Our columnist Boyd Clack says Welsh is vital for all who live in Wales.
Today, a person passing in the street wished me ‘Nadolig Llawen’, and without hesitation I replied ‘NADOLIG LLAWEN I CHI.’
This was the first time in my life I have spoken the ‘i chi’ bit without any thought. I have done two films in Welsh and one or two tiny telly things by learning the dialogue as if it was a foreign language, but this was different.
It flowed perfectly naturally, without thought and it filled me with pride and joy. There is a tendency among non-Welsh speakers to decry OUR language (yes, it is ‘ours’) based, especially in my business, on the tiny minority wielding a disproportionate power in controlling the fate of both Welsh-speakers and non-Welsh speakers, in acting and writing.
This is not helped by what we see as a certain proportion of that minority affecting a smug contempt for those who don’t speak Welsh. This is annoying since it reduces the quality of work and creates a Welsh-speaking ‘elite’, some of whom are guilty of that smugness I alluded to.
I must point out that this is far from all of them.
Indeed I have many Welsh-speaking friends in the business who are lovely, kind and modest people with great talent.
The thing that annoys the non-Welsh speaking people like me, is not that Welsh-speakers get all the work in Welsh speaking TV (that is obviously just the way it must be) but that the very same people often dominate the English-speaking part of the business too, having created a network of contacts in both camps.
Anyway, you can’t say what I have just said without the cry of “he’s just jealous!” going up, but I assure you I am jealous of no-one – no-one at all for any reason whatsoever. I’m just describing a situation objectively.
THE WELSH LANGUAGE IS BEAUTIFUL!!
It is the language of our history, of our lakes and rivers, our misty mountains and our poets. It is a language that lends itself perfectly to love. It has a unique music. There are no sexual swearwords in Welsh.
Our language is a delicate thing that needs love and support to survive, and hopefully thrive, in the next century. I would ask those of you with a bias against the language based on the dislike of the small number of those who abuse it for the sake of their egos, careers and bank balances, to think again.
They are not the language, no matter how they like to think they are.
WE are the language, every one of us who loves our country and our people. We weren’t brought up speaking it, but that makes us no less its guardians.
It makes us more so if anything because we are living examples of the decline in its use.
Love to you all.
Nadolig llawen i chi!