by NewChapter 61 Replies latest jw friends

  • Podobear
  • cedars

    I personally wouldn't refer to Chinese people as "Chinks". That seems a fairly obvious racial slur to me.

    The Welsh are notoriously pedantic about their language. I can say this because I have a good bit of Welsh blood in me. They have a reputation of trying to appear to be using Welsh in everyday life, but using English instead. An example of this is when an English person walks into a local shop. The locals will start speaking Welsh to one another, but will start speaking English once he leaves. I'm not saying that this actually happens, it's just the perception among English people.

    The rule of thumb is the further West you go in Wales, the more "Welsh" it becomes. More locals speak Welsh, and nationalist sentiment is slightly more fierce than it is, say, along the border with England.

    Welsh children are taught the language in school, alongside English. I personally believe this is a bit of a waste of room on the syllabus. There's little material or economic benefit to knowing Welsh as there is in the case of speaking, say, French, German or Chinese - all languages spoken in countries with their own economies. That's just my (somewhat controversial) opinion. I can understand the desire of the Welsh people to keep their language alive, but I don't think this should be done at the expense of a child's learning potential. I know a bit about languages and translation, and I can tell you there is loads of money to be made simply by being fluent in more than one profitable language. There is very little demand for translations into Welsh, because most Welsh people can speak English.

    I apologize if I've offended any Welsh people with these views. It's only my opinion as someone with Welsh ancestry growing up in England.


  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    And further re Welsh/English:

    When I married my first wife in an Anglican/Church of England parish church in her home village we had to choose the music that the organist played while my wife and I, marriage witnesses and the vicar, signed the marriage register (just a few minutes).

    My wife and I agreed on a romantic Welsh tune.

    Unfortunately or not the organist misunderstood and played the hymn on the opposite page of her book.

    It was not, however, inappropriate to celebrate the forthcoming wedding night.

    The title in Welsh was 'Ar Hyd Y Nos' - 'All Through The Night'!

  • besty
    Great Britain currently consists of Scotland Wales England and Northern Ireland. UK encompasses it all including Southern Ireland.

    oh dear - somebody was listening in class. :-)

    the differences in the terminology are described here

    I call myself a Brit - born in Scotland, live in England with English wife - although when said with a Scottish accent no more explanation required :-)

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    Cedars: I agree with the sentiments in your post.

    I am not a Welsh speaker, although I can understand some and use it in very limited conversation. My daughter-in-law's first language is Welsh, and on rare occasions she has to stop and think and translate her thoughts into English because the Welsh word or concept does not exactly convey the meaning. The Welsh word 'hiraeth' for example has no direct translation but means 'the homesickness for Wales felt by those who are not there and miss the country and it's culture' - whether that's geographical or historical.

    My father was a Welsh speaker, although he rarely used it and it was discouraged throughout his education. His father owned and ran the village shop ('Pandy Stores') during the '30s depression and after in a small mining village near Port Talbot - Pontrhydyfen. The family still have the old shop ledgers, including notes saying 'sorry we can't pay the two shillings off our bill this week but could we please have a quarter of a pound of tea and some butter'. Times were very different then. One of the families in the village was the Jenkins, whose most famous son Dickie became world-famous as Richard Burton.

    I went to a grammar school in Pembs in the late 60s/early 70s. Welsh was not an option.

    Now, there is an upsurge in the Welsh language, but the biggest increase (I understand) is in new learners who have chosen to settle in Wales from elsewhere. It is 'politically correct' to learn Welsh, and there is a strong and influential movement within Wales (nicknamed the 'Taffia'). BBC and S4c are examples.

    I hate to think of the amount of money we waste in being bilingual. Every roadsign, all government documents (my driving licence, HMRC tax papers, council tax demands, etc.) must by law be bilingual. My own view is that there are no residents of Wales who do not understand English.

    I hope that my grand-daughters will be brought up to be bi-lingual. That is their heritage and I do my part by reading them bedtime stories in Welsh as far as I can.

    Sorry, this is turning out to be a far longer post than I intended but it's a complicated issue. It's not quite true to say that Welshness increases the farther west you go. I live in Pembrokeshire (as far west as you can go). Here, the south of the county is English but there is adefinite line (the 'Landsker' line) north of which you are in Welsh territory. And, of course, the Welsh spoken in North Wales (esp. Ynys Mon) is quite different from the Welsh spoken here.

    There is a legal requirement here for Welsh to be taught in schools and there are 'Welsh medium' schools where every subject is taught in Welsh.

    But I agree with the thrust of your post. It would be far more useful if the resources were used to teach languages of more use in the modern world. I for one am fed up with government money being wasted in sending me every document in Welsh and English.

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    NewChapter: Sorry, may have taken this off-topic. But maybe it will help to explain why the concepts of UK/GB are so complicated.

    Cheers/ Iechyd da!


  • cedars

    Thanks for your insight Joe. You're bound to know more about these complex issues than me since you live in Wales. I travel there as often as I can because I love the country and regard it as the land of my ancestors, but it's not quite the same as having a local perspective!


  • nugget

    Brits is fine we are a mix of people and races, Brits is a good covering term.

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    Cedars: Well, if you want real local perspective we have to talk of local Pembrokeshire dialect. I'm no expert in this but my sister-in-law (one of 13 children) is related to/went to school with/knows through marriage almost the whole popoulation here.

    One of my favourite local word is 'buddle', which means 'busy doing nothing'. As in 'I had a buddle, then I had a rest, then I buddled some more''.

    Or 'clever twp' which means someone who appears to be stupid, retarded, but when you walk away after doing a deal you realise he was much smarter than you!

    And thinking about it, this may be the best way to deal with dubs who call at your door. Outwardly daft and accepting, but then coming out with the 'killer question' that makes them think!

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    PS: Re the often-quoted apocryphal story of Welsh-speaking people who start speaking Welsh to discomfort non-Wesh speakers. I've never experienced it but can't deny it ever happens. If you speak a little Welsh (as I do) you can discomfort those doing this because they can't discern just how much you know.

    For 10 years I worked at Police HQ where most of the staff were (first language) Welsh speakers. I wasn't. But out of politeness they switched to English when I was there. When it came to work stuff, like locking up lawyers and other professionals, English was the first language.

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