On Radio 3 Now

In Tune

16:30 - 17:30

Sean Rafferty presents a selection of music and guests from the arts world.

Next On Air

17:30 Opera on 3

View full schedule

Photo of Karl Francis

19: Karl Francis

More about Karl Francis

Karl Francis's Free Thought is about bilingual Wales, broadcast around 8.30am in Breakfast on 22nd October. Or listen to it online right here the next working day.

Your thoughts

The BBC doesn't guarantee to publish all comments. Please keep comments brief and avoid offence. By submitting your comment you agree to the BBC's Terms of Use.

preciCIOUS KAYE ..Cardiff
i salute mr.francis

Peter, Wales
Hear, hear! The insistence on bilingualism in all things - and especially the assumption that no work of art or culture is worthwhile unless it's executed in Welsh - is dragging Wales down. Imagine where the Scots would be if they insisted on expressing their cultural identity in Scots or Gaelic - and look where the Mebyon Kernow idiots are trying to take Cornwall. As Karl says, let's start again. And see if this time, we can get the balance right...

Ian - Cardiff
Jamie. There is nothing fascinating about talking out of your backside, other than it admitedly being a somewhat unusual medical feat.Karl Francis not only made embarrassing comparisons to neo-fascism but also in a follow-up interview on Radio Wales, is reported to have compared the treatmnet of non-Welsh speakers in Wales to the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis.What I have been proud of is the lack of response or comment from either the media or the public. He was just not taken seriously.I personally have two regrets from his meaningless outburst. Firstly, he has lost a huge amount of credibility within Wales and the art world, from people he respected as well as loathed. Secondly, such daft statements do not exactly encourage a much needed debate on how bilingualism moves forward.

He tried to create a furore through his predjudiced rantings, but the subsequent wall of silence has summed up what Wales thinks of Karl's opinions on bilingualism.

B. Michael James London
As a person from Pembroke Dock and not able to learn Welsh at school one was often made to feel less properly than Welsh speakers.

Penvronius Miles Cambrensis, London N15 3EH
The issue of language in Wales is a very complex one - the main reason why Welsh has been suppressed was due to the actions of the governments in Westminster.Welsh people are always portrayed on television as being rather rural or stupid or as only good to dig coal out of the ground. If the Welsh people and their nation were to have been treated with more respect, as they are de facto, the original British people, being Brythonic Celts, whose culture and and language are as ancient as the Hebrews', then the language would have been respected also. I recall a Third Programme programme which discussed how the very disparate groups of Jews returning to the newly founded state of Israel after WWII - from various places in Europe and elsewhere, could be united into one nation. The anwer was to create Modern Hebrew.Would a modern version of the Welsh language restore its status - not really - what is needed is for the Welsh people and their nation to be respected - and that principally by the English who are always putting the Welsh and Wales down. In fact, the word, Wales derives from a Saxon word in effect, meaning a pariah. England has still a class system - and those at the bottom - the immigrants and the celtic fringe - must know their places and stay in them!As long as the English can look down on the Welsh and other outsiders - the non true-bluers they feel safe in still having someone on whom to look down. One English person seeking clearly to put me in the place he considered I should be, said arrogantly to me, 'Wales is a conquered nation, and Welsh is a dead language of no use to anyone.' That typified and still typifies the attitude of the English to the Welsh and their language.In his ignorance he did not realise that there was never really any early English nation, as the Angles and Saxons in the South East , the Danes in the East, the Norse and Picts in the North - were all fighting one another, and the whole disparate lot of them were conquered, as was Wales - at enormous expense by building a plethora of castles, by the French and Latin speaking Normans. It is a supreme irony of history that the person who originated England's status as a nation in Europe was Henry Tudor - who was of Welsh decent.Even the so-called English language is not really English at all - it all came from abroad - the original language of the British in what is now termed England was Brythonic Celtic - ie Welsh. English is made up of many foreign languages - low German, Danish and Norse and Latin, Middle French and probably a little Welsh. It is no longer simply a national language and perhaps a better name could now be found for the lingua franca of the 21st century? Using the initials for the various tongues - LDGDNLW - and addiing the vowels - LADEGINOLUW - put in a double DD and a double L and it would pass for a Welsh neologism? LLaddinolluw. Were one to have a federated United Kingdom of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, each having its own local parliament and an integrating BRITISH one at Westminster, then, perhaps the Welsh would have the pride and courage to restore the use of their language.But who now are the people of Wales ? How many persons of Brythonic Celtic descent remain who would have at least the 'vestigial throat' to be able to speak and understand this guttural language?A minor stepping stone would be to win the World Rugby Cup by beating England in the final - but a major one would surely be beating England in the Soccer World Cup - Coracles might fly - I hear you English say - with the help of modern technology - anything is possible.

Rhys, Caerdydd (oops, Cardiff)
I'm not sure he can blame the Welsh language on the fact that Wales hasn't created any more Dylan Thomases. If anythings to 'blame' for the lack of recognition that English language authors and poets receive (particularly from inside Wales itself) is that we're so obsessed with American/Anglo-centric art.And Wales used to be a funky place prior to the 1990? No one had heard of the place prior to [shudder] 'Cwl Cymru '

Barry Simner
What a brave and good piece from Karl Francis. I have been living and working in Wales as a screenwriter for over twenty years but all my work happens outside our borders. In the last two years I have made three films in Ireland for RTE as well as working regularly for for ITV and BBC. I would like to contribute to contemporary Welsh cuture but the insistence on bilingualism in education and all aspects of artistic activity excludes people like me. S4C and the Welsh Language Acts have silenced all but officially approved Welsh language voices and impoverished the culture. It's a tragedy.

Huw Waters, Abergele
A very pathetic argument. To be pedantic, the only reason I'm bilingual is due to people like Karl Francis, otherwise I'd be monoglot Welsh. On the other hand, I enjoy dabbling in the cultures of two languages - it gives me a greater sense of taking part and contributing, rather than taking from others.I don't allow myself to be pulled into language debates however saying that people must be bilingual in order to communicate with someone who is bilingual is plain ignorance. Language is used for communication. The best you can express yourself is through a medium in which you are comfortable, be it music, Welsh, English, poetry or politics.

Ian - Cardiff
Karl Francis is a bit of an enigma to me, a hugely talented artist who has a baseless and pathetic attitude towards bilingualism in Wales. He throws phrases like 'neo-fascism' around and states that Wales no longer exists as nation with bilingualism, yet what does he base these bizarre statements on? Nothing. Wales has a thriving artistic field that is actually gaining from bilingualism, as do so many bilingual and multi-lingual nations across Europe and the world. Grow up Karl. Your views are dated, without foundation and bring no credit to you..

Rhodri ap Dyfrig, Aberystwyth
Karl, I respect you as a filmmaker, a socialist and a man with commitment to the Welsh people, but I'm afraid that you are extremely wide of the mark. You gave this argument back in the late 80s and you may have had a point in terms of funding for English language films from Wales at that point in time (although your idea of racism against non-Welsh speaking Welshmen was as absurd then as it is now). But you are so wrong now. There are far more films being produced in Wales in the English language than in Welsh. That is a fact. It's just that they're not yours. The question you should be asking is how many of those films funded in Wales are by Welsh companies and talent in whichever language? And can a small country like Wales ever sustain an entire film career for one filmmaker? Granted, we need a well-funded English language Welsh television channel. It is long overdue, but this will not fund your films, like it will not fund many other's films. The money for films and cinema isn't there like it used to be. In this brave new world we have to find new ways of creating and distributing cinematic works.And do you not see how many young and exciting filmmakers are making their films, irrelevant of funding, television channel approval or language. I'm sure that they don't have this massive chip that you have on your shoulder. And hasn't S4C supported you in your career anyway? As much as any other broadcaster I might dare to say.This pernicious myth of a Welsh language taffia trampling on English language filmmaking is fantasist nonsense, and your insulting remarks on a so-called neo-fascism pervading the country and it's institutions are ignorant at best and frankly dangerous at worst. That's not like you Karl. Open your eyes. Take your blinkers off. It is you that is preaching the language of intolerance, and people who speak your kind of language that hold Wales back.

steve caerdydd
an ageing filmmaker looks on enviously at welsh speakers in wales who have top jobs.he compares them to aborigines; but do aborigines have top jobs in australia? far from it! his analysis is false.all BBC managers are men according to him but the number of powerful women in the bbc is well known.this is just another cheap slur on the noble efforts of those who strive and succeed in defending the fame honour and majesty of the welsh language.away with him!

Jamie Hill, Lanark
Diversity or homogeneity? Natural selection or unnatural preservation? Universal cultural contribution or local interest only? A fascinating take on the place of language in a world of instant communication where, if you can't be understood you won't be listened to...

A festival of ideas in Liverpool Friday 31st October - Sunday 2nd November 2008, on radio and online.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.