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A Question On Nationality: What Makes A Welsh Person Welsh? Watch

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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    I would agree that you don't need to speak Welsh necessarily to be considered Welsh (considering that English has been a part of Wales for ages) but language is most certainly one of the most important parts of ethnicity. Not the only part but certainly a legitamite and significant part.
    But I don't see how it can be, I mean language is something which is not unified in any way. We're all capable of writing a certain type of English, sure, but we don't necessarily speak in the same way. National consciousness, for it to have any deep meaning, relies on some sort of uniformity. There are important differences, for example, in the vocabulary between southern Welsh and northern Welsh [for all my hostility, I do speak Welsh!] and these don't really help in the use of language in forging a centralised national consciousness. And, since most Welsh people cannot agree on linguistic issues, I would argue it's really not that useful.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    But I don't see how it can be, I mean language is something which is not unified in any way. We're all capable of writing a certain type of English, sure, but we don't necessarily speak in the same way. National consciousness, for it to have any deep meaning, relies on some sort of uniformity. There are important differences, for example, in the vocabulary between southern Welsh and northern Welsh [for all my hostility, I do speak Welsh!] and these don't really help in the use of language in forging a centralised national consciousness. And, since most Welsh people cannot agree on linguistic issues, I would argue it's really not that useful.
    I think you're overestimating the differences within languages. Sure regional dialects help give a form of regional identity but in the UK there is something such as a national language (English) which we can pretty much all understand in it's regional forms anyaway which binds us together. If we were a multilingual society I fear that we would be more divisive.
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    I think you're overestimating the differences within languages. Sure regional dialects help give a form of regional identity but in the UK there is something such as a national language (English) which we can pretty much all understand in it's regional forms anyaway which binds us together. If we were a multilingual society I fear that we would be more divisive.
    Not necessarily. In France, for example, they put subtitles on films from Quebec because of the differences! The BBC even considered putting subtitles on Rab C Nesbit because they were afraid that southern audiences wouldn't understand it.
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    I think you're overestimating the differences within languages. Sure regional dialects help give a form of regional identity but in the UK there is something such as a national language (English) which we can pretty much all understand in it's regional forms anyaway which binds us together. If we were a multilingual society I fear that we would be more divisive.
    This is because. English has a handful of very strong prestige dialects, all of them closely linked, a single literary standard (basically) and a massive media presence. Welsh has none of the above. On the last point, do you think China is divided because it's multilingual? Is there such a thing as a Cantonese or Wu seperatist? No, because they view themselves as ethnically the same as Mandarin speakers.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    What I said is true rather than hogwash if you don't mind. Our difference lies in how much we both consider to be enough. I think you have to remember that Borders, Waterstones, HMV, and all the other big chain stores are (essentially) English companies. Go into Waterstones in Edinburgh and you'll only find a tiny Gaelic section so it's not like it's just Welsh that's afflicted. It's a problem of capitalism and sales rather than linguistic imperialism and it'd be damn sight better of the Welsh-language community to treat it as such.
    I'm sorry if you were offended by my referring to your argument as 'hogwash'. Indeed, I think you'll find it was 'for want of a better word'! But if you don't mind, I'd like you to consider that this is a hot issue, and that statements like 'what I said is true' are sweeping and unfair. What's also unfair is to compare the Gaelic and Welsh languages in terms such as these. There is much more of a market for welsh literature than there is for gaelic literature, and the fact it isn't being exploited by these big businesses isn't necessarily wrong - it just disproves your point on there being 'enough' welsh literature in these megastores. By the way, how you could judge what is enough in these terms is beyond me, as you don't need these books for school study nor pastime indulgence and enjoyment. I don't read too many teenage fiction books, but I don't pass judgement on there being 'enough' of them in any given store - the fact I don't need the books would make my statement an uninformed one.

    (Original post by Adorno)
    That's all well and good but they're not funding the Urdd. And frankly, if they wanted to fund youth clubs there are better ways of doing it that funding an organisation started by fascists! [I refer here to Saunders Lewis - who was one or (rather) a sympathiser].
    I detested studying Saunders Lewis in school. I found him boring, I found his methods quite bizzare, and I find his nationalism to be abhorrent - as were his views on Hitler, Mussolini and the right for English children to be evacuated to Wales during the Second World War; something he strongly opposed. However, the Urdd was founded by Ifan ab Owen Edwards, who fortunately wasn't that bad, and was knighted in recognition of his youth work. The fact that the National Eisteddfod is funded comes from the Eisteddfod Act of 1959, which allowed local authorities to, if they wished, fund the event. Indeed, the Eisteddfod had been making a debt until they finally came out of their bigoted, elitist shells and invited a few english speaking Welsh people in, and I think the last few years they've made a profit. If you were looking for an arts event to be attacked, wouldn't the Millenium Centre be a better choice? It's a bloated mess of a thing, that doesn't know what it is, and costs more money to run than the Eisteddfod.

    (Original post by Adorno)
    See, it wasn't a joke and I think you are patronising me to suggest it was. It was a serious point. The Anschluß really is not a relevant point at all. And if language were so fundamental, would Germany wish to join with the German-speaking Cantons of Switzerland, to Liechtenstein, to the German-speaking regions of Poland now? Do these areas consider themselves to be German in the sense of national consciousness??? Heck, you might make a case for the French Canadians, except they don't consider themselves French they consider themselves to be Quebecois or Acadian.
    A joke can also be a serious point. I wasn't patronising you, rather thinking you were being both serious and funny at once. I guess I think it is a relevant choice, and all that you've done is baffle me with a plethora of impressive facts suggesting the opposite, and dismissing my original point as 'not relevant at all'. And you tell me I'm being patronising. In saying that the Austrians would feel more French than German if they spoke French I wasn't suggesting that they'd feel affiliation with the young black men of the Parisian ghettos, the Quebec sepetarist groups, or the farmers of French Guinea. I was implying that they'd feel more French than German, which they probably would. Indeed, I'm sure most Austrians feel more German than French right now. Right? Just as, in speaking English, I feel more American than Chinese. In that (roundabout) way, language does play a part in national counsciousness. And if it doesn't play a part in everybody's national counsciousness, as in Wales, it doesn't make those it applies to wrong, elitist, snobby or pompous.

    (Original post by Adorno)
    To suggest that the Welsh language is a fundamental aspect of Welsh national consciousness is to disenfranchise anglophone Welsh people and is historical revisionism at its worst.
    As I mentioned just above, it doesn't have to apply to everyone - that's the beauty of national ideology; it's as colourful and varied as you want it to be. Indeed, that's why I'm not ranting about the unimportance of working class community spirit to some people in relation to national ideology - it doesn't apply to everyone for sure, but it might do to you.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Well I'm glad you ignored me talking about North-East Wales and decided to reel off the usual "oh it ain't alf hard being from North Wales" spiel. Is English a fundamental part of South Walian culture? No, because language is not a fundamental part of national identity in any circumstance. Speaking German, for example, doesn't make Austrians feel German!
    I'm not from North Wales.

    Whilst any person who identifies themselves as Welsh but doesn't speak Welsh is no less Welsh than any other, in the increasingly difficult describing the difference between two increasingly mixed peoples who live closely together on a small island, it's quite hard to ignore the fact that on the Welsh side of the border there are many people speaking a mother tongue which is unfamiliar to those on the English side. This isn't to be exclusive of those Welsh people who don't speak it, but conversely, it is exclusive to say that the language has no relation to national identity. It's especially daft to ignore language as part of national identity when it is usurped by generic and vague characteristics such as "community spirit".
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    (Original post by trachimbrod)
    By the way, how you could judge what is enough in these terms is beyond me, as you don't need these books for school study nor pastime indulgence and enjoyment. I don't read too many teenage fiction books, but I don't pass judgement on there being 'enough' of them in any given store - the fact I don't need the books would make my statement an uninformed one.
    Well, this is where it becomes unfortunate that you assume I don't read or speak Welsh: I do and as such I utilise welsh-medium materials for my research (as a PhD student). I don't, as a general rule, read things in Welsh because they aren't terribly interesting - to me at least - but the fact that I can and do read them if something catches my attention does provide me with an insight which your point implies I shouldn't have.

    The rest of your post I'll come to later...
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    (Original post by MSB)
    It's especially daft to ignore language as part of national identity when it is usurped by generic and vague characteristics such as "community spirit".
    Except, if you read Welsh historiography much of it is grounded in well-defined concepts such as "community" and not at all in linguistic terms. It's why - though I speak French and German - I don't feel myself to be either, nor, indeed, do I feel English or Scottish (despite ancestry from both nations).
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Well, this is where it becomes unfortunate that you assume I don't read or speak Welsh: I do and as such I utilise welsh-medium materials for my research (as a PhD student). I don't, as a general rule, read things in Welsh because they aren't terribly interesting - to me at least - but the fact that I can and do read them if something catches my attention does provide me with an insight which your point implies I shouldn't have.

    The rest of your post I'll come to later...
    Just a note on this: to what level do you speak Welsh? This is to ask, do you speak the language fluently, at home, in school, with friends. It seems innocuous, but seeing your argument would be quite interesting to learn. Also, I'd heartily recommend Wiliam Owen Roberts' Petrograd. I generally find a lot of welsh language literature to be too strongly written in either the western or northern dialects, and also a little too brief. Despite this, Petrograd is quite fun.
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    (Original post by trachimbrod)
    Just a note on this: to what level do you speak Welsh? This is to ask, do you speak the language fluently, at home, in school, with friends.
    Well, my parents are English and only a handful of my friends speak Welsh to any degree but if needs be I use it. And I'm a PhD student so I've not been near a school in 6 years. I tend to have to translate for my dad when he watches S4C for the rugby and things so whilst I'm not first language I'm competent enough.

    My problem is that everything is Northern Welsh and so the Welsh I know - the Southern dialect - is just completely washed over and forgotten and makes the Welsh language materials quite frustrating to use.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Well, my parents are English and only a handful of my friends speak Welsh to any degree but if needs be I use it. And I'm a PhD student so I've not been near a school in 6 years. I tend to have to translate for my dad when he watches S4C for the rugby and things so whilst I'm not first language I'm competent enough.

    My problem is that everything is Northern Welsh and so the Welsh I know - the Southern dialect - is just completely washed over and forgotten and makes the Welsh language materials quite frustrating to use.
    It depends what you watch, listen to or read really. There's a lot of North Walian dialect on Radio Cymru and in literature (T.Llew Jones, Emily Huws, Mihangel Morgan etc.). Despite this, the most popular shows on s4c - Con Pasionate, Pobl Y Cwm, Caerdydd - are in South or West Walian dialect. It's really quite bizzare the difference between both. When my mam remarried to a North Walian guy, it took ages for me to understand what he was saying all the time.
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    (Original post by trachimbrod)
    It depends what you watch, listen to or read really. There's a lot of North Walian dialect on Radio Cymru and in literature (T.Llew Jones, Emily Huws, Mihangel Morgan etc.). Despite this, the most popular shows on s4c - Con Pasionate, Pobl Y Cwm, Caerdydd - are in South or West Walian dialect. It's really quite bizzare the difference between both. When my mam remarried to a North Walian guy, it took ages for me to understand what he was saying all the time.
    Heh. This is all true. But in saying that I don't feel language makes a difference to national consciousness I'm trying to suggest that there are things which are common to both linguistic communities otherwise there would be no national consciousness, it'd merely be two minorities with delusions of grandeur. And, I mean, the divisions in Welshness are apparent amongst South Walian welsh speakers as well aren't they. A friend and I were having this discussion in the Cwps in Aber a month ago and we can chat away for ages with no bother. One of the locals interrupted us and I thought he was talking at me in Romulan or something.

    But the common elements are what people need to identify and language is most assuredly not a common element.
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    This is a somewhat interesting article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2...gething-labour

    "Welsh people are white Africans are Black !PERIOD you do not change history and the face of people with lies and deciet"

    And Americans and Australians are brown
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    Re the reference to the Butchers Arms Llandaff where tis thread started:

    In 1962 after an international at Cardiff Arms, we undergrads at Aberystwyth visited this establishment for a small libation (we should have gone to the Black Lion) before returning to the wilds of Aberteifi. I was told that they did not serve pints and on asking for 8 halves we were asked to leave. The landlord was supported by a pack of suedo English types with no backbone.

    What a to do! No 'hwyl' just a very parochial pub trying to be something else - all cravats and flat hats. Welshness is in the eye of the beholder.


    By the way the lovely cafe, which sold great milkshakes, at the top of Llandaff is now a Chinese restaurant. Makes you wonder dunnit.
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    For me it's simple. If there is no law saying your welsh,English or Scottish it must be what ever you feel at heart.
 
 
 
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