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Author: Indy Mam

How to conserve Welsh language habitat

How to conserve Welsh language habitat If promoting the Welsh language is like nature conservation, which I believe it is, then the current approach strikes me as being like a very well intentioned captive breeding program. The Welsh Government will tell you that they have a plan to promote and protect the Welsh language (indeed to reach 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050), but I think it’s too important a job to leave up to them, and in any case, I spy some flaws in their plan. The current strategy relies heavily on large numbers of Welsh speakers raised in...

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I don’t blame you, 2016…

What will we do in 2017 to build a better future? What will that look like in Wales, and how can we build the foundations of an independent Nation that starts with better building blocks than the ones we have now? What should we include, and what should we leave behind? What can we learn from recent history so that we do not make the same mistakes? All told, 2016 hasn’t been great. If you strung together end-to-end all the words written, blogged, vlogged and tweeted this week about the reasons why 2016 stank, that chain of words would probably stretch...

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The dog ate Corbyn’s Wales homework…

We need to re-tune our political antennae in Wales.  Our sense of what is relevant is skewed by a London-centric media that conflates English politics with UK politics. It fools us into believing that the UK parties have more to say about Wales than they actually do.   Where is the debate about Wales and what our future looks like, what it could be like if we step up and demand (or build) something better?  We are allowing the conversation we could be having to be drowned out by the noise coming from over the border. This blog is sort of my first commission.  Not in a ‘being on commission‘ sense (although feel free to send a cheque) but in so much as this topic has come up in conversation a few times recently in the context of the May 2017 local election, and several people in the last week have said ‘you should blog about that’. So I here I am. I guess that puts us in a kind of an ‘ideas on a postcard’ kind of a place, so you know what to do… I am coming to realise that whilst I don’t think of myself as particularly well informed about politics, it’s all relative.  I struggle with names for a start, so I just relentlessly get all those middle aged white men in grey suits mixed up....

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Be a habitat for the Welsh language…

People will tell you that learning Welsh will help you get a job, make new friends and teach you to roll your ‘rrrr’s. This is all true, but here are my top ten reasons you’ll be glad you learned Welsh. Reason Number 1 (rheswm rhif 1): learning Welsh is an act of rebellion If you learn Welsh, you are joining the ranks of people who for generations have taken action to reverse the injustice of the ‘Welsh Not’.  Banned from our Nation’s schools, from its courts and institutions, Welsh was systematically eradicated from communities and stolen from entire generations of families in many areas of Wales.  To learn Welsh is an act of defiance against those who would still keep our language down.  It’s a radical act.  Learn Welsh, be a rebel. Rheswm Rhif 2: you will be better informed about Wales. Now that I am in a position to consume news through the medium of Welsh, I realise that there is a considerable difference in quality and focus between English and Welsh language news in Wales.  The coverage of issues about Wales is more rigorous on Radio Cymru and S4C, and you don’t have to put up with stupid filler stories about Leonardo Dicaprio having lunch in Edinburgh cafes. If you are only consuming English medium news in Wales, then there’s a whole host of things you’ll miss out on,...

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Independence – heart or head?

I love Wales, and I love Welsh.  Is that the same thing? What is the connection between the future of the Welsh language and the future of Wales as a Nation? Since beginning to learn Welsh around 12 years ago, I have gradually fallen in love with this ancient, lyrical language.  Welsh is the language of descriptive place names (Llanrhaedr Ym Mochnant is my new favourite, but you no doubt have your own…).  It’s the language of singing in the pub, spontaneously, and everyone knowing the words.  It’s the language of love in our family (‘rwy’n dy garu di’ expresses something more to me than simply ‘I love you’).  It’s the language of feeling like you have come home, that you are connected with something significant that flows between you and your friends and your family, from the rivers and the soil of Wales and connects you to all of the generations of Welsh speakers that have gone before you. I never imagined that I could feel like this about a language and a culture that I had adopted – or that has adopted me.  But maybe in the midst of our obsession as a society with where people are from, we have overlooked something important.  It’s where we choose to be that matters. For me, Welsh is the language that transforms conversations.  I have ceased to be surprised by the sudden change of tempo in a...

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