Yma O Hyd

Originally published by TheSprout.co.uk.

There is nothing more infuriating than someone ridiculing something simply because they have no interest or understanding in it.

Everyday I’m forced to be enraged by little blog posts, articles (a bit like this one, but I guess you have to fight back with the same old tools…that’s my excuse anyway), tweets and Facebook statuses claiming that the Welsh language is indeed a waste of taxpayers’ hard earned cash and it’s only used between one another to verbally insult someone’s haircut. I sigh. 

Growing up in rural South West Wales to an English mother and a near enough absent father, you’d think I’d hold every stereotypical view as the Londoner that gave birth to me. You are in fact wrong.

Although growing up in-between the city streets of Hackney and the rolling hills of Clydach, my mother is probably the most ‘pro’ Welsh/Wales, English person you’ll ever actually meet.

Moving here at the age of 15, my mother set up home in Wales without an interest in the Welsh language. To be honest, she’s probably still not that bothered by it. Yet, she would never ever ridicule the people that choose to speak it or the money that’s spent to promote it. Her argument? Welsh is the language of Wales and every penny ploughed into it is a penny well spent.

Educated in a Welsh primary school, with the choice of bilingualism in secondary, I couldn’t be more thankful for the fact I’ve had the opportunity to be a Welsh speaker.

It was the influence of my Mamgu & Dadcu that really turned me into one of those ‘Welsh loving lunatics’ however. I actually chose the university I did for the opportunity of studying my course bilingually.

Personally, I don’t see how someone that has no interest in the language, someone that hasn’t been brought up into a household where ‘beth bynnag mam’ is your comeback or someone that hasn’t ever had the chance to engage with it, (whether that being in school or elsewhere), can judge whether it’s justified to spend money on it or decide whether it’s in fact ‘dead’. 

Get out of the city smoke and head to the cobbles of Carmarthen and you’ll think otherwise… that’s for sure.

I’m fed up of people saying that money would be better spent educating our children in the likes of French, Spanish and Mandarin.

There’s been a whole 1% decline in Welsh speakers in the past 400 years.

That reasoning? The fact that people from my grandparents’ generation were forcibly made to speak English in the workplace and at school.

When someone makes fun of me for caring about it, then that it just not right.

My argument? You’d happily go to any other European country and respect their values – one being their language. Yet when it comes to little ole Wales, apparently the money invested in its existence is simply being ploughed into the ‘sewer’ of the Welsh language.

Surely, if the language was ‘dying’ like you say it was, any money invested in it would be beneficial for the generations of people to come after us? Isn’t it a human right that they get to decide whether they were to engage in it just like I did? Isn’t it their right, as the future population of Wales to decide whether they want to learn Welsh or not?

We should be trying to preserve its existence just like my Dadcu did when he would be hit with the cane by his English speaking teacher just for communicating in the medium of Welsh.

I can’t help but think the whole concept of the ‘Welsh Not’ has helped to think certain people can dictate whether we have a right to pay, learn, speak and love our language, but hey that’s just me.

It’s irrelevant because all Welsh people can speak English, you’re being ignorant by speaking it.

Fortunately for some, Dafydd and Gwen have far better things to talk about than bitch about what you’ve decided to chuck on. Sometimes I accidentally just start speaking Welsh to certain people. It’s not because I’m ignorant or that I don’t want to tell you what I’ve been up to with my day; it’s just a switch that comes on. It’s the norm.

You will get ignorant people that will use bilingualism to make you feel inferior. That’s got nothing to do with the language however. It just shows what type of people they are.

Anyone should be able to speak whatever language they want, when they want to. However I would never deliberately speak Welsh in-front of someone knowing they don’t speak it.

We’re more Welsh than you because we can speak it

It is completely fine if you cannot speak Welsh, just don’t berate it. Being able to speak Welsh doesn’t make you a better person. Some were brought into it, some went to Welsh language schools and some people were just eager to learn it. That however doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. If you’re Welsh, you’re Welsh, we’re all painted with the same brush. Some were just brought up in different environments and that is okay.

You will get the funny bugger that thinks they’re the be all and end all of Wales because they can speak it.

I’ve had customers in work bitch about me in Welsh before, only to be completely gobsmacked when I’ve replied to them in their ‘own’ mother tongue. That’s just people not being ethical and well, just thinking they have the upper hand. It’s those people that make people tarnish the Welsh language with ignorance and plain animosity.

I don’t like those people either.

Personally, I think everyone needs to appreciate people’s values be it Japanese, English, African, Welsh – or anything else. We all have our differences, our opinions and the things that make us tick, and that’s perfectly fine.

Malicious hate towards someone’s heritage and language because you don’t care about it, that is not.

Welsh is here to stay and none of the 19% of the Welsh population that speak it are ever going to let it go.

Yma o Hyd

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