Welsh language on BBC R4's Today programme million speakers

Piece on BBC radio 4’s Today programme this morning with the Language Commissioner, Welsh and the drive for a million speakers. It’s early up in the running order and I think is about 50/55 mins in?


Pretty short piece wasn’t it?

I didn’t think that the Commissioner’s answer to the “why do this”? question was particularly clear. Perhaps the programme just didn’t allow her enough time to answer.

I was listening to Huw Williams on the lastest Desolation Radio podcast; https://soundcloud.com/desolationradio/welsh-language-with-huw-williams. His reasoning for the importance of language is much clearer, in summary, “Languages don’t describe the world, they create worlds”. I think this understanding is lost from much of the debate.

However taking this on board raises the question, why do we wish to promote a Welsh worldview over the English worldview? The simple answer to this is - it isn’t either or, or about promoting one over the other, but by having both languages, we have an external view point which can help us understand both worlds.

Language on it’s own doesn’t seem to make sense as a spending priority alongside the NHS, education or the economy that Nick Robinson mentioned. That is until you realise that language is more important than all of those things, because it forms our attitudes towards them all. Language is about culture. And not just ‘culture’ as an expensive arty add on, but culture as the very basis of our society.


SSIW was mentioned on the Jeremy Vine show on radio 2 this afternoon. There was a half an hour discussion about the Welsh language. The bits of it I did hear were surprisingly well balanced and showed the language in a good light and put across very good reasons to learn


Thank you very much indeed to Val Lucas for the shout-out… :star: :star2:


Yes, totally agree with all you’ve written there.[quote=“warrendavies, post:2, topic:8691”]
“Languages don’t describe the world, they create worlds”

A little sentence that I’ll try to use often, now what would that be in Welsh…?


My stab at it would be something like:
Dyw yr ieithoedd ddim yn disgrifo’r byd, maen nhw yn creu bydoedd.
(Corrections very welcome)

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I should point out that was taken directly from what Huw Williams said, and had previously written about here: https://www.opendemocracy.net/wfd/huw-williams/mind-your-language


Oh, @warrendavies thank you for this, but i am blinking back tears and could not finish reading. Somehow I had never actually read the Blue Book, or at least not the declaration that there is no Welsh Literature! I had been so enjoying the lovely quotes from Nye Bevan, and suddenly - the dismissal of, not just Aneuren, Taliesin and the other ancient writers, bards and tellers of tales, but all those.for the centuries since! I felt sick. And there, in a nutshell was the reason for learning Welsh and for ensuring that children are not denied the chance of learning at an age when taking in languages seems easier! Not knowing about someone else’s culture may be sad, but is excuseable, as long as you do not dismiss it as non-existent! Not knowing the language and hence the culture of one’s own people is a terrible indictment on those charged with one’s education! Except, of course, that they had themselves been so deprived. We have the chance to ensure that future generations grow up in a world described in Welsh words coined by our own people.

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This, this, this!

The English language is so pervasive, and invasive, that it seems to be “one or the other” when English comes into the mix. I once saw the English language described as “the person in the party who just won;t shut up, and ends up taking over all the conversations”!

I suspect that English speakers are aware of this on one level or another, and subconsciously fear that other languages will do the same to English!

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I entirely agree! In fact, yesterday, someone on UK TV, discussing Brexit warned that “with Britain out of the EU the use of English as a common language may decrease, We can’t tell what might take over!” I actually suspect that American already has, but if the US loses influence, my money is on whichever Chinese varient is most common.- Mandarin?