So... Welsh. Why?

(241 Posts)
gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:25:15

This is a thread to pick up a discussion that began on another thread about Welsh medium education. It isn't about Welsh medium. It's about compulsory Welsh to 16 in all other schools. It is hard as a non Welsh person to complain about this without sounding xenophobic so I am merely opening the floor if anyone is interested.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:31:05

For some context, I'm on the fence. I'm not against Welsh being taught. It's good to preserve an old language and culture, and I believe it probably helps language skills later on. I AM against such Welsh teaching/ speaking playing a disproportionate role in the assessment of schools and childcare settings. For me the quality of Welsh education ranks right down there with the number of computers available to Reception age children. And I am FUMING having discovered DS will have to waste a valuable GCSE on the subject.

Feenie Sun 10-Mar-13 14:35:02

It's good to preserve an old language

For many people, it's their first language, actually, and so very much current.

And I am FUMING having discovered DS will have to waste a valuable GCSE on the subject.

So move!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:39:04

This isn't about me. And those comments explain nothing. No one in this area speaks Welsh, so it's as relevant as Latin. One could argue the language has been artificially kept alive, but that isn't the purpose of the thread.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 10-Mar-13 14:40:10

Who speaks Welsh in the world other than the Welsh?

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 14:42:12

There's a decently sized community in Patagonia who speak it.

MissAnnersley Sun 10-Mar-13 14:49:14

IIRC you weren't particularly impressed with the Scottish school system either.

Apologies if I have mixed you up with another poster.

Perhaps home schooling?

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:53:49

Hehe. No you're right MissAnnersley. Honestly this is NOT about me. I wanted to open a discussion about it because I find it an interesting topic, how the political classes can be funded by the British taxpayer to impose a minority language on areas that have no recent tradition of speaking it.

As soon as people stop pushing it back to me I'll lay off posting for a while and read the discussion with interest.

Home schooling, if only!

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 14:54:15

Pam Cymraeg- er mwyn cyfathrebu gyda pobl yn Cymru yn eu iaith yn lle disgwyl bod nhw am siarad iaith arall yn arbennig ar eich gyfer.
Fel bod unigolyn yn medru cael swydd yn y dyfodol yn Cymru- lle mae medru siarad efo'r cyhoedd yn ei dewis iaith yn hawl sylfaenol.
Nid yw unigolyn yn cymryd llai o TGAU gan ei fod yn astudio Cymraeg maent yn astudio Cymraeg ar ben unrhyw TGAU eraill.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:57:50

Very helpful mamapants, since the thread is aimed at garnering opinions from the majority of the Welsh population who do not speak the language.

FannyFifer Sun 10-Mar-13 14:58:27

Irish language is compulsory in Irish schools, I think it's a good thing.

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 15:01:53

Sorry Gaelic sheep, will translate in due course. Am feeding my baby

LizaRose Sun 10-Mar-13 15:03:25

In my grandmother's day, kids were caned for speaking Welsh at school. Hence my father's generation grew up speaking no Welsh. Now, my kids are being forced to learn it. Ironic, eh?

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:06:04

I live in Wales as a non Welsh speaker. I think compulsory teaching in schools is a small and defensible step towards halting the damage caused in previous decades when policies actively damaged the language, eg by refusing to allow children to use it in schools.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:07:42

One more point then I'll shut up. Don't people feel the compulsion is counterproductive? It creates animosity and resentment, most kids gain nothing from it once they reach secondary school, as I understand it. In my ideal world there would be Welsh up to 14, but the obsession with conversational Welsh in schools would be tempered. DS hs to ask in Welsh to use the toilet. Why? It's just silly and petty, and pettiness is bound to raise my hackles.

SoggySummer Sun 10-Mar-13 15:09:08

As an english person living in Wales I am for learning welsh.

Welsh is widely spoken in the north of the country and making a come back further south. The Welsh are really trying to bring it back into their culture and good on them imo. It may not be widely spoken elsewhere in the world but here in Wales it is recognised and most jobs in Wales offer a small premium if you are able to speak the language. Every job I have applied for in the past 3 years in Wales has had a small section on the application form asking if I can speak welsh, read welsh, understand welsh and to what level. Its only a small part of the form and similar to the sections that ask what ethnic group you belong.

Some of the young girls on my college course went to Welsh school (fluent welsh) and when looking for part time jobs even - got then jobs because they could speak welsh, those that didnt speak welsh have not had quite as much success. Ok this is only weekend cafe/museum work etc but there is the proof. In Wales - even as far south as I am, it is a respected and sought after language.

Any language qualification whether its a widely spoken one like Spanish or less widely spoken such as Welsh prooves a persons ability to understand languages and is an indicator that they could learn other languages easily as well.

My daughter who was born in Scotland to English parents but currently residing in Wales is doing a Welsh GCSE (from scratch - she has never learnt Welsh yet as been in a English school up until now) and I am very pleased and dont see it as a waste at all. She is into liguistics anyway and she is excited about learning it and it will aid her in understanding other languages and linguistics. I am also looking forward to her helping me with my appalling pronounciation of local place names - that usually make my local friends laugh at me grin.

England is so wishy washy and crap imo at its culture and patriotism is seriously lacking imo especially in comparison to the Welsh and the Scots who seem to be so much more passionate about their culturer, traditions and patriotism.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:09:21

Also, it's not really any more a "waste" of a gcse than anything which isn't Maths or English or a subject that you carry on to A level.

hermioneweasley Sun 10-Mar-13 15:10:37

I don't live in Wales, but I think even if I lived there, would want my children to have the education which sets them up for success. The reality is that if they want to live and work anywhere other than Wales (and apparently an obscure area of Patagonia?) then the kids would be better off learning Spanish or Mandarin.

greenhill Sun 10-Mar-13 15:13:58

Welsh is actually very useful if your DC plan to remain in Wales and have a job with the BBC, work for a Welsh Council, at a university/ school or for a company in which they'd answer the phone or speak to customers face to face (e.g in banking, insurance, in a call centre for power companies etc). Lots of shops are bilingual too, in small towns and cities.

Do your children watch any Welsh programmes on tv, or are they on with subtitles? If not, that's a large part of their local culture they are missing out on. There may not be a tradition of speaking Welsh in the area that you currently live in, but it is always quite nice to be able to understand conversations that are being held around you in another language. I'm not great at languages but have found that my rusty French was useful in Tunisia (and in France) and when I'm not looking closely at the subtitles watching a French film.

On the other side of a coin, a friend of mine learnt Irish at school and finds it very useful to be able to speak privately to her DC, when in public, knowing that no-one else can understand the telling off they are receiving, or for example, hear why small children shouldn't stare at people who have a large scar / piercings etc.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:14:28

Northey, I understand dual award science is the norm in Wales. I do hope that if DS wishes to study the separate sciences, to allow him to lay proper foundations of A levels and beyond, this would not be prevented to save the time for Welsh.

But I am going to stop now as I sound more anti than I actually am.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:15:20

We did dual award science at my school, to make room for com

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:17:35

We did dual award science at my school, to make room for compulsory RE (was a faith school). It is considered a reasonable basis for doing the 3 separate sciences at a level (though single award isn't). So your child should be ok.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:22:44

Weeell,at my school it was the arty ones who did dual award because itvdidn't teach enough to do science A levels. Perhaps that has changed.

Greenhills - that point about needing Welsh to work in Wales. Under any other guise it would be outlawed as discrimination.

KatieMiddleton Sun 10-Mar-13 15:23:17

My grandfather was Welsh (from the south as it happens). Spoke Welsh as a first language and English second. He found this incredibly useful to help him learn other languages. He taught himself French and German. He was a very clever man and believed his linguistic skills in Welsh and English gave him an advantage.

I think speaking Welsh in Wales makes total sense. In a generation this won't even be questioned. They speak the regional/local language alongside the national language in lots of places: Catalan in Catalonia, Basque in the Basque region, Fleminish in Belgium.

In areas of high immigration the original groups have had to learn the local language, for example Spanish in Miami.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:25:24

Maybe your school didn't have any other subject it wanted to protect, so could give people the choice. But dual award is really ok. Honestly. As a basis for Oxbridge and everything.

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