Dysgu Cymraeg … or else!

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

The Welsh Assembly is trying to get control of bilingualism from the British government so that it can extend its language rules to the private sector.

Large numbers of public sector jobs are restricted to Welsh speakers only in an attempt to force more Welsh people to learn the language.  The Welsh Assembly, responding in part to pressure from border-line militant groups, are seeking to extend legislation to the private sector requiring companies based in Wales to provide services in Welsh as well as English.

Out of approximately 3 million people that live in Wales, only 30% speak Welsh and for most adults it’s a matter of choice (lots of children now have compulsary Welsh lessons).  Millions of pounds of taxpayers money is thrown at promoting the Welsh language including dual language road signs and translation services.

British Sign Language (BSL) is the first language of between 50,000 and 70,000 people in the UK.  Deaf people really don’t have a choice whether they speak BSL or English – it’s hard enough to speak when you’ve lost your hearing over time, it’s pretty much impossible if you were born deaf.  BSL is an official minority language recognised by the British government and has a similar legal status to Welsh and Gaelic.  Try getting a BSL interpreter in a hospital or a signed version of a DVD though and the difference is immediately obvious.  Interpreters are available on the end of a phone within minutes if you speak Polish or Punjabi or some other foreign tongue but if you’re deaf you get get a piece of paper and a pen.

The Disability Discrimination Act says that a deaf person is entitled to the same access to services that an able-bodied person is.  That should include translation services, interpreters, even things that you wouldn’t think twice about like a TV with Teletext if you stop in a hotel which has TV’s in the room.  In reality this doesn’t happen though.  My father-in-law went deaf over a period of years and has some über-rare disease but when he goes to hospital he doesn’t have a sign-language interpreter.

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  1. Tony (2 comments) says:

    BSL is nowhere similiar to Welsh and Gaelic in term of legal status. We are only covered by DDA but that is lacking teeth as it is a vague piece of legislation, rarely tested in court. BSL is light years away to achieve anywhere near what Welsh language is going through at the moment and we can only watch from the margins, with envy. Nothing have changed since the Department of Work and Pension recognised BSL in 2003 apart, from an odd couple of millions pounds to train interpreters, which is currently lining RNId’s deep pockets. They didn’t even campaign for BSL Recognition, which is really galling.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    I think the only help my father-in-law got from the RNID was a textphone. You certainly never hear them complaining about the poor level of service that BSL speakers get from companies and organisations. Most kids learn French as a second language at school but you’re more likely to meet a deaf person in England than a French speaker so why aren’t kids taught to sign? It’s invaluable in noisy pubs and restaurants!

    I’m sure if it was Welsh Sign Language or Scottish Sign Language it would have the full protection of the law and the RNID would have an anual budget of tens of millions of pounds to promote it.

  3. MANDERSON (4 comments) says:

    “Welsh language”? Oh no! I think you’ll find “welsh” is actually full of latin words! Now come on. Latin isnt welsh is it boyo? Yes, the Romans bossed “wales” about for over 400 years, not that was a wales when the Romans were saying what got done and what didnt! Infact, there has never been a wales! I think youll find wales is called wales only because of the Angles and Saxons. They labelled the boyos who legged it from them foreigners! That’s what welsh means. “Walisc” or “foreigner”! Oh well, it also means welching (welshing) on a deal to of course! But anyway, I digress. “Welsh” is actually Latin as used by the Romans! Maybe the supposed \”welsh\” language expert can enlighten me as to how many words in welsh are actually welsh and I dont mean those youve stolen from English. Such as rubgy spelt \”ruggbwy\”! Ha! ha! What a charade! Well it\’s a bit like \”irish\”. They have eejit which is obviously idiot with a paddy accent for crying out loud. Ha! ha! The lengths the insecure will go to prove they are different!

  4. Matt (2 comments) says:

    Oh, right, Mandrson. ‘Stolen’ words. Like the words borrowed from French and Latin in English.

  5. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    MAnderson, the Welsh is language is simply evolving in the ay that defunct, artificially resucitated languages do – by appropriating word from other languages. Before Matt jumps in his car and heads for the border, this isn’t a criticism, it’s a fact. English has assimilated words from other languages, mostly other Germanic languages (such as Dutch and German) and from Romance languages (such as French and Latin) – this is what happens. Even French, which has laws to stop foreign words slipping into the language, has English words.

    The thing is, Welsh is a second language, even in Wales. If there is something new then it gets an English word. Welsh has basically stagnated meaning that Welsh speakers increasingly have to intersperse what they’re saying with English words.

  6. Meirion (1 comments) says:

    What a load of crap!!

    Welsh is the oldest language in Britain (the name Britain itself derives from Prydain, the Welsh term for Britain). It was spoken for hundreds of years before the Romans even came here. Get your facts right!

    At a time when the vast majority of people in Wales spoke Welsh as a first language (over 80%), the English government embarked on a facist regime of ethnic cleansing by introducing the Welsh Not. During these Victorian times any child in school found speaking Welsh would have to carry a board around their neck bearing the letters ‘W.N.’. The child with the WN at the end of the week would be beaten with a cane.

    By the way how many truly ‘English’ words are there in the mongrel English language? It comprises mainly of French and German (a few Welsh words – most old place names in Northern England have Welsh origins).

    Now that England and the English culture and language are being replaced by American the English have become poaranoid that they are losing their identity. The way forward is to concentre on this issue in your own country as opposed to destroying other countries’ culture.

    The English, as opposed to continually being terrified of other cultures should be more and more ashamed of themselves.

    Get a life – back in England.

  7. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Meirion, I make a point of not getting apologetic for things my ancestors did. If you start getting offended about things that happened to your ancestors centuries ago you’re in danger of ending up like the Scots hating English people because of the Battle of Bannockburn or getting drunk and telling English people that they’re losers because the Scots beat them at Culluden.

    The word Britain actually originates, via Welsh, from the Greek word Prettanic. The Welsh language is also a mongrel language being part of the Common Brythonic group which is itself part of the Indo-European family so it shares its heritage with English.

  8. neil (1 comments) says:

    Don’t want to get involved in a stale argument that dates back some months, but I must take issue with the statement ‘Welsh is a second language’. Welsh is a first language to several hundred thousand people in Wales, the language used in many communities. Like all living languages it is evolving whilst embracing and Welshifying (Cymregeiddio) occasional ‘loan’ words, but hey ‘c’est la vi’ as we English say. As an English born Welsh speaker who now teaches Welsh in England (hope that makes sense) I’m gratified to see the level of interest in what is one of Britains cultural treasures. The amount of money spent on the Welsh language is pitifully small in reality, and there is no truth in statements that the assembly government is in favour of ‘extending’ language rules to the private sector, this simply isn’t the case. The Welsh Language Society is the group pushing for a new language act to include private industry, one that has precious little chance of becoming law
    in reality. Is it not appropriate though that the Welsh should be in charge of acts relating to their language?

  9. axel (1214 comments) says:

    This is what is wrong with our country and multiculturism, if we want to be multicultured, fair enough but dont whine to the government if you dont fit in, with 98% of the population.

    Ethnic culture should be a luxury, like religion, if you want to do it, do it, if you dont so what.

    If you want to be Welsh, Fuck Off to the hills and leave the rest of us alone. (please feel free to add other ethnic groups and their locations to this statement)

    As an example of how destructive this bullshit is, in the next 5 years or so, it will break up our country, as we Jocks go off on our own sweet way pulled by the SNP and pushed by the Tories.

    It should be Britain for the British and i dont mean that in a stupid BNP way, if you think you are british that is fine, if you think you are british but were born in oompah Loompah land, that is fine too but if you think you are an Ooompah Loompah, then fuck off out of our country and go back to your own.

    We have a phrase up here, ‘We’re all Jock Tamsons bairns’ it means if you think you are scottish, nothing else matters, you are one of us. Oki there is severe tribalism up here too and once we find out what your arcane loyalties are, you will probably still get battered but you will have a bunch of new friends, who will help you hunt down, your new enemies.

  10. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Jeez, I’ve turned into a Nazi 🙁

    Charlie, you’re in your 40s and have ‘odd’ political views too, will i grow out of it or is this it?

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