Language matters

  • Betsan Powys
  • 4 May 07, 04:00 AM

I used to teach Welsh to adults in Risca. From listening to the returning officer in Newport, I should have started an extra class there too.

Come on Newport! This is insulting. Huw Edwards is threatening to turn down the sound in the studio. Don't tell me you couldn't have found a decent learner or a native speaker SOMEWHERE?

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:58 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

One of funniest things I've seen for a long time. Can S4C give him a chat show?

  • 2.
  • At 04:01 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

Well said - I thought he was talking to the Eastern European population, it was truly atrocious

  • 3.
  • At 04:05 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Chris Jackson wrote:

I think it's embarrassing that the RO took almost as long to read the Welsh ceremonials as he did to read the results.

It's a long night, and it's not over yet. Still plenty of time for other ROs to embarrass themselves further.

  • 4.
  • At 04:11 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Richard, Newport wrote:

I'm afraid that Welsh speakers in Newport remain marginal (unlike the seats - at least normally). But then remember 'Lord' Russell Goodway declaring results for Cardiff in 203? His Welsh was hardly BBC Cymru standard...

  • 5.
  • At 04:14 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Dan Hayes from Pontypool wrote:

Gwent does have the lowest proportion of welsh speakers in the whole of Wales, I would think that more people speak Urdu than Welsh in Newport.


Why didn't he practice?
Or did he?

  • 7.
  • At 04:22 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Llion Marc Evans wrote:

I agree completely, and I actually did mute the TV finding it too much to bear such a butchering.

But on a positive note, it's been nice to hear so many learners speaking Welsh in various interviews of the the night.

  • 8.
  • At 04:27 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • george wrote:

It was HILARIOUS it was like listening to Jane Davidson torture the welsh language. I dont speak Welsh but I can tell wen its being strangled!!

  • 9.
  • At 04:31 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

I think the honours must go to Prince Charles for the weirdest sounding Welsh - "Gyn-yll-ii-ad Gynadliiithol Cemri"

The return of John Redwood. Surely the surprise story of this election?

Evening chaps. If you're reading this, you might as well read this too:

I note nobody's cracked the quiz yet.

  • 11.
  • At 04:45 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Simon Thomas wrote:

He made Welsh sound like Cornish, perhaps a glimpse into the future? Actually, it was a disgrace, an 11 year old from the local Ysgol Gymraeg would have graced the stage better.

  • 12.
  • At 04:48 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Rob Lane wrote:

I would have to agree Betsan. I'm sure I could hear Huw squirming in his seat while that was being delivered! It was torturous to say the least...

  • 13.
  • At 05:02 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Linda wrote:

If the returning officer at Newport has offended the absurdly pompous Welsh-language lobby, then he's done us all a service. Down with the linguistic fascism of a posturing minority!

  • 14.
  • At 05:13 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Alun Thomas wrote:

As a Casnewydd / Newport ratepayer and therefore paying the Returning Officer's ( Friegood's )salary, I was disgusted that somebody like him was in placed in the limelight and showing Casnewydd up to the rest of WAles on this important night. Do we need the Eisteddfod to return to Casnewydd once again???

  • 15.
  • At 06:18 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • David wrote:

Shame I missed that...will someone post it online somewhere so I can listen to it please...also send the link to him to shame him into learning the language a bit better!

  • 16.
  • At 06:34 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Alistair Cook wrote:

I am a Welsh learner and that RO made me laugh after I figured out that it was him and not me...

  • 17.
  • At 09:12 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

Hardly a surprise, the attitude to the language by those who have settled here is disgusting.
Thank heavens we still hve the language compulsory in schools.

Non Welsh speaker but able to pronounce.

And I wonder why I'm afraid to speak Welsh most of the time... (then again, I'm not on national TV normally)

  • 19.
  • At 09:31 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • John R. Walker wrote:

Language matters - true - but to most people in Wales it's the quality of English that matters...

  • 20.
  • At 10:27 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I am in two minds about this - his pronunciation was terrible but at least he tried, that must have taken into account. He could have got someone else to read it but if he wanted to set an example to his staff, that they too should use Welsh then I think he made a good try.

  • 21.
  • At 10:57 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Huw Morgan wrote:

Oh come on gang. We need to understand that some areas are English speaking Welsh and stop this language posturing. The biggest issue is keeping the BNP as a small ridiculed minority.

  • 22.
  • At 01:08 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Mark Davies wrote:

I quite agree: the guy sounded terrible and did his area a major disservice. However...

I do suspect there's an underlying frustration here, that comes from a certain type of public-sector mentality you get in the civil service and media classes, particularly in the leafier areas of SE Wales. In one way its understandable, but in another its quite disturbing; their annoyance perhaps that there's a corner of Wales where political life hasn't been taken over by the Welsh-speaking "Taffia". I imagine the next returning officer for Newport may well have a home address with the words "Pontcanna" and "Cardiff" in it...

  • 23.
  • At 01:16 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Ruth wrote:

The Newport RO had to be the highlight of the night and after listening to him perhaps I didn't do so badly after all in my Welsh oral exam last week.

  • 24.
  • At 03:45 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Samantha Bathgate wrote:

I'm glad you mentioned this - my mother and I laughed like hyenas at his attempts. Oh well, at least it provided some entertainment during the hours and hours we sat waiting.

  • 25.
  • At 06:40 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Jim Louis wrote:

"Do we need the Eisteddfod to return to Casnewydd once again???"

No. because no one speaks Welsh in Newport, apart from school children who are forced to learn it in school now rather than spend the time learning something useful.

  • 26.
  • At 12:26 AM on 05 May 2007,
  • gazza wrote:

who really cares?????

  • 27.
  • At 03:54 PM on 05 May 2007,
  • Linda Joseph wrote:

May I remind everyone that Newport used to be in Monmouthshire like the rest of the Greater Gwent area. Monmouthshire was English so you would expect Welsh to be a minority language. This area remains unique and special in being a border county. Language does matter - English is a dominant and universal language - the language of business and yet we're diluting it to the point that even teachers can't use it properly. The relevance of Welsh has been overinflated by the trendy middle class of Wales who seek to exclude others and in their ignorance are creating a divisive and dangerous situation. Here in 'Monmouthshire' it seems to cause division - particularly among the kids - I've heard that children attending Welsh medium schools have never been heard speaking Welsh on the buses to and from school - so what's the point - all the kids I know hate learning Welsh and even at their tender ages can't see the point, even though they see themselves as Welsh (don't tell Scottish people they're less so just because they don't speak Gaelic!)
A nation is not rated on its language but on its status in the world. Wales is not doing well in this - it needs to concentrate less on the language and more on its business performance, innovation and political credibility. This won't happen with poorly educated children who have no decent prospects other than to become factory or call centre fodder.

  • 28.
  • At 03:17 PM on 07 May 2007,
  • Scothighland wrote:

How narrow minded of you.You must be a tory.

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