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Fancy a job?

Betsan Powys | 11:56 UK time, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Fancy a job?

As far as I can make out from skim reading the proposed Welsh language measure - and that's no mean task at 136 pages long - there is no danger money attached. Perhaps there ought to be.

The job is that of a Commissioner. We have one to protect the interests of children and another to champion the rights of older people. If and when this measure becomes law then we will have a Welsh Language Commissioner too. Like the other two he or she will champion the cause, in this instance, the Welsh language. Unlike the other two, this one will have legal enforcement powers.

Who'll appoint the Commissioner?

The Assembly Government - not, note, the Assembly as a whole.

What's the job?

To set new standards that will place a legal duty on public bodies and companies who provide things like mobile phones and gas and electricity to offer some services in Welsh. How much? In which parts of Wales? That'll be up to the Commissioner.

What if they don't reach the standards imposed on them?

The Commissioner, if cajoling doesn't cut it, can fine them up to £5000.

Some more 'what ifs'.

What if they keep re-offending. After all what's a fine fo £5000 to companies who make huge profits?

The Government could legislate to make the fine higher. It could become a matter of contempt of court.

What if a mobile phone company, say, don't think the Commissioner has been fair or proportionate in his demands? What if they think he or she has gone too far?

They can appeal to a Welsh Language Tribunal. (Monty Python did come to mind ... One closely involved with the measure suggested red, white and green wigs might come in handy.)

But what if Mrs Jones in Llanystumdwy isn't happy with the level of service the Commissioner has said she can expect from her electricity company? What if she thinks it doesn't go far enough?

Um ... she can lobby her Assembly Member, or not vote for them next time round I suppose. That's democracy for you. It doesn't sound quite as immediate, does it?Perhaps those scrutinising the measure will wonder the same.

Perhaps they will look at the role of the Commissioner and wonder at just how central and crucial it is to the measure working successfully.

How much scrutiny will there be?

This is a long and complex measure. If the Culture Minister says there's a chance the Commissioner will be in post before the next Assembly election (I wonder who the government have their eye on to fill the role ... someone who'd like to make a move before the next round of door-knocking and campaigning starts perhaps?) then the proposed measure must become law by this time next year at the latest.

'Makes for bad laws' mutters a veteran of more than one legislature. Rushed law is bad law.

'It's so authoritarian' mutters another, who questions the wisdom of starting to wrangle about a measure in such a contentious area of Welsh life, just before Assembly Members plan to unite to ask the public for more powers. 'People will say - look what they're doing with the powers they've got now.'

Responses?

The Welsh Language Society got in early on Radio Wales. As they see it this measure will not confer rights on Welsh speakers to use the language in Wales. Why not, they ask? Why can't duties imposed on businesses to provide services in Welsh go hand in hand with rights conferred on those who use those services?

The CBI got in early too. Businesses want to know what will be expected of them and this doesn't tell them a thing, said David Rosser. The Assembly Government will please no-one with this measure.

Funnily enough I suspect that won't come as a surprise to the Culture Minister, or to any of his advisers.

If the proposed measure was online I'd link to it. When it is, I will.

UPDATE

As promised: read the proposed measure here.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:43pm on 04 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    'People will say - look what they're doing with the powers they've got now.'
    The unfortunate thing about this is that it brought the subject of the cultural values of Wales into the political arena and will inevitably result in the subject becoming embroiled in the debate about the Assembly. I am sure that most of the people who I know who oppose further power will deplore fact that the language may become a football, not for its worth but as a political pawn. I see this proposed legislation as a very poor example because it has the potential for division.

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  • 2. At 4:29pm on 04 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    Need to read it before commenting on the substance but as a matter of interest what would you do to ensure to ensure the language prospers Len?

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  • 3. At 4:46pm on 04 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 1

    What this shows is just how ridiculous the present system is. Nothing could show more clearly how urgently required further powers have become.

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  • 4. At 4:48pm on 04 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    http://www.assemblywales.org/bus-home/bus-guide-docs-pub/bus-business-documents/bus-business-documents-doc-laid/ms-ld7944-e.pdf?langoption=3&ttl=MS-LD7944%20-%20Proposed%20Welsh%20Language%20%28Wales%29%20Measure

    That's pretty hard work....

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  • 5. At 4:52pm on 04 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "65 Exception for broadcasting
    (1) This Measure—
    Proposed Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 45
    GPM-16-S1 3-III-10
    (a) does not require, and
    (b) does not authorise a person to require,
    a person to comply with a standard if, and to the extent that, the standard relates to
    broadcasting.
    5 (2) In this section—
    (a) “broadcasting” means the commissioning, production, scheduling,
    transmission or distribution of programmes (including advertisements,
    subtitles, continuity announcements and teletext), access services,
    interactivity, online content and other output of a similar nature for television,
    10 radio, the internet or other online or wireless platforms;
    (b) but references to broadcasting do not include any activity that is carried out in
    connection with broadcasting (unless the activity is itself broadcasting)."

    It's stange but I reckon the single most effective practical action that could be taken to improve the take up of the Welsh language would be to make it compulsory that all adverts broadcast in Wales on radio or TV, whatever the language of the station, should be bilingual.

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  • 6. At 4:59pm on 04 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "144 Extent
    (a) This Measure extends to England and Wales only."

    Now this is very strange. Applies to Wales only I could understand. Applies to the UK I could also understand. But applies to England and Wales? What's that all about?

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  • 7. At 5:17pm on 04 Mar 2010, confusus wrote:

    So ability and skills will be removed in favour of “positive” discrimination. I am already debarred from some jobs as my Welsh is meagre! Improve it I am told! I am an expert in my field, Wales needs people like me! Even the Foreign & Common Wealth Office is interested in my skills to aid the third world countries they work in yet there are few demands for indigenous language, they require knowledge and expertise not parochial values.

    Watch the rising demand of pay levels for “Welsh” speakers, paid more than the non-Welsh speaker. Equality Commission where are you when you have a use?

    What of the generation of Welsh born and breed who do not speak Welsh? Is this the start of the ethnic cleansing, or merely the creation of an underclass for menial work whilst linguistically superior reap their “just” rewards?

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  • 8. At 5:36pm on 04 Mar 2010, Ian wrote:

    This will attract the usual anti-language individuals. I would much rather talk about the BBC stabbing Plaid in the back over the leadership debates.

    I particularly look forward to the patronising Welsh version watched by thousands instead of millions watching the 'British' one, under the pretence that it is some way balancing things out-skipping over the huge media scrum that will envelop the 'big 3' and the vacuum that will swallow the Welsh 4.
    This will cost Plaid votes and could well cost Plaid seats and yet the BBC claim to be impartial?
    With the likes of Dimbleby and others influencing decisions, no wonder the BRITISH element of the Beeb has won this one (have you seen his version of British history? a fail at GCSE), to the detriment of devolved politics. I wait with great interest for the moment when the BBC chiefs in London come looking for support for their licence fee from Plaid and SNP MPs, who get elected despite their actions. I suspect that it will take a little more than a freebee conference meal and talking up Casualty Cymru, to pull that one off.

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  • 9. At 5:52pm on 04 Mar 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    6

    I presume because 'the Law' (that is the legal framework) is English and Welsh in a legal sense, although it does appear pretty odd.

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  • 10. At 6:30pm on 04 Mar 2010, Bob wrote:

    I am confused as to how this will work. If a company provides telecoms services to Wales and has call centres in England only, does this then mean they have to have a specialist Welsh service based in Wales just for the people in Wales to speak Welsh. If so then this will cost a lot of money and will it be cheaper just to take the fine ?

    I just cannot see these large multinational companies sitting back and taking this lying down, and expect a lot of watering down of this by the time it actually becomes law.

    Likewise where are the Welsh speakers ? I know from working in a centre in Cardiff that trying to get fluent spoken and written Welsh agents was very difficult. Out of an intake of 30+ per week, it was rare to find one who was of the standard. Plenty spoke some Welsh, but not enough to be conversant. Interestingly enough, this company has all it's centre off shore now. How are they going to cope?

    All this has done today is raised these and many many more questions....

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  • 11. At 6:35pm on 04 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Dewi_H #2
    “to ensure the language prospers”
    To begin with I wouldn’t put it in a politically charged atmosphere of a referendum. I can’t think of a worse environment.

    I would continue the ongoing discussion of the value and place of Welsh in modern Wales. There have been various discussions on this blog, WalesonLine and Waleshome that has covered much of the ground. I felt that although there are major differences of attitudes there is a working agreement of how Welsh use can develop in a non-legislative environment.

    It is often said that time is a healer and as many pro-Welsh language supporters point out the usage of Welsh is on the increase. Many suggest that within a generation half of the population will be able to use Welsh as normally as English. The gradualism of this approach is more acceptable and I think the better approach.

    The core problem of the legislative approach with a commissioner and fines is expressed by Confusus Theytry #7 and one Wales doesn’t need.

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  • 12. At 6:42pm on 04 Mar 2010, Optimist wrote:

    #7. Confusus Theytry wrote:

    "So ability and skills will be removed in favour of “positive” discrimination."

    Not necessarily; it is simply that a certain level of fluency in Welsh will become another required ability. After all, if you're providing a service to a community it is highly desirable that you speak their language.

    "I am already debarred from some jobs as my Welsh is meagre! Improve it I am told!"

    If I found myself underqualified for a job I was keen to have then I would make every attempt to gain that skill.

    "I am an expert in my field, Wales needs people like me!"

    I'm not sure Wales really needs people who are so dismissive of its language.

    "What of the generation of Welsh born and breed who do not speak Welsh?"

    They may be excluded from certain jobs, just as those in England who do not speak good English are, but I think you're overplaying your hand here. There will, in practice, be very few jobs that are barred to non-Welsh speakers.

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  • 13. At 7:26pm on 04 Mar 2010, Bostoniwr wrote:

    "If the proposed measure was online I'd link to it."

    how about:

    i) "If the proposed measure had been online I would have linked to it."
    ii) "If the proposed measure was online I didn't see it."
    or (the intended meaning):
    iii) "If the proposed measure were online I'd link to it."

    How about a bit of respect for language? :)

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  • 14. At 8:09pm on 04 Mar 2010, bed123 wrote:

    I agree somewhat with Len Gibbs gradual approach, overall as a Welsh learner, I think today is a very good day for Wales and the language.

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  • 15. At 8:47pm on 04 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    rbs_temp #
    You say of Confusus Theytry
    “I'm not sure Wales really needs people who are so dismissive of its language”
    This is one of the saddest comments I have read on any of the blogs. To dismiss a person out of Wales on the basis of a cultural issue is appalling. People are more valuable than a language and to express such an opinion is deplorable.

    I sincerely hope that you are the only person able to speak Welsh who holds this opinion otherwise the language will become a battleground, if not THE battleground in the forthcoming referendum.

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  • 16. At 8:47pm on 04 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    Isn't it lucky that the LCO has spent 2 years back and forth between Westminster and Cardiff? The scrutiny of a million committees has obviously been of great value in making the powers, and thus the measure, so clear cut.

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  • 17. At 8:53pm on 04 Mar 2010, Crossroads wrote:

    Was in Tescos recently....Whilst waiting for Mrs. Sembly to go through the checkout I noticed a large sign over the Lottery ticket/photocopy/film processing section, the other side of the checkouts.
    It read...
    ...PROSESU DIGIDOL A FFILM.....

    Which is apparently Welsh for "Digitol + Film Processing"

    I smiled, because it is nonsense like this that will eventually lead to the downfall and disintegration of the appalling Welsh assembly.

    Just as soon as the huge English only speaking majority in Wales realise that the gibberish now passing for Welsh consists of nouns which have been quietly "created" (made-up)by a committee in recent years(Probably the Welsh Language Board and their bully boys)They will put an end to this artificial enhancement of the Welsh language.

    In case of any doubt, ask yourselves just where the new Welsh equivalents of the huge number of modern English words have come from...You will find that unlike the slow, natural, 'evolution' of languages which is the norm, Welsh words have been manufactured, made-up, yes by a committee. No doubt refreshed by cups of tea and plentiful supplies of Mc..... Digestive biscuits.

    Take the Welsh word "digidol" for instance. This comparatively new word has now miraculously appeared as "the Welsh" for the English "digital".

    I can just imagine the "Welsh new word" committee, 'Welshifying'the word 'digital' into 'digidol' and congratulating themselves on yet another 'successful' translation with which to fool the dim and feckless into believing that there really is a viable Welsh language.

    I have long thought that the fanatical (and extremely expensive)promotion of the manufactured Welsh language will be the final straw that breaks the assemblies back.

    Its now a simple case of just how much the English speaking majority in Wales will take. The gloating of the language fanatics that quite soon only Welsh speakers will be eligible for public sector jobs, will backfire. Ordinary Welsh folk, will realise that their children and grandchildren will be condemned to lesser employment than they deserve merely on the whim of some sly Plaid inspired idiocy.An idiocy which has no other purpose that to promote nationalism, and to divide the people of Wales.So worried are the assembly about the response of the Welsh English only speakers, they actually commission, and pay for, a never ending stream of worthless TELEPHONE POLL surveys which (surprise surprise) lead us to believe that the whole of Wales loves the assembly and we will all bow to their demands that we learn Welsh !!!! I am not alone in noticing just how many of those polled could speak Welsh...a number way over any previous estimates, and certainly not representative of the actual numbers. Now I wonder why that happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I await the response of the arrogant 'crachach' element on here. Almost all of whom are employed in some way by the assembly or its lacky organizations.
    Though with such a vested interest in the "Welshification" of Wales, they are allowed to spout their well groomed and prepared speeches on here is beyond me. Especially as they inevitably compose their offerings whilst "at work". Their salaries whilst this is going on, being paid for by us simple folk.

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  • 18. At 9:25pm on 04 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re 12.
    If I found myself underqualified for a job I was keen to have then I would make every attempt to gain that skill.


    You shouldn't be so sneeringly dismissive of those whose Welsh language skills debar them from employment. The importance of the language has been upped and up since devolution, which of course creates more and more jobs for those whose first language is Welsh.

    It was all going so swimmingly for Rhodri types, but they forgot who put them into power!!! The English speaking working classes!! Who've now deserted them in huge numbers, they've seen through Llafur's pathetic jibes about the Tories all being Eton toffs!!

    We now know that Wales has got its own toffs, Proper Welsh heritage, proper Welsh name and fluent in the nations number one language toffs, Rhodri type toffs.
    Sorry, like many in south east Wales, I'm an easy going English speaking, once English Brit, if the Tory's are toffs, they're my kinda toffs, English speaking British toffs.

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  • 19. At 9:55pm on 04 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    Noah

    No doubt the English word "digital" just sort of evolved, as you insist, was handed down from Anglo Saxon to Anglo Saxon, until at last a use was found for it...

    Or is it possible that a number of lesser used languages like French, German, Spanish, etc have coined their own versions of the Latin digitus, maybe even under the influence of the English "digital"? Is it even possible - whisper it quietly - that the English language also coined the word "digital" as a derivative of the Latin, to describe a concept that was new to the world?

    Oh, no of course, you only know the English word, so it must be natural, and we (the parochial ones) must have made an artificial copy...

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  • 20. At 10:13pm on 04 Mar 2010, twm wrote:

    Lets have a look at how much Welsh is spoken in wales!
    The last 7 blogs by Betsan have elicited 182 comments. Compare this to Vaughan's 7 blog in the language of heaven. How many comments? Only 8 in all. No wonder we need a Language Commisar to redress this serious imbalance!

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  • 21. At 10:34pm on 04 Mar 2010, Notonationalism wrote:

    So who will be the Commandant and how much will he/she and his/her staff be paid? Will this new arrangement cost us even more than the Welsh Language Board?

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  • 22. At 10:52pm on 04 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 11:01pm on 04 Mar 2010, Crossroads wrote:

    Message 19. Ju5t1nD

    You are a classic case of a poster who has tried too hard to be clever and failed dismally. My point was concerning the artificial nature of the 'origins' of many Welsh words.

    The fact remains that a committee is asked to provide a Welsh language word just for the sheer awkwardness of it! Whenever any of you Welsh language activists hear this, out come the old latin dictionaries, and the waffle begins.

    You completely ignore the fact that a new "Welsh" noun appears immediately all over Wales, and appears in Welsh dictionaries, with such speed that it MUST have been organised from some central, all powerful 'language administrator' such as the appalling Welsh Language Board.

    My point stands. Many Welsh nouns have been 'instantly' created purely and simply from a suitable English word...the examples are there for all to see.They 'must' be fundamentally English, yet contain certain Welsh characteristics...e.g. FILM...FFILM. Indeed, many of us 'collect' such daft 'Welsh translations' usually for our own amusement, but primarily to irritate the hell out of you Welshification fanatics.

    Though your mention of the possibility that the Latin digitus was coined by the English, shows that you may have put your finger on something here!



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  • 24. At 11:22pm on 04 Mar 2010, bed123 wrote:

    Noah_sembly, after reading your priceless input into this debate I must admit I had a chuckle. You are in danger of becoming a parody of a self-loathing, Welsh-hating, chip-on-shoulder, ranting buffoon.

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  • 25. At 11:49pm on 04 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 17

    Aren't you just showing yourself to be a bit twp, Noa Bach? I haven't stopped laughing yet.

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  • 26. At 00:34am on 05 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    24. At 11:22pm on 04 Mar 2010, bed123 wrote:
    Noah_sembly, after reading your priceless input into this debate I must admit I had a chuckle.

    Whoa up, you had

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  • 27. At 00:41am on 05 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    24. At 11:22pm on 04 Mar 2010, bed123 wrote:
    Noah_sembly, after reading your priceless input into this debate I must admit I had a chuckle.

    This chuckle, was it a Rhodri type confident chuckle?

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  • 28. At 01:00am on 05 Mar 2010, bed123 wrote:

    Jack bach...Rhodri Morgan, Julie Morgan, Eluned Morgan, Kevin Morgan, Archbishop Barry Morgan, Paul Flynn, Carwyn Jones, Dafydd Wigley and many others are all heroes of mine. When Wales gets a second chamber in the Assembly I look forward to see them there.

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  • 29. At 06:59am on 05 Mar 2010, penddu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 07:06am on 05 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:


    It is understood the Welsh Assembly Government and chums are considering legislation to hold back the tides at Porthcawl, it is astonishing, but the business people of this seaside town are to be held responsible for any failure to hold back the tide.

    Much like language legislation the Black Lagoon crew failed to factor in the inevitable, the onward march of civilization, a journey that has been in progress for many millennium, where minorities are absorbed much like pouring a glass of water into "Rest Bay"; this poor excuse for a government might like to reflect on the legend of Cnut and the tide.

    But, the legislation is proposed, and as predicted many months ago, this legislation is little more than a legislative cudgel, a sop to the language activists, fortunately it has been written much like a colander.

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  • 31. At 07:59am on 05 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    bed123 #14
    “today is a very good day for Wales and the language.”

    Regrettably it will probably also be remembered as the day of the start of a deeply divisive debate over a law that includes the criminalising of people for using their language of choice.

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  • 32. At 09:20am on 05 Mar 2010, SEDWOT wrote:

    Many of the companies that are now going to be covered by a new Welsh language act already have Welsh language schemes approved by the WLB.

    Dwr Cymru in 2008 boasted the biggest uptake of their scheme and I corresponded with them on the numbers;

    "The number of customers we have listed on our data base for Welsh only bills is 5165. We have 1.2 million customers"
    1/4/08-30/9/09, 1/4/09-30/9/09
    Welsh line 18960, 22285
    Total 464,728, 462,394

    I looked at Dwr Cymru because they had run a long and high profile scheme to alert their customers to various Welsh language options. Their uptake was the highest national uptake of a Welsh language service I could find.

    To look at the position of the Welsh language and whether it is increasing or decreasing you can go to the WLB site and look at

    "The Vitality of Welsh a statistical balance sheet, November 2009."

    www.byig-wlb.org.uk/.../The%20Vitality%20of%20Welsh%20A%20Statistical%20Balance%20Sheet...

    What is striking is that the Language is not making much headway, certainly less than you would expect given that Welsh has been compulsory in schools since 2001/2002.

    The most important factor is the decline in those fluent in Welsh. That is to say that the higher managerial and professional positions where people would be expected to communicate verbally and in writing to a sophisticated standard is looking at a very small available pool of employees.

    As for learning Welsh to take up a "Welsh essential" position, fine if you are applying to be a shop assistant but Head of Social Services in Gwynedd? Forget it; even the WLB is beginning to warn employers of the difficulties of offering "on the job training" in Welsh. The failure rate is high.


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  • 33. At 10:06am on 05 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    31 Len Gibbs wrote

    ‘Regrettably it will probably also be remembered as the day of the start of a deeply divisive debate over a law that includes the criminalising of people for using their language of choice.’

    Your ignorance of history is lamentable, Len. Take the trouble to read some Welsh history books (and not those written by Englishmen). Read about the Acts of Union which set out to destroy the Language and 'criminalised' its usage. Unbelievably under English law even today a Welsh-speaking person cannot get a trial or court hearing in his/her own language in his/her own country. (His country's justice and legal system is controlled from London). Read about the education system in 19th century Wales which aimed to wipe out the Language.

    Your initial outward mask of support for the Language has soon disappeared and we all know which side of the fence your (and undoubtedly those of 'True Wales') sympathies lie. You are clearly imo no friend of Welsh language, culture and history.

    So please, no more wagging that finger at those of us who are honest enough to state our case for positive support for a Language and its speakers which have been discriminated against with all the power that the English and British state could muster for over four centuries.

    17 Noah

    Your ignorance of etymology is even more woeful than Len's ignorance of the history of Wales.

    The English Language borrowed many classical words - imported them en masse as it were.

    Digit : Etymology: ME - L digitus, a finger, to, inch - IE base *deik-, to show, point

    Process : Etymology: ME - OFr proces - L processus, pp. of procedere

    If its OK for English to use these Latin or Greek roots, what's your objection to it happening in Welsh? (Of course, it stems from your innate blinkered uneducated prejudice).

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  • 34. At 10:23am on 05 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #32 SEDWOT

    I was unaware that Dwr Cymru provides Welsh only bills. I was not informed by them.

    On the one occasion that I used Dwr Cymru's Welsh Language phone line, they had only one person to take the calls (three to four years ago) and his manner left a lot to be desired. In fact I had to complain to the company about it. The matter that I was persuing regarding my bill and direct debit wasn't resolved through that person, and I had to resort to taking the matter up with an English-speaking executive to get it sorted, which proved to be quite straightforward.

    Recently I had problem regarding an account with a major high street bank. It was only resolved when I spoke - face-to-face - with the District Manager in Welsh. (This was not in a rural area in north or west Wales, but in a city centre branch).

    Increasingly more and more banks are providing a Welsh option in their ATMs. I try to avoid those that don't.

    As a Welsh speaker I find it extremely liberating to use the Language in such circumstances, and the more I do so the more confident I get.

    You make a valid point about lack of confidence in using Welsh for official, business and banking purposes. Welsh speakers were unable to use their language in these areas of life as it wasn't the language of government and administration - business and commerce followed.

    To what extent the law should be used to support a language is rightly a matter for debate.

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  • 35. At 10:35am on 05 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Enjoy yourselves

    We have a General Election shortly, A Referendum possibly in the Autumn, before the Assembly Elections in 2011.
    The last thing the political elite or the Language activists want is for this issue to enter into mainstream debate.

    While there has been much posturing, serious insults, there has been little or no serious debate or analysis of the impact of this proposed Legislation, either on the Language or the economy, or importantly whether it has popular support.

    So whilst behind the scenes there will be frantic activity, this whole thing will be taken off the public's radar.

    The four main parties in Wales all support this measure;
    Plaid, and Labour because they believe its right.
    The Tories from fear of the Language Warriors, and the label of Anti-Welsh.
    The Lib Dems simple political expediency.

    If the wider public take sides those positions will change.

    The question Dewi asked at #2;
    what would you do to ensure to ensure the language prospers

    Well I wouldn't put in place; a law that includes the criminalising of people for using their language of choice. (thank you Len), or one that divides a Nation.

    However many people have not seriously thought about it, what happens when they do.
    Especially when it starts to impact on the economy, availability of services, and, Jobs!

    So there is no way the Political Elite, or the Language Activists, will allow this to remain high profile, no way will they want Joe Public to think about it.

    So have your say now, you are unlikely to get another chance before the Referendum.

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  • 36. At 11:01am on 05 Mar 2010, SEDWOT wrote:

    Bryn-Teilio. I'm always interested in the experience of people like yourself but my concern is the big picture. Dwr Cymru managed to attract less than 5% of its customers to its Welsh language Telephone service.I think you are saying that that service is not of a high quality and there is no "depth" of service. That is, if the first contact (a Welsh speaker) hasn't sufficient expertise to deal with a matter then the person WITH expertise may not be a Welsh speaker(?)
    Lack of success with sorting out bills is not a language issue in itself (believe me!)

    Dwr Cymru is however a success story. They have increased Welsh language participation by nearly 90% since 2002, 18% in the two years I quoted.
    I quoted them because they were the BEST that I could find.

    The new law will not influence Uptake of services. Nor will the increase in the number of people "Able to speak Welsh". Even an increase in the number "Fluent in Welsh" (Currently at 11-12% of over 3 year olds) will have little influence.
    The key is how many people are FIRST LANGUAGE Welsh speakers?
    The best estimate I can come up with is 8%-10%. And of those only half seem much bothered whether they have Welsh services or not.

    Those people who learn Welsh as a second language will not use Welsh as a first choice when accessing services. Why would they?

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  • 37. At 11:04am on 05 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:


    For those genuinely interested in the preservation of the Welsh language I would recommend "Language Death" written by David Crystal, ISBN: 9780521012713, although it is a work looking at languages in a global context, it offers an insight into what is needed and could work in Wales.

    For sure, the politicians have got this issue completely wrong, and there is little time left in the grand scheme of language development for Welsh.

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  • 38. At 11:52am on 05 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "The question Dewi asked at #2;
    what would you do to ensure to ensure the language prospers

    Well I wouldn't put in place; a law that includes the criminalising of people for using their language of choice. (thank you Len), or one that divides a Nation."

    What would you do then West Wales?



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  • 39. At 12:03pm on 05 Mar 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    I am horrified, shocked and dismayed.

    First women were allowed to vote!
    Next, people get universal healthcare!!
    Then we have a minimum wage!!!
    Now the Welsh language gets a modicum of legal recognition!!!

    Whatever next?

    Are we in danger of becoming a civilised country?

    Mind you, judging by the invective on this post, the forces against civilisation are fighting a bitter rearguard action.

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  • 40. At 12:18pm on 05 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "Ain't read Crystal Stoney but this is from a review I found:"

    "Crystal suggests six key themes in language revitalization: increasing the prestige, wealth, and power of language speakers; giving the language a strong presence in the education system; giving the language a written form and encouraging literacy; and access to electronic technology (the latter being more of a "possibility" than a reality in most cases). He also argues for a stronger emphasis on descriptive linguistics and fieldwork, and stresses the need to build a rounded "revitalization team", involving a broad range of community leaders, teachers, and other specialists as well as linguists."

    Don't argue with much of that although I presume some of the points are more relevant to languages close to extinction.

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  • 41. At 12:18pm on 05 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:


    Bryn_Teilo #33

    “initial outward mask of support for the Language has soon disappeared”
    The problem lies not with my support for the language but your definition of support. You appear to take the view that he who is not for us is against us and therefore wrong. The points I’ve made are about HOW the language may develop and I prefer a more natural and gradual approach than legislative action.

    “You are clearly no friend of (the) Welsh language, culture and history”
    I have said previously on this blog that the majority of the social friends who come to my home are either Welsh speaking or Welsh learners. I am not going to list the lifelong support I given to people who speak Welsh or the things that I still do but people who know me would not agree with your assessment.

    There is no argument against the deliberate and accidental suppression of Welsh over the centuries and it is a testimony to the vitality of the language that it has survived. But to now apply legislative measures against English speaking people because Welsh has been wronged in the past is in and of itself wrong.

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  • 42. At 12:40pm on 05 Mar 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    37

    A strong presence in the education system would do much of the job.

    The prosperity element also has its charms. Economic and cultural regeneration in the Valleys has to be a good thing.

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  • 43. At 12:54pm on 05 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "But to now apply legislative measures against English speaking people because Welsh has been wronged in the past is in and of itself wrong."

    What legislative measures would these be Len? Very interested because I speak English myself.

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  • 44. At 12:56pm on 05 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    Len amd West Wales - what part of the proposed legislation criminalises people for using the language of their choice? It criminalises organisations that refuse to allow people their choice of language, yes, but that's hardly barbaric!

    As for the take up of Welsh services, I'm slowly getting fed up of even trying. Fair play to British Gas, they seem to have a good call centre set up. BT are pretty good, too, but a couple of poor translations on web pages etc sometimes mean that you need to consult the English side to see what they are talking about (plus the Welsh services like the phone book are not the easiest to find!)

    I'm not convinced that this legislation is going to do much more than window dressing, but let's see what gets through the Assembly process before we make too many comments on the effect of the Measure.

    And Noah (I can't believe I'm actually reacting to your trolling...) - I'm interested that "digidol" has appeared throughout Wales as soon as it was 'rubber stamped' by your committee. I owned an "oriawr digidol" in the 80s, when shops didn't know that the Welsh language existed. As for words like ffilm, that is an adaptation "ar lawr gwlad" - by the masses, from the English, spelt in a way that makes sense to Welsh orthography. I would imagine that "prosesu" is the same, a natural verb grown from the English word "process" (proses in Welsh orthography) which applies to a specific activity. There is a perfectly adequate Welsh word, "trin", and I would have expected an academic body, or Welsh language purification committee to have adopted that, rather than the longer, obviously English based word prosesu. However that's not the word that Tesco (etc) have chosen, because it doesn't sound important enough.

    The Victorians tried introducing words like "cerbydres for train - now I would agree that that would qualify as awkwardness. Respelling commonly used English words so that they are readable in Welsh (Film would be pronounced "vilm", and "process" = "Prokess" if we kept the English spelling)would seem ever so lazy of your mythical committee...

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  • 45. At 1:33pm on 05 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #41 Len Gibbs

    Your use of these words, 'to now apply legislative measures against English speaking people because Welsh has been wronged in the past is in and of itself wrong.. ' and, 'a law that includes the criminalising of people for using their language of choice..' is misleading to say the least, and in fact is wrong. What is being proposed is the power for a Language Commissioner to impose relatively small fines on what are very large companies which provide essential or widely used public services, not as you imply, on individual people. The fine will be much more of a stigma for a company which flouts the law than a financial disincentive. I don't understand your argument - your logic - that English-speaking people will be discriminated against.

    The use of financial penalties on companies who do not comply with the law is well-established in all kinds of spheres. If the democratically elected Assembly decides this is a necessary power and consequently legislates, then that is democracy in action. Public service companies are able to use social infrastructure to make huge profits, even though their actions might be anti-social. Persuasion has not worked adequately in the past, as the profit motive has been too great. These companies should take their social responsibilities more seriously.

    You may have Welsh-speaking friends, but that does not make you a friend of the Welsh Language. Your comments leads one to suspect that you are not.

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  • 46. At 1:55pm on 05 Mar 2010, SEDWOT wrote:

    Although there is always someone who can remember the many and various ways in which Welsh was threatened in the past few are willing to admit that it was the Welsh people themselves who demanded that their children be taught English. This is from the notorious "Blue Books";

    "A further impediment is presented by the prejudice of welsh parents against the employment of their own language, even as a medium of explanation. "In the day schools" say they "We wish our children to be taught English only; what good can be gained by teaching us Welsh? We know Welsh already."

    As for the imperialist conduct of the English; spare a thought for Chon, which has some twenty remaining speakers.
    Chon? One name for the language of Kunun-a-Guna or Northern Tehuelche indians. The ones that saved the lives of the Colonists on the Mimosa in the Chubut valley. Did the Welsh Colonists show respect for the indigenous language and culture and learn the language in order to integrate?

    They taught the Tehuelche Welsh!

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  • 47. At 2:13pm on 05 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Dewi_H #43 (and Ju5t1nD)
    “What legislative measures would these be?”
    The proposed legislation contains the provision for fines up to £5,000 for non-compliance. The imposition would not exist if it were not intended to force English language companies to operate in Welsh to a set standard of competence. To be able to operate to a satisfactory standard of competence there must be employees who meet those standards. This means that a monoglot employee cannot fulfil the position and a Welsh-speaking must be employed. That is the legislation.

    Application:
    I was informed that a company immediately north of Cardiff had been visited by an employee of the local council that they would have to employee a Welsh-speaking person to operate their management system if they wanted to continue supplying the authority. I took this up with the then Secretary of State and the chairman of the Select Welsh Committee and some of the issues surrounding the subject included in the current LCO.

    If this doesn’t worry you when this happens before the passing of the Welsh in the Workplace legislation, can you imagine what it is going to be like when it is?

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  • 48. At 2:28pm on 05 Mar 2010, Denno wrote:

    When looking for an academic research position last year, I saw an advert for a position in Aberystwyth in the department of physics. As well as pure research, the candidate was expected to be fluent in Welsh, with the aim of developing the Welsh language for science. The idea being to offer science degree programmes in Welsh.

    Now, while on the surface this is a great idea for developing and increasing the use of Welsh, it would also put Welsh graduates at a severe disadvantage, as most leading companies and research institutes often put fluency in English ahead of the native language when advertising positions. The main point being, science research requires a knowledge of not just English, but scientific English, in order to be competitive in the increasingly global community (many non-native speakers often take unpaid internships in US/UK labs, to increase their competitiveness).

    My worry would be the opposite of Len/Noahs. That by promoting the use of Welsh blindly, Welsh speakers may be severely hampered.

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  • 49. At 3:16pm on 05 Mar 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "To be able to operate to a satisfactory standard of competence there must be employees who meet those standards. This means that a monoglot employee cannot fulfil the position and a Welsh-speaking must be employed. That is the legislation."

    Correct - to provide a Welsh language service how else can it be? Like aircraft engineers have to know about airplanes I suppose - or people providing English languaghe services must speak English. That's not "legislative measure against English speakers2 is it surely? Are engineering requirements for engineers "measures against accountants"? You are making little sense.

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  • 50. At 4:11pm on 05 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    I have never been able to understand why a country which has a natural language, the original language of that country, should bring out so much bitterness and hatred within people that they have to oppose it at all costs.

    Surely we should be encouraging and nurturing the use of it, not trying to destroy it and everything that is the history and culture of that country.

    No one has ever given a truthful or logical reason other than cost or imposition for their opposition to it.

    I can only think of envy and jealousy being the reason because of someone having something others haven't got.

    This is why bullies reign and countries are invaded.

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  • 51. At 4:21pm on 05 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    Len #47 - I hope that you can see why I for one thought that "criminalising people for using their language of choice" was a bit of an extreme description for "not giving someone the job on the grounds that they don't possess the skills necessary for the job"...

    The thing I don't understand about many of the arguments put forward is this: The same people seem to think that preferring bilingual candidates for communication jobs (eg call centres etc) is a terrible imposition as want to see the end to teaching Welsh in English medium schools. It seems more that the language is the sticking point, than any kind of rights / skills etc

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  • 52. At 4:28pm on 05 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #50 alfsplace1986

    I think you've hit the nail on the head with those sentiments.

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  • 53. At 5:12pm on 05 Mar 2010, Daviddwr wrote:

    50 & 52

    Yes, it is all about the bullies - and how they turn into angry cowards when communities and cultures stand up for themselves.

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  • 54. At 5:34pm on 05 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Denno #48
    “My worry would be the opposite of Len/Noahs. That by promoting the use of Welsh blindly, Welsh speakers may be severely hampered.”

    A useful comment. The problem with this legislation is that it is being promoted for reasons of ideology and not practical purposes. The public need to be fully engaged in this debate before any further progress is made on this legislation.

    Dewi H #49
    “to provide a Welsh language service”
    This is not the only blog discussing this subject today. Real issues have been raised elsewhere about the availability of ‘competent’ persons. Where are they to be found?

    Ju5t1nD #51
    “the end to teaching Welsh in English medium schools”
    It is a subject that needs a serious review. The standard of literacy is falling and young people, males in particular, are leaving education without an adequate alpha/numerical ability. A life on the dole in any language is utterly undesirable.

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  • 55. At 6:18pm on 05 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Until the Treacherous Blue Books
    The Welsh language was the only language of the indigenous people of Wales. The poor, the destitute and middle class. It was the language of all ‘classes’ within Wales.

    Children then had to be taught in a language they knew absolutely nothing about or be able to speak, by teachers who couldn’t speak their language.

    People came into Wales and said without any knowledge of the culture and language, that because they couldn’t speak the English language the Welsh were ignorant, lazy and immoral ( nothing changed much in us being told that today then ). Their information came from the middle class Anglican Clergymen and wealthy English landowners, who were fighting a rear guard action against Nonconformity in the religion of Wales. Where the Welsh language education of children and adults was coming from.

    We can not get away from the fact, it was the Welsh people who betrayed the Welsh language, as they are today (nothing much changed there either ).

    In the present times if a middle class parent has it drummed into them, that they are affecting their children’s future if they don’t bring them up this way or that. They will go to all lengths to change what they might perceive to be right for them rather than admit they are ignorant, lazy or immoral.

    It is always stated on this blog and other mediums that the Welsh language is the prerogative of and only used by the Crachach and Taffia, by implication the middle class of Wales.

    The language of Wales was the original language used by the Werin, the ordinary common folk of Wales it was the middle class and landowners who betrayed them and it, for their own personal gains and advancement in English society.

    To be perfectly honest nothing much has changed there either no matter how some people like to portray it differently.

    As for ‘They taught the Tehuelche Welsh‘!

    Much the same as the English imposed the English language on the Welsh.

    But two wrongs do not make a right.

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  • 56. At 7:29pm on 05 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Noah #23

    You complain;

    a new "Welsh" noun appears immediately all over Wales, and appears in Welsh dictionaries, with such speed that it MUST have been organised from some central, all powerful 'language administrator' such as the appalling Welsh Language Board.

    What you are looking for is the
    "Welsh Language Board Technical Terms Standardization committee"
    based at Bangor University.
    Here's the link:

    http://www.bangor.ac.uk/ar/cb/termau.php.en

    Welshknot #39
    judging by the invective on this post, the forces against civilisation are fighting a bitter rearguard action.

    I wonder if we would agree on who the "Dark Forces" are.

    Dewi #38
    You ask;
    What would you do then West Wales?

    What is certain is that the present attempts to restore the language is not working.

    Sedwot #32
    Points out;
    What is striking is that the Language is not making much headway, certainly less than you would expect given that Welsh has been compulsory in schools since 2001/2002.

    Further - current legislation and ham fisted enforcement is generating serious divisions between the Welsh people, many are starting to consider the Language an expensive nuisance.

    Something has to be done - and more legislation is not the answer.

    Difficult - somehow the damage and bad feeling is going to have to be reversed.
    The use of the language in daily life, associated literature, poetry, and music has to be given back a sense of value.
    The road we are on is creating seriously negative opinions.

    Whatever is done has to be proportionate, and recognise in today's world, commerce science and communication is all English.

    Denno #48
    Comments;
    leading companies and research institutes often put fluency in English ahead of the native language when advertising positions. ... science research requires a knowledge of not just English, but scientific English, in order to be competitive in the increasingly global community (many non-native speakers often take unpaid internships in US/UK labs, to increase their competitiveness).

    ...by promoting the use of Welsh blindly, Welsh speakers may be severely hampered.


    I can support that - World wide - virtually all scientific and advanced technology work is conducted in English (France an exception).
    Try presenting a learned paper for publication in a language other than English!!

    The reasons; English is a common, universally understood, language, is precise, and importantly can express complex ideas in few words.

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  • 57. At 9:19pm on 05 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    alfsplace1986 #55

    “The Welsh language was the only language of the indigenous people of Wales”
    To sustain this comment you have to define ‘indigenous’ and that has difficulties. That many who were Brythonic in circa 600AD began speaking a language that resembles and developed into modern Welsh is certainly the case. But by 800AD parts of the South Wales coast was occupied by Scandinavians who spoke what is known as pre-Norman English (not English at all but a convenient description.) They remained in Wales and their language developed into post-Norman English (Chaucer type). So the question is, are these people indigenous or not having been here for 1,200 years? If they have become indigenous by the passage of time is their language also indigenous?

    I won’t bore you with the details but their phonetic pronunciation is still to be found in parts South Wales especially around Swansea Bay, South and West Gower and South Pembrokeshire. English (type) has been an established language within Wales for a thousand years and it cannot be dismissed because it was once a minority language. There have been two language streams in Wales, Welsh having been the dominant and English (type) the minority. Over time (regardless of circumstances) English is now the dominant language and Welsh the minority. Because Welsh is now the minority language doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. But neither should English be regarded as an imposition, if only because some of the people of Wales descend from the settlers who have been here for a millennium and more.

    Or would you like to send the Scandinavians back? The same Scandinavians who entered in an arrangement with the local Welsh princes to fight the Saxons and protected South Wales from invasion by the Anglo-Saxons.

    Indigenous, I wonder what it really means.

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  • 58. At 10:12pm on 05 Mar 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Len there were small areas of Wales for a short period of time that had plantations of other language speakers. That was temporary. Even South Pembrokeshire was Welsh speaking until the Norman invasion - the other area where post conquest the language changed was West Gower with a Flemish colony survived for a few years. To claim that they were other than small inclusions is dishonest. At least you don't go as far as West Wales who claims that South Pembrokeshire was never Welsh speaking. That aside I find it grossly offensive that you use terms like "criminalising people for using their language of choice". Its a complete distortion of the situation and you know it. Its exactly that sort of inflammatory language that plays into the hands of the anti Welsh language bigots. If anyone is playing politics with the language and is driven by ideology its yourself. The actual proposals are modes and limited. As a non Welsh speaker I don't feel threatened at all. The large organisations affected by this legislation were, for the most part, in public hands. They have an obligation to provide services in the community language of the communities they work in. For most part it will be a small change for them. Large organisations - like call centres will have Welsh speakers within them... no one will be displaced or lose jobs as a result.

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  • 59. At 10:41pm on 05 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    From page 496 of 'Wild Wales' George Borrow 1862.
    When George Borrow entered the suburbs of Swansea.....They were taller and bulkier than the Cambrians, and were speaking a dissonant English jargon. The women had much the appearance of Dutch fisherwomen; some of them were carrying huge loads on their heads. I spoke in Welsh to two or three whom I overtook.
    ''No Welsh, sir!'
    ''Why don't you speak Welsh?'' said I.
    ''Because we never learnt it. We are not Welsh.''
    ''Who are you Then?''
    ''English; some calls us Flemings.''

    Well I'm Monmouthshire English, and I'm sick to the guts of Llafur idiots who refer to themselves as Irish-Welsh Celts. I'm sick to the guts that they feel an entitlement to stuff their ancient tongue into my children's education!!.......

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  • 60. At 10:47pm on 05 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    57 Len Gibbs

    I was referring to the people who were resident in Wales at the time, 1846 / 1847.

    The people who were born in or were natural to Wales at that time.

    The people whose only language was the Welsh of the time.

    Perhaps indigenous was not the right word in your thoughts, but I used it in the sense of what I have stated ‘Born in or natural to a country’.

    When do you begin being ‘natural to a country’

    Every country and every language in the world from the beginning of time can be used in the same way to support your comment.

    No matter what the dialect or pronunciations, I agree with you it is still the same today even villages a few miles apart can have a different way of pronouncing words.

    They still spoke the Welsh of the time which was forced from them.

    It still doesn't get away from the facts.

    Thank you, but when it comes learning anything about Wales I am never bored especially about the Silures, Demetae, Ordovice and Deeangli.

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  • 61. At 11:46pm on 05 Mar 2010, Jiffy wrote:

    Jack

    @59 you say "I'm sick to the guts that they feel an entitlement to stuff their ancient tongue into my children's education"

    Do you fear that your children don't have the ability to learn English and Welsh? Do you think that English is about as much as they can - or need - to learn?

    Do the children of Sweden, Holland, Switzerland etc have a greater ability than ours maybe?

    I happen to think our Welsh language is a USP and as such it should be cherished, protected and promoted. I make no apology for saying that I think the welsh language is the jewel in our crown. I take a guess that you don't agree but I'll live with that.

    Rather than beat the Welsh language at every opportunity why don't you make more noise about why our children don't get the opportunity of learning - in addition to English and Welsh - French & Spanish??

    You and your fellow prophets of doom need to stop selling Wales short.

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  • 62. At 08:30am on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    59. Jack_Wilkinson

    Umm, your point being?

    His, was one mans opinion by speaking in Welsh to two or three whom he overtook.

    How did they know he was speaking Welsh if they hadn't learned it and weren't Welsh speaking as Borrow said.

    With respect why do you find it necessary to come up with other peoples words and views to substantiate your argument.

    Does it mean your arguments are so weak that you have to trawl literature to find something to back up your point of view.

    At the end of the day they are just opinions of people who may have had an agenda to pursue. We can all do that.

    If you are pointing out that these people were immigrants into Wales then that is a matter of history.

    Perhaps also there are people who are as you say 'sick to the guts' of your rantings. But there, we have to put up with it because that is democracy and your right to rant.

    As it is for Welsh speakers to have a right to their language and culture

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  • 63. At 08:42am on 06 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Lyn David Thomas #58
    “there were small areas of Wales”
    I didn’t say it was large, but the population remained and in recent linguistic studies the pronunciations patterns reflected their continued presence.
    “a small change for them”
    It’s an in-principle change. It introduces legislation with fines. That’s a major and serious change.

    alfsplace1986 #60
    “in Wales at the time, 1846 / 1847”
    The inroads of English are much larger than these comments suggest. John Wesley in the 1750’s was able to travel across South Wales and preach in English to large crowds. The largest chapel in Taibach built in 1815 has all its memorial plaques in English. The tinworks in the town had English and Welsh worksheds to ensure safety.

    “the Welsh of the time which was forced from them”
    I don’t think that anyone is going to deny the considerable efforts that were made to eradicate Welsh, and as disgraceful as that was, it failed. However, there were people who had either never spoken Welsh or chose for personal reasons (such as intermarriage) to speak English.

    The point I am making overall is that we cannot go back to any period of history and build a modern Wales on a selected period. The reality is that we have a mixed language community and we have to resolve the relationship in our own way. I just happen to think that legislation is a mistake, doubly a mistake because it has brought language in a divisive political arena.

    Jiffy #61
    “English is about as much as they can - or need - to learn”
    The one thing is absolutely certain youngsters need to leave school with basic foundational skills in English and that is not happening for about 20%. That must be a greater concern than any dual language ability.

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  • 64. At 09:24am on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    63 Len Gibbs

    I can not do anything but concur with your interesting reply comments.

    Your final sentence in the third paragraph is what happened in our family.

    My wife's first language is Welsh, our children went through the Welsh school system. Yet because of me, their first language is English ( though I have subsequently learned Welsh )and the language of our home. Consequently the same thing is being repeated in their lives and in their homes.

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  • 65. At 10:22am on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #63 Len Gibbs wrote:

    "..it has brought language in a divisive political arena.."

    Like it or not, Len, language is and always has been in the political arena. Its obviously suited you that Welsh hasn't been made an issue which might affect you and your lifestyle.

    Hitherto, the power to legislate or not on issues regarding Welsh has lain with an overwhelmingly English parliament in London, representing largely English people, and almost entirely English-speaking people. It almost entirely, and not surprisingly, chosen to ignore the Welsh Language - what else can we expect of it? It has also largely ignored Wales.

    I was talking to a friend from Somerset the other day and he asked me about the Union Flag. He knew that the cross of St George was on the flag, and that of St Andrew, but he wondered how Wales was depicted on it. When I told him that Wales wasn't represented he was amazed. That is the level of ignorance that I suppose many people over the border have regarding this country. Personally, to me, the Union Flag is an insult to my people and my nation. I have an intense dislike for that flag - not just for that reason, but also for its imperial past and all the evils which were perpetrated world wide under it for centuries. No wonder the Welsh Language has declined to its present level.

    What amazes me is that from the Language's position of weakness... desperate weakness in reality... there are those who oppose ANY measures taken to strengthen its position - some are extremely ignorant selfish bigots - the comment at #59 illustrates. They see it as some kind of threat to the dominant language that they speak. They care not one jot that there are half a million Welsh speakers in Wales whose language has been treated with great disrespect, and they had few if any rights. To them is highly valued and precious. There even had to be a campaign of civil disobedience to get place names in Welsh on road signs in Wales!

    This proposed measure doesn't even try to attain the basic human right of a person to be tried in a court of law in his own country in his own language. It can't do that because the power to change the law lies at Westminster - the parliament that unilaterally applied the law of England to Wales, after its conquest, subjugation, occupation and attempted assimilation, and which enacted legislation to wipe out its Language. It made English the language of government and administration in Wales.

    The, 'Oh, we mustn't make it a political issue' really means, 'I'm against it because it might affect me, because I'm not Welsh-speaking, in case 'I' get discriminated against!'... What about the massive discrimination Welsh-speaking people have suffered ALL their lives in their own country? The absence of legislation is as much a political issue as making legislation.

    The bigotry on this blog beggars belief.

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  • 66. At 12:32pm on 06 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Bryn #65
    the basic human right of a person to be tried in a court of law in his own country in his own language.

    Bryn you are allowed to be tried in Welsh - what have you done?

    The Welsh Language Act 1967 guaranteed the right to use Welsh in court.

    Go and have a cup of tea you'll feel better.

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  • 67. At 12:58pm on 06 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Bryn Teilo #65

    “conquest, subjugation, occupation and attempted assimilation”
    Think Henry Tudor, born in Wales, of a paternal family from Anglesey who led an army of 5,000 Welsh (speaking) soldiers into England. A Welsh pikeman killed Richard III and put Henry on the throne of England. His son Henry XIII leaned heavily on his Welsh royal ancestry to legitimise his claim and sealed the claim with the Union of England and Wales. If you are going to blame anyone for the “conquest, subjugation, occupation and attempted assimilation” blame the Welsh. And be grateful to his daughter Elizabeth I for commissioning the translation of the Bible into Welsh, because it was the single most important cause of the survival of the Welsh language.

    “The bigotry on this blog beggars belief “
    Now I have been pleasantly surprised at how people have expressed their opinions without resorting to offensive statements, and whilst I understand that people have passionate views on the subject, it would be better if we added useful comments than feigned incredulity at the opinions of others.

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  • 68. At 2:04pm on 06 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Lyn #58
    there were small areas of Wales for a short period of time that had plantations of other language speakers. That was temporary. Even South Pembrokeshire was Welsh speaking until the Norman invasion - the other area where post conquest the language changed was West Gower with a Flemish colony survived for a few years. To claim that they were other than small inclusions is dishonest.

    Rubbish -

    The real question is - why are the Nationalist's and Plaid trying to build up a mythology around Wales and its history.

    I could give chapter and verse here, but I won't, please refer to my previous post 37 at;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/betsanpowys/2010/02/finance_1.html

    If you want more I'm happy to oblige.

    Frequently the 6th century poem "Etmic dinbych" possibly by the Bard Taliesin, preserved in the 14th century "Book of Taliesin" is quoted as proof Tenby was Welsh speaking in the 6th century.

    In the 6th century Tenby was a Norse-Gael enclave settlement with probably either Norse/Irish or Anglo/Gaelic language, with an economy based around the fishing, sea trading culture, of the south coast highway connecting the whole of southern Britain at the time.

    Interestingly the area, post Roman was probably largely Latin speaking, St Teilo born at Penally was brought up to be Latin speaking.

    This translation of the last verse of the "Etmic dinbych" makes clear the writer was a visitor.

    There is a fine Fortress, resounding with songs.
    Mine were the privileges that I desired.
    I shall not speak of rights, would I keep due order,
    He merits no Feast-gift who is ignorant of this.
    The writings of Britain were the Chief object of care,
    Where the Waves make their roaring.
    Long may it remain, that cell I was wont to visit!


    The poem, even in translation, is evocative and beautiful, as is much of Taliesin's work.

    Tolkin who loved the Welsh Language said;
    Welsh was full of such wonderful words.
    (Tolkien found it difficult to communicate to others what really was so great about them)but in his essay "English and Welsh" he put it like this:

    "Most English-speaking people...will admit that "cellar door" is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful.
    Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant."


    It is a great pity that those who are trying to save the language are using enforcement and criminalisation as the prefered method - this will surely more harm than good.

    We have got to find another way.

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  • 69. At 2:56pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #66 West-Wales wrote:

    "The Welsh Language Act 1967 guaranteed the right to use Welsh in court."

    Nearly correct, the Act accord the right for the Welsh Language to be used in courts of law. The defendant, or witnesses, have to give notice, in order that interpreters can be provided. In essence this is the same as in the case of non-English speakers, such as Punjabis have.

    Very rarely a hearing can take place entirely in Welsh but on what basis this happens, and how often, is unclear.

    The WLA 1967

    'This legislation conferred an absolute and untrammelled right to use the Welsh Language in the courts. Nevertheless, there was no provision for equal validity, no right to issue a summons in Welsh and no duty to
    publish Welsh versions of English forms. In addition, English was to remain the language of court records.'

    The WLA 1993

    '...the right exists to use the Welsh Language in cases heard in the magistrates’ courts, and it may be used in any other court on condition that sufficient prior notice is given to the court. Provisions have been made for using Welsh Language documents in court. The oath has the same legal effect in Welsh as it does in English. Translators’ fees are paid from the same fund as court expenses.'

    http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/12003.htm

    Not quite what I was referring to. Things have improved but there is a long way to go. Its still very unsatisfactory and discriminatory.

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  • 70. At 3:00pm on 06 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    West-Wales #68
    "It is a great pity that those who are trying to save the language are using enforcement and criminalisation as the prefered method - this will surely more harm than good"

    The history of Wales is much more complex than the Adam Price scenario he delivered at Aberystwyth. The sea has been the main arterial and Wales with its coast line, espcially the Severn and Bristol Channel, has brought visitors in all ages. Some came, traded, went, some fought, robbed and departed but others stayed, bring with them not only a gene pool but culture and diversity. Because they and their descenants are also part of Wales and the Welsh, we need to find another way to resolve the place or language other than by legislation and fines.




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  • 71. At 3:41pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:


    There are those who don't want the Welsh language imposed on them at any cost.

    There are those who want the Welsh language at all costs because it is their right.

    There are those who say we can't afford to have it

    There are those who say we waste money on other things, so it can be spent on it.

    There are those who say we can not implement its use by law.

    There are those who say we can not implement it through persuasion.

    There are those who say we have to find other ways to get around this road block with the language.

    It seems like every bodies views are right and every bodies views are wrong.

    Intransigency gets you no where, why can’t all these great minds who are discussing this issue come together in the middle and find a solution that pleases all.

    There is always a middle way, it is called compromise and common sense.

    Which does seem to be lacking at the moment.

    It is how all disputes throughout time are settled surely it is not beyond us to see each others point of view and respect it.

    Instead of attacking each other attack the issue and solve it.

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  • 72. At 3:49pm on 06 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    alfsplace1986 #71

    Good summary.

    In any debate points of view have to put. And as I mentioned above, put moderately. This discussion has covered a wide range of ground without rancour and some interesting and useful imformation has been presented.
    Now if everyone listened to me, there wouldn't be a problem. I'm sure you will agree!

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  • 73. At 4:10pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    72 Len Gibbs

    Nice one Len

    Not on NCIS are you. He he

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  • 74. At 4:59pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #67 Len Gibbs

    Henry Tudor, Henry VII was half-French. By blood arguably he was a quarter Welsh. He was educated in France and never lived in Wales. What did that make his son, Henry VIII?

    The 1588 translation of the Bible into Welsh was not done as a token to the Language, but rather the Protestant Reformation's regard for saving the souls of the Welsh who couldn't understand the Bible read out or written in English.

    Credit can't be given to Elizabeth I for the unforeseen effect it had on helping to preserve the Language in later centuries through the actions of others. The Acts of Union of England and Wales (1536 & 1542)- remember those Len? - declared that the Language was to be wiped out, and that English henceforth was to be the language of government, the courts, and administration throughout Wales. Did Elizabeth I repeal those provisions? She did not, and neither did any of her successors. It didn't happen until well into my lifetime!

    The survival of the Welsh Language to the present day has been despite English/British/UK monarchs, parliaments or governments. All things considered it’s a miracle it has survived.

    In the words of Dafydd Iwan's song (1981) 'Ry'n ni yma o hyd'

    (For the benefit of a non-Welsh speaking moderator, that means, 'We're still here' - this Welsh quotation is an integral and essential part of my comment).

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  • 75. At 5:22pm on 06 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Alfsplace #71

    Yes - we have to get the language out of the political arena.
    It has become a Nationalist Weapon, more divisive than the debate itself.

    As a starter - how about;
    An Independent (not Welsh) group of academics to consider the problem.
    They should be asked how in the modern World we can sustainably maintain and grow knowledge and use of the Welsh language. With out damaging our international competitiveness.
    (I will add to this - in a rush)

    In the mean time;
    Put the Language LCO on ice.
    The WLB - remove all Statutory Powers. Change the terms of reference from enforcement and policing, to promotion and development.
    Each Language on all Bilingual signs to be in different standard colours.
    Allow Children to drop compulsory Welsh Education at 14.

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  • 76. At 5:51pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:


    75 West-Wales

    By 'not Welsh' group of academics do you mean Welsh speakers or Welsh per se.
    As in all Welsh people excluded.

    For that to happen independently they would have to be from other countries with experience of Bilingualism.

    Which incidentally is not a bad idea. See we have a start.

    But, I am afraid you then go and spoil it, again

    At the end of the day it is going to have to be a political decision because it will have to become law. That is logical.

    Weapons I might add are used by both sides in conflict. Often issued to both sides from one source, to just create dissent and the status quo.

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  • 77. At 6:02pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #71 alf

    Your comments sound very reasonable, but the bigots on this blog want the Welsh Language and its supporters to lie down and die quietly. Their motives are entirely selfish.

    What is being proposed by the Assembly Government IS a compromise, and when a Measure is brought forward it will need the support of a majority of democratically elected members - from at least two parties in the Assembly as currently constituted - to become law.

    That doesn't mean that I think the proposals are necessarily a good idea. Its a difficult area and its wise to tread carefully.

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  • 78. At 6:24pm on 06 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Bryn_Teilo #74
    “Henry VII was half-French”
    Never was.
    His paternal family was from Anglesey and ‘royalty’ both French and Welsh (if such a thing could be considered).
    He was born in Pembrokeshire and lived there for most of his first fourteen years. He was sent to Brittany for his own safety and then when politics changed he went to France.
    On his return to Wales the men of mid and North Wales rallied around him (because of his Anglesey connection) and did the English/Norman king down.
    Both Henry Tudor (Henry VII) and Henry VIII were very keen to promote their Welsh ancestry and the Tudor court-of-arms had the Welsh dragon to the right (as we face it).

    If there was a Welsh rugby team then, and the Tudors were good enough, Graham Henry would have chosen them on the basis of Henry Tudor having been born in Wales and Henry VIII having a Welsh born Dad.

    “the Bible read out or written in English”
    Doesn’t matter why. Eliz I did it. And helped ensure the continuance of the language.

    “The Acts of Union of England and Wales (1536 & 1542)- remember those Len”
    I was there but I’ve got a bit of dementia – thanks for reminding me.

    “All things considered it’s a miracle it has survived.”
    No one is denying that. Perhaps Elizabeth’s action falls under the poetic phrase, “God works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.”

    West-Wales #75
    “to promotion and development”
    At times you do talk a bit of sense.

    Bryn_Teilo #77
    “bigots on this blog”
    You mean those who disagree with you.
    I couldn’t agree more with those who do.

    “wise to tread carefully”
    The best thing you’ve said yet.

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  • 79. At 6:30pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    77 Bryn-Teilo

    Sometimes democraticaly elected members have agendas that they don't broadcast. Sadly even some within Parties who say they support the language issue.

    As I said before. Weapons I might add are used by both sides in conflict. Often issued to both sides from one source, to just create dissent and the status quo.

    With some friends you don't need enemies.

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  • 80. At 6:34pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    78 Len Gibbs

    “All things considered it’s a miracle it has survived.”
    No one is denying that. Perhaps Elizabeth’s action falls under the poetic phrase, “God works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.”

    Well Len they do say it is the 'language of heaven' so you may be right.

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  • 81. At 6:49pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #78... Len Gibbs

    Only one of Henry Tudor's four grandparents was Welsh (Owen Tudor)- so on that score he was only a quarter Welsh - a quarter French and half-English.

    However Owen Tudor's mother (Catherine of Valois) was also French. So technically Henry VII might not have been quite half-French, but near enough. In any case, his mother was English.

    It is arguable that he comes as close as any English monarch has, to having been Welsh - which isn't saying much. His son and heir, Henry VIII, by blood, was only one-eighth Welsh.

    I don't mind at all those who disagree with me. We're all entitled to our opinions, but those who hurl abuse and insults at those of us who speak Welsh, at our Language and nation, who come close to making racist comments, then, yes, I call them bigoted.

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  • 82. At 7:31pm on 06 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Sorry if I come across a tad aggressive about the Welsh language, I don't mean to be. I think Rhodri's language is a precious thing to be loved adored and cherished.

    It should be protected from those that do not appreciate 'the language of Heaven, so how about we have tribal lands? We can vote by counties, do you want your primary language to be Welsh or English?

    Once decided, where Welsh wins the vote they'll will be entitled to rip up or tear down anything written in English, English speaking counties can rip up or tear down Welsh stuff. After reading 71, by Alf ten minutes ago, I gave his points a great deal of thought, I think I've come up with a winner?

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  • 83. At 7:41pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    82 Jack-Wilkinson

    An intelegent contribution at last.

    We seem to be getting somewhere.

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  • 84. At 8:40pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #82

    Nice to hear that, Jack.

    I genuinely don't think your suggestion would work. It would lead to the dictatorship of the majority. Civilised democracies don't work like that. Minorities have to be catered for. In extreme cases where it doesn't happen, it leads to ethnic cleansing. The twentieth century was noted for it, particularly in Europe, under the Nazis, and in the Balkans.

    We've witnessed it closer to home in Northern Ireland, where the unionist majority discriminated against the nationalist minority for generations. Consequently communities are divided by walls and barriers, even today. They are far more difficult to pull down than to put up, as they exist in people's minds and memories, not simply in brisks and mortar.

    Discrimination, ranging from the mild, even benign, to the extreme, based on race, religion, ethnicity, or language, also results in violence and the breakdown of democracy itself. Thankfully that hasn't happened to any great extent in Wales. Hopefully it never will.

    There has been discrimination, and there still is, against the Welsh Language - it takes many forms. Primarily, it doesn't have equal status. The argument of numbers isn't really relevant because for the significant minority who speak it, it is VERY important. For them/us its not just a language, a means of communication. Its more fundamental than that, especially one's mother tongue. Perhaps its more diffciult for a monolingual person to understand that.

    Arguably Welsh is important to all of us who live in Wales, and even in the UK. Its one of the things which makes Wales different, special even. People who visit like to see and hear the Language in a living context.

    We all have to live together. It isn't a perfect world, and we can't have all we want or often most of it.

    Thankfully we live in a more enlightened and tolerant age than our ancestors in the medieval period, the early modern age of the Tudors and the Stuarts, or even the nineteenth century. That does not mean that we should forget our history, the good and the bad, as there are lessons to learn from it.

    The value of minority languages is increasingly being appreciated all over Europe, and they are being fostered by governments, agencies, and NGOs.

    http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/languages-of-europe/doc139_en.htm

    Dividing Wales up into linguistic ghettoes is not the solution - it would be a recipe for more discord. I for one don't want to tear down English signs etc.

    I'm very glad that I'm bilingual, and that I'm fluent in English (and a smattering of German). Its a been a valuable asset, and added immensely to the richness of my experience. Welsh is just as important to me, in some ways more so, as its the language I learned first on my mother's knee and on the hearth. I think in it - it helps tell me who I am, my identity. To confine it to the home, to a ghetto, would be to diminish its value, to lessen my self-worth too.

    People who are enlightened, especially those who are bilingual, or who have immersed themselves in other cultures, are only too well aware of these things. They are important in a balanced and a healthy society - we are all better off and enriched that way. Education, in its wider sense, is often the right path to take - it removes a lot of the perceived fear or threat.

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  • 85. At 8:42pm on 06 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Bryn_Teilo #81
    “hurl abuse and insults at those of us who speak Welsh”
    Fair play now…I don’t think anyone on this thread has done that.
    Jack_Wilkinson #82 says “Sorry if I come across a tad aggressive”.
    alfsplace1986 #83 says of Jack, “We seem to be getting somewhere”.

    The subject has been given a good outing starting from my original comment, “The unfortunate thing about this is that it brought the subject of the cultural values of Wales into the political arena and will inevitably result in the subject becoming embroiled in the debate about the Assembly.”

    We have seemed to have trod the path to it would be better to have a favourable climate of encouragement than legislation.

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  • 86. At 8:52pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #85 Len

    You're a relative newcomer here. I haven't the time or the inclination to trawl back through the archives to illustrate a point. In any case, I don't usually respond to them. I'm not sure, but I think some contributors may have been banned by the BBC because their comments were unnacceptable.

    Of course, the term 'bigot' was not aimed at you, as your comments have not been of that nature.

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  • 87. At 9:11pm on 06 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:


    If contributors have been excluded, and the excluded had not used profanities, then their exclusion would have been a form of censorship. An unacceptable condition.

    The use of the word bigot is a term of abuse where it is used to browbeat another's opinion..

    As John Stuart Mill wrote ...

    If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one - if he had the power - would be justified in silencing mankind.

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  • 88. At 9:25pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #87

    Nice to hear you quote JSM, Stonemason.... I would have thought he might have been a tad too liberal for your liking.

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  • 89. At 9:29pm on 06 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Mentioning Henry V111, not a lot would have happened at Westminster without his approval. In the 1535 Act that divided the lands of the Lordships Marchers into five shires, read paragraph 6 of section 111 of the Act let's see where Henry V111, wanted Monmouthshire to be? Remember, it was not some newly discovered legalism why onmouthshire was ceded, it was Llafur pressure that it was the overwhelming will of English speaking Monmouthshire folk to become Welsh? From the Act.....

    (6) and that the Sheriffs County or Shire-court of and for the said Shire and County of Monmouth shall be holden and kept one Time at the the said Town of Monmouth, and the next Time at the Town of Newport, in the same County or Shire, and so to be kept in the same two Towns alternis vicibus, and according to the Laws of this Realm of England for ever, and in none other Places.

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  • 90. At 10:39pm on 06 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    85 LenGibbs

    I think I was being a bit tounge in cheek with Jack Wilkinson.

    Please don't try and twist my comments to pursue your agenda.

    You don't seem to have taken in anything I have said do you. That is very sad. I tried but you people just don't get it do you. Hatred is a terrible thing it eats away at you bit by bit until it consumes you and that is what it will do to you and your ilk

    Human nature, hey.

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  • 91. At 01:10am on 07 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    The only thing that can give Welsh speakers equality - the antis prefer to speak of equality for the Welsh language - is legislation. So, it's very simple: we need legislation. What we are being offered here and now is very, very weak, but I suppose it's a start.

    I'm afraid I'm not taken in by expressions of respect and affection by a few for the language all of a sudden. After all, until recently, West-Wales wasn't even ready to concede that there was such a thing as the Welsh language. And Stonemason believes that virtual Welsh-speaking senior managers have single-handedly destroyed the NHS in Wales. It also seems that Len's real agenda is to remove Welsh from the school curriculum in Wales - enough said, I think.

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  • 92. At 06:44am on 07 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Without wishing to offend any ...

    There is no long term future for the Welsh language, it, along with several thousand other minority languages, is being replaced by a handful of languages, Mandarin or Spanish or English seem to be the current favourites for eventual domination.

    No amount of legislation is going to save any particular language, no amount of political intervention is going to effect any permanent reversal of fortunes, and the reason ...

    ... mothers, fathers, the extended family, and most important, the effect that linguistic cultural icons have on the children.

    Fewer mothers teach their children Welsh, this is the language of the hearth. Those same children when at school interact with other children who form the majority who are taught English as the language of the hearth. When children leave school the language of science and business in international terms is English, so the incentive for children in Wales is to discard Welsh, to keep it as an imperfect [in terms of linguistic scope] language of the hearth, these children become parents who without malice fail to pass on their Welsh linguistic skills at the hearth. "The Hearth" is important because this is the place that linguistic foundations are laid, unfortunately for children of today, the television is replacing the hearth, accelerating the decline of the Welsh language.

    There is no expansion of Welsh as a living expression other than in small enclaves of usage, it seems to remain an icon of culture, being systematically replaced by other more successful languages. Without expansion in this modern world there can only be decline, except, ...

    ... there is no exception.

    The only options left to politics are the preservation of the language so that scholars of the future can enjoy the cultural expression of an early Welsh culture, and to provide rights for the Welsh speakers of today so that they do not suffer any discrimination.

    The Welsh language activists who wish to turn back the clocks, to whatever point in history, might like to be part of the preservation process, recognising the futility of time travel.

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  • 93. At 08:24am on 07 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    92 Stonemason

    You must be hard at it in evening classes then learning Mandarin ready to join the master class.

    My take on the Spanish language is that UK people who go those countries or even any foreign country with their own language don't even try to make the effort to learn any of the languages. They expect, no demand, like they do of the Welsh speakers to speak English for them.

    As for English which English is that. Do you go to night classes to learn text language English or American English or even English in the UK with all its different dialects.

    A little story
    My experience In a Restaurant in Wales. Waitress (she's English, from England by the way). Comes up asks for our order, we give it, then I ask for the Duck. She says, sorry, what, I say, the Duck, this goes on. Not getting anywhere, I Then point to it on the menu. Then with a scowl of realisation, she says. Oh the Dook.

    Now with Welsh being a phonetic language, there wouldn’t have been any problem.
    So I don’t think I can bough (that is the right spelling is it, or is it bow as on the front of a ship) to your superior knowledge of other languages. I hope the arrow goes straight from my bow to the target . Hmm confusing what.

    So it seems according to your good self we are going to be dominated by the flavours of an Orange an Onion and a Dook. Pity, no Swedes.

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  • 94. At 08:44am on 07 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    alfsplace1986 #90
    I understood what you were saying about Henry Tudor and I was trying to be gently persuasive. The reality is that Henry Tudor gained the armed support of 5,000 Welsh speaking Welshman because he was regarded by the people of the time as Welsh. We cannot now revise that opinion. To put the numbers in to a modern context the 5,000 equates to over a couple of a hundred thousand men, many more than Plaid obtained in the recent European election – of male and female, young and old. The number of 5,000 men willing to fight for Henry against Richard III is truly remarkable for the population of the time. In the view of the Welsh people of the time, Henry Tudor was Welsh and to deny that is to deny your history.

    “eats away at you”
    I’m sorry you have a resentment against people who don’t share the same opinion as yourself about the place of the Welsh language and how it fits into modern Wales. I don’t have such a dislike of people who speak Welsh or want to learn it. As I have said previously most of the people who come to my home socially are either Welsh speaking or Welsh learners and that couldn’t possibly be the case if your assessment “you people just don't get it do you. Hatred is a terrible thing” was correct.

    FoDafydd #91
    “we need legislation”
    A test of the rightness of any legislation is to reverse the proposal. Would legislation that prevented Welsh being spoken be acceptable TODAY? Would legislation that made English the only language spoken in Wales be acceptable? Nearly all of the population would reject such proposals because it is discriminatory legislation. The proposed Welsh in the Workplace legislation is discriminatory and is bound to create a reaction against it.

    “expressions of respect and affection”
    I thought that the purpose of debate was to persuade others to a better point of view. Now you have done that with your persuasive arguments why are you now shouting at us for seeing your point of view. Make your mind up. Do you want us to be sympathetic to the language or not?

    “Len's real agenda is to remove Welsh from the school curriculum in Wales”
    I believe in a free society that people should have the option of making a choice of the type of education they receive. There is one group of people who need to be considered as a special case and that is the increasing number of young males from English speaking monoglot families who are leaving school with a substandard level of alpha/numeric competence. These youngsters need to be competent in English in order to gain meaningful employment.

    alfsplace1986 #93
    “English or American English”
    Stonemason might be winding you up (and it doesn’t seem very difficult to do that) but the reality is that English (non-phonetic and confusing) is spoken by millions and millions of people and there are more people learning it than at any other time in history. Getting annoyed at it and being smirky about its success doesn’t help the Welsh language. Welsh is a historic language, robust and enduring and spoken by a minority in the country of origin. I am not so pessimistic about the future for Welsh but legislation will not work in the long run because somewhere along the line a more liberal and tolerant population will see the wrong in enforcement.

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  • 95. At 09:09am on 07 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:

    It wasn't my intention to "wind anyone up" LG, where I wrote ...

    There is no long term future for the Welsh language, it, along with several thousand other minority languages, is being replaced by a handful of languages ...

    English at the moment is near the top of the linguistic evolutionary tree, alongside Mandarin and Spanish, the English is probably International, but truly, who cares ...

    I stand by my penultimate paragraph where I wrote ...

    The only options left to politics are the preservation of the language so that scholars of the future can enjoy the cultural expression of an early Welsh culture, and to provide rights for the Welsh speakers of today so that they do not suffer any discrimination.

    ... so alfs dook is alfs dook, in evolutionary linguistic terms it has the same opportunity as duck, though it will probably float around in a linguistic byway of English.

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  • 96. At 09:21am on 07 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    94 Len Gibbs

    Henry Tudur? don't know him sorry that's why I didn't comment on him.

    Resentful? I don't think I have ever been that in my life. I think from previous comments I have made I respect other peoples different point of view but when it is not reciprocated then it does ire me and I feel I have to respond.

    Perhaps my use of hatred was a bit strong, I apologise, late at night spur of the moment, the mind wanders. I assure you I wasn't shouting.

    expressions of respect and affection”

    As I said in my previous paragraph.

    “English or American English”

    And you didn’t see the humour in mine,

    Which is what I mean, it is right for one side to be annoyed and smirky then it is regarded as humour, but when it is returned it is regarded as nastiness.

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  • 97. At 09:22am on 07 Mar 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    West-Wales, if anyone is fabricating history for an agenda it is you. You maintain that Welsh has never been the community language in South Pembrokeshire, you are wrong. Your agenda is that South Pembrokeshire is not Welsh, has never been Welsh and never will be Welsh. Your continued reference to this mythical community council, without naming it, that is "oppressed" because its being required to produce a Welsh language scheme, that you allege will cost either cuts in services or the spending of 1/4 of its income on translation is a symptom of you monomania.

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  • 98. At 09:44am on 07 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Hmm, seems like there is dissent in the ranks they are starting to turn against each other.

    Perhaps they can see the future is bleak for them and their views.


    so alfs dook is alfs dook, in evolutionary linguistic terms it has the same opportunity as duck, though it will probably float around in a linguistic byway of English.

    Or end up on some English Lords table, unless it has the look, sorry luck, to get away.



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  • 99. At 10:10am on 07 Mar 2010, Len Gibbs wrote:

    Stonemason #95
    "wind anyone up"
    But it seems to be having that effect!

    alfsplace1986 # 96
    “English or American English”
    I understood and refrained from adding which American English.
    We produced the same documentation for clients in two American versions. One version for the Southern States and another version for the States of New England. Much the same as Welsh in the North and the South. But does it matter what variation there is as long as one user understands the other.

    alfsplace1986 # 98
    “dissent in the ranks”
    Closed ranks = closed minds.
    We understand and value the diversity of opinion and the freedom to explore and express the implications and consequences.

    My original comment #1 was about the problem of introducing a cultural issue into the political scene through legislative action enforced with a £5,000 fine. Overall we have had a sensible discussion that has reflected not only the intellectual factors but passion as well – and that isn’t a bad thing. But it has illustrated the fact that there are drawn sides and in the context of a referendum that is, in my opinion, despite supporting a ‘no’ vote, is a bad thing.

    I'm done...thanks everyone.

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  • 100. At 11:10am on 07 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:


    An interesting sentence alf ...

    Perhaps they can see the future is bleak for them and their views.

    I see a future of further assimilation, ...

    ... not isolation, linguistically and socially.

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  • 101. At 11:48am on 07 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    98 / 99

    Hmm again, seems I was right.

    Which is a shame because I was trying to get some consensus and Len was the only one who was starting to become a bit more sensible in the comments on here.

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  • 102. At 12:03pm on 07 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Lyn #97
    if anyone is fabricating history for an agenda it is you.

    I have provided references and the names and details of work published by researchers - you of course have given nothing except denial.

    Over the last 10 years or so there has been considerable linguistic, genetic, and archaeological work in this area - many - in fact most of the myths propounded by Victorian and early 20th century historians (and yourself) are being disproved.

    For instance it is now certain that Britain was a land of many languages not just Brythonic, and that the Germanic and Scandinavian language roots, previously thought to have arrived with the Saxons and the Vikings, are much older in origin.

    In short your simplistic argument, which appears based on out of date Victorian opinion - that all Wales spoke Welsh, and it was the Norman invaders and plantations, which created small localised enclaves of English/Saxon speakers is naive in the extreme, I cannot believe you are that gullible.


    Your continued assertion that imposing a Welsh Language Scheme on English speaking areas has no cost, or adverse impact on local communities and cultures is also simply Political spin.

    It seems both the language and a concocted mythical history have become tools/weapons in your Nationalistic Campaign.

    If you wish to preserve the Language it needs to be removed from the political agenda.
    By using the Welsh Language as part of Plaid's political game you are not helping secure its future, quite the reverse in fact.
    For the Language to survive the majority of the Welsh people need to be in support - not large sections and communities disadvantaged, bitter and opposed.

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  • 103. At 12:11pm on 07 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Alfsplace #71

    My #75 not forgotten will expand, but busy at present (isnt it a lovely day!)

    Your interpretation;
    By 'not Welsh' group of academics do you mean Welsh speakers or Welsh per se.
    As in all Welsh people excluded.


    Is broadly correct - probably too much emotion, hostility, and politics, for reasoned judgement or assessment by those currently involved.

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  • 104. At 5:41pm on 07 Mar 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    The vast majority of the people of Wales are in support of the Welsh Language.

    I have never denied that other languages have existed as dominant local languages in Wales. Its your assertion that South Pembrokeshire has never spoken Welsh that is the one that is totally inaccurate.

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  • 105. At 5:42pm on 07 Mar 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Oh and you still fail to name that Community Council. Please do so or I will just have to assume you were making it up.

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  • 106. At 7:24pm on 07 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 102

    West-Wales,

    I honestly believe that the vast majority of the Welsh nation supports the Welsh language; it is only the small, angry, conservative and unrepresentative cabal that comment here who seem to have a problem with it. And it's getting harder and harder to understand.

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  • 107. At 9:07pm on 07 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    103 West-Wales

    Still waiting for your promised expansion, two days on the run now.

    Yes it has been a nice day.

    Still rushing around then, except you had time for 102

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  • 108. At 9:20pm on 07 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Len,
    you are a newcomer to Betsan's blog, but like another of my favourite's West-Wales, you seem to only blame Plaid for aggressive language enforcement?

    David Davies, once AM, now MP for Monmouthshire, requested on several occasions that Monmouthshire pupils be excused compulsory Welsh lessons, as it was for them a completely alien tongue.

    John Griffiths Llafur AM for Newport east, who constantly and repeatedly refers to himself as an Irish-Welsh Celt, responded to one such request!!....

    It's because of the fact that the standard of Welsh is so dreadful in Monmouthshire schools. And, considering its growing importance, Welsh lessons must not be dropped but intensified!!!....

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  • 109. At 9:21pm on 07 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    What a pity - during the lull in the shouting, there was a bit of a consensus thing going, and people started talking sense to each other...

    I will never deny that I am in favour of more use of Welsh in my dealings with companies and government. Its why I bank with HSBC, get my Gas from Nwy Prydain, and telephone services from BT. I shall also not deny that I am broadly in favour of legislation to give me more choice as to who I use for basic services, by ecouraging / enforcing linguistic standards on those providers.

    On the other hand, I can see why the people of Southern Pembrokeshire, and the Eastern strip of Wales are suspicious of such legislation. I think Len is playing little tricks when he claims that the "Welsh in the Work Place legislation (presumably somewhere in the proposed measure) will prevent people from speaking English, or in some way discriminate against those who do. But if others believe him, then its no surprise that they will be deeply suspicious of such a measure. In fact, the measure itself gives barely any "rights" to use Welsh, let alone any scope to ban English.

    For instance, the fine for consistently failing to provide a good enough service in Welsh (for companies such as Orange, O2, Powergen etc, fairly much the largest, most profitable companies we deal with everyday) will be £5000 - not much more than individuals will have to pay for overfilling their bins soon!

    Stonemason, meanwhile, makes an interesting comment which illuminates the debate here to an extent. He believes that the Welsh language will die, and there's very little that we can do about it, and he doesn't care. It is a stark, but succinct illustration of the fact that to many non Welsh-speaking Welshman, the language is a total irrelelvance. In answer, I can only say: Fair play to SM for his honesty, and for saying what many others must be thinking. Thank you.

    But (and of course there has to be a but) in a democracy, I have my right to an opinion, a hearing, and if the politicians agree, to having my viewpoint lifted up to the status of law. My children are Welsh speaking, and I do not want them to grow up as I had to, as freaks in their community, where people look at them and whisper to each other "What language is he speaking?". Neither do I want them to have to beg and cajole (and have numerous and sometimes really nasty *****ckings just for asking for Welsh forms, or if someone was a Welsh speaker. Things have already changed since the 70s, and I, for the sake of my children, would like to see that change and development continuing. I will not support Mugabe style "We've suffered, now its time for you to suffer" legislation (as another poster seems to have hinted above), but if fair legislation is the only way to ensure that my kids get to choose which language they use, then so be it. Personally I don't think that 500 000 people on the far Western margin of Europe have a snowball's chance in a furnace of convincing multinational corporations to inconvenience themselves on our behalf (though happily accepting our money) without Government intervention.

    BTW, Jack Wilkinson suggests a county by county plebiscite on bilingual signage / paperwork / education. I suspect that referenda on simple majority would be a recipe for disaster (imagine Gwynedd voting to drop English on a 51% vote, for instance), but reference to census data, and sensible thresholds for provision of services might be a way forward. Be aware, though that "Where less than 20% of the permanent population are able to speak Welsh, local government need not automatically produce forms bilingually / Welsh need not be taught in schools" would be open to the same legal challenge as "Where less than 20% of the permanent population are unable to speak Welsh, local government need not automatically produce forms bilingually / all schools must teach thorough the medium of Welsh". I think that lawyers might make more money out of such legislation than any council would save in printing costs.

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  • 110. At 9:50pm on 07 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    On his blog, Vaughan informs us that it is very likely that Cardiff is going to get its first ever Welsh medium Catholic school. It's because the parents want it. Evidently, they don't see the language dying any time soon.

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  • 111. At 10:23pm on 07 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Anyway Foo, if I was a Vaughan in Sheffield, or a Murphy in Hull, I'd be pretty worried about Llafur idiots in Wales extolling sectarianism!!!!..

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  • 112. At 10:58pm on 07 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 111

    Don't be so stupid!

    And who is Foo?

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  • 113. At 2:33pm on 08 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    alfsplace1986 #107

    Well here it is at last - though things seem to have moved on:

    we have to get the language out of the political arena.
    It has become a Nationalist Weapon, more divisive than the debate itself.


    Do I need to expand on that - some of the unfortunate comments by AM's and others are not helping, fueling dissent.
    We desperately need a bit of understanding and balance, a proper consideration of how to secure the long term future of the language.

    Right now, the way we are heading this issue will be a big actor in the forthcoming Referendum. The Devolution experiment is suffering because of it.
    In ten years time this whole thing will become such an expensive nuisance that Stoney's prophecy is almost certain to be fulfilled.
    It possibly could mean the end of Devolution and the language.

    Therefore we need;
    An Independent (not Welsh) group of academics to consider the problem.
    They should be asked how in the modern World we can sustainably maintain and grow knowledge and use of the Welsh language. With out damaging our international competitiveness.


    We obviously wish to avoid the Canadian experience, (needs a thread on its own).
    There, as here in Wales, the minority language activists are well organised, and until recently there was little or no balancing organised opposition.
    At the time politicians perceived the demands as popular, a recognition of the National Heritage, and chose to legislate to meet the demands of the minority, without considering the long term outcome.

    We need advice from truly independent experts, Welsh politicians, Welsh Language Activists, and non Welsh speaking Welsh people, need to be consulted but not part of the Study group.

    This group would need to be advised;
    Whether or not the economic viability of both the Country, Public and private business are to be taken into account.
    Whether we like it or not Bilingualism costs, and if enforced on mainly monolingual communities the costs are disproportionate.

    Whether one of the two languages should be given priority.
    In other words - is a truly bilingual Wales in the short term viable, or should we recognise that is an unreasonable aspiration at present.

    Now
    In the mean time I think we should take immediate action;
    There is increasing irritation/Bad feeling in some sections of the Country and many who were supporters of the language are now complaining.

    The current legislation is not helping the language (Sedwot #32).

    So firstly
    Put the Language LCO on ice.

    The proposed Language LCO will add to the problems be more divisive and damaging to our already fragile economy.
    It is worth reviewing the Consultation comments, which while the WL Activists presentations, and some individuals supported the proposal, a significant number opposed, The opposition was ignored.

    My next idea
    The WLB - remove all Statutory Powers. Change the terms of reference from enforcement and policing, to promotion and development.

    The WLB has become an expensive monster, officious, sometimes attempting to act outside its powers, threatening and oppressive.
    The attempts to force Wales into a common idealised Celtic culture, with total disregard for the many other rich indigenous cultures we have, is not only destroying our heritage, but deeply upsetting to many.

    This does not help or endear the Language to the majority English speaking Welsh population.
    While many view the language and Culture as special (note the support for the Eisteddfod), that opinion cannot be taken for granted, and as the issue becomes more oppressive and individuals start to suffer, it is changing.

    Generally the WLB attitude, and actions, are creating bad feeling and a view that the Welsh Language and everything to do with it, is bad news.
    This body costs tens of millions a year.
    That money would be better spent on promotion and development, non confontational, more this is what we've got - embrace it! - Not the current "use it, or else".

    The next comment;
    Each Language on all Bilingual signs to be in different standard colours.
    Will help considerably.
    Currently bilingual information signs are unreadable at road speed.
    They are a safety hazard, diverting concentration from the road while the driver try's to decipher the sign.
    They are annoying, and for many an example of the nonsense of bilingualism.
    Making them easy to read, less of a nuisance - say Welsh Green - English White, or viceversa, will give an instant boost to the language.

    Lastly
    Allow Children to drop compulsory Welsh Education at 14.

    Many children enjoy learning the Welsh Language and are proud if they achieve some competance.

    But when they start work for their GCSE's and have to make hard choices for the future.
    The requirement to continue to study Welsh, When it means perhaps, that they may not be able to study another language they need for their future plans, is to say the least annoying.

    If they want to continue to study Welsh fine, but to disadvantage them is not clever, this has created hostility to the language because of the problems it has caused.
    This simple change would advantage children by allowing them to try to build the certification portfolio they need.
    It would avoid the switch in opinion caused by going from learning something that has value, to having to follow a subject that is blocking them from doing what they need for their future career.

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  • 114. At 2:41pm on 08 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Ju5t1nD #109

    I suspect that referenda on simple majority would be a recipe for disaster (imagine Gwynedd voting to drop English on a 51% vote, for instance)

    Serious point there - where does that leave the 1997 devolution decision?

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  • 115. At 5:29pm on 08 Mar 2010, Jiffy wrote:

    Once again there's seems to be the assumption by some on this forum that to continue learning Welsh in our schools will be to the dertiment of learning other languages. It's as if you're arguing that for those that want to learn Welsh they will have to sacrifice taking on any other languages. This isn't the case in numerous European countries so why don't you believe that we could do the same in Wales?? You can't think very much of the ability of our children?

    I've also read reference to the cost of Bilingualism. I'm all for ensuring tax-payers money is well spent. Which is why more noise should be made on the BILLIONS that's been spent/wasted on a useless Trident, illegal Iraq War, inaccurate Barnett formula, pointless ID card system and irrelevant royal family rather than(what is in comparison) the miniscule rescources allocated to developing and securing the Welsh language.

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  • 116. At 6:11pm on 08 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 113

    West-Wales,

    I'm afraid all your ideas on the future of the language fail because where you begin from is not the reality in Wales. You always insist that the vast majority of non Welsh speaking people are as hung up on the language as you are. Whereas your attitude is ambivalent, at best, and often hostile, I honestly believe the majority's attitude is far more enlightened and supportive, and do not get their knickers in a twist when democratic decisions are made to support the language.

    Your starting point is that the Welsh language is a nuisance. We're not going to get very far if that's your attitude, are we?

    I have asked you more than once to justify some of your more outrageous claims, but for some reason you choose not to respond. So, I'll try once more. What evidence is there that the English language is under threat in Pembrokeshire?

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  • 117. At 6:55pm on 08 Mar 2010, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #115 Jiffy

    They're not making an assumption. Its pure prejudice. They are anti-Welsh pure and simple, but are not honest enough to come clean about it.

    Note the following comments from #113, for example:

    'the nonsense of bilingualism'

    '...the language.. ...has become a Nationalist Weapon, more divisive than the debate itself..'

    'The requirement to continue to study Welsh... ...is to say the least annoying.'

    '...to disadvantage them is not clever, this has created hostility to the language because of the problems it has caused..'

    '..the issue becomes more oppressive and individuals start to suffer..'

    'The WLB has become an expensive monster, officious, sometimes attempting to act outside its powers, threatening and oppressive.'

    'There is increasing irritation/Bad feeling in some sections of the Country..'

    '..creating bad feeling and a view that the Welsh Language and everything to do with it, is bad news.'

    '...this whole thing will become such an expensive nuisance...'

    Nothing the Welsh Language Board has ever done could in any way whatsoever be described as 'oppressive'. Its a weak, toothless, body.

    He begins by talking about 'balance', and what follows is more or less a tirade against the Welsh Language and everything to do with it. He lives in Wales and has never had to learn it, and never will have to. No-one wants to force it on him, or is going to, or on anyone else.

    He rails against modest proposals to extend the rights of those who DO speak it, and who want to use it in other important areas of their daily lives.

    As you say, do they rant against the tens of billions being spent on:

    ... replacing Trident
    ... building two gigantic aircraft carriers
    ... the National Identity Register (tracing our activities from birth to death
    ... illegal and immoral wars
    ... the tacit support for Israel's inhuman treatment of the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza
    ... failure to regulate the banking sector and thus virtually bankrupting the country
    ... the massive corruption at Westminster
    ... an unelected House of Lords
    ... an undemocratic voting system?

    No... all we hear from them is how hard they are done by because of the Welsh Language. In my opinion, the motivation comes from something different.

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  • 118. At 8:56pm on 08 Mar 2010, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Do I detect a note self pitying hysteria creeping into the posts of Bryn and Foo? I think they've been reading ancient druidic runes that prophesies the future, and it isn't looking good for the Welsh language job creating industry, bye bye Tran Grafi, isn't it?

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  • 119. At 06:44am on 09 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Ju5t1nD, you wrote at #109....

    Stonemason, meanwhile, makes an interesting comment which illuminates the debate here to an extent. He believes that the Welsh language will die, and there's very little that we can do about it, and he doesn't care. It is a stark, but succinct illustration of the fact that to many non Welsh-speaking Welshman, the language is a total irrelevance. In answer, I can only say: Fair play to SM for his honesty, and for saying what many others must be thinking. Thank you.

    I was hoping someone would have picked up on my ...

    The only options left to politics are the preservation of the language so that scholars of the future can enjoy the cultural expression of an early Welsh culture, and to provide rights for the Welsh speakers of today so that they do not suffer any discrimination.

    ... written at #92

    No commentator chose to add to my observations, observations about the language and its people, instead this blog that should be concerned with the proposed Welsh language measure, which I have read with dismay, has been sidestepped into a "separatist" versus "the rest", dare I say "discussion".

    Returning to the measure, it does very little for the language, it provides no vision or roadmap, it is by and large focused upon the creation of a "Commissioner", and providing the commissioner with an armoury of weapons that will not be used because, because much like forcing a child to eat cabbage, the modern person reacts very badly when threatened, particularly when threats are not needed.

    The measures greatest failure, in my opinion, is not creating legislation that everyone would buy into, much like the "clean air act", legislation that is unambiguous in its intention with a solution that will work.

    But my fear is the Welsh Assembly Government doesn't know exactly what the problem is; and without this understanding, legislative solutions are not solutions, this proposed measure is akin to firing a rifle whilst wearing a blindfold.

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  • 120. At 4:41pm on 09 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    I think that you are right, Stonemason (not about the continuance of the language, mind, but that is purely opinion on both sides!). The One Wales agreement promised a Welsh Language act, and with the breaking of other commitments, this one had to be got through by hook or by crook. So, we have a compromise bill with no real vision, no real direction, but enough smoke and mirrors to worry the Majority non Welsh-speakers.

    The problem was,of course, that everything had to be passed by a skeptical Westminster that doesn't really understand the problem, whilst still answering the calls of Welsh language activists, many (most?) of whom also don't understand the problem.

    As others have identified, one major difficulty is that the language has been used as a weapon - to as extent by Nationalists (after all it is a recognisable and convenient badge of Welshness if you feel the need for one), but also by anyone with an "anti" axe to grind. For instance in the Gwent valleys, the easiest weapon for Labour to use against a Plaid vote is the whispered threat that "Plaid town councils only listen to you if you speak Welsh".

    Talks of the mythical "Welsh speaking Elite", and the "closure of all public sector jobs to non Welsh-speakers" (most often by opponents of some or all elements of devolution) also come into the equation - myths all, but with enough of a hint of truth, and the occasional crock of evidence, to cause justifiable suspicion and concern amongst the non Welsh-speaking majority.

    But returning to Stonemason's point - direction, and the ensuring of rights for Welsh speakers. I would have liked some kind of declaration of Welsh as an official Language of Wales, because it would have had to be accompanied by a similar declaration regarding the status of English - there is no official language in the UK at the moment.

    But the current hotchpotch of "commisioner" and "these huge companies, but not those", "unofficial official status", and "the right to ask nicely" seems to be an awful waste of precious parliamentary and assembly time that should have been spent on more fruitful pursuits.



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  • 121. At 10:09am on 10 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 113 & 116

    I take it by West-Wales's silence that he has absolutely no evidence that the English language is under threat in Pembrokeshire. And that is right - of course!!

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  • 122. At 09:07am on 11 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Ju5t1nD ....

    The last speaker of the ancient Bo language, Boa Senior, died in her native Andaman Islands (part of India) during February 2010. Confirmation of last year's report from UNESCO, warning that 2,500 languages are at risk of disappearing. Every language has its own unique history, culture style, story. When a language dies, a vast store house of knowledge associated with the language also dies.

    David Crystal (Language Death) six factors which may help revitalise a dying language. He suggests the speakers of a dying language ...

    1. increase their prestige within a dominant community
    2. ........
    3. ........
    4. have a strong presence in the education system
    5. write down the language
    6. make use of electronic technology

    I have not included 2 and 3 because they detract from a first stage evaluation of what we have in Wales.

    Of the four remaining items, I believe that No 5 is probably satisfactory, and No 6 is easily achieved. The remaining two items would be marked as very unsatisfactory at this time.

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  • 123. At 11:56am on 11 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 122

    A strange comment, Stonemason.

    I'm glad that you think no.5 is 'probably satisfactory'!!! We're certainly getting there as far as no.6 is concerned.

    As far as no.4 is concerned, are you one of those who has recently being asking for less Welsh to be taught within the curriculum?!

    But, as for no.1, that may be fine as a theory, however it does not reflect the situation in Wales. The vast majority of the Welsh people are supportive of the language, it is a tiny but vociferous rump who remain hostile.

    If Welsh is a dying language, however (and it seems to be the latest bee in your neo-con bonnet), it is no more so than is also true of English or German...

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  • 124. At 1:15pm on 11 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:


    #123

    Are you now speaking for Ju5t1nD, to whom my reply was addressed ?

    I note that you offer nothing as a contribution, a somewhat churlish addition to the discussions.

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  • 125. At 2:32pm on 11 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 124

    I thought this was an open blog, Stonemason, or perhaps you want to control this discussion and exclude Plaid supporters? Just as the BBC are about to do.

    122 isn't exactly yours is it?! They are David's Crystal's ideas!!

    I've already said, I think the latest proposed legislation is fairly weak, but at least it's a start. And I repeat, the vast majority of the Welsh people do not share the hostility towards the language that a very small number of bloggers on here post day after day.

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  • 126. At 4:24pm on 11 Mar 2010, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    122 Stonemason

    it would be nice to know what 2 and 3 are though.

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  • 127. At 6:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, West-Wales wrote:

    Home again - jet lagged and catching up on Betsan’s Blog!

    Alfsplace1986 - after all the effort I put into #113, and the flack I got from it - you might have commented!!

    However

    Seems we need to get a few things straight

    Lyn #97
    You are accusing me of making assertions I didn’t – a favourite technique of yours and other Nationalists on this Blog.
    I’m surprised others haven’t been more robust dealing with some of your claims.

    Given the weakness of your political arguments and the unworkable ideological dream you are trying to peddle, it appears misrepresentation is the only tactic you can fall back on.

    You accuse me of saying;
    Welsh has never been the community language in South Pembrokeshire.

    I didn’t - and you know I didn’t!
    (That doesn’t mean I think it has or hasn’t - it means it can’t be proved –Yet)

    The question was the possibility that a form of early Anglo Saxon was spoken in Pembrokeshire before the Norman Invasion.
    I believe it was, and have provided evidence to support the proposition!!!

    Further we agreed many posts ago, that lack of written documentation makes it difficult to prove what language was spoken in this area prior to the Norman invasion.

    However this is an active field of research by archaeological linguists and other academics in several countries, and you, I, and others may yet be surprised.

    You go on to say;
    your agenda is that South Pembrokeshire is not Welsh, has never been Welsh

    Of course South Pembrokeshire is Welsh; however its indigenous culture, language, and heritage, for at least the last 1000 years, is not Celtic.

    Your comment suggests that you believe only those with a Celtic Heritage can claim to be Welsh – you need to refute, or explain that position!

    Your final oft repeated accusation;
    Your continued reference to this mythical community council

    Is just an excuse, a ploy, because you have no sustainable position.
    You know as well as I do, this small council would be inundated by activists, were I to publish its name on this Blog.

    The question as you are well aware is more general, you try to make it specific because you have no case.
    You are totally unable to refute the proposition that;
    Implementation of Bilingualism incurs both economic and social costs.
    Which if applied ruthlessly and without consideration, make those costs disproportionate in monoglot areas.


    Bryn #117.
    You are well able to put up lucid counter arguments to those of my ideas you disagree with.
    But
    All you have done is simply extracted lines from my comments in post #113 placed them out of context to completely misrepresent what I said.

    For instance you pick out a few words from a line which includes the words;
    the nonsense of bilingualism.

    Of course my comment did not say bilingualism is nonsense.
    What it said was – road and other signs, made unreadable because they are in two languages, are nonsense.
    They should be made legible by using different colours for each language.

    Anyone interested in this exchange will find it enlightening to compare what I wrote in #113 and how you interpret my views in #117.

    Unbiased readers will quickly recognise what you were about, and why.


    Fo #121
    Like your political friends you frequently make accusations that people have expressed a view, which they haven’t. You misrepresent others opinions and often insult anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

    You have done it to me on many occasions, and are now doing it again. It’s the reason I don’t respond to your posts, not worth the hassle.

    For the record;
    I have never claimed the English Language is under threat in Pembrokeshire. It isn't!

    But the South Pembrokeshire Culture, heritage and language are all seriously under threat.
    For me saving that heritage for the future is just as important as saving the Welsh Language is to you.

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  • 128. At 8:11pm on 11 Mar 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I know something about language schemes for community council's in South Pembrokeshire and I know that £20,000 1/4 of it budget is not required, the Language Board have not required any council to spend that much. If its not of your invention its of the council's own. That you will not name it suggests that either it doesn't exist or that its a scare tactic by the body that wants to avoid its responsibility. My father is a community councillor on one that was told by the Welsh Language board that its scheme did not have to be as ambitious as the council had suggested.

    How is the culture of South Pembrokeshire under threat? Do you have any evidence for this? Your other claims are spurious.

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  • 129. At 8:34pm on 11 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 127

    But you're repeating it West-Wales:

    "But the South Pembrokeshire Culture, heritage and LANGUAGE are all seriously under THREAT."

    If what you're saying is that the form of English that is spoken by you in that beautiful part of the world - as well as the heritage and culture - is under threat, you may be right. But it's nonsense to claim that it's under threat from the Welsh language, it's a threat that comes from other forms of English; Anglo and Anglo-American.

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  • 130. At 9:16pm on 11 Mar 2010, CA Jones wrote:

    Re: 127

    West-Wales wrote:

    "But the South Pembrokeshire Culture, heritage and language are all seriously under threat."

    Can you please provide an example of culture, for example literature, that has specifically come out of this 'South Pembrokeshire Culture'?

    The Welsh language culture of north Pembrokeshire gave birth to one of the great works of Welsh language literature of the 20th Century, Waldo Williams's 'Dail Pren' (http://www.walesliterature.org/books.cfm?lan=e&switch=book_info&book_id=76)

    Has the English language culture of south Pembrokeshire produced an equivalent?

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  • 131. At 10:35pm on 11 Mar 2010, Ju5t1nD wrote:

    #122 Stonemason

    I would fairly much agree with your analysis of the 4 points - Welsh as a written literature is still fairly strong, and suffers none of the infighting of newly (re)written languages such as Cornish, for instance. The lively Welsh language online community is also slowing the ebb of the Language by creating a new community in which it can have its niches.

    A strong presence in the education system is a debatable point. The provision of Welsh language education is purely at the whim of the LEA, some of whom take it seriously, some of whom ignore it or give grudging ground when forced. The whole system (Welsh and English language) could do with an overhaul, but there are too many sacred cows involved on both sides, I think.

    Point one is interesting - increasing prestige within a dominant community. There are only a handful of Welsh speaking communities left, and attempts at protecting them have led to all kinds of bitter arguments and accusations of racism. Reclaiming dominant communities would be a good aim; building pretige within them is for the future.

    What were points 2 and 3?

    By the way, let's give West Wales a break, is it? He lives in a part of the Country that has considered itself to be English speaking for centuries. Unlike Monmouthshire or Powys which have become English speaking in the last 150 years or so, the Flems, even if they were 'only' imported by the Normans, have nearly a 1000 year history. If culture is measured by poetry, then we might as well wiped huge mounts of Welsh off the map as well.

    Culture (as in diwylliant) is about the way you live, including your language, not about how many times you go to the theatr and whether you know how to alliterate or not. After all, Waldo is famous because there is a strong readership for Welsh poetry. Who knows what gems have been lost because very few people have ever looked specifically for English Lnaguage South Pembrokeshire poetry.

    If we start trying to justify our (or others') existence on the basis of how good our literature is, we might suddenly discover that others judge literature by different yardsticks.

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  • 132. At 06:39am on 12 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:


    I don't have a great deal of time Fo, your #125 makes an accusation that deserves a reply, you wrote ...

    I thought this was an open blog, Stonemason, or perhaps you want to control this discussion and exclude Plaid supporters? Just as the BBC are about to do.

    It is an open blog, you are quite entitled to leave comments, just as others are entitled to ignore comments, you rarely leave anything other than questions, often with insults attached [I am guilty of leaving insults though have resolved to stop]; so the bottom line is ... I'm not interested in answering your disruptive and often insulting questions...

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  • 133. At 07:06am on 12 Mar 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Ju5t1nD, I read ...

    1. increase their prestige within a dominant community
    4. have a strong presence in the education system

    ... to be language specific, so I have modified the two statements ...

    1. increase the prestige of the Welsh language within the dominant English speaking community; (dominant I take to be numerical, not social.)
    4. have a strong presence in the education system

    I believe the two are linked, we currently pay lip service to Welsh language learning in the English medium schools, the subject is relegated to must do the minimum to meet the directions; how is it possible to increase prestige in the wider community when the educational community treat the subject as not prestigious.

    Well the problem is exacerbated with items 2 and 3 ...

    2. increase their wealth
    3. increase their power in the eyes of the dominant community

    ... both are incendiary. I would add a little extra shown within parenthesis ...

    2. increase their wealth (to equality).
    3. increase their power in the eyes of the dominant community (so that neither party feels threatened, it would be empowerment).

    As soon as you add 2 and 3 to the equation, without a solution that does not disenfranchise the majority, you meet the fears of the dominant (English speaking) community, and that is what we have in Wales today.

    ... and in Wales today, the discussion is centred upon coercion through the rule of law rather than upon good will and a natural pride in Wales that the public have, politics at the assembly is squandering an opportunity on the pyre of expedience.

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  • 134. At 10:21am on 12 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 132


    "It is an open blog, you are quite entitled to leave comments,"

    - then why complain when that is what I did?!

    I'm not sure about your protestations, especially as you accept that you are guilty yourself. If you are so sensitive about these things, you would have complained incessantly about mapexx! Not once, NOT ONCE did that happen.

    As for your 133. Points 2 & 3 are only 'incendiary' or threatening if you allow them to be. I see no evidence of that amongst the vast majority of the Welsh people. But then again, I don't see very many wealthy Welsh-speaking communities; do you?

    But it is slightly worrying that someone would prefer a certain community not to flourish economically for any reason

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  • 135. At 10:27am on 12 Mar 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    ...and perhaps I should also add, Stonemason that I ask questions because you so often make wild, unsubstantiated accusations which you consistently fail to back up with evidence. I still haven't got you to say how many senior mangers in the NHS are Welsh-speaking, for instance. I'm not the only one to notice your reticence in providing facts, I think someone is making exactly the same point on another thread right now.

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  • 136. At 2:02pm on 12 Mar 2010, CA Jones wrote:

    Re: 131

    Ju5t1nD - since you ask I will give West-Wales a break, for now ;)

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