Feb-2013

To FRED, Why did you use 'few hundred thousand' preindustrial? Preindustrial parish records show that the majority of englands parishes are less densely populated than those in Wales in 1670 large population around the English cities, but Wales more populated per land mass than England.If you then add an English influence in the industrial South Wales corridor and the steel works and mines of the North East yes the population increase in those areas explains some of the statistical changes but does not explain the decline of the language geographicly outside of those places up to the modern day other than those mention in the article. Don't know what your trying to get at with 'Nationalists' is it a dirty word like the NF or BNP what would be your attitude to Tibetan Nationalists whose culture and language is being changed by China's industrial needs? There are a lot of modern people who move here from England who state quite openly that they wanted to live in a white area because they didn't like the fact you didn't hear English spoken anymore where they came from and how the council had services in other languages for these people who had come in, but in doing so are doing the same here!!

Fred 2:16 pm, 15-Feb-2013

But, Geraint, the English language is also the language of ordinary people. My own ancestors who came from Somerset and Wiltshire to work in the Rhondda were not oppressing anyone, they'd come to find a better-paid job in an Ocean Colliery than they could find as a farm labourer. That's true of thousands of people who moved here. Immigration is fundamental to the story of the language in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries because it reveals a population active in making its own choices and decisions. There is absolutely immigration to England at the moment but we're not talking about immigration of the kind that takes the population from, say, 250,000 people to over 2 million in a century. That's the fundamental difference in the Welsh case and it's what makes the decline of the Welsh language not about top-down imposition (as the nationalist story of oppression relies upon) but about bottom-up social change. That doesn't make me a Daily Mail reader nor does it mean I've misread history egregiously nor, in fact, does it mean I don't respect the Welsh language, it simply means I don't share the nationalist reading of Welsh history.

Gethyn 2:25 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Spot on, and a brilliant article. I grew up in Mid-Wales, in an English speaking school. They started teaching Welsh the year I left, which I suspect was a cursory gesture to an embryonic 'Cool Cymru'. I then moved across the border and was absolutely amazed by the anti-Welsh sentiment with people joking about whether I'd got my passport - all of this incredibly confusing because I didn't feel particularly Welsh for all the reasons you mention in your piece. You hit the nail on the head sir, my sense of belonging is certainly the worse for being dislocated from its biggest cultural connection.

The Intruder 3:37 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Why not adopt the Catalonian linguistic immersion program (no matter what the Saxon-speaking people say and protest)

Craig Weatherhill 4:12 pm, 15-Feb-2013

The irony is that this DID happen to English in the 14th century. The Norman-French speaking ruling classes put a pillow over English and smothered it to the brink of extinction. That English got a second chance at all is an even bigger irony - it was saved by 3 Celtic-speaking scholars: John of Cornwall, Richard Pencrych and John Trevisa. As a result of their work, English took over from Norman-French as the official language of the Court within 50 years. And on it went from there. If those 3 scholars had directed their studies elsewhere, we'd all be speaking Norman-French today! With a history like that, you'd have thought a bit of gratitude from London might have benefitted the indigenous languages,

Charlotte Britton (@CharlotteHB89) 4:16 pm, 15-Feb-2013

I know it might not be much, but I'm an English person, English speaking living in Swansea and I am trying really hard to learn Welsh, and I support and push the use of the welsh language in my organisation. I am happy to support the language in the little ways I can.

Llyr Alun Jones 4:21 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Twll tin bob Sais.

Graham 5:32 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Llyr, if you'e going to insult us in Welsh, please try and get your mutations right, there's a good lad.

H. 5:47 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Exactly the same was done to Scotland and it's Gaelic, but in an even more ruthless and destructive way. Now only around 1% (if that) speak Scotland's native language. If you destroy a people's language and identity, then you can control them. That's been the English Empire's way for hundreds of years, and it's still with us today.

Hugh Evans 6:13 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Superb article that is 100% true in its analysis, and what's really sad is that it may well be too late as the Welsh don' t have the awareness or desire to change anything. I know , as I live in a community that was almost entirely Welsh speaking about 30 years ago. Its like living amongst zombies slowly suffocating in a sea of anglo-american cultural tat .

bob 6:58 pm, 15-Feb-2013

I attended a Welsh speaking school in south Wales and was punished for communicate in English. Full of Welsh nationalist and pedophiles! I now am fluent in three language's , live in Wales and choose not to communicate in welsh as a result of nationalist propaganda who believe only their version of welsh identity counts. PS I shall not respond to posts from nationalists I have long since given up on debating with closed minds.

Jeronimo Constantina 8:14 pm, 15-Feb-2013

"How would you feel if you were made to speak German?" Most ironic, because in Welsh, the English are no different from Germans. "The word Saeson is the modern Welsh word for 'English people'" My language is also threatened by Filipino, aka Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, so I certainly identify with the Welsh and the obliteration of their language and heritage.

Trevor 9:51 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Quite an intereting read and historically correct(ish). The authurs conclusion is a load of total and utter crap, shite rubbish. Welsh is one of the oldest 'live' languages in the world, there is nothing stopping anyone from learing it, everything in Wales signs is written in Welsh and it i widely spoken, so where does this prat of an auther get his thinking from??

Trevor 9:59 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Which planet is this prat of an auther on?? A nice piece of 'creative' writing though!

sel brackley 11:30 pm, 15-Feb-2013 one mentions immigration ..its the Welsh Not bit that you so readily leave out of your arguement

Rhys 12:42 am, 16-Feb-2013

Bob. Name the paedophiles. If you don't, it is a fair assumption that you are lying.

Bothered 1:03 am, 16-Feb-2013

Paul 1:31 am, 16-Feb-2013

Beautifully written and presented argument about something that is the essence of a people.. It's language. Fred does make valid points regarding the decline of welsh.. And there are many other reasons for the decline of yr iaith .. None of which are specific to the satanesque proximity of yr sais or why else would other minority language groups throughout Europe have suffered similar or fatal decline. This happened because of a number of sadly more prosaic reasons.. The tribalism inveighed by defining your identity by what you are not.. A la the daily mail... And many others is venal and hateful.. We are welsh, and like it or not history and DNA make us brythoniaid which would include a large number of those across the current borders in England & Scotland ... The language's future would do much better if the passion energy and resource focused purely on the language could be also applied to the economy of rural Wales .. This is not happening.. All we are doing is applying bandages until this issue is given the attention it desreves

John 1:32 am, 16-Feb-2013

"and it i widely spoken [sic]" Which planet do you live on, have you even been to Wales? The truth is hearing Welsh being spoken in public is rarer than hen's teeth.

Rhys 2:28 am, 16-Feb-2013

Fred, no one could deny the effect that immigration had on the language. However, that is only a part of the story. You unfairly discount the author's critique when in fact, the effect of the Blue Books on the language's prospects was every bit as damaging, if not more so. The reports are available to be read online; If you choose to give them a quick scan, you will discover a document archetypal of ugly Victorian imperialism, perceived cultural superiority and outright racism. Their consequences, both in terms of education and in destroying the confidence of the Welsh people in their native tongue, were enormous and extended well beyond the industrial heartland of the South Wales coalfield and its associated ports, where the effect of immigration was greatest.

Richard Rogers 6:50 am, 16-Feb-2013

Excellent article. Me and a few of my Welsh friends are actually trying to stop the decline of the language. We've set up a Facebook group at and anyone is free to join. It's a grouo where we help each other to learn Welsh, and we talk about anything Wales related. There's also prizes to be won.

Richard 10:53 am, 16-Feb-2013

I'm sure that the author is aware of the fact that Wales has its own parliament and government with powers over most domestic affairs and that in 2011 64 per cent of those who voted in a referendum on giving the Welsh parliament full legislative powers over the areas under its responsibilities. Is that a nation with no life left in it? Some "fundamentalist" nationalists seem to be unable to understand how many (probably the majority actually) Welsh people can be both proudly Welsh and also loyal to many "British" institutions such as the Royal Family, the Armed Forces and Team GB. They (ie those nationalists) may not like that but a failure to acknowledge that such a dual sense of loyalty is possible does in my view show a misunderstanding of the psychology of many if their fellow country men and women. And to blame it on the "English" is naive and simplistic to say the least. The claim that some sense of " Britishness" is incompatible with Welsh patriotism does not in my view stand up to serious and objective scrutiny.

Abi Cussler 11:38 am, 16-Feb-2013

I'm Welsh and do not recognise this bleak portrayal of our contemporary culture or the state of our language. Demonising the English over this, more than 150 years after the Blue Paper, when UK-wide taxes are used to subsidise the language (& rightly so), is a gross misrepresentation of the situation in 2013. The most recent census figures are disappointing because they don't seem to reflect the positive aura around the language, that has been increasingly apparent over the last couple of decades. This kind of reactionary talk - dredging up old arguments for no constructive reason whatsoever - does more to damage that aura than preserve it. So, a sadly divisive, inaccurate and toxic article. Welsh prospers in 2013 when it is inclusive and celebratory.

Richard 5:32 pm, 16-Feb-2013

Self Rule is not a sin!

Richard 5:54 pm, 16-Feb-2013

I suggest Abi and Fred read the title again "How the Welsh language has been destroyed by English governments" This is attacking the government/state.....not attacking random people from england You seem to completely misunderstand that

Kelvin Jenkins 6:36 pm, 16-Feb-2013

Who says it's rare to hear Welsh spoken in public? I live in Mid-Wales. When I go to my dentists or my doctor's surgery I usually hear more Welsh than English spoken around me by both staff and visitors. I have a shop and I speak Welsh to customers on a daily basis. However it has to be said that the census figures do show a depressing downward movement of the language.

Kelvin Jenkins 6:41 pm, 16-Feb-2013

For anyone interested in reading the text of the Blue Books in detail (the historical Treachery of the Blue Books/ Brad y Llyfrau Gleision), the entire text is available onliner in facsimile, courtesy of the National Library of Wales.

James 7:40 pm, 16-Feb-2013

Interesting that less than 20% of the comments are written in Welsh...

Glŷn 7:42 pm, 16-Feb-2013

I speak Welsh and have studied languages for a long time now, and it should be noted that the Welsh Not is generally thought by many linguists to have been an inefficient tactic to reduce the use of Welsh by kids. That's not to say the English authorities haven't oppressed the Welsh language, but just the WN wasn't effective. Having spoken to all of my Welsh friends (none of whom speak Welsh as a first language, only some speak it as a second) the main reason today they don't use Welsh is because all of the media they consume is through the medium of English - those God-awful MTV reality shows, pop music, Hollywood films etc. S4C just doesn't produce the high-quality programming my friends apparently want.

john boy 8:38 pm, 16-Feb-2013

what is welsh

Sian Williams 10:35 pm, 16-Feb-2013

Richard - the Welsh Assembly has to obtain permission from Westminster to pass legistlation on anything important like health or education - and we have no say at all on the really important matters (the constitution, defence, energy - coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables - employment, financial and macroeconomic matters, social security) are Westminsters alone. If we had power over all those things as any country should have - you can be sure that no one would have a problem with a team GB and so on. Brito-mania is rammed down our throats in the media for political gain, mostly.....please tell me you've noticed the amount of TV programs containing the word British lately? Even my 9 year old daughter commented the other day on how her crisp packet had the word British about 5 times on the product description on the back, lol :) - don't worry, she isn't being radicalised......but she does know the difference between the Parliament of Great Britain and the English people, even at her tender age. There's NO anti English sentiment in my Welsh nationalist household.

Richard 11:16 pm, 16-Feb-2013

Sian, The 2011 referendum that I mentioned was about giving the Welsh Assembly (or Senedd) the right to make laws within its area of responsibility WITHOUT Westminster's permission and it was of course passed. As for macroeconomic policy, Wales has no less say in that than countries such as the Irish Republic that are in the Euro and which I suspect the majority of those who're in favour of "independence" for Wales would like for Wales. The German parliament gets to see Ireland's budget before the Irish Dail (parliament)

Sian Williams 12:58 am, 17-Feb-2013

Oh please Richard - I'm sure you know that law making powers over those 20 areas mean very little in the grand scheme. Take energy for instance - The Welsh Govt can only make decisions over projects of up to 50MW. Anything higher is Westminsters project. At a time when the renewables sector is only thing growing, Wales with it's ample natural resources *should* be coming into it's own.......but we're not in a position to persue ambitious projects of our own make our own money, to pay for the social ambitions we lefties tend to have like looking after our elderly properly and to pull the valleys out of poverty......Simultaneously we're told by the Brit media that we're ”scroungers, unproductive, ungreatful and selfish for asking for road signs in our own language......and how's about those free prescriptions?”. Do you think we're in a good position? A nation that's traditinally left wing, and continues to vote left, but must endure a Tory govt because they've been voted in by the majority of the UK......a nation who's media is squarely in the UK OK camp? A media (thinking Wales Online here of course) that is quite comfortable and even revels in attacking any attempt to protect and nurture the Welsh Language? The situation sucks frankly Richard.

Sian Williams 1:32 am, 17-Feb-2013

Additionally - understand that my comments re looking after our elderly and so on does not come from an insular, inward place. Vulnerable people everywhere matter just as much - and I think one of the best thing we can do for them is 'be the change we want to see in the world'. The Tory party is on a morally bankrupt ideological path IMO......and we 3 million in Wales have no hope of changing that democratically from here. But we can be a small country that sets a good example, and in so doing put pressure on the English parliament. Anyway, I think I'm going OT just a bit.......

Kelvin Jenkins 2:17 am, 17-Feb-2013

James. Mae'r Cymry Cymraeg yn ddwyieithog. Mae'r dudalen hon yn Saesneg. Dyna'r rheswm. Iawn?

The Intruder 7:54 am, 17-Feb-2013

Glŷn, I think S4C should learn from Catalonian public television (TV3/K3/C33); competing while contributing to the normalization of Welsh

Richard 5:06 pm, 17-Feb-2013

Sian, surely you've got to agree that the Welsh Government does have the freedom to follow a distinctive agenda in the areas of health and education in particular. And no one can argue that those aren't two areas that DO make a difference to the lives of most people. Examples where distinctive policies have been followed include as you say free prescriptions, university tuition fees, and not setting up "academies" and "free schools". Whether or not you agree or disagree with the policies that have been followed in Cardiff Bay, how effective they've been and how much difference they've made to the lives of people in Wales is of course an entirely different matter but I think it's indisputable that the Welsh Government does now have considerable scope to "do its own thing" in several devolved areas if it so chooses and that it does not have to do the same as Westminster

Trevor 6:43 pm, 17-Feb-2013

Yes I have been to Wales often visit relatives there, North and South. Was born and brought in Aberdare. My father pome Welsh as did my grandparents and most other of my Welsh relatives, my daughter and her friends speak it often, so yes I would say it is widely spoken, it's taught in schools and Aberystwith Uni too. So where is his arguement about it being suppressed by the nasty English. If anyone wants to learn the language and speak it they are free to do so. As I said it's one of oldest spoken languages in the world, great let's keep it alive otherwise it will have the same demise as Scottish and Irish Gaelic languages. "Use it or lose it" but don't bleat nonsensical crap about it being suppressed, it isn't!!!

Trevor 6:52 pm, 17-Feb-2013

"John" Scroll up aand read the comments written by Kelvin Jenkins, he also agrees it is widely spoken, he's a fluent speaker too!! The bloke who wrote the article is on the wrong planet

Meredydd 12:12 am, 18-Feb-2013

MAE'R IAITH CYMRAEG YN MARW OHERWYDD FOD Y CYMRY YN HUNANOL TUAG AT EU IFANC!! The Welsh language is dying because of the greed and selfish attitude of its elders, the exact people who moan how the language is dying out. There is a simple explanation to it all, and to be fair to the English, they are being used as a scapegoat to point the blame to. I can freely say this as I am Welsh and it is my first language. The problem is, the elder welsh people sell property to the highest bidder, thus outselling to young Welsh people who have lived in Wales. The edlers would rather see a wallet full of money than to HELP THEIR OWN by sellingtheir properties to young Welsh families who don't have the riches of the English. We young Welsh folk are forced to abandon our communities due to a lack of AFFORDABLE housing, lack of work, and thus are forced to migrate away to places where English is the main language, and this is whats Killing the Welsh language. The greed of their own people. If only these idiots would stop looking for scapegoats and lok closer to home and admit their shame and guilt then the Welsh language might just make it into 2030!

Matt 6:27 am, 18-Feb-2013

Late, but... Glyn, your friends don't speak Welsh to each other because it's not their 1st language. All S4C programmes could be BAFTA winners, and it still wouldn't make 1st-language English-speakers speak Welsh to each other. That's just not how sociolinguistics work. Not that I'm arguing against Welsh-medium education for 1st-language English-speaking kids who(se parents) opt for it. It has its uses and benefits, it's just that getting these kids to speak Welsh to each other isn't one of them. Also, Intruder, comparing Welsh to Catalan, and S4C to Catalan TV, is comparing apples to oranges. Catalan has 20 times the speakers.

Matt 6:52 am, 18-Feb-2013

Forgot to reply to Glyn about the Welsh Not. Unlikely it had much effect on that generation speaking Welsh when out of the teachers' earshot. But it would've played a role in that generation choosing not to raise their children through Welsh. It was an intergenerational effect, not immediately observable but still there. But yeah, it definitely wasn't the biggest factor in the decline of Welsh - that would be industrialization and sudden population growth through influx of workers (mostly English and Irish). It's only normal for an unofficial, unprestigious language to decline in those circumstances. On that note, I don't understand the surprise over the recent census. The language's heartlands see the highest numbers of monoglot English incomers. It doesn't take a nuclear scientist to figure out the percentage of Welsh speakers will fall. Not saying monoglot English incomers are a bad thing,just looking at it from a socioloinguistic perspective.

Michael 9:31 am, 18-Feb-2013

Fred, history shows that the English oppressed all the indigenous languages of the British isles and further afield, they tied a knot round children's necks and did an even better job of stamping out Scots Gaelic, that's got nothing to do with nationalism it's the plotting of a government to stamp out a language in an effort to among other things remove a racial memory. All imperialist empires tried it, it's not right or justifiable any way you look at it

Sian Williams 11:50 am, 18-Feb-2013

Hey Richard. Yes I agree the devolved powers we have are better than none at all - good progress has been made - but unless we have full political autonomy the Conflict of Interest that inevitably exists in this situation will undermine any efforts to protect the Welsh langauge. Even when/if the Welsh govt get a say on large urban development plans (plans that will change the landscape of Wales and it's communities) - and if I may go on a tangeant - trident (would an Indeodnent Wales want WMD's?) titan prisons (a very right wing idea - almost dickensian - even in the most calculating sense most experts agree these are a false economy) future nuclear power plans (we already produce more energy that we use!) - the vast majority of MP's within the Welsh assembly belong to Westminster based parties. Did you know (I only discovered this myself yesterday) that on a bill to further devolve energy powers to Wales......26 out of 27 Welsh Labour MP's voted against. That's all but one Labour MP in Wales voting that it's in Wales' best interests to have no further power over energy....................or is that Britains best interests? (That Blue Tory Right Wing Britain that Labour prop up? The one we didn't vote for? Again, please understand that this is not a lack of concern for rest of the people of the British's a belief that to make a difference for ourselves *and* others we are more effective as a small nation.) Re the comments saying that it's up to the Welsh people on the ground to keep it alive - I agree that's part of it, but without the economic levers in the hands of people who have no conflict of interest between Wales and Britain - the Welsh Language has the sword of damacles perpetually above it's head. We need to make our own way, forge our own economy, create our own employment and wealth to keep the Welsh language alive.

dorris 7:27 pm, 18-Feb-2013

Good piece, well written and accurate. It's interesting to hear people say that hearing Wlesh being spoke in Wales is 'rarer than hens' teeth' That depends on where you go and whether you speak it yourself. As a Welsh speaker myself I'm able to live my life pretty much through the medium of Welsh and I'm two a good hundred miles from the 'heartlands'. It's particularly good to see a positive attitude on a board such as this when what one is used to reading is the poisonous trolling on the Waelsonline site whenever the language is discussed

Roger 7:28 pm, 18-Feb-2013

Nice article, Mr Law ! As a French, I feel the same about our local cultures and languages that were murdered by the French Jacobinism. French took the place, physically, socially and politically. Speaking a native language was for peasants. If you wanted your children to have a good social place, you had to teach them French. In public places, it was forbidden to speak Briton (celtic) and to spit on the floor ! If you were caught speaking "patois" (native language) in the school yard, you could be beaten by your teacher, who encouraged your comrades to report the names of those they had heard speaking not French... Now, there are bilingual schools in France where the co-teaching language is a native one (Briton in the Diwan, Occitan in the calandretas, Basque in the Ikastolas, etc...) A new pride is rising. But a shy one, fighting against centuries of smothering pillows on our faces... Maybe, our Children or grand children, will be proud of speaking their own native language again, and to use it not only with animals or for fun, but in every act of living?

Mark 1:20 pm, 19-Feb-2013

Forget French, learn Mandarin. I should know, I'm from the future.

beag 12:45 pm, 21-Feb-2013

Elwood9 His solution is to instigate thought

Aindí 6:32 pm, 22-Feb-2013

Interesting read. Although anyone dreaming of self rule leading to a bi-lingual population would do well to look at us in The Republic Of Ireland where we did more damage then good through forcing Irish down the throats of children and causing more resentment then anything else, and now we're also broke, and most of us not happy to sit at home on welfare (i.e. the good ones) have emigrated. If I was welsh or scottish and had an in or out vote on staying in the UK, I'd vote questions.

Jennifer 9:03 pm, 22-Feb-2013

Aindí: It's not necessarily the best and brightest that have all left, there's a mixture of people, similar to those who have stayed. Not everyone finds it possible to up and leave.

Nic Daniels 11:46 pm, 25-Feb-2013

The point is, I think, that the inhabitants of a country should choose their own fate, which includes their language etc. End of. I also think you should live in a country for a minimum of 5 years before having a say in any political or cultural policy. I've lived in New Zealand, England and the USA and have never voted even though I was eligible. Just like people say that people should not be able to claim benefits until they've paid into the system, I don't think you should have a say in a country until you've proven your commitment to it by being a resident for a considerable length of time.

NatureGuy 12:27 pm, 1-Mar-2013

If the English dislike the Welsh, and the Welsh dislike the English....then, why don't the Welsh simply form their own republic apart from the U.K? We here in the U.S. disliked what the English were doing to us over a couple centuries ago and did exactly that. (of course, we did get stuck with English as our primary language in any case.)

Neil 1:35 pm, 1-Mar-2013

With Scottish Independence on the cards, with Britain on the verge of bankruptcy the time is right for Wales to break free. We do not need to be bound to Westminster but can control our own destiny and celebrate a proud heritage. Radicalisation was forged in the iron Works of Merthyr, the pits of the Rhondda valley. Its time us Welsh stopped feeling sorry for ourselves and drag our great country into a bright new future.

Macdoodle 10:33 am, 6-Mar-2013

This is hilarious. The Irish went through a similar stage of blaming the English for everything that was wrong. Then they gained independence and could do whatever they liked. The spend millions trying to get people to use the native Irish language, and would only employ people who spoke it, like wales they spent millions replacing street signs. And they learnt from thier mistakes, the country went into decline because very few people where interested in speaking the native language, outside investment was stiffled due to silly laws enforcing the native tongue. Ireland has now turned itself around, it has become a global player in commerce and politics, barely anybody speaks the native tongue and the Irish language street signs sit rusting and rotting, with new English signs replacing them. All this was done of Irelands own accord, they gained indpendence and found out by themsevles that thier native tongue was dead and that English is (whether you think its good or bad) the language of the world. Its time for Wales to stop feeling sorry for itself, I for one do hope they gain Independence so they can find out for themselves that the Welsh language is dead (I dont mean that in an insulting way, just a matter of fact). There are many people far far worse off than those of us in wales, people starving, countries at war. The very fact you have time to worry about something as trivial as this shows just how lucky you are. Count your blessings and stop saying 'poor me' take a leaf out of Irelands book, and pull youself up by the boot straps. Just because the Welsh language is dead, doesnt mean its culture or its people is. The Irish speak English predomonantly, and yet it is clear they have a very unique culture. Dont let a language define you and hold you back, growth means to change, and if you cannot change you cannot grow.

'ö-Dzin Tridral 2:42 pm, 13-Mar-2013

I would say now is not the time to give up. If you have the language, use it. If you find a learner - help them. The history is what it is, but the future is up to you.

mr 5:36 am, 15-Apr-2013

English is a worldwide thing. I agree that Welsh should be preserved, used as a first language even but you would still in all likelihood have to learn English anyway. I think it might relate to a wider issue of cultures being "westernized" due to the pressure of working in the modern world. Many English also have a feeling of their culture dying and it isnt from any higher power (except maybe america) but rather the modern times we are in. Wales being the size it is, it sounds mean but it seems like it was almost a natural effect to incorporate English on some level. Languages evolve and die quite often, sad as that is. compare the English pre French-invasion to now for example

mam pryderu 6:56 am, 21-May-2013

Mae angen i wahardd Addysg rhywiol mewn ysgolion ar unwaith! Fi angen i chi i edrych ar fy blog ac yna gysylltu â mi i drafod sut y gallwn newid pethau. A yw eu Gwleidyddion Saesneg yng Nghymru?

Concerned Mother 8:05 am, 22-May-2013

Amazing! Excellent information. My little girl and I found a book in the Library about Welsh Not. She was horrified that children were punished in this way. Welsh speakers please get in contact with me. We need to update Google's Translate with your language so it does not sound robotic. I am on Google+ and Facebook under Sharon J. Bainbridge. Lets talk! Is their a real Welsh MP I can speak to who will help us get these Welsh postcards in every shop in Wales? If I had support we could get every child creating drawings to match the words. And make it into a learning game to learn Welsh. Did you know the USA are using visual techniques to teach children and my daughters/children's characters would be great for that. Is Swansea Council English Run? I could not make out why the Council's Design team loved my little girls images and wanted to put them on their website to promote school dinners, but my big boss said no. I also questioned why the schools are not allowed to do competitions with me so I can provide for my child and earn from home. I am expected to work for free. There is no support for Mothers to earn from home in the UK. I want to change that. Bring back family life and give Wales it's language back. Get in contact if you like my ideas. The only English mother not brainwashed by the English Culture and ashamed to be English. Well thankfully my Nan had Burmese and French blood which makes me more multicultural. Looking at forced adoption, I now understand why there is no support for mothers to earn from home by the Governments, anyone willing to help stop it?

Kenneth Windey 11:18 pm, 21-Jun-2013

Proud to be Welsh!! Living in in shite Belgium but still Cymru am byth

wonkotsane 4:00 pm, 26-Jun-2013

There hasn't been an English government since 1707, it's the British that have shafted the Scots, Welsh and English.

Julian Ruck 8:46 pm, 18-Jul-2013

I have read all thse comments with considerable interest. The point I think is this,in this country,no-one is prevented from speaking any language they choose, this is only right and proper in any civilised society. If people wish to sing, speak and love the Welsh language then good luck to them. However, the data shows that even after billions of pounds of taxpayers' money being thrown at it over the past 30 years, the language continues to decline. Sad but true. Solution? Instead of allowing the past to berate and coerce,the whip of the Statute book to whip and condemn, why not try keeping the young on board with investment in Social Media etc Because without the young, the language will most certainly die. Julian Ruck

Colonel Willowby-Gore St. Johns 1:06 pm, 22-Jul-2013

It's about time we sent all the Saesons back home to whatever God forsaken, heathen Germanic backwater they crawled out of. And they can take their Pretender Prince and the rest of his Teutonic brood with them, too.

Tim Footman 5:02 am, 25-Jul-2013

Out of interest, what are or were the Welsh-language equivalents of "Dickens and Keats and Dad’s Army and The Beatles"?

Steve 1:06 pm, 28-Jul-2013

I have to admit to only reading half the article. Why did I give up on the rest? Well it stopped being any sound logical argument and more of an anti English rant. You state it's taken 150 years for English to snub out welsh but use that as an argument that there has been a concerted and sustained effort on the part of some"body" to wipe welsh out and replace it. No, if that was the case then welsh wouldn't be around after 150 years! You are just looking for scapegoat. English is a language taught in nearly every country in the world. It is the language of business which even the Chinese and Japanese use. Maybe one day it to will die out me yes people would be right to fight that if they want to. But this is just the way the world changes. It nothing more sinister than that. Just like there are English speakers now who feel the English language is not what it on e was grammatically. The world moves on just like once we had a black and white tv now we have colour. I love the welsh language and yes it is sad that people see less and less of it spoken in their communities, but that is their own fault, just like when people stop using a local shop and go fo a faceless supermarket! What this writer really really needs to understand is we welsh are not simply defined by the welsh language. Even the English are not defined by theirs, so stand up and be proud of being welsh, but to 80% of us that has nothing to do with speaking it.

Scotsman in Wales 3:41 pm, 7-Aug-2013

Don't get me wrong I have every sympathy for the loss of the Welsh language in Wales. Indeed I am in fact a bilingual Scot having married and had kids with a Welsh girl and having lived here for 10 years. However I have noticed over this period a strong misconception about historical fact by many a Welshman. Are we actually talking about England or the British Government here. Let me remind you that when it came to eradicating gaelic, the wearing of clan plaids and carrying of weapons in Scotland and Ireland many a Welshman took up the banner of the British Government and put the rebels to the sword. Indeed where and when was the last battle to be fought on British soil and who exactly attended in German Georges colours (red as well, if I can rightly remember). Why indeed wear a Welsh Kilt (It is an English Military invention used to enlist Highland Scots into the army for colonial wars). Clearly there are considerable problems in Wales with language, jobs and economy but surely this cannot all be blamed on another nation. Holistically the Welsh have to take some responsibility themselves, find ways around the problems and do something about them so that they can start moving in a new and hopefully more lucrative direction. I would also add that in the 10 years I have spent in Wales I have come up against all sorts of excuses for not getting employment, the best and most used over-qualified through academia and experience. How will the Welsh economy pick up if you do not embrace skills on your own doorstep. "Is he Welsh" .....well no. Thankfully I spent time employed in England and commuting home at weekends and am now my own boss but would I think twice about employing a suitably qualified I would not. I think the moral of the story is before you throw stones look at yourself under the microscope, take what is good, get rid of what does not work, look to the future and become pro-active. Finally do something about it.

Sam 4:42 pm, 29-Aug-2013

I'm Cornish. A few rebellions in the 1500 and the English state - yes, English - decided that a Cornish bible contributing to the continuation of the Cornish language was a little too risky. So Cornwall became the testing ground for the imperialistic policies the English state put to practise across the world over the next four centuries. And where are we now? We've lost our language and we've lost our land. Most of us have no idea about our own history or culture. We have no more power over our own affairs than Berkshire or West Sussex has. And by jingo we've lost our identity, with the English state refusing to recognise such a thing as a "Cornish" people, since their first attempt at imperialism was so successful they've forgotten they even did it in the first place. Don't lose your language Wales, it matters more than you might think. Take it from us.

John Morris 11:38 am, 15-Oct-2013

When the author refers to North Wales, (" Welsh is spoken in only a few communities in North Wales" ) does he mean North of Merthyr? There is a lot of Welsh spoken all over Mid Wales as well.

John Morris 11:44 am, 15-Oct-2013

"Now, it’s rare to hear Welsh being spoken on the streets, apart from in a dwindling number of communities in north west Wales."

Gwilym ap Rhys 12:02 pm, 22-Oct-2013

To be honest, I think the state of Welsh is a little our own fault. Though, there has been a unconcious drive by the English to eradicate, for example if you tell an English person in England that you speak Welsh they do this naive smile and laugh as though it were barely a language. This is the main problem, is changing attitudes to Welsh within and without Wales, I have heard people from Cardiff (barely Welsh themselves) call it a dying language, as though there was no hope for survival. I think WM education is the only way to help it, enforced as a first language, people can say "What if I emigrate to Wales" if you did the same to Germany or France your children would be expected to learn these languages. Why should it be different for Wales? Maybe a relaxed attitude to one of the oldest languages inherent to this island would be beneficial to the British "community of countries" rather than support this age-old superiority complex the English have. Too often a Saes believes England=Britain, they'll deny it, but I've heard the terms too interchangeable by the Saes. People can paint it as "nationalism" as though we represent the FWA or something similar, but it's about maintaining a cultural heritage which is being destroyed, when the Maya, Aborigines, Maori or Tibetans try to maintain an independent language and culture it's "brave" and "courageous" when we undertake the same it's "stupid" and "dangerous", typical of post-industrial Britain, forgetting the history of ourselves...

shaun 12:28 am, 31-Dec-2013

There is no doubt that successive English controlled British governments, as well as kings and queens in times gone by have systematically tried to eradicate the indigenous languages of Britain, ask any Cornish person (who knows their history), once it was by the sword or by force, now it's through more cowardly means like inadequate funding (at least for Kernewek). All this, while the 3rd most used language in the world is oh so generously funded by taxes, which of course include taxes from Wales, Cornwall, Scotland etc. Before people turn to blaming their own country folk for the state our languages are in now, they must learn how these tactics have been, and continue to be employed by a largely uncaring and culturally unsympathetic British state. How else since the obligation of government through the European framework for minority languages do we still find ourselves facing these problems? Yes there are some issues to face in our own back yards, but don't be blind to the deliberate attempts to undermine our efforts by the British state who for the most part would rather see our languages dead and gone forever, and only give (begrudgingly and inadequate) funds and support because they are bound by European directives.

Mr Jones 7:32 pm, 31-Dec-2013

Excellent article. It's entirely natural that the Welsh language should eventually become obsolete. Many languages have become extinct. So what if English has become more popular than Welsh? And your point is...? By the way - you can't blame a language for smothering another one and you also can't blame the state.

Robert Hughes 6:11 pm, 1-Jan-2014

Mae Cymraeg yn iaith amlwg yn fy myd bach i. Er hynny mae'n gas gennyf weld Cymry Cymraeg eu hiaith yn defnyddio'r Saesneg fel eu prif gyfrwng cyfathrebu. Yn waeth byth yw'r rhai sy'n gwrthod siarad Cymraeg rhag ofn iddynt ypsetio pobol di-Gymraeg. Mae dyfodol i'r iaith ond bydd rhaid inni fod yn llawer mwy cadarn dyda'n dewisiadau ieithyddol. Does na ddim pwynt beio hanes er yr hyn a wnaethpwyd gan lywodraethau oedd I fod yn cefnogi pobol Prydain, nid yn eu troi yn Saeson. 6 Welsh speakers in the house. In Merthyr four of them aged 7 or under. Ryn ni yma o hyd. To answer an earlier question as well - Dickens - Daniel Owen Keats - Dafydd ap Gwilym The Beatles - Edward H Dafis Dad's Armwy - exactly! We are so culturally different

J D'Auria 8:10 pm, 1-Jan-2014

It's true the greatest threat to language is imperialism yet the Brythonic pre-cursor to the Welsh language survived the Roman conquest despite some distortion of its vocabulary. At least the Welsh language has withstood absolute distortion of its language unlike the English language which has been distorted and adulterated to such an extent over the past millenium by Danish Norse and Latin et cetera that it begs the question whether it should be called, the English language, at all. Howover it may be argues that this is what makes English such a fascinating language, philologically speaking of course.

Derek Hollingsworth 1:38 pm, 6-Jan-2014

Concerning Gaeilge, the Irish language, an apparently conflicting situation exists. The 'Gaeltacht' or Irish speaking areas are under increasing pressure from English, whereas a critical mass of Irish speakers is close to coming about in many urban English speaking areas, mainly brought about by improvements in Irish language education . In the North of Ireland there is a strong resurgence in the language in places like West Belfast, Derry and Tyrone. There are 50,000 children on the island being educated in 'gaelscoileanna' and their like - schools who teach exclusively through Irish, and this number is growing rapidly. On top of this, reforms to the education system mean Irish is being better taught in English medium schools. The generation of children coming up will be the most competent Irish speaking generation in 200 years and this frightens hostile Anglophiles. Their fear is misdirected. Both languages can coexist as is the case in many other multilingual countries in the world! The benefits ob bi/multilingualism are well documented. It is recently compulsory for all public signage to be bilingual, and all realtime Dublin bus signage is bilingual - a new development since 2012. Since 2003 there is a 'Coimisinéir Teanga' or Irish language Commissioner, who seeks to protect the rights of Irish speakers. In 2008 the Government published it's 20 Year Strategy on the Irish Language. The story of Irish is very similar to that recounted in the main article and the tide is only beginning to turn now, 90 years since independence in the South of Ireland. It has taken this long to overcome the anglophile supremacist attitudes created by oppressive rule up to then. Thankfully the future of our language is in our own hands now. The Welsh people should be very proud of their language. A native language is the most organic expression of a people. Ádh mór oraibh - good luck to you.

mauro 5:45 am, 14-Feb-2014

I understand why in the past british history language minorities have been eradicated by force but I don't understand how all this cultural uprooting policy could have been hidden from the public culture and debate in a country which pride itself so much for its civil liberties. It is the same policy pursued by the Spanish central state, but at least in Spain there is a wide, conflictual and dramatic debate about the past history despite thirty years of fascism. The british dominion seemed to have been more toxic than others and still the same old imperialistic culture seems to ride the media corporations which truncheon the british society and seek to flatten the intellectual effort and aspiration of young generations. What in the article is note worthy is the reference to the schools set up in welsh territory just to cancel the identity and the memory of s culture wiping out the brain of children. The same happened with the establishment of the public schools all over the country. Industrialists ran their own schools and benefactors from the high classes of the society lended their time over the weekend to teach the poor children of the working class some form of elementary education. As the Grandgrind figure in Dickens tales , the master would teach the children of the working class to accept every decision dropped from above and to consider their state as a natural one. Schools which are to build up subjects not citizens. Imperialism has a long history in this country and its enormous damages are still going on at the cost of creating ignorance, self perpetuating social malaise and marginalization, lack of future for young generations with the possibility other than to be on dole. What we have got back are the crappy crassiest idiocies spread by the Daily Mail and the media alikes. Hope the scots will find their way out from a model of cultural and social oppression. With the union jack lining the streets for the royal wedding or the british army parade coming home from the war against terrorism.All the british citizens should refelect on what happened in Wales as a case in point of their past history and extend the example to Ireland and other countries for centuries under the british dominion.It's a matter of democracy.

Whistleblow3r 8:15 pm, 14-Feb-2014

In 2013 the role has completely reversed. Cymraeg (the correct name for the language of the Cymry) has protected status. A commissioner has been employed to coerce public servants to promote Cymraeg. Infact a public body can 'fine' another public body for not providing services in Cymraeg. Private companies are not exempt. They too can be fined if they accept public money. Children in Wales do not have a choice to study European languages or other languages for that matter all children are complelled to study Cymraeg up to the age of 16, regardless of mother tongue ability. Teachers are compelled to use 'incidental Cymraeg' and children are expected to use Cymraeg for the date and respond to the roll call with Cymraeg. Yet for years the number of children leaving Welsh schools with any form of Cymraeg qualification is minimal. I completely agree there are two distinct cultures in Wales. Wales is bicultural. Yet each successive Labour led administration FAILs to promote the biculturalism in Wales as it seeks to eradicate Britishness. This article is a prime example of the look back in anger campaign used to justify 21st coercion. It is a sad place to be. A leadership that fails to represent the people. Self control which favours coercion. Recntly the deputy chair of the General teaching council for Wales questioned the policiy of coercing Cymraeg. A leading Conservative MP questioned the coercion of Cymraeg. A member of the public raised the question on a radio 4 programme. People are fed up with being told this story. It is in the past. However, my ancestors made choices. They saw the progress and opportunity represented by English and rejected Cymraeg. It is not as simple as 'losing, a language. The language has become everything in Wales at the expense of everything else. As the Welsh education system can prove. It is now the worst in the UK. I am Welsh. I do not have to speak Cymraeg to be Welsh. I do not want to have my culture smothered by the balnket of Cymryness. I am not Cymry. I am Welsh. 3rd Generation immigrant to Wales. When will my story be celebrated in Welsh classrooms. When will a teacher stand up and say it is OK to not want to learn Cymraeg? When will a leader stand the test of vilification and say openly. English medium schools can teach Cymraeg if they want to? 21st Century Wales is sad because language fanatics are unhappy with the decisions made by their own ancestors. Now British Welsh fight for their survival.

alison 11:07 pm, 21-Feb-2014

people of wales should be proud to be welsh,as welsh people we have a duty to maintain and fight for the right to speak welsh to maintain this beautifull language of our motherland,its fate to survive lies in the hands of the welsh people themselves use or lose it hand it down from mother to son etc,i was deprived of being a welsh speaker my grandmother gave up speaking welsh her 1st langauge as her welsh husband was a non welsh speaker and couldnt understand their welsh speaking daughter,so my grandmother stopped speaking to her in welsh thus depriving her grandchildren of their language being handed down,i consider myself to be welsh not british,and always enjoyed welsh lessons at school

Peter 2:31 am, 1-Apr-2014

Very good article. It is unfortunate that we cannot drop the word Welsh, (Saxon imposed derogatory term for Cymru). And we are not Celts, another name assumed by the Saxons. Why is true Welsh history still denied, and concealed.

christine 11:21 pm, 4-Jun-2014

Brilliant article. The Cymru language was deliberatly distroyed. Distroy the indiginous people and their language and therefore their way of life too. My grandmother would tell me stories of how she was caned in school because she would forget to use the english and speak her native language instead. She only died about 6 years back at almost a 100. People remember what has been done and the feelings of anger still flow through from generation to generation. Not just because a language was stolen, but also a cultural way of life.

buster 12:43 pm, 27-Jun-2014

Whistleblow3r above is actually Jacques Protic, a Serbian immigrant that wants to eradicate everything Welsh !

Chairman Alf 8:59 pm, 14-Sep-2014

'Welsh nationalism is the old man in his shed busy with a hobby only he can appreciate whilst his family starves at the dinner table.' (Evan Harris, September 2013)

pip 7:40 pm, 9-Oct-2014

Having been educated in what, at the time was a tremendously backward school in some respects, (we still celebrated empire day in some classes! it was the cusp of '70-'80's) and we were punished if we used Welsh, It gave me a thirst for the peculiar duel history of this nation. Welsh, and indeed Gaelic (P, and Q celtic) are more European languages than anything. These were replaced by Latin, and then by the Germanic Languages. Population on the continent has always tended to migrate West. This has been the norm for millenia, I am just thankfull that for the last several hundred years events have been recorded as time and circumstance has conflated the culture on this island, and indeed on the Mainland continent. It is indeed remarkable that after two milennia of Romanitas from Rome, the Germanic and Norse, France, and America, Welsh is still spoken (albeit in reduced capacity) and there are elements of our culture still intact.

Robert Matthias 6:35 pm, 11-Oct-2014

This article is full of inaccuracies and totally misses the point. As a frenchman visiting Wales Aberystwyth said The Welsh are seen as a nation of wimps. Their children are beaten at an early age for speaking their native language and the Welsh not was introduced to divide and conquer. Many in Europe spoke of the continued attempt to ethnically cleanse the indigenous British people. In July 1898 a little girl in Rhydypennau school Aberystwyth was beaten not for speaking Welsh but for sounding Welsh. As for the language it teaches us about who we are whilst English history does not. Those educated with regards to equality for women would say it came about due to the struggle of the suffragettes. It did not Hywel Dda gave equality to women hundreds of years before. History in English also refers to Buddug the warrior queen by her Roman name rather than her Welsh British name. The WELSH generally feel inferior because they cannot name their scientists , inventors or great pioneers of change with possibly the exception of Nye Bevan. Even in my lifetime it was acceptable for children in England to celebrate St David's day by reciting racist lyrics and cutting the head of taffy the gingerbread man. When i contacted Swansea museum in 2011 asking if there was a plaque in Swansea to honour Lady Jane Curran they stated they had never heard of her. 26 February 1916 – 10 February 1999) was a Welsh scientist from Swansea who played an important role in the defence of the allied forces of World War II. She worked on the manhattan project. She is one of many unknowns in Wales who are recognised World wide for their achievements. The Welsh are a non violent people but are guilty of giving more importance to fighting others battles before their own . If they were violent in respect of their freedoms as the Irish or the Basques of Spain then the world would take notice. Beating children and forcing Welsh people to adopt an English surname ( Jones ) to eradicate a popular Welsh surname Sion is unacceptable. During apartheid 20,000 people died in riots when the afrikaan language replaced the native language and the world was outraged. When this happens in Wales nothing happens . I could go on for hours about the obscene injustice of it all. The idea that the Welsh are united by Rugby is a pathetic example of a nation that feels it has achieved nothing. The Welsh language tells us otherwise. Merthyr Tydfil was the heart of the Industrial revolution but today known for unemployed work shirking layabouts, such is the demonizing of its people

Bachgen y dyffryn 9:02 pm, 12-Oct-2014

I was born and grew up in a Welsh speaking household in a market town in North-east Wales. I was introduced to English, just after the outbreak of WW2 when a family from Wallasey bought the house next door. I learnt to read Welsh in a Sunday school and English at home, with considerable help from my mother. I took my 11+ in Welsh and English. To take it only in English was an option and later I took Welsh Language and Welsh Literature at “O” level as well as English Language and Literature. I also took history at O and A levels. Welsh history was a compulsory part of the O level course. My education in Welsh and matters Welsh was available and not neglected. I represented my county, at schoolboy level, in soccer and athletics and it was then that I discovered that of my peers from the North Wales coast, the Wrexham area and South-east Wales, very few spoke Welsh. Modern industry started in Wales in the 18th century and its growth accelerated throughout the 19th as production switched from metal to coal mining. By the early 20th century, about one in four Welsh workers was a coal miner. Initially, the majority of the workers were Welsh. They migrated to the Valleys from West, Mid and North Wales and the everyday language among the workers at the furnaces and coal mines would have been Welsh. There were English speaking migrants, but relatively few. As many of their fellow workers were monoglot Welsh, they tended to learn the language. As the 19th century progressed, the rate of immigration from outside Wales increased. Most of the new arrivals came from England; if they did learn the native language, it was for practical reasons or out of good will and a desire to integrate. The majority of the population of Wales today still live in the areas that were heavily populated during the Industrial Revolution and English is still their first language. The whole purpose of language is to be a means of communication. It would be “very nice” if the majority of Welsh people could speak Welsh but they have no need to do so; that is reality. I have lived in England for most of my life and I can still speak, read and write in the Welsh language. I can now watch programmes from Wales on S4c but I do this with great care. What passes for Welsh on some of the programmes is abominable. (Drinco = yfed; smoco = ysmygu; pub = tafarn; lot = llawer; joyo = mwynhau). What’s the point in pretending that pidgin English is Welsh? Language is always changing and “borrows” from others. It is inevitable that there will be change brought about by research, technological development and cultural movements. Communication of all these changes is now mainly via English and Chinese. To look at the past and to have a poke at the English for attacking the Welsh language is misguided and misleading. My late father was forced to wear the Welsh Not wooden board but he didn’t blame the English for this. His teachers were all Welsh and they really believed it was in the educational interest of their pupils to discourage Welsh speaking in order that their English proficiency might improve. Learning Welsh, in Wales, during my lifetime (I’m nearly 80) has been a matter of choice, completely in the hands of the indigenous population. If there is any blame to be attached and I can’t see that there is, then let it be fairly placed.

NWO 2:47 pm, 15-Jan-2015

As our civilisation matures, there will become one world language. That language will likely be English. U jelly?

colin ryshaf 12:30 am, 21-Mar-2015

h you are wrong; gaelic is not scotlands native language; do some proper research if you wish to make a valid comment

Leave a comment

Life image description SABOTAGE