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TAAT: Proud to be Welsh but most don't seem to want "Welsh" things

126 replies

Wenglishisfab · 02/08/2017 23:02

I've started a new account for this but am a long time MN poster.

And I know I'm going to get flamed.

Reading the Enjoying being Welsh thread (and other things on social media) it strikes me that most people born and bred in Wales are proud to be Welsh. But, and it may be a small minority, most posters seem to feel that Welsh speakers seem to have a monopoly on being Welsh - just because they speak Welsh makes them superior to non Welsh speakers etc.

On the other hand, government plans to introduce Welsh history and culture into non Welsh medium schools, and wanting to increase the numbers of Welsh speakers is seen as forcing Welsh down everyone's throats.

Complaints are made about replacing road signs in Wales with Welsh first. I actually don't see why we need a bilingual Merthyr Tudfil or Caerffili when they are pronounced exactly the same, and there are lots of other place names across South Wales like this. Eventually most people would learn to spell it the original Welsh way.

What's the point of speaking or learning Welsh when everyone can speak English anyway is a sentence seen and heard over and over again from Welsh born and bred people.

So my questions are: why are so many people proud to be Welsh but reject anything and everything to do with Welsh language, culture and history. It's seen as a waste of money, kids could be learning far more important languages such as French or Spanish or Mandarin...

Most people see Plaid Cymru as Nationalists seeking only independence when, from what I can see, they are the only party sticking up for Wales and Welsh people (yes they have their flaws but the party has moved on from the days of being only Welsh speakers).

Most people (in South Wales especially) are pro-royalists and happy to wave the Union Jack when some Royal visits their area.

Is it because of the lack of good Welsh media? Looking at most supermarkets, the main papers around here are the Sun, Mail etc. Even the Western Mail is anti "Cymraeg." There was a story in there during the last couple of years about a Welsh team rugby player becoming a doctor "despite being educated at a Welsh language school" (paraphrase).

I class myself as Welsh and British. British only because the Welsh were the original British, long before England came into being.

That's all a bit garbled sorry, but I genuinely want to know why people are so proud to be Welsh but reject most things that mark us out as not English. If Westminster have their way, the Welsh Assembly will lose more and more powers and we will become EnglandandWales. Is that what people want? Are we happy to become an English county?

OP posts:
Guepe · 02/08/2017 23:17

I'm Welsh. I don't have a Welsh-speaking background but learned it upto GCSE level. Unfortunately I've forgotten most of it and I don't have much of a natural aptitude for languages.

Despite my lack of anything-resembling fluency, I love seeing and hearing the Welsh language around the country. It's a shame that not all Welsh people want to see such a vital part of our culture preserved; I really appreciate the efforts made to keep Welsh in use.

Wenglishisfab · 02/08/2017 23:20

Guepe many people feel the same way, but there are so many who appear to have an absolute hatred for the language or culture.

OP posts:
Guepe · 02/08/2017 23:33

I think Welsh people being hostile towards the language is probably, in many cases, a hangover from the English attempts to stamp out the language.

DollyDora · 02/08/2017 23:40

I'm Welsh don't speak the language at all I don't really remember learning Welsh that much in school but St David's day and eistedfodd was celebrated in primary and secondary school. To be honest I don't know one person who could string a sentence together in Welsh apart from when they are singing the national anthem at a rugby match. And it does annoy me when people insist on saying please or thank you to me in Welsh when I'm in work ( retail) I think it's quite rude.

TinDogTavern · 02/08/2017 23:46

Dollydora why do you find it rude when people say please and thank you to you in Welsh? It's good manners to say please and thank you, you're in a Welsh-speaking country, and you clearly understand what's being said to you, so I really can't see the problem.

Wenglishisfab · 02/08/2017 23:47

Dolly Dora why do you find it rude? If a handsome French man came into your store and said merci, would you find that rude?

Everyone in Wales should know what diolch means so why is it rude?

OP posts:
DollyDora · 02/08/2017 23:53

It's presuming everyone speaks Welsh I probably should have used a better example than please or thank you ( I actually don't know what please is in Welsh) but when I've served people and say hello ( in english) and they start speaking Welsh it is rude I can't understand what they're saying.

Wenglishisfab · 03/08/2017 00:04

DollyDora surely it's simple to say you don't speak Welsh. As a Welsh speaker who does try to speak Welsh in tourist destinations or Welsh speaking areas, it doesn't bother me at all if whoever is serving me tells me they don't speak Welsh. There's no judgement at all. I just simply switch to English. I think most Welsh speakers feel the same way. We try to speak Welsh first but switch to English. It's not a big deal to us.

I'm sorry if you've come across people who make you feel awkward but most of us wouldn't think twice about it.

OP posts:
cardibach · 03/08/2017 00:08

Dolly So you say 'I'm afraid I don't speak Welsh' and all is easy again. You're in Wales. If someone is a Welsh speaker, they should be able to at least start in Welsh in their own country. If they are then actually rude to you because you can't speak Welsh, that is unreasonable of them. Speaking their own language in their own country is not in any way rude.
Wenglish I agree with you.

DollyDora · 03/08/2017 00:12

Unfortunately maybe it's just rude people I've come across like I said in my first post I don't know anyone who could speak a sentence in Welsh. Maybe it's different in different parts of the country the further north or west you .I don't remember being taught Welsh in primary but we did a bit in high school and I left there 15 years ago. But St David's day I do remember dressing up and wearing my nana's shawl and a bonnet with white lace

cardibach · 03/08/2017 00:14

Also, Dolly, I don't go on holiday anywhere without learning please and thank you in the local language, so I think it is unreasonable (and a bit rude) that you live and work in Wales and haven't bothered to find out something as basic as that. You obviously live in an area where Welsh is spoken, so you could ask someone to help you n

cardibach · 03/08/2017 00:16

For clarity I'm a very crap learner, not a Welsh speaker. My DD is bilingual though.

selsigfach · 03/08/2017 00:18

Welsh people saying 'diolch' in Wales is rude now? Goodness me! I assume you have a Welsh accent, Dolly. If a shop assistant speaks to me in accented English, I respond in Welsh because I think it's polite (and I'm not even Welsh).
In my local authority, there's no choice of language for schooling - all education in every primary school is in Welsh until English is gradually introduced at about 8 like a second language. I find this hugely frustrating and think my child will be at a huge disadvantage, with English parents, to classmates who have Welsh as their mother tongue.

selsigfach · 03/08/2017 00:21

To clarify - I respond in Welsh because I assume from their Gog accent that they are a Welsh speaker.

TinDogTavern · 03/08/2017 00:21

Cardibach - exactly. I'm actually English but living in (South) Wales, and work in a customer facing role. If someone says thanks, I'll say you're welcome. If someone says diolch, I'll say croeso. And I've only ever had positive reactions from Welsh speakers that y Saes is making an effort Smile

DollyDora · 03/08/2017 00:23

It's not that I've not bothered to do it I've never felt I've needed to learn any Welsh to use I'm not really around Welsh speakers apart from a few people now and again in work i dont live in area where it is widely spoken we do however get people from all over Wales come to where I am. I don't have a hatred for the language it's just not something I've needed to get by.

DollyDora · 03/08/2017 00:26

Like i said in my first response I probably should have given a different example. And I don't really have a Welsh accent yes I was born here raised by English Parents

PickAChew · 03/08/2017 00:28

Dolly, I'm English and have spent all of 3 days in Wales, but I think you might just be the goady fucker rude one, here.

DollyDora · 03/08/2017 00:29

If I've come across as rude I apologise but I'm not trying to be goady at all.

OvariesBeforeBrovaries · 03/08/2017 00:37

I find this hugely frustrating and think my child will be at a huge disadvantage, with English parents, to classmates who have Welsh as their mother tongue

I'm also frustrated by the lack of English-medium availability in areas of Wales (I'm presuming Gwynedd? That's where I grew up), we've chosen an English-medium curriculum in a Welsh-environment school for DD, but I just wanted to try and ease your fears about this, if I can.

My parents moved to Wales when I was three. They've learned a few conversational bits of Welsh, but English has always been the language at home. I went to entirely Welsh-medium playgroup, primary and secondary and was never disadvantaged; I became fully bilingual very quickly and never had any issues keeping up with my peers who spoke Welsh all the time at home.

I think the most important thing my parents did was to take an interest. It didn't matter that they couldn't speak Welsh at home with me, it mattered that they wanted to learn - so I found myself teaching them bits of Welsh (it took them about six years to realise that I was getting Pupil of the Month certificates, not "Dusky Bolongaise" Grin ).

The lack of choice for parents in Gwynedd and similar areas is incredibly frustrating, but try not to worry about children from English homes being disadvantaged in the long run.

Wenglishisfab · 03/08/2017 00:41

Dolly Dora I think you're actually coming across as most non Welsh speaking Welsh people. For some reason, people speaking Welsh to you, even something as simple as diolch, makes you feel uncomfortable.

For information, please in Welsh is os gwelwch yn dda. A bit like si vous plais in French. But most of us would just use please.

OP posts:
DollyDora · 03/08/2017 00:46

Thank you wenglish I'm not trying to be a goady fucker as a PP said but I suppose it does make me slightly uncomfortable I'm doing my job and someone is speaking to me in a language I don't understand then I don't want to come across rude by saying sorry i don't understand what your saying in the language of the country I live in.

klondikecookie · 03/08/2017 00:55

I live in Canada and there are various First Nations communities that are desperately trying to cling on to their languages, having been reduced to a handful of speakers as a result of colonialism. I'm glad that so many efforts are being made to keep the Welsh language alive.

DollyDora · 03/08/2017 01:01

Just to give an example where I live only 10 % of people speak Welsh compared to somewhere like Gwenydd where it's 64%

Dixiestamp · 03/08/2017 03:06

I live in one of the valleys north of Newport. Compulsory Welsh was not brought in until I left school, although I personally taught myself some when I was younger. There just isn't the culture of Welsh speaking in this area that there is in other places, but that doesn't make the people feel 'less Welsh' , it's just not something they were brought up with. I feel as though I have missed out by not speaking Welsh, but I don't think many of my generation in this area have a strong opinion of it.
This used to be a Welsh speaking area, at one time, as English relatives of mine in the past who moved here for work established an 'English speaking' chapel.

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