Is it possible to live entirely through the medium of Welsh in 2016?

I have been mulling over this and suspect that the sad truth is that, once past about six years of age, English forces itself upon all Cymru Cymraeg.
I suppose there may be some totally Welsh speaking villages which have a ‘shop that sells everything and is also the post office, so able to act as Bank’, a garage selling fuel and able to fix vehicles, a pub, church, chapel… like the one I lived in on Gower used to be, but in Welsh. But that Gower village had lost it’s garage, shop and post office by the time I left, so I have a nasty feeling that such places are less and less likely to exist as time passes.
Then there is entertainment. S4C and Radio Cymru? But it rather depends on your interests whether you can get all you need from them. Consider politics, which interest me. First Minister’s Questions is on on BBC2 Wales, with every Welsh word totally dubbed out! No subtitles. You might not realise Cymraeg was even spoken were it not for the apparent spectacle of Carwyn having a female voice, which happens quite often! I believe there is some political coverage on S4C very late at night. I’ll have to check.
I do not think there is an S4C equivalent of Panorama.
Those of you, especially @aran and @Iestyn living in Wales, can you tell me if you can actually live a full 21st Century lifestyle in your own language in your own country, because if not, I think you certainly should be able to!! :angry:
Does the Government’s support for Cymraeg extend to wanting this?

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Well it seems one can have sex, climb hills and drink beer in the language, so that’s a start.

But to be serious, I think there are some politics type programmes on S4C, and on Radio Cymru, there is the regular “O’r Bae” around midday on Fridays, which is a (lively) roundup of the week in politics in Wales (occasionally commenting on St Steffan as well).

Honestly, probably not. There’s not enough Welsh language media, and there are too many people who don’t speak Welsh. S4C doesn’t have the budget to make any really good dramas or documentaries, and the fact that there is only one radio station and one television channel for the Welsh language means that they have to try to accommodate everybody (and thus rarely accommodate anybody) who speaks the language.

I would have thought it is possible to live virtually entirely in Welsh in the same way for example you can live entirely in Seychellois if you live in the Seychelles and if you think S4C is bad, you really ain’t seen nothing yet! I should explain nearly everyone in the Seychelles speaks some English though granted not fluently.

The question surely is one which really should be asking can we reverse the decline and change attitudes towards Welsh and the answer to that is surely yes judging by the demand for places in Welsh schools.

As it stands there will be the vocal minority of English speakers in Wales who would denounce the more widespread adoption of the language but I am hoping that there are many who would be happy were they able to become bilingual.

It is surely down to attitude and to people feeling they can and should use their Welsh (what has happened to me), and that we should try to eradicate the rudeness shown by some non speakers.

I’m considering a policy of walking out of shops, cafes etc if I ask for something in Welsh and am greeted by a ‘could you just speak English’ with no apology for not speaking Welsh.

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If you take the attitude that people should apologise to you for not speaking Welsh then you’re really not going to win “hearts and minds”.

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maybe so dave but as the customer parting with my money i’d rather spend it with people who arent blatantly rude to me when i ask for something in welsh.

They dont have to know why.

Would you buy something from someone in english if they were rude to you or would you take your business elsewhere.

I see no difference.

Good luck in your campaign of anger.

I’m going to have to start muting the radicalised sections of the forum, I think.


i’m sorry but it isnt a campaign of anger. I’m sorry you feel the need to respond like that.

The majority of people say i’m sorry but i dont speak welsh. I think thats great.

There are people who are downright rude. So i will take my business elsewhere.

There’s a difference between a polite request to speak English because the person you’re talking to don’t speak Welsh, and a demand that you speak English. The former is fine; the latter is rude. Likewise, there’s a difference between refusing to give your money to companies with rude staff, and demanding that everybody speak Welsh.


Thanks @hectorgrey you put it much better than my newly radicalised brain ever could :wink:

Sometimes there is less choice. I know I can ask for physiotheraphy services yn Gymraeg, but how long am I prepared to wait for them? Would I want to wait an extra fortnight for my surgery til there was a Welsh speaking surgeon available. And I live in quite a Welsh bit of the country. When ‘Welsh is desirable’ for a job is replaced by ‘a willingness to learn Welsh is essential’ perhaps things will be better.


Mind you, I have seen the “willingness to learn Welsh” business used as a get out clause. (The name of a particular Chief Executive leaps to mind, but I will keep my lips sealed.)
Anyone can say they are willing to learn Welsh to get a job. It is a much more awkward thing to keep track of it and justify letting someone go on the grounds they have not done enough (or anything) than it is to simply give the job to someone who already has done enough in that department to be able to do the job.

Perhaps adding something into the employment contract stating a realistic time-frame for them to actually be able to speak Welsh in the context of their job, in addition to stating that they must be willing to learn to speak Welsh if they don’t already, would help here…

I live in an anglicised (language) town.

It has just so fallen into place that every time I socialise in the evening, I speak at least some Welsh.
In the past, I went to Welsh evenings, Welsh events, Welsh whatevers round here.

Were I so inclined, I would be able to ensure that all my social life was in Welsh.
However, I am not so inclined!

As for television, yes there are political programmes on S4C.

Again, I used to watch much more on S4C, I watch rather less now. Though I have seen a fair few excellent documentaries and dramas on it.

I am far more likely to be found watching Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, Trollhunter or Dod Sno 2 on Amazon Prime or Netflix than any of the rubbish churned out by the BBC, mind you.
Unfortunate that they elected to only put the ‘excessively’ English version of Hinterland on Netflix.

BUt yes, if I were to be so inclined, I could live my life through the medium of Welsh rather than English. The fact I would have to use a smattering of it in shops (perhaps even just one word or two words)) would not make me think that I was not living my life through the Welsh language.
Work would be a difficult thing - there are people round here who have jobs where they use only Welsh, but not many, and it woulod be up to the person employing you whether you got it, of course!

But yes, if it would be as easy for me to do it as that in a place like this, I am sure there are many people who are able to live their lives through the medium of Welsh.

Just that as I say, at this point in time, in this place, I’m not inclined to work towards that, personally!

@pete I don’t disagree with your idea but why not try an educational approach. Why not ask them why they didn’t apologise? Politely of course. Point out to them that you felt their response wasn’t polite. Then they might change. Turning round and walking out leaves a lot up to debate. Why did he leave? A lot of people are not honest enough with themselves to say “maybe I was rude”. They’ll project on to you.

As the Austrian barmaid said to me when I asked in German if she spoke English - “thank you for asking”. She educated me that the question was not rude, the assumption is rude. So I always ask that. Welsh is still a minority language so we can’t “expect” the majority to speak Welsh. It’s sad, I’m trying to change it as all Wales based learners are, but that’s the reality. We must be forcefully kind and polite. Otherwise we fuel the anger Welsh speaker stereotype.


Yes point taken…and indeed agreed.

Abroad i always apologise and ask if they speak english too. Its polite. If i can speak a few words i try that too.

Now where do i find a welsh language anger management course :wink:

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Don’t you dare!
Firstly, you don’t need one,
but also we need different opinions and different answers- that’s healthy for our country and healthy for the language!


Absolutely, but then these things have to be followed up on, they have to be enforced, which is a dodgy thing itself. Done well, fine, if you don’t mind losing out on the initial period where they can’t do the job - but that goes to some extent or another with any skills in a new job, of course!
A supportive, positive thinking employer would be able to make this work.
But with a supportive, positive thinking employer in that way, you probably wouldn’t even need the condition in the first place!
Just cynical through seeing that side of things abused!
But I think the main thing is encouraging a better attitude towards Welsh from employers would be a good thing, whatever the details!

Many Welsh speakers I know would walk out if treated rudely over the language without saying anything, but because that’s what they felt like doing rather than they thought it would change peoples minds.

In your country, over your language, you don’t always have to be an activist thinking about how the language will be affected. Sometimes you are just walking away from idiots!


I agree, I was being tongue in cheek.

I come from a non Welsh speaking family. Overseas it always pains me at the rudeness of some englsh speakers who refuse to acknowledge others languages and demand that people speak English.

I would rather support people who will promote the language than those who roll their eyes to the heavens at the thought someone should dare speak Welsh to them in Wales. I mean everyone speaks English don’t they.

That was my point. And I stick by it. I may adapt my approach, I was only considering it anyway, between bouts of house burning and painting post boxes green. But I may say something along the lines of “I understand you may not speak Welsh but do you think you could ask me if I minded speaking English, I mean obviously I do, but it’s maybe a little more polite…and by the way have you heard of SSIW?”