I have no idea how I ended up on Prifysgol Bangor’s website, but I did, and came across information about Cymraeg Clir. It appears to be a campaign encouraging government bodies to use more contemporary and simple language on forms. If you’re interested, more information can be found here: http://www.bangor.ac.uk/canolfanbedwyr/canllawiau_cc.php.en
I took a look at the PDF version of the Cymraeg Clir book out of curiosity,
(http://www.bangor.ac.uk/canolfanbedwyr/pdf/CymClir.pdf) and by the first two paragraphs on page 7, I understood the point the author is presenting. As a mostly illiterate learner with a tiny vocab, I was able to understand reasonably quickly the information presented in the first example where the second was mostly unintelligible to me.
I’m curious what first-language speakers feel about this campaign. Sometimes when similar things happen in English (at least in the US), people are outraged at the “dumbing down” or “bastardization” of the language. Can anyone offer any perspective on how this sort of thing is perceived?
Excellent advice from the University. It mirrors what the Plain English campaign says. If you feel it is “dumbing down” the language, have a look at some of their examples:
One is tempted to think that the original text was the dumb version! Good authors don’t write that sort of stuff. Language is about communication not obfuscation (well usually!) The same applies in any language.
The real issue over dumbing down is to do with content, not language.
I use that doc when doing signs for work. Often I find myself rewording the English as well because I suddenly realise that if the Welsh is so complicated that I’m struggling to make a literal translation with the patterns I got then the English is probably a pile of waffle in any case!
I remember the first bendy buses in Swansea - the internal signs said something in English like “Passengers are not to not consume food on this vehicle”
The Welsh said “Peidwch bwyta ar y bws”…
That’s brilliant. Shining example for the English sign-writers
I went to a seminar at Bangor University last year and the point was made fairly strongly that a LOT of first language Welsh speakers confess to reading the English side of dual language forms and documents because it takes them too long struggling to read the overly formal language of the Welsh side. The consensus was that if we’re serious about making Welsh the everyday language in all sorts of different situations then it needs to be accessible. People shouldn’t need a degree in literature to be able to read their gas bill. But beautifully constructed Welsh literature still has its place, of course, and no one is saying otherwise. Make the language appropriate for the situation.