Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Welsh Language - no shit Sherlock

I see the Welsh intelligentsia are in 'crisis' mode over the recent release of census data for Wales aka 'will nobody think of the children'. And some in the BBC don't help, with their gloom and doom - I heard someone on Radio Cymru actually say that an increase in the number of Welsh speakers in an area due to movement of people was somehow artificial?

Take the rural areas - now you don't need a degree in anthropology to know whats occurring...

Young people are moving to urban areas for a) education and b) jobs and this is reflected in the growth of the Welsh language in Cardiff - you know a thing called urbanisation.. And the more people come to contact with the Welsh language and it's culture the more they see the benefits of allowing their children the chance to learn the language, and of learning the language themselves. Hence why Monmouthshire and Cardiff are seeing an increase in number of Welsh speakers.

So no shit Sherlock logic says you concentrate your efforts on the urban areas - to making Welsh more relevant and accessible to peoples day to day life's,  to where the population is highest and where you will find young working couples with a presentity to allow their children to learn Welsh.

And in the rural areas where the young are leaving to get jobs in urban areas, and the old eventually die, those filling the vacuum will be those seeking a pleasurable retirement, and there is nothing wrong with that, be they Welsh, English, Scottish whatever. The no shit Sherlock logic says in percentage terms an elderly family of 2 will always be lower than a young family with kids. So if the young are moving out and the retires are moving in and the elderly eventually die - you know no shit Sherlock Welsh speakers in rural areas will decline.

Now I'm not saying that Welsh speakers don't want to live in rural communities, far from it the rural idyll is still a dream for many. But there are so many considerations like where will the kids be educated - ease of access to schools and standard of education. And no shit Sherlock Welsh families with kids may be disinclined to return to rural communities 'cause someone thought shutting rural schools was a good idea.

And let's not forget when people move for jobs it could be to anywhere in the world. Over the centuries we Welsh have seen no barrier in our search for work. In England for example, I'm sure we all know relatives whom have formed strong Welsh communities within cities and towns - but whilst we know how many people speak Polish for instance in England, we don't know how many speak Welsh, I wonder why?.

Anyway if you want Welsh speaking people to remain in Wales rather than seeking fortunes elsewhere, like Paul Williams, aka The Druid, who is in Japan to name just one, then we need to improve the economy. So no shit Sherlock the decline in Welsh speakers in Wales is strongly linked to the decline in the Welsh economy....Or its the economy stupid.

Lets not forget that the majority of Welsh people in Wales cannot speak Welsh, but I suspect that if asked a high percentage would like to, and will give many reasons why they have not learnt Welsh, raging from never had the chance to thinking it's too hard.

So no shit Sherlock - if you want people to learn Welsh, first you must speak their language.

Turning to a thing called Pride - why do we tolerate the dismissal of us Welsh especially of  the Welsh language as not important. A bit like saying to a Jew well you could be Catholic couldn't you, most of us here are Catholics don't you know. Ever thought why religious intolerance is given greater weight than language intolerance?

And that's why its important that we also start stop apologising for yourself and start demanding we are treated as equals. That we don't tolerate stupid comments made by stupid people like Ann Robinson or twat face Roger Lewis who think it acceptable to be demeaning to the Welsh.

If we want the Welsh language to thrive, we have to make it happen - that's us the Welsh, by raising the standard of Welsh education, by providing skilled jobs in Wales, by making the Welsh language seem relevant and necessary to youngsters. By rediscovering our 'pride' as in to plagiarizer a quote "Welsh pride is real pride – the sort that requires no justification or excuse."

One thing for certain it wont happen if we blame everyone else for the decline i.e that it's all the fault of immigrants, and neither will it happen at all if all we do is argue amongst yourselves over an ever rescinding puddle in the heat of exposure.

Now get a grid for as you know its no shit Sherlock.

Please note - comments demeaning to the welsh language will not be allowed as a response to this post.


Anonymous said...

I think you've got it in one. To ensure "heartlands" like Anglesey have a high % of Welsh speakers you need to have jobs for 'em. I know that because I am one of them. I didn't want to leave Anglesey. But because I had a good education (on the island) and went to Uni (quite close to the island) the skills I had were unsuitable for the area and had to move away.

Had there been jobs for me here I, like many of my friends would have stayed on the island.

That's it- nothing else concerned me i.e school closures, it was plain old jobs.

The one thing that I WOULD say I disagree with you is with migrants. It is a problem as if you have a high % of Welsh speakers in an area you tend to start conversations in Welsh. If this is not the case then I start in English.... it turns the language from being a language of the community... and then you question it's use.

So for Anglesey- I would start any conversation in Welsh in Llangefni, but going to Benllech I would not.

The blame here is both on migrants, and myself as a Welsh speaker- why don't I always start conversations in Welsh, in Wales? I don't know.

Finally as you raised migrants. It is now becoming a massive problem. English residents coming here having paid no tax locally and putting enormous pressures on local services.

An Eye On... said...

It has never ceased to amaze me how the Welsh as a nation literally deny their own heritage and are trying their hardest to dimantle it or stand idly by and allow others to dismantle it.

We need a longterm programme whereby we pick a date - say ten years hence and from then on all bilingual roafd & traffic signage ceases and is replaced as it wears out with welsh language signage only. From then on the only name of all towns, villages, roads etc is the welsh name.

Likewise from a certain date, to join the public sector you must attend an interview conducted in welsh and for those already in it, to get promoted your promotion interviews are conducted in welsh.

With plenty of lead-in time this can be done. It will be a struggle but if the Welsh wish to be looked on as nation as opposed to a pack of unemployed, feral yokels (which is how a lot of English regard them) then they are going to have to put some effort in.

Likewise history in welsh schools should be taught from a welsh perspective, not as present an English one. That is not our history.

An Eye On... said...

Jac O' The North's take on this:-