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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:
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Ahardmanisgoodtofind · 03/08/2017 15:42

runny think we maybe neighbors (not literally)
I'm Welsh, wasn't raised here but returned around ten years ago. I don't speak the language, my Tad does but rarely used it around here now and his other children (raised here) don't speak it at all. I don't feel less Welsh but I do feel slightly ashamed that I can't speak the language of my country (went to schools out side of Wales/UK).
My DS is 7 and goes to a Welsh medium school, he was born verbal in any language until age 5 now he is(pretty much) fluent in Welsh and English equally despite only English being used at home (save for a few tiny phrases I've picked up from him).
Thinking about it I don't know any Welsh people, regardless of language spoken, who isn't passionate about being Welsh (at least most of the time) I also think the road sign argument actually is at the heart of the op "why people are so proud to be Welsh but reject most things that mark us out as not English" to me at least the bilingual signs are a constant reminder that THIS is WALES and we are separate/different.

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SD60659 · 03/08/2017 15:43

I can assure you that Welsh has a word for everything, just like English. And just like English it is changing and evolving all the time.

It's possible you're right, but I'm VERY skeptical about that claim. Like I said, I'm Welsh, both my parents are (were in the case of my father) Welsh, I was born in Wales and I've always lived in Wales, says Wales on my driving licence etc. I admit I'm not first language Welsh but I'm fluent, was taught it from a young age. Of my ultra Welsh friends, who ARE first language Welsh and can barely string a sentence together in English (yes I'm exaggerating a bit there but I'm trying to make a point) they ALL do exactly what I said they do.

So even if you're right and literally every word in English has a Welsh version, practically no one is using them so it makes no difference.

I'm actually friends with my Welsh teacher from High School and even she does it.

I'm going to have a bit of a Google and see if I can find something the translation services can't do. I'm not saying that proves it, but it will make the point as to no sod being aware that certain words exist in Welsh.

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MimsyFluff · 03/08/2017 16:01

I'm Welsh my memories of growing up in Wales aren't good. The schools were racist, parents were racist, kids were racist all because my mum is English didn't matter that my dad was Welsh, I was born in Wales and spoke Welsh. So my experience and that of my sister are the locals are all inbred and racists but this was rural Wales in the late 80's till we left in 2002! I have a friend the same age that had the same treatment too because of her English heritage different part of the country and we meet 4 years ago.

I'd never move back to that place for all the money in the world. I can speak Welsh still, forgotten how to read and write in Welsh though I haven't tried since leaving and the only Welsh words my DC know are dog commands. I nearly married a Welshman he was a fine specimen of secret American blood Wink

English homes burnt

new blood

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Wenglishisfab · 03/08/2017 16:13

Mimsyffluff what is the point of your links?

OP posts:
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bakewelltarty · 03/08/2017 16:52

I'd like to ask a question if I may? I'm not trying to be goady, I'm genuinely interested as I will be moving to North Wales shortly.

I have been brought up to believe that racism of any type is wrong. I'm sure most people, wherever they are from, would agree.

So, are certain types of racism tolerated more than others? From this thread it would appear so and it is worrying me. I know there is history involved and a certain amount of banter but no one is disputing that certain groups of Welsh people are racists towards their English neighbours.

Is this seen as an acceptable form of racism?

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SD60659 · 03/08/2017 17:12

bakewelltarty

It's not racism, racism is the wrong word. English/Welsh/Scottish etc aren't races under the proper definition of the word.

But to answer your question, if you're English you will (and I'm sorry to tell you this, but it's the truth) OCCASIONALLY encounter what I described in an earlier post. Not from me, nor any of my friends, nor any decent Welsh person. But I'd be lying if I said there's categorically no way you'd ever encounter it in Wales. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or deluded because it DOES happen.

But don't panic about it too much, the likelihood is low depending on exactly where you intend to live (please don't reveal that on here)

Around where I live (born and bred) you'd get the occasional tosser the likes of whom I mentioned earlier - but it's hugely frowned upon and very much the exception rather than the rule. There are however areas where it would be the rule rather than the exception.

Just being honest with you after 34 years of being Welsh :)

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BestIsWest · 03/08/2017 17:24

I'm currently on the train from Cardiff to Tenby as part of my daily commute and I can assure you that those of us who live down west get just as irritated by the Cardiff-centric fixation of the Assembly, Government, BBC etc. Not electrifying the trains past Cardiff for example.

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BestIsWest · 03/08/2017 17:25

Does English have a word for everything then?

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BarbarianMum · 03/08/2017 17:39

I have English (only) speaking Welsh friends who felt unfairly excluded from parts of the WElsh job market (Local Authority and Statutory Agencies) by their inability to speak Welsh. Their impression was that, although most job specs only state that speaking Welsh would be "advantageous" rather than "essential", the reality was no Welsh=no job.

I've no idea whether this is true but certainly they believe it was and moved to England as a result. They are notably anti-Welsh speakers/speaking - I assume because of this.

On a separate note, I've never learnt a few words of Welsh for holidaying in Wales because I've always onsidered English to count as one of the languages of the country. Ditto Gaelic and Ireland. Or Malay and Singapore. I certainly wouldn't be upset if someone addressed me in Welsh though (fat chance).

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SD60659 · 03/08/2017 17:43

Does English have a word for everything then?

Asking that is a clear indication that you've missed the point I was actually making.

That point, well actually I've already explained it in quite some detail so maybe you'd like to read my posts again for clarity.
I'll sum it up briefly because I'm not going to copy/paste it.

There ARE (and I still contend this) words in English that do not exist in Welsh. And I'm not talking about really obscure words, I'm talking about words that are used in every day conversation. Like the names of certain items/objects/processes etc. And I don't class changing "Golf" to "Golff" as being a proper word (although that's how it's spelt in Welsh) - what that's doing is pinching the English word and substituting the Welsh F for the English F (that being 2 F's in Welsh, one in English)
It's not about them sounding similar, it's a blatant nabbing of the Word and then pretending it's Welsh when it obviously isn't.

And BTW, You're going to be about 20 mins from where I live, so trust me, I'm familiar with the area! Was in Tenby just this morning in fact.

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BarbarianMum · 03/08/2017 17:46


No but it is said that English has the biggest vocabulary of any world language. Particularly rich due to having many words for the same thing/similar things, rather than words for everything.
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SD60659 · 03/08/2017 17:47

BarbarianMum

Absolutely, you just completely nailed it
Nail.On.Head.

Bullseye

Hole in one

I'll stop now :) But yeah - you are completely correct

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Liadain · 03/08/2017 17:51

While I'm not Welsh, I am Irish and we have a similar situation with the native language, culture and negative attitudes towards it. I think Welsh may have a better outlook for it though, compared to Irish? Could be completely wrong there, not sure where I've picked up that idea.

As an Irish person, being able to speak Irish is so important to me - I do feel more connected to the culture as a result. That's not to say that someone without Irish can't appreciate Irish culture, of course. I would hate to see us the language completely die and us be fully Anglicised.

I also feel that everyone in the country should learn the language as a child (and many have a negative attitude due to old school teaching methods). It might not be useful in day to day life, but then again, that's not the point of education imo.

At the same time, there is definitely a superiority complex among some Gaeltacht people (who live in the areas that speak Irish daily). School learnt Irish can be looked down on. If that's the case with Welsh, it's a damn shame and turns people off the language.

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cragsandmountains · 03/08/2017 18:13

I'm Welsh but not proud to be Welsh; it's just where I happened to be born. It really annoys me, however, when people insinuate that Welsh people shouldn't be speaking Welsh in bloody Wales.

Welsh isn't my first language, but all my education was in Welsh until university. I scarcely use it now. I'll read bits and bobs, or watch something on S4C but it's not the same as speaking it. There was massive pressure to speak English at school, even though everybody was capable of speaking Welsh and I don't think that's right. I support the efforts to keep it a living language and think much of the "They were speaking English, then switched to Welsh when I came into the room" kind of stories are just blooming paranoia.

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TeamCersei · 03/08/2017 18:31

As an adult I lived in Gwynedd for a time and I was shocked and disgusted at the almost xenophobic attitude shown to non Welsh speaking Welsh

The horrible attitude isn't only towards non welsh speaking welsh
I have also noticed a very disturbing, nasty attitude towards anyone from The Valleys.
I have heard it said a few times and it's ALWAYS Welsh people who say it:.
''Oh, that's the horrible part of Wales''
''It's a dive''

They're too stupid and short sighted to realize that those areas relied heavily on industry.
All the industry is gone and there's mass unemployment, so yeah, it's not going to appear to be a 'naice' area - in some people's eyes.

Ah well, at least the people are nicer.
and you can't put a price on that.

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Mumzypopz · 03/08/2017 18:35

I don't think it's as easy as saying people in Wales should speak Welsh. Thousands of people live just by the border, ie in Wales, but very near England, and hardly anyone speaks Welsh in these areas. I know of a school in such an area that only has 5% of kids come from a Welsh speaking home, and yet it's compulsory for them to learn Welsh in school and do Welsh GCSE. It's going to be no use at all to 95% of the kids who go there.

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MikeUniformMike · 03/08/2017 19:02

BarbarianMum, look up the definition of the word golf and come back and comment.

I think you'll find that many English words originate from other languages and then anglicized. If Welsh words are coined by spelling words phonetically, is that any worse than English doing the same? Don't think so.

Yes, we (I) can be quite lazy and say fridge/ffrij instead of rhewgell and telly/teli instead of teledu but we do have the words.

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MikeUniformMike · 03/08/2017 19:10

There are many vacancies advertised in the UK where a working knowledge of other languages is "an advantage". Try getting a warehouse job in some parts of industrial England. That's another story.

There are parts of England where signs are bilingual.

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BestIsWest · 03/08/2017 19:12

Thank you Mike, my point exactly.

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BarbarianMum · 03/08/2017 19:22

I think you may have got me confused with another poster Mike Wtf would i want to look up the roots of the word "golf"?

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PinaGrigio · 03/08/2017 19:24

Bakewelltarty don't worry too much. I'm English as is DH, and we've lived in a v Welsh-speaking area for a while now. [In fact the area mentioned upthread where we now have no Welsh-speaking GP, which really is going to cause problems for people, honest] It's fine. I've learned Welsh because I'd be missing out on a lot if I didn't speak it, and people have been v helpful in that regard. The vast majority of people have been incredibly welcoming and I've made friends without difficulty. I love living up here and can't imagine moving back to SE England, where we came from. HTH

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whosebootsaretheseshoes · 03/08/2017 19:32

As an adult I lived in Gwynedd for a time and I was shocked and disgusted at the almost xenophobic attitude shown to non Welsh speaking Welsh

I'm Welsh, but sadly have also experienced this attitude as a non Welsh speaker in rural North Wales.

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TroysMammy · 03/08/2017 19:33

Wenglish Welsh doesn't have a word for everything. Being on lunch break with 2 fluent speaking male colleagues who were having a conversation in Welsh the word dildo was said. Now tell me what word does dildo mean in English?

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iklboo · 03/08/2017 19:33

I'd love to learn to speak Welsh (lots of Welsh ancestry) but there's no courses near me that offer it - only advertised as 'holiday' languages Spanish & Italian.

Are there any free online courses I could use? Unfortunately I don't know any Welsh speakers.

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SD60659 · 03/08/2017 19:35

BarbarianMum

Yes I believe the post he's mentioned you in was probably directed at me. But until he addresses my reply to him he won't be getting another one.

Because he knows he's incorrect and he's probably aware that I can prove it. It's also interesting that no one has challenged my contention that there ARE words, everyday words, which just DO NOT exist in Welsh. That's because they know I'm right about that too but can't admit it. Just you see if I'm wrong ;)

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