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  Tags: Welsh
 Language Learning Forum : Collaborative writing Post Reply
25 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
g-bod
Diglot
Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5798 days ago

1485 posts - 2002 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 17 of 25
12 November 2011 at 6:09pm | IP Logged 
JamesBates wrote:
Please stop dodging my questions. Allow me to repeat:

"That's why I'd like you to enlighten me and show me what utility the Welsh language
possesses for others."


There are some jobs in Wales which are only available to bilingual people and many more where having Welsh would be considered a benefit for applicants. So from a purely economic personal perspective, if you live and work in Wales there is some utility in having a high ability in Welsh.
1 person has voted this message useful



JamesBates
Bilingual Triglot
Newbie
Pakistan
Joined 6006 days ago

27 posts - 28 votes
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Arabic (Written)
Studies: Persian, German

 
 Message 18 of 25
12 November 2011 at 6:26pm | IP Logged 
I see! Thank you.
I wonder why there are jobs in Wales that require the ability to communicate in Welsh,
given the fact that virtually the entire population of Wales is fluent in English.
Here in Pakistan the Punjabi language has the most number of native speakers by far: 48%
compared to just 8% for the national language, Urdu.
However, Punjabi is not a requirement for any jobs anywhere, not even in the province of
Punjab, which is the heartland of the Punjabi language. The reason is quite simple: the
new generation of Punjabis is fluent in Urdu and does not need services in Punjabi.
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Ceffyl Dwfr
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 4581 days ago

4 posts - 12 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, French, Welsh

 
 Message 19 of 25
12 November 2011 at 8:56pm | IP Logged 
Just to clarify: you're taking an example from a country thousands of miles away from
Wales, and from your own personal experiences with languages also quite different from
Welsh, and in a situation very different from Welsh, and you're applying them to the
situation of the Welsh language and still wondering why you can't see any utility in
learning Welsh?

I think if, even now, you still can't make allowances for cultural differences if nothing
else, then this is a fairly pointless conversation to be having.

Good luck in your other languages, though.
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JamesBates
Bilingual Triglot
Newbie
Pakistan
Joined 6006 days ago

27 posts - 28 votes
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Arabic (Written)
Studies: Persian, German

 
 Message 20 of 25
13 November 2011 at 2:54am | IP Logged 
You're right; let's not talk about my personal experiences where I live with languages
very different from Welsh. I think you would be in a far better position to explain the
utility of learning Welsh for others than I would, so please feel free to expound on it.

Edited by JamesBates on 15 November 2011 at 2:54pm

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JamesBates
Bilingual Triglot
Newbie
Pakistan
Joined 6006 days ago

27 posts - 28 votes
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Arabic (Written)
Studies: Persian, German

 
 Message 21 of 25
18 November 2011 at 5:45pm | IP Logged 
By the way, is your name Welsh? If so, may I ask how it is pronounced?
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Ceffyl Dwfr
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 4581 days ago

4 posts - 12 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, French, Welsh

 
 Message 22 of 25
18 November 2011 at 6:19pm | IP Logged 
It is, yeah. It means 'water horse', which is a creature in Welsh mythology (and in
other Celtic countries - in GĂ idhlig [Scottish Gaelic] it's called the Each Uisge, I
believe). In Welsh it's pronounced 'Cehfil Duhvuhr' - the 'uh' sound is the closest I
could get to the 'oo' sound in 'book'.

Anyway, briefly, just to put all this to bed: Welsh is a living language. More than
that, it is, in fact, a growing language. Whether its speakers also speak English or
whether they also speak Tamil is completely irrelevant. A language is a language. If
you want to learn a language that will be of use to you globally, if that's what you
class as being the utility of a language, then clearly Welsh is not the language for
you. I think we can all accept that and move on.

As to 'learning a language out of fascination', this is something, I hope, all of us
do. I think the reason I, and perhaps others, objected to your use of it is because in
your usage it took on negative connotations, as if Welsh were an invalid language
simply because it doesn't have enough first-language speakers (it should be pointed out
that languages like Swahili have a very small number of first-language speakers, and
yet have become the lingua franca throughout a great deal of Eastern Africa).

As regards the utility of Welsh to me, personally: it is very hard to actually put into
words. It is a part of where I live, and the UK as a whole, and learning the language
pulls you into a whole other world and a whole new set of people that you might
otherwise never have spoken to. The music, the folklore, the poetry (Welsh has unique
forms of poetry, with unique rhyming schemes that I couldn't even tell you the name of,
but hope to be able to some day), the heritage, the literature, the people...it's all
there. Just the sound of Welsh is beautiful to me. Welsh advocates aren't promoting
monoglottism in Welsh, they're happy to have both Welsh and English spoken in Wales,
making Welsh an 'intelligent area' within the European Union, and perhaps even
increasing job opportunities. Does that mean Welsh is useless? No, I don't think so.
But perhaps we're just looking at it from angles far too removed from one another.

I won't apologise for what I said, because I stand by it all, but I admit I was quite
aggressive. It is pretty frustrating to have something you're very passionate about
trampled upon by so many people so often. I hope, at least, you have got something from
this.
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JamesBates
Bilingual Triglot
Newbie
Pakistan
Joined 6006 days ago

27 posts - 28 votes
Speaks: English*, Hindi*, Arabic (Written)
Studies: Persian, German

 
 Message 23 of 25
18 November 2011 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
Yeah, Swahili, like Urdu, is a very useful language, because it gives access to great
numbers of people who would otherwise be accessible through only their mother tongues.
Imagine you wanted to climb the second-tallest mountain on earth
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2). You would have to learn either Chitrali, which is
the language of the region of Chitral, or Urdu, which is understood by the majority of
the population of Chitral.
Or say you wanted to visit the beautiful Hunza valley
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunza_Valley). You would have to learn the local
languages, namely Burushaski, Wakhi and Shina, or Urdu.
Or say you wanted to visit the historic Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, or Shalimar
Gardens. You would have to learn Punjabi or...you guessed it, Urdu.
The reason is quite simple: Urdu, despite being the mother tongue of no one in the
aforementioned areas, is widely understood, obviating the need to learn the local
languages. It must, however, be admitted that Urdu is of no use when it comes to
eavesdropping in these areas.

I know Wales is a beautiful place, but I fail to see why an English-speaking person who
wanted to visit or even relocate there would want to learn Welsh. Even a non-English
speaking immigrant to Wales would almost certainly choose to learn English, since
English gives access to all of the population of Wales (and a few other countries, I
might add), and ignore Welsh.

But it is true that knowing Welsh gives one access to jobs that require a knowledge of
it (though for the life of me I can't imagine why any job would require a knowledge of
Welsh).
1 person has voted this message useful



Ceffyl Dwfr
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 4581 days ago

4 posts - 12 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, French, Welsh

 
 Message 24 of 25
18 November 2011 at 7:39pm | IP Logged 
Obviously, English would be the smart choice, particularly if one was locating to Wales
without speaking English as a first language. That's very true, and clearly, as you've
pointed out, there are parallels to be drawn with Pakistan's situation. No-one is
denying that a unifying language is useful. I don't deny it, and I support a unifying
language in countries too (countries such as South Africa would probably work more
cohesively if one language were chosen as the main 'official' language, rather than
11...).

But it is entirely possible to support a unifying language without disparaging other
languages. It's not a choice of 'English or Welsh'. It's a choice of both. If you were
to move to Nefyn for example, in North-West Wales, speaking only English, yes, you
could get by. But you would always be an outsider while you made no effort to even try
learning the local language.

What I personally don't understand is how someone such as yourself, who speaks
and is studying quite a few languages, could have a problem with a distinct cultural
identity and language. Why is it that Welsh or Chitrali or Burushaski or whatever HAS
to be seen as a laborious and superfluous extra? Why can't you accept that they are a
part of a country's heritage and that alone could stand as a reason for their being
learnt and spoken? Seriously, I have said the same things so many times now, and so
have you. If you don't and never will accept that minority languages can have a place
in society too, then...why are we having this conversation? I can't rephrase myself any
more to make the same point. We speak English. We have that unifying language. We also
want to have our own distinct cultural language, which was here long before English
arrived - why is that a problem? Does the idea of not learning a language in order to
communicate with hundreds of millions of people seem that wrong to you that all
minorities languages cannot be supported?

I'm sure there are many people that support your point of view. I'm certain of it, in
fact, so why not share it with them? This is one of very few places where it won't
receive any support, and you know, I feel pretty stupid for putting in so much time to
such a fruitless endeavour.

Just finally: "eavesdropping". I don't like that word or its connotations. You're
cheapening all smaller languages and cultures by using it and giving a heavily
distorted view of what people actually use minority languages for. Believe it or not,
we learn Welsh to speak it with one another, not to hunt down an elderly monoglot
speaker and listen in to what they have to say about the butcher. Imagine if it was
your language, your culture, or a culture you were deeply interested in, that was being
maligned by people simply because it's too much effort for them to learn (which no-one
is even asking you to do! Simply to live and let live). Or even from people to whom it
makes no difference either way, but feel it is imperative to steamroll their way over
for no good reason. How would YOU feel? Just think about that, just that, before you
post another message repeating the same prejudices.

If you don't understand it still, then fine. If you can't accept it either, then ok to
that too. But please, don't waste my time, or your time, any more. Share your views
with people who will agree.


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