Welsh is a language just like any other

Dafydd Glyn Jones warns against the perils of linguistic re-invention

Rhys David, considering the disastrous language statistics of 2011, (Living Welsh in a globalised world), makes a number of suggestions. Some of them concern “how best to make the language fit for the modern world”. The question is whether we can make a language ‘fit’ for anything, and I shall answer it now by saying that obviously we cannot.

Rhys David says, “A Welsh equivalent of the Académie Française, the body that preserves the purity of  French is urgently needed.” There was, and there still is in name, an ‘Academi Gymreig’ or ‘Welsh Academy’, now calling itself ‘Academi’ and functioning most of the time as ‘Llenyddiaeth Cymru’ or ‘Literature Wales’. Its one major foray into linguistic work being to The Welsh Academy English-Welsh Dictionary, edited by Bruce Griffiths and myself.

It may be regretted that the Academy plans no further enterprises of this kind, having devoted itself to other pursuits, for the most part entirely frivolous. As an editorial team we were motivated by one central consideration: that anything which can be said in English can, in so far as a dictionary can demonstrate, be said in Welsh. Or to put it differently, that Welsh is a language just like any other. We tried to reflect its versatility, its variety of registers, its different levels of correctness or naturalness, and its wealth of regional variations – knowing that we could never do full justice to the resources available. We did not do much coining, for much good work had already been done. Occasionally we would reject a spurious coinage. We did not ‘do’ anything to the language, or ‘make it do’ anything that it was not already doing, because we knew from the start that this would be impossible.

Rhys David apparently wants to make Welsh less difficult. The matter of ‘difficulty’ as such can have two interpretations. The first, and the one most often meant when people use the word, is that Welsh is different from English, in spite of its very many lexical borrowings therefrom. The other, as when Emrys ap Iwan proudly declared “Welsh is a difficult and complex language”, implies copiousness and subtlety.

Whichever meaning we ascribe, both of them alike demand that, as a first premise, we accept a language for what it is. If ‘Academi’ today returned to its former preoccupation, or if a new body were created for the purpose, neither of them could ‘make’ a language less difficult, less of this, more of that, anything other than what it is.

‘Reforming’ a language has been tried in the past, notably by Dr William Owen-Pughe at the turn of the 19th Century. He had his followers, so that Sir John Morris-Jones had to spend the greater part of his career reminding the literary world what literary Welsh actually was before the great charlatan started messing around. One is rightly suspicious of any ‘brand’ of Welsh designated by an adjective and packaged for the market. The ‘Cymraeg Byw’ of the 1960s seems to have gone the way of most patent medicines, and one wonders for how much longer a watery concoction labelled ‘Cymraeg Clir’ will continue to be peddled to a gullible public by Canolfan Bedwyr in Bangor.

Anticipating a raising of hackles, Rhys David writes:

“The grammar is highly complex, with particularly awkward ways of making all forms of subordinate clauses, complex negatives, archaic declensions, and unique formulations such as sydd (a combined relative pronoun and verb (who is, that is).  Moreover, there are multiple plural forms, masculine and feminine nouns and articles, and a not very satisfactory method of expressing negative commands involving the verb-noun ‘stop’ (peidio).  This is before ever mentioning mutations … “

What an appalling language! Should we not scrap it altogether, and invent an entirely new language, calling it Welsh? Even if any of this were true, how would Rhys David alter the situation? What less ‘awkward’ forms of subordinate clauses would he suggest? Which negatives, which declensions, which plural forms would he suspend? How else would he make a negative command? What would he put instead of the relative ‘sydd’?

If we were to abandon gender, would nearly all European languages then be expected to follow suit? I shall answer all the questions for him by saying that none of this can be done. No academy, no university, no committee, no body of people, no individual can change the character of a language by design. Once the proposal is made we are well on the way back to the crackpottery of William Owen-Pughe.

The analysis suffers also from a failure to distinguish between a language which is very largely phonymic and one which is not phonymic at all. “Welsh lacks letters for sh, j and ch (as in church).” Does English have a ‘letter’ (i.e. a symbol) for ‘sh’?  If so, why does it have to be represented by two ‘letters’? I know the question is ridiculous, but so is the statement that prompted it. The phoneme /tò/ is represented perfectly well by ‘tsh’ (as in ‘coetshys’), and the phoneme /ò/ by ‘s’ before a vowel (as in ‘siwrnai’).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these forms, and I had never before in my life seen or heard anyone suggest that there is. Welsh has, of course, a symbol for ‘j’.  It is ‘j’, and we should put it in the alphabet, as Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (The University of Wales Dictionary) has already done in practice. ‘Ch’ (as in ‘church’) requires more consideration. ‘Tj’ is sometimes suggested, but in ‘tjips’ I still tend to read ‘t’ and ‘j’ separately. ‘Ts’ or ‘tsh’ I find smoother. And if ‘ch’ is the ‘letter’ for ‘ch’ as in ‘church’, what does ‘ch’ as in ‘chemist’ represent?  This again is ridiculous, but we have entered a mad world.

Sh, ch, subordinate clauses, negatives, declensions, plurals, gender, – most languages have them. None of them, and not all of them together, can explain the disappearance of 30,000 speakers in ten years. The explanation must be sought in the realm of social psychology, and the seeker should, if at all possible, try to answer the two questions:

  • Why were such promising figures obtained in the two previous Censuses?
  • What caused such a collapse in ten years under a measure of home rule?

With the ‘inferiority factor’, the notion that, all else being equal, a knowledge of Welsh immediately consigns the individual to an inferior group, we are all familiar. It has been with us for a long time, and is part of ‘being Welsh’. But why the sudden uprush in this New Wales which was also, for a few years, Cool Cymru?

One thing is certain. To blame the character of a language, its grammar, for a problem whose origin is so obviously ideological, is to take a very firm hold on the wrong end of the stick. We can indeed agree that “the issues facing the language need to be looked at honestly and professionally, and in a much broader context”. But we could help by not allowing such arguments as can only be characterised as absolute drivel.

Dafydd Glyn Jones is a former Reader in Welsh Language and Literature at the University of Wales, Bangor.

23 thoughts on “Welsh is a language just like any other

  1. Welsh indeed has a complex grammar, probably more complex than French but I’d say less so than German. However I’m a native Welsh speaker but not a native speaker of any other languages (besides English obviously) so am in no place to make objective comparisons.

    One is tempted to point out however that English is far from the simple, logical language people seem to assume it is. English spelling is so irregular that one could almost say that there is no such thing as English spelling – each word must just be learned to be spelt correctly, and there are no consistent rules to help. Consider all the ways one might pronounce “ough” (cough, through, thought, bough etc.) and how they’re / there / their are all pronounced in the same way. Both of these things and many more pose problems for English learners, yet 1 ) this has not prevented it from becoming the “Global” language of the world and 2 ) nobody suggests that something should be done about them.

    Basque, I am told, is an incredibly difficult language to learn, being outside the indo-european language family and thus very foreign to native Spaniards. However, their statistics show the language is thriving. Dafydd Glyn Jones is absolutely correct to suggest the problem is purely ideological.

  2. I am always very suspicious of any argument whose main thrust is ‘it is too hard to do.’ It is normally symptomatic of a person or persons who wish to change the underlying objectives of a project but are unprepared (or unable) to articulate a fully reasoned and fully costed justification for doing so. It can be cynical and it can be innocent. The innocent is normally due to a lack of imagination or appetite for disruptive change. The cynical, is, well, just that, cynical; ‘project terrorists’ as they are known in the trade. But, as a former project manager, I am prepared to go out on a limb and state that there are few tasks or objectives in this world that are ‘too hard’, only ones that are too expensive and too risky for the person whose task it is to say ‘go’.

    However, sometimes (which is why I said ‘suspicious’ and not ‘dismissive’) ‘it’s just too hard’ arguments can be genuine attempts by well-meaning individuals to prevent herd-mentality obsession with one course of failing action, when other options are available that meet the same long-term objectives.

    That the preservation and indeed growth of the Welsh language in its current ‘organic’ form is possible, I am in no doubt whatsoever. It is simply a question of our collective will for investment and risk. That there is an alternative strategy which delivers a successful and widespread ‘new’ Welsh with less investment and less risk, I am not sure. There is a fast, attractive logic to it, but I’m not sure it would hold up under technical scrutiny.

    As project manager I’d stay on track and on programme with Plan A. If the champions of Plan B can deliver the evidence and planning for strategic change, is it worth looking at? Perhaps in pilot? These things needn’t remain in the realms of the abstract indefinitely. One thing I wouldn’t do is ignore them. Suspicious yes, dismissive no.

    It is another question altogether whether ‘Plan A’ currently has the right levels of investment and risk appetite dedicated to it of course…

  3. What a defensive article. Rhys David was only saying where Welsh in complicated not that we should get rid of subordinate clauses. The main problem with the Welsh academia is the fact that they are only competent in English and Welsh, they very rarely speak another language fluently. Many Indo-European languages have been standardised with the most well known, and influential, being French, German and Spanish. The main problem with Welsh is that people seem to think that their dialect is the most correct version. Do we teach people simplified Welsh which can be learnt and understood in every region? or do we carry on teaching the pig’s ear Welsh which makes it difficult for learners to talk to native speakers and which obviously isn’t working.

    In my opinion, children should be taught the dialect of their region up to and including GCSEs and then specialising, if they so wish, in A-levels with standard Welsh. German has a two tier language system with people knowing the difference between their dialects and Hoch Deutsch or High German – the equivalent of our Rwy’n and Hoffaf for example against dwi’n and fi’n. Welsh Second language should be scrapped for all those pupils who completed Primary Education in Wales. If we teach our language in Primary School then the children should be fluent by the time it comes to GCSEs and A-Levels.

  4. This is a perceptive article and has given me much food for thought regarding my own views on the Welsh language. However his essential point is that languages are organic and belong to the people who speak them. Devised languages which perform (apparently) logically usually fail, Esperanto being the most obvious example.

    If people don’t want to accept academically based inprovements, they won’t. A few years back, the Académie Française decide that the word ‘hamburger’ was too Germanic and decided that the new word would be ‘hambourgeois’. To this day, ‘hamburger’ remains the common currency at takeaways in France everywhere.

    Dafydd rightly states that Welsh already has characters for ‘sh’ (si), ‘ch’ (ts) and ‘j’ (j). Personally I would like to see ‘ds’ introduced for ‘j’ as it is more consistent with the current language:

    tsips – dy dsips di

    but I very much doubt that this would take hold since using a familiar letter with a familiar sound is easier than adopting a new convention.

    As regards his two questions, I shall return to this as it requires further thought rather than a knee-jerk reaction.

  5. DG is spot on.The answers as to what is to be done are complex but need political will .

  6. I can completely understand the statement- ‘We did not ‘do’ anything to the language, or ‘make it do’ anything that it was not already doing, because we knew from the start that this would be impossible’ as the task with Welsh would be simply enormous. Whether Rhys David seriously wanted to make the language less difficult or whether he was ‘merely’ pointing out the fact that, compared with English, Welsh is a difficult and complex language, I don’t know.

    But let me draw attention to the heading in his article ‘ Living Welsh in a GLOBALISED world. There are an estimated 7,000 languages in existence, most of these are spoken by a very small number of people, but in the course of human history there will probably been many thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, which have died out. Extinction/Evolution is a natural process and no doubt English will suffer that fate eventually. But today we faced with a different situation. A language can’t develop ‘naturally’ in the old way simply because we live in a globalised word. And unless the speakers of minority languages want to continue living an isolated existence they will be cut off from all the ‘benefits’ that the modern world offers. The situation in Wales is accentuated both by geography, history and sheer numbers. Even if Wales were solely Welsh speaking the economic cost of doing everything in Welsh and the need for translation to and from English would create considerable costs, both in time and money. And this is a problem that all minority languages face, especially when coupled to the fact that the language cannot be used in any meaningful way OUTSIDE its own borders.

    But with regard to the question of why the numbers of Welsh speakers have decreased, it is not just a socio-economic problem. The amount of time and money spent on the Welsh language over the past twenty years or so should have had some effect. Obviously emigration and immigration are big factors, but if children are not learning Welsh to a sufficient standard in school, and there are an insufficient number of adults becoming fluent in the language, then the decline will continue. With regard to the latter the Welsh language IS difficult for most adult English speakers to learn, for all the stated reasons – and you can add the attitudes of English speakers to foreign languages if you so wish. A 5% – 10% return on quite small numbers in the first place will do nothing to increase the number of Welsh speakers. Quite frankly the money would be better spent elsewhere. When I first started learning Welsh I was struck by the sense of desperation about the language. It didn’t seem to matter what kind of Welsh you spoke as long as you said something in Welsh. Plus the emphasis on learning the local dialect so that we could converse with the locals. As Rhys David said, a bit of the Cilla Black syndrome.

    And I come back to the problem of the difference between the spoken and written language. This is a major problem, even for many fluent Welsh speakers and crucial to the long-term health of the language. Without a strong written culture a language cannot hope to be thrive in the modern world. But how do you solve this problem? Denial won’t work.

    Just one final thought. Imagine what would happen if a decree was made that English should be phonetic. Everyone would have to speak in the same way and all the many thousands of dialects would suddenly disappear!

  7. Actually, “ch” (as in chips) and “j” (as in just) work rather well as ts and ds in Welsh, Rhobat. After all, “ds” as in “dy dsips di” is the normal soft mutation we would expect after dy. But, by that reckoning, would “her chips” be “ei thsips hi”? 😉

  8. @SP- Do you have any thing in the way of proof that Welsh academics do not speak any other languages? My experience of having done a degree in Welsh and taught by them is the very opposite, German, French, Spanish, Catalan, Breton and Irish were among the languages that many different members of the teaching staff were able to speak in Cardiff for example so I do not agree with your statement, and it is slightly off the mark to accuse them of holding back development as a result as well.

    You cannot, cannot just sit down and legislate in a committee room how to change a language. Orthography of the standard language maybe (as has been done twice with Welsh, recently with German for example) but it is impossible just to ban certain linguistic features. High and Low German are both two dialects, the one having prestige over the other, and neither is more easier/difficult, the fact that one is called high and the other low and both are used for different purposes is entirely sociological and nothing to do with the internal linguistic features of each dialect.

    Also, I agree that it would be ideal if school pupils left school with a good knowledge of Welsh, but how can that be done if it is scrapped after starting post-11 education?

  9. “….growth of the Welsh language in its current ‘organic’ form is possible”

    I’m really going to have to bite my tongue a bit here, but I’m afraid the most gentle way I can put it is…. I am more than a little suspicious of anyone who thinks there is anything ‘organic’ about the growth of the Welsh language in recent years. Firstly the assumption is made that there has been any growth at all, but more importantly I would argue that it is only draconian legislation and unsustainable overfunding that has enabled it to ‘tread water’. Surely, in no rational person’s view could ‘organic’ be defined by endless legislation, policing and excessive funding.

  10. I salute this article, and would take slight issue with one of Ben’s comments above.

    Yes, a government, a quango, or another group of meddlers may change the spelling of a language (or seek to), but it seldom if ever has a positive effect on the quality or numbers of speakers of a language unless that language has a clear territory all to itself and has the weight of a state or quasi-state apparatus behind it (this latter is the crucial element).

    The decline of Manx was not helped by the fact that it was first written down to any marked degree by English (and Welsh!) antiquarians and similar cultural tourists, based on the spelling conventions of their own languages. The result was an awful mess which gave no indication as to the origin of – or even the relationship between – words, and looks to my eyes like a series of bad hands at Scrabble.

    In the 1940s, the government of the Republic of Ireland decided to ‘reform’ the spelling system of Irish, removing a lot of ‘silent’ consonants and replacing them with long vowels instead. They thought this would make the language ‘easier’ to learn. Not only did it not do that, it meant that any idea of the development or evolution of those words this programme faffed about with was lost. The point was completely missed that whether a ‘minority’ or ‘indigenous’ language continues to be spoken depends – as Dafydd Glyn suggests – on factors external to anything to do with the structure of the language itself. Were it otherwise, Finnish (to give one example) would have died out a hundred years or more ago. These external factors may be political, cultural, sociological, psychological, and any combination thereof.

    In short, I thought (and still think) that Rhys David’s piece was something of a cop-out, diverting attention from the real reasons for the still-perilous position of our language.

  11. Ben, I said that it is very rare for them to be fluent in other languages not that they don’t speak them. The fact remains that if they speak other languages fluently they will be aware of the difficulties in becoming fluent in them. I have studied many languages in great detail and am aware of the difficulty of becoming competent, confident and proficient in a foreign tongue.

    Languages can and are controlled by organisations. Just recently the Real Acadamia, the organisation that regulates Spanish, changed the pronunciation of the letter Y, got rid of confusing accents on words where they don’t really need them and changed the word for computer from Ordenador to Computador(a) due to growing pressure from the Latin American dialects. We in Wales are too afraid to upset people which is what would happen if we standardised the language .

    Welsh should still be taught but every pupil should do the same Welsh language and literature examinations. Giving people who will have been studying the language for over 10 years the crutch of saying that they can’t speak Welsh well only worsens the situation. People study foreign languages for less time and become fluent. For Welsh to survive we need to accept the fact that the main reason Welsh is so complex is the fact that it is not one language, but a language of varying dialects within dialects within dialects with hyperlocal vocabulary.

  12. @SP

    The language is already standardised with a recognition that dialects can co-exist. Languages are used in different situations and people adapt their language to suit the situation.

    The fact that a language has dialects doesn’t make it complex. All languages have dialects and most modern languages have standard forms for standard situations. Look at the number of dialects to be found in the English language in England alone. Perhaps you could provide us with some examples so as to illustrate your point.

  13. @SP- I have to disagree. Do you have any proof the academics at Welsh universities who research Welsh are not fluent in any other languages? It is nonsense, fluency in all the languages I listed above was part of their expertise, they were all fluent in at least 3 so your point is not backed up at all.

    ”but a language of varying dialects within dialects within dialects with hyperlocal vocabulary’. All languages have dialects, and all languages have variation at a regional and also social level, it is a fact that all languages change as well. That isn’t something peculiar to Welsh, look at how many English dialects there are. And I learnt Welsh and can understand people from Llangefni as well as I can people from Llanelli, so it wasn’t a problem for me and dare I say most people either. Another example of ‘how dare Welsh be so difficult” attitude; Welsh is no more difficult than English, and has local variations the same as any other living language.

  14. @Nigel Stapely- I do agree with you that it rarely helps a language grow, and that RLS (to use a Fishman term, Reversing Language Shift) does not take into account rebuilding or changing the language grammatically or lexically, unless the language has already died (Stage 1 of RLS). So no, meddling does not lead to growth, and you used Irish as a good example, but in fact that wasn’t my point anyway.

    My point was that standardisation is an important step and can lead to the language being more widely written. For example, look at the effect the Bible of Bishop William Morgan had on written Welsh, after correcting Williams Salesbury’ debatable translation with strange orthography. Or even more recently with John Morris-Jones’ orthography published in the 1920s. He standardized the language and removed any inconsistencies in the written language (ph>ff, nn>n, for example) and gave Welsh a standard, consistent written form (again) that was adopted, and Welsh literature was all the more better for it.

    I didn’t mean that orthography and standardization help a language grow, but that it can help literacy and literature and support those who already speak the language to write it.

  15. Ben, I can’t say that every single academic has no knowledge of foreign languages but I think you’ll find that many do not. There will be polyglots and people who are genuine linguists in Welsh departments, that goes without saying, but these, as Wales has the worst MFL uptake in The UK and one of the worst in Europe, will be a minority.

    The difference between Welsh and English dialects is a poor comparison. The English dialects can now be considered more as languages in their own rights. You cannot compare Geordie to New Zealand English, or Mancunian to American English. The fact is in UK English you generally have accepted standard English and then regional differences be it Welsh English, Geordie, Liverpudian etc. Welsh, however, has ‘standard’ Welsh, Gog and Hwntw. Both of these then split up further into county dialects with then even towns and villages having their own variations – think Carmarthen, Amanford and Llanelli. These do exist in other languages too. The one that comes to mind is Italian as it has exactly the same problems as Welsh, except there is a standard accepted form which is used by Italians to talk to each other. A Sicilian and Piedmontese could not understand each other were it not for this. Can you imagine a Cofi talking to a Presley in ‘standard’ Welsh rather than in local Cofi or vise versa to be completely understood? Whilst the differences between Welsh dialects aren’t quite as pronounced as Italian regional languages it can still be daunting for a learner.

  16. There is one point that I agree with SP on and that is the false distinction between Welsh as first language and Welsh as a second language. Whatever the teaching methods employed, the standards that are measured should be the same. Most Welsh speakers have an open and reasonable attitude to this issue. If you speak Welsh at a fluent level, you will get a fluent response and no-one asks any questions regarding linguistic background. There is a small minority who still cling to the outdated view that there is some kind of innate difference between the two groups in which the first language speaker is superior.

    The current categorisation of Welsh education into first and second language grew up on a needs must basis rather than any grand cultural plan. Unfortunately, they are being used to feed a prejudical view whose intention appears to be the protection of vested interests rather than a measure of an individual’s linguistic ability. I remember a colleague of mine, a few years back now, who taught Welsh in a particular workplace (which shall remain nameless). When a first language Welsh speaker discovered that she was the Welsh tutor, he informed her that she was teaching people to take their jobs. It should be emphasised that this was, and is not, a representative or common attitude of the vast majority of Welsh speakers. But it is out there and it needs to be challenged when it occurs.

    The Welsh Assembly therefore needs to be moving towards one GCSE and one ‘A’ level and that it should not be possibe to pass these exams unless one can demonstrate an oral aptitude appropriate for the qualification. It cannot be right that adults return to the education system having successfully obtained an ‘A’ level in Welsh but are, in their words, unable to string a sentence together when speaking.

  17. Dafydd Glyn asks:

    Why were such promising figures obtained in the two previous Censuses?

    What caused such a collapse in ten years under a measure of home rule?

    I’m not sure why the figures for 1991 would be described as promising but certainly in 2001 we saw a rise in the number of speakers since the Census began. Vaughan Roderick has stated his belief that the 2001 figure was misleading because of over-reporting. In his view, enthusiastic parents were keen to register their children as being Welsh speakers but 10 years on when they could register themselves, their own entries did not correspond with their parents’ one.

    Another factor I remember happening was a certain degree of taking one’s foot off the pedal. Part of my becoming a Welsh tutor was the idea of making a small contribution to reversing the decline, saving the language from its tranc as the two Franks would say. When the figures were published, I remember the relief of thinking that finally we had turned the corner and could now look forward to a more positive, less defensive future. Instead there seems to have been a degree of being stuck in the Doldrums. There were still changes taking place. Welsh for Adults moved out of its pioneering period into the mainstream and with it came the educational bureaucracy that is characteristic of such a move. Bureaucracy usually has the effect of killing off the momentum and energy that drives things forward.

    It’s interesting however that it has taken some 13 years since the establishment of the Assembly for Welsh language campaigning to change tack. The dominant force had been Cymdeithas yr Iaith, formed at a time when there was no official recognition of Welsh or its speakers by the state and all attempts to make progress through the usual changes were met with a patronising indifference. Last year however Dyfodol i’r Iaith was formed with the emphasis of lobbying rather than protesting.

    Now that we have legal equality, a developing education sector and a democratic body responsible for the language’s future, the political way forward lies in establishing Welsh in the mainstream, having open and civil channels of communications between voters and their representatives in which reasonable discussions can occur, and in having the appropriate bodies to ensure the implementation of appropriate policies.

    I am aware that there are certain non sequiturs in my line of argument. But my conclusion is that there are signs of a shift taking place in cultural and political attitudes among Welsh speakers that are more forward looking regarding the language’s development. Maybe what we have witnessed is an historical hiatus during which we have come off the back foot and are now moving onto the front one.

  18. Welsh should be compulsory only in primary schools. It should be entirely oral and consist of songs and every day conversation. All pupils should learn Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and a dozen songs including a few hymns and traditional folk songs.Some hymns eg Calon Lan have become folk songs anyway and some simple sayings.It doesn’t matter if they don’t understand what they are saying- that can come later.Thay should learn the names of the main geographical landmarks,the names of common trees,flowers,animals and birds.These tend to be fall outside the curriculum in specific subjects and should become part of Welsh lessons.

    Children will then move up to high school with a core of knowledge rooted in their home area which will remain theirs for ever. Singing is an enjoyable experience and binds people together and helps create a shared identity.All children will feel Welsh because they know the national anthem and the same songs. Even if they never learn to speak Welsh they will feel it is their national song and will not be one of the embarassed ones who are mute or mouth it and regard it as an anthem for Welsh speakers.

    In high schools they should opt in to Welsh lessons. Those with an interest could be taught in an atmosphere free from the resentment that comes with compulsion.I am sure Welsh teachers would be relieved to be rid of bored and disruptive children.In the short term this will cause a big drop in GCSE passes in Welsh and in the long term an increase in people who speak it as a second language. These willing second language speakers will come from both groups, because there will be a change in attitude for the better throughout the community.

  19. Welsh is a language just like any other… Is this true or is Welsh the most expensive dying minority language in human history?

  20. It occurs to me that probably the easiest thing to do would be to stop disadvantaging our children by educating them in English. Children educated in Welsh up until GCSE can all speak Welsh and English fluently, children educated in English can very rarely speak Welsh, even if they were taught through Welsh in primary school and then sent to an English-medium secondary. All English medium education does is ensure that children can’t speak Welsh.

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