Offering 0pen and Honest Professional Advice
Cymethias Iaeth - Welsh Language Society - hgunn.uk
Cymdethias Iaeth, the Welsh Language Society is a direct action pressure group that has posited itself as an authority on the Welsh language. They are constantly making demands upon how the living Welsh Language can be saved. The fact that they are a society of Welsh speakers does not make them an authority on the languages and how the Welsh language can be saved.
There is no evidence that Cymdethias are being open and honest with English native speakers in sharing the vision of what they really want and in discussing the real crisis that exists with the Welsh language. They appear to solely dedicated to campaigning for their members narrow minded interests.
There is evidence that they do not want Welsh language issues openly discussed in the media. Welsh language issues tend to be emotive. They tend to accuse those who say anything they disagree with as being English, anti-Welsh language or offensive.
Cymedethias Iaeth have been marketing the claim that it is Welsh language native speakers birth right to live their lives through the medium of Welsh, but Wales has always been a bilingual country. It is difficult to conceive that in the 21st Century in Wales that anyone can live educated, fulfilled lives unless they possess a fluent English language capability.
None of us have a choice of the language we acquire from birth, nor indeed the families that we are born into. Native languages come easy to learners, because they are all around us and we essential 'wake up' with them. We have to learn them to survive, live normal lives. We will not remember initially learning them.
It is very easy for people to demand what other people should do when they do not have to do it themselves. All native Welsh speakers have to do to speak Welsh is to open their mouths, but it will normally take about six years for a adult native English speakers to develop even a basic Welsh speaking capability, providing they are in a favourable learning situations.
Colin Miles in his Welsh Affairs paper claimed that he was taught Cymru Byw, 'pigeon' Welsh, and that he wanted to learn real Welsh. He concluded it was impossible for an adult to learn proper Welsh.
The hypocracy of Cymdethias Iaeth is that they demand that all their Welsh speaking members should learn through the medium of Welsh, their native language, but they are then demanding that all native English speaking children in Wales should learn through the medium of Welsh, which is not their native language.
Their demands necessitate that children will need to learn a new language, before they will be able to learn effectively through that language. There will be around a five years learning deficit for the average child before they will be able to perform like a native Welsh speaking child.
It will take much longer time for experienced English speaking teachers to develop a fluent Welsh speaking capability. It would probably take them 10,000 hours before they could comfortably and confidently teach through the medium of Welsh. Wales would lose many experienced teachers if Cymdethias Iaeth demands were implemented.
Are Cymdethias Iaeth aware that there are children in Welsh English medium schools struggling to read in English? Do they care about this?
There is evidence that Cymdethias Iaeth and its members are not in a battle to save the Welsh language, but rather they are engaging in war against native Welsh English speakers. They appear unconcerned about the consequences of what they demand. Many of the demands that they and their members make, appear ill-conceived and ill-though out.
Do Cymdethias Really want to Save the Welsh Language?
There are only a proportion of fluent Welsh speakers who speak fluent proper Welsh in Wales. Newcombe (2009) referred to the fact that many Welsh speakers speak slang. The Beaufort Report claimed that many Welsh speakers were apprehensive about speaking Welsh, because of a fear of getting it wrong.
It must be accepted that there is ambiguity of what is meant by being a Welsh speaker in Wales.
It was reported in Media Wales in 2015 :-
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has attracted criticism from language campaigners by telling Welsh speakers they need to be “more tolerant and supportive” towards those learning the language.
In a speech in Cardiff, the Conservative minister will outline his belief that perceptions of elitism are attached to the language.
Sadly, there are far too many Welsh speakers, particularly a younger generation who have studied Welsh to the age of 16 at school, who still don’t see themselves as Welsh speakers, or do not have the confidence to use the language beyond the classroom or the school yard.”
He added: “No government can simply legislate life into a language.
“I do not want to see a regime of regulating the language that neglects efforts to promote its usage.
“ Our aim must be to encourage the language organically, particularly at a grassroots level, and for it to take root as a thriving, living, community language.
“The disappointing 2011 census figures confirm the scale of this challenge.”
Cymdethias Iaeth response to this statement was to state that Alun Cairns should speak more Welsh. This raises the concern whether Cymdethias Iaeth really want more people to speak Welsh or are simply dedicated to serving the 'elite' narrow minded interest of native fluent proper Welsh language speakers.
Newcombe (2009) contended that many Welsh speaking children learning through the medium of Welsh speak English in the school yard and home? Alun Cairns does not appear to have known this.
A degree in common sense should surely not be needed to recognise that encouraging young Welsh speakers in Wales to open their mouths and actively use the language is needed to keep the Welsh language living. The University of Galway have contended in a researched report that the Irish Gaelic language will become a language of the school in ten years time. Is this what Cymdethias really want?
An even greater concern is why are Cymdethias are openly positing a dream of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050, but they do not appear to be interested in increasing, encouraging young Welsh speakers to actively use the Welsh language more in 2015!
There is little purpose for learners learning the Welsh language unless they will become able to become sufficiently confident to use it and that there are speakers using the Welsh language they can speak to. It must be accepted that Cymdethias did suggest one Welsh speaker should use more Welsh, Alun Cairnes!
It appears hypocritical for Cymdethias Iaeth and its members to then demand that English speaking adults and children should learn and develop Welsh language fluency, which will take many years to achieve, but they refrained from supporting an issue that could have had an immediate impact upon increasing the active use of the Welsh language in Wales.
Alun Cairns used the words 'Welsh learner'. Newcombe (2009) explained that most Welsh speakers insist on switching to English when they attempt to speak to them in Welsh and learners must fight to get them to speak Welsh to them.
My own experience of learning Welsh as an adult with a cohort of other learners is that each learner had their own personal reasons for attempting to learn Welsh. None chose to learn it to save the living Welsh language. I am not convinced that many learners chose to learn it with the ambition of using it as their first language in the future.
It would be virtually impossible for them to develop fluent proper Welsh unless they live in Welsh speaking families.
Dylan Wiliam (2011) contended that despite all the attempted governments reforms to improve educational standards that little has changed. This reflects the fact that learning is something that children can only undertake for themselves thorough their being presented with appropriately presented learning experiences.
Government cannot demand what languages people learn to speak. Even if children are educated through the medium of Welsh, they will not necessarily chose to use it in their everyday lives. Newcombe claims that many children use Welsh medium learners speak English in the school yard and in their homes.
The fact that a claimed crisis exists in the Welsh language illustrates that the investment and initiatives to save the Welsh language over several decades have failed.
What Does Cymdethias Really Want?
Shah (2014), who cannot be accused of having an interest in the Irish language, contended that demanding that learners should learn a new language and be educated through it, avoids the key issues of language survival. He did not refer to a cognitive perspective in his paper.
George Yule (2017), who has taught linguistics at the Universities of Edinburgh, Hawai's, Louisiana State and Minnesota. He is the author of a, "Study of Language " (1996-2017), which is university language course text book, which contended that :-
"For much of its history Canada was an English speaking country, with French speaking minority group. In this form of bilingualism, a member in the minority group grows up in one linguistic community, primarily speaking one language, such as Welsh in Wales, Gaelic in Scotland or Spanish in the United States, but learns another language, such as English, in order to take part in the larger part, the dominant, linguisitic community".
"Indeed, many members linguistic minorities can live their whole lives without ever seeing their native language appearing in the public domain. Sometimes political activism can change that. It was only after English notices and signs were frequently defaced or replaced by scribbled Welsh versions that bilingual (English - Welsh) road sign came into widespread use in Wales."
However offensive Cymdethias Iaeth and it members may view this academics professional opinion, Welsh is rarely heard on the streets of Wales. The opportunity of people to speak Welsh and the extent that Welsh used across Wales is jagged.
The harsh reality is the greatest threat to the future of the Welsh language is the fact that English is a super virus, so much more can done with it, but also because Welsh is a fragmented language. The Irish Language Commissioner has had the conviction to admit this. In Ireland they have created a new unified standard new Irish language.
Welsh is the language of the home and village community, and certain workplaces. Newcombe (2009) refers to a Welsh speaker, learner who could socialise with friends speaking Welsh in one dialect, but had difficulty in speaking to his wife. who spoke another.
The fundamental problem, as Newcombe (2009) recognised is that the Welsh language dies in the towns and cities of Wales. They have fluid populations and there are insufficient Welsh speakers who speak the Welsh language in them. The traditional Welsh community jobs have diminished greatly.
Baker (2011), who is world authority on bilingualism, contended that there tends to be bias in bilingual research.
All language including English are not set in time, they are constantly changing and modelled by people using them. Robson (2017) contended that it is not certain that English will remain a world language by the end of the millennium.
Cymdethias Iaeth was created in 1962 to address the decline of the Welsh language. This was in a world of trolley buses, steam trains, black and white televisions, public telephone boxes and coal fires. There were local Welsh grocers, butchers and hardware shops in Welsh villages. Most people had holidays in the United Kingdom.
It is reasonable to suggest that there were genuine grievances about the Welsh language at that time. A vast amount of public money has been devoted to supporting the Welsh language over many decades since, but the numbers of fluent proper Welsh speakers in Wales appears to have been relatively stable.
There is no convincing evidence to use Dr. Margaret Newcombe (2009) words that 'injecting vast amounts of public money' in the Welsh language will save it.
If someone in 1963 took a ride in Dr. Who's Tardis to visit modern Cardiff he, she would probably have believed they were on an alien planet. They would probably have been apprehensive about the devices that people carry around with them and hold to their ears from which a wealth of information can be obtained from them in seconds
Newcombe (2009) refers to a source in Patagonia, Argentina, where Welsh is spoken, stating that the generation who spoke Welsh as their mother tongue is dying out there. The Welsh speaking environments that the older generation were brought up in Wales have died out in most parts of Wales.
Most young children are not going to ban themselves from the huge opportunities that arise through using the English language just because they speak Welsh. Children throughout the world follow English football, for instance. There is no evidence this will change however offensive Cymdethias Iaeth may view this opinion.
There are a myriad of interests that children can access in English on the web and libraries of books.
There is evidence that Cymdethias Iaeth dream is for Wales to become an monolingual Welsh speaking country, not a bilingual one. Ffred Francis, a Cymedethias Iaeth member, claims that he wants Welsh to become a language of commerce in Wales. This is an impossible, delusional dream.
All Cymdethias Iaeth bleat about is wanting native English speakers to speak Welsh and what they want. There is no evidence they and their member have ever read the literature. They do not have the openess and honesty to present their vision, explain what they really want
Baker (2011) contended that there was a time when it was considered that if very young children learn two languages, each would interfere with each other, which is not the case. But there remains a public notion that children are simply inaminate objects which learning can be poured into and it will remain in them for the rest of their lives.
Cymdethias Iaeth and its members. whilst claiming to be an authority on the Welsh language, have developed a secret garden attitude towards the Welsh language by keeping discrete the fundamental problems that exist with the Welsh language, the state of the Welsh language; its diversity; how long it takes to learn Welsh for children and adults, and the high adult discontinuity learning rates. This was all outlined in Newcombe's (2009) book if they had the conviction to read it.
Newcombe (2009) contended that Welsh language protesters should spend more time supporting new Welsh learners to converse in Welsh, but they tend to leave that to the authorities. She proposes Welsh speakers should wear badges so Welsh speakers can chose to speak to them. Perhaps the Welsh speakers should be wearing the badges!!
The fundamental problem is that Cymdethias Iaeth and its members fail to understand that we are living in the 21st Century, not the 1960s. There is a developing understanding how plastic the human brain is. Irrespective how loudly Cymdethias Iaeth shout and how much public money they demand, the future of the living Welsh language as everything else on planet earth will be dictated by science.
Demanding that we should have bilingual road signs in one thing. Demanding that Welsh speakers should have exclusive opportunities to have Welsh speaking employment is another, but demanding that all children should be taught through the medium of Welsh is a crime against humanity.
Research in the United States has concluded that children are able to read, but most are not able to learn through reading. A degree of common sense should surely not be needed to recognise that children, who are struggling to read and spell in English, develop their native language skills currently, will be unable to improve them if they are taught through the medium of Welsh. How they are to effectively learn through a new language is a complete mystery?
There is no convincing evidence that Cymdethias Iaeth, which is a direct action pressure group (Wikepedia), has had the conviction to recruit or developed expertise to be enable them to support what they assert. They appear to possess a very insular. narrow minded prejudiced view in what they assert. Their horizons do not appear to rise above demands of fluent Welsh speakers.
The vast majority of native English speakers view the Welsh language as part of our country's national identity and value it, as integral part of our countries culture. Many native English speakers, who have tried to learn Welsh and failed, have made a greater contribution to the future of the We;h language, than those Welsh speakers, who are bleating that they should learnt it.
Most English and Welsh speakers in Wales, the silent majority, want to get on with the normal lives and interact with each other.
There is mutual respect for each other.
Most parents have high expectations for their children's education.
They want what is in the best learning interests of their children
Professional teacher's certainly do.
Wales is more than a language, it is a people. The Welsh language is not the intellectual property right of those who speak it.
Professor John Sweller - Educational Psychologist (2017) – Talks to Tes – 8th September
The current trend to teach
students subject content in a foreign language is problematic. Learning a
foreign language and subject content
simultaneously should be avoided.
p.170 Alongside this, a distinction developed between
surface fluency and the more evolved language skills required to benefit from
the education process (Cummins, 1984a.) ·This was partly a reaction against
Oller (1979) who claimed that language proficiency differences between
individuals were located in just one dimension (see Chapter 1). Cummins (1979)
found that everyday conversational language could be learnt in two years while
more complex language abilities needed to cope with the curriculum could take
five to seven or more years to develop. In California, Hakuta et al (2010)
found that English oral proficiency takes three to five years to develop, while
academic English) proficiency can take four to seven years. This makes calls
for English immersion schooling for immigrants (see Chapters 9 to 13), children are expected to acquire English in just
one Year, unrealistic and damaging.
Baker(2011) Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.
H.G. The above appears primarily refers to children learning majority languages. What is referred to is an average.
Quotes Margaret Newcombe Cardiff School of Welsh 2009.
Thousands of people each Year set out to learn Welsh through. Evening classes, week-long courses WLPAN and others sessions, but a large proportion drop out – and for many the cballenge is going out from the classroom it in the community and using the language in shops, schools, homes, churches and pubs.
One of the main hindrances for learners who have attended Welsh classes for some time and have a good grounding in the language is lack of opportunity to use Welsh in the community. Many complain that it is difficult to persuade first Language speakers to bold a conversation in Welsh.
to me that people she already knows are very helpful but casual acquaintance use
‘regional slang’, which she finds very difficult.
While course books are produced in north- and south-Walian versions, it is not possible to include all dialectal variations or slang, indeed would it be beneficial to learners. WLPAN intensive courses vary considerably in the north, south and west of Wales. but it does not contain do not cover all the dialect versions of the patterns learnt sounds and sentence.
Walter thinks that learners are less fearful of trying to use Welsh in Patagonia than they are in Wales. However, as happens in many school, children are educated in Welsh and then use their first language, Spanish, when playing with other children .in the yard and at home.
Reid 2017 - Dyselexia
Focusing on the Welsh language. Forbes and Powell (2000) describe some of the language issues encountered when developing literacy assessment measures for a population, such as that in parts of Wales, who are exposed to two different languages at levels that may vary widely both within and between home and school. They suggest, therefore, that test materials for young students should not contain items that discriminate against some children because of their unfamiliarity with the language forms that are more prevalent in other parts of Wales.
This is how Cymdethias Iaeth respond to English written letters:-
If Cymdethias would like to answer the concerns that they rasised in Engiish, so the majority of the population can read it, it will be published in some form.