Sunday, August 03, 2008

Archbishop Morgan talking sense.

I don't always agree with the musings of the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan. But I do like what he's going to be saying at the National Eisteddfod tomorrow, according to the BBC. He wants us to celebrate 'Welsh identity' without us becoming 'narrowly nationalistic'.

Now this isn't as easy as it seems. As Dr Morgan points out, in some parts of our world discussion and disagreements about 'identity' have led to violence and hatred. But not for many years in Wales. Its a question of winning arguments, not physical battles. For example, I've long believed that the long term success of the Welsh Language and culture depends on attracting the goodwill of non Welsh speakers. I try never to speak in Welsh if there is a non Welsh speaker in the group conversation. I know. Why should we not speak our own language in our own country etc.? But what matters to me is the long game. To adopt a phrase from the Iraq War, its about winning 'hearts and minds'. Sometimes, by speaking English today, we can ensure that more people will be speaking Welsh tomorrow.

Same goes for the Eisteddfod itself. Nothing wrong with it being a celebration of the Welsh Language. It should be. But I've always been in the camp of diluting the absolute 'Welsh only' rule to allow a reasonable amount of signage and explanation to help and encourage non Welsh speakers. Anyway, I hope the sun shines on the Archbishop tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

An Archbishop talking sense?

I don't believe it.

If it's true, I will give ten million millions 'units' (to be defined later) of a certain gold product (to be defined later) to a charity (that may or may not exist) at a future date (to be decided later).

Carwyn Fowler said...


Just wondering if you received my (fairly harmless) comment on this post.

Can't think that you would have censored it so must have got lost in the ether.

Just a mild disagreement with your approach towards dealing with the minoriy non-Welsh speaker in a Welsh conversation. Whilst I agree that it is courteous to keep the non-Welsh speaker in touch with the flow of conversation, I don't think it is incumbent on the whole discussion to turn automatically from Welsh to English.

If Welsh is to survive, it has to be as an informal language of conversation - and sometimes this will mean that the English language has to give way occasionally.

Pob hwyl!

Dont be daft said...

'Sometimes, by speaking English today, we can ensure that more people will be speaking Welsh tomorrow.'

I've heard that said before - and it made no sense then - find me a man or woman who has learnt Welsh because they heard a Welshman speaking English.

Glyn Davies said...

carwyn - don't know what happened, but I post all comments except those which are designed to cause serious offence to me or others. I don't think we disagree hugely, and it does depend on the circumstance. As soon as I sense that someone feels excluded, I prefer to either turn to English or leave the conversation. Where the conversation involves no more than 4 people, its invariably the case that I sense that the non Welsh speaker is being excluded. Perhaps its just the way I feel, but I don't want to seem rude. I do agree about the need to use Welsh as an informal language though.

Don't be daft - you're taking my comment too precisely. My general opinion is that the welsh Language depends on the goodwill of non Welsh speakers, if Governemnt is going to support the financial and legislative background to enable the Welsh Language to prosper.