Saturday, 7 September 2013

Another analysis of Welsh that's ends up as a Anti-Nat diatribe.

Hat Tip to Jaxxland at Inside out  for pointing me to this article  for pointing me to  this artiicle by Evan Harris on the decline of the Welsh language

But having read it I think once again a opportunity to argue that Welsh Language policy has failed in agenda to promote an Anti-Nationalist diatribe.

Harris makes an argument that Welsh Medium Education does not produce the advantages many of its supporters  claim and that I accept can always be open for debate .

But all you really have to do is read Harris's last two paragraphs to see where he's getting at.

We are now twenty four years later; twenty four years of policy and investment in the language. Plus ça change. Use of the language has increased and has perhaps peaked, but benefits to those who have learnt the language have not followed its growth. Rhetorically, the Welsh people have been invited to join the Welsh Class, but few have achieved that social movement. The economic benefits of bilingualism are limited, and limited to this already advantaged group of people. So too the prestige of speaking Welsh and the aspiration to speak it, but few are fluent and even fewer use it in a way that the Welsh Class can. Welsh language education does not, and perhaps will not, give students access to the benefits the Welsh Class enjoys – what gives students access to these benefits is class movement, something the Welsh education system and economy facilitates for few.
Let’s be clear, for intrinsic reasons, I am not advocating the death of the Welsh language. When a language dies a history and culture goes with it, a unique human subjectivity is lost. But if nationalism adopts instrumental rhetoric then it must be repudiated – the literature shows that the language and culture is not instrumentally beneficial to learners. What reasons remain for its policy support are status and identity. But speaking Welsh does not, should not, connote a more prestigious or authentic ‘Welsh identity’. The idea that a middle-class bilingual from Gwynedd or Cardiff Bay is more authentically ‘Welsh’ than a working-class anglophone from Merthyr is self-evidently repugnant. Those who will claim this is not the Welsh nationalist rhetoric are naïve - this is the rhetoric used in schools, in political chambers, is implicit in policy documents and is evident in people’s reported desire to use the language so as to feel more ‘Welsh’.
The preservation of the language and its minority culture may not be mutually exclusive with an egalitarian, social politics, but currently contributes very little or nothing to the lives of an economically and educationally disadvantaged majority. Patriots like to think of Wales as a nation of story and song; these are not attributes that create good policy. The country is in a mire, the elites tell tales and point at dragon shadows in the mud.
Once again an examination of the Welsh Medium Education ends up as claim that there  is a Welsh Speaking "Nationalist" elite Promoting the  language to enhance their own status.

Where if ever has Harris seen the claim that a.....

middle-class bilingual from Gwynedd or Cardiff Bay is more authentically ‘Welsh’ than a working-class anglophone from Merthyr

I have never heard the claim from supporters of a bilingual Wales and yet I've heard it many times from those who do not.

There is a need for a fair and balanced and investigation here and one that is not afraid to be critical of Welsh Medium Education particularly  in the lack of use of Welsh by some pupils after they left School but it should not be as part of agenda to once again claim that its some kind of Nationalist Plot  

I have never heard  of Evan Harris before and can't find any further details about him

Harris starts his article by claiming that when challenged by his housemate t say something in Welsh. He rried to say ‘I’m in my flat, frying vegetables’ but couldn’t think of the word for vegetables, or flat

He doesn't tell us where this was  or how long he has been living there . Is it in Wales?.

Perhaps a more biographical details are needed from the Author in order to see where he coming from .I think its clear where he's going.


  1. Whoever he is, he's very fond of the word "instrumental". What on earth is instrumental rhetoric? And when is something instrumentally beneficial? He also writes about instrumental myths in the full piece.

    He says he is not comfortable speaking Welsh, and perhaps someone ought to take him aside and point out that his written English isn't up to much either.

  2. He, as do the many of his ilk, ignores the working class welsh speakers of Llangefni, Caernarfon, Bala, Blaenau Ffestiniog etc. it's in his interests argument wise to pretend that these peopl do not exist. Wanker

  3. What an awful article. Ill-informed and ill-thought out cliched rubbish it was. Is Evan Harris the former Lib Dem MP of the same name I wonder??

  4. Meic. No that Evan Harris has no Welsh connection and he's a decent guy anway