I don`t know how my letter, which was intended for the Western Mail as a
response to a previous letter (and appeared there yesterday) somehow got
diverted to the AWWE address, However I found yours and Shan`s responses
very illuminating. For the record, I`m half Welsh, half English, a Welsh
learner,and a free-lance writer. I`m just completing a life and times of
Dic Penderyn and was involved in the recent petition to Parliament for a
pardon, but I have also been researching some aspects of the Owain
Glyndwr Rising. For what it`s worth in this context one relative was
transported to Australia for being involved in the agricultural riots c.
1830, and my grandfather was a shop steward. My grandchildren are
trilingual - Malay, Cantonese and English. I find it very sad that there
seems to be an ever-increasing reliance on stereotypes on all sides.
Unfortunately the `teaching` of history as it happens now only
reinforces such narrow approaches and though the complaints of the
numerous special interest groups are understandable, they don`t help us
to realise how much we have in common.
Of course those English people who have taken the trouble to learn
something about Wales and its heritage have often been the strongest
defenders of its culture - I`m thinking of friends like Tony Conran and
Raymond Garlick, who worked so hard to build the link. But there are,
sadly also those who echo the words of Parliament in 1400 - `What care
for these barefoot buffoons ?`
(Incidentally, wasn`t James Bond Scottish ?)
All the best,
On 26/10/2017 20:23, Daryl Perrins wrote:
> Dear Shan,
> I'm afraid I have to disagree.
> This opinion seems to me based on a string of narrow stereotypes - 'the
> English are known as being uncouth simpletons in international circles'
> - really then why is Ian Fleming's character James Bond ('shaken not
> stirred') such a success with people worldwide ? Or why is Downtown
> Abbey such a global hit for example ? Or are you just thinking of the
> unloved English working class- letting their hair down at the Costa's ?
> Mooning at the locals on their way to church ?Of course we Welsh never
> act in this way and are seen as the intellectual elite are we not ?
> Sorry where is this imaginary place ?
> You lost me on the stuff on 'data' I'm afraid it all sounded a bit
> science fiction for me.And the stuff about Wales salvaging its heritage
> in 'the most ruthless colonial power in modern history' - have you seen
> whats going on in Spain recently where the constitution won't recognise
> referendums. And let's not even start with Russia and the Crimea/Eastern
> Ukraine.The Empire you speak of (which Wales played a central role in
> running, fueling and defending - see 'Zulu') belongs to the time before
> the sort of democracy we have now - can't we leave it there in the past
> where it belongs and stop relying on tales of historical conquest for
> narratives of heroes and villain where we 'the plucky Welsh' always end
> up sitting upstairs with the angels. The truth is far more opaque- I
> have read about the Welsh Princes and the way in which they slaughtered
> each other for power for example- just as everybody else did in the
> time of feudalism- so do you think for example if Wales had the same
> position in the medieval world as England and England was where Wales is
> then our ancestors would not have crushed the English language and
> culture with gusto and gone onto create a Cymric Empire (which
> ironically enough would have also been a British (Brythonic) Empire).
> What this potted history might suggest is that its nothing personal- its
> history and like nature its red in tooth and claw and has been generated
> by people with a lot to lose and a lot to gain from whatever nation.
> What they all have in common is that they are all the ruling class- 'the
> people' wherever they hail from, usually end up on the wrong side of
> history. Luckily we (here I mean the working class of the UK to which I
> am for good or ill and despite current fashion a lifetime member) have
> through protest and agitation over many hundreds of years insisted on
> the recognition of our own history and put 'nature' (or the natural
> political order) in check . And the radical Welsh in the form of the
> Chartist's and Dic Penderyn (The Merthyr Rising) and later 'The Fed' and
> also the slate workers of North Wales and their record breaking lockouts
> for example were at the forefront of this change and they did this for
> all the working people on our our little Island- not just the ones who
> spoke the same language as them.
> What we need perhaps in our two language nation where Welsh is only
> spoken by around 20% is more people looking to a future which recognises
> all its citizens (including the many born in England that you stereotype
> below who now make up around the same number in our population as Welsh
> speakers) whatever language they do or perhaps more importantly given
> this discussion don't speak.
> Thanks for reading / Diolch yn fawr iawn
> Daryl Perrins
> Senior Lecturer in Film Studies/Uwch Ddarlithydd mewn Astudiaethau Ffilm
> Cardiff Campus/ Campws Caerdydd
> University of South Wales/ Prifysgol De Cymru
> *From:* Welsh writing in English and Welsh Studies
> [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Shan Morgain
> [[log in to unmask]]
> *Sent:* 25 October 2017 14:35
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: Language
> Dear Sally Jones,
> c/o WWEWS
> bilingual training as children or later, is certainly a treasure.
> Research has proven that switching between languages forces a more
> intuitive and more analytic way of conceptualising.
> I am sure there are some who might like it to be possible for at least
> some Welsh people to never use English, for some children at least to
> grow up monolingual Welsh.
> That would lose the Welsh treasure, a bilingual country which trains its
> citizens to use their brains more comprehensively.
> The well known English habit of refusing to learn another language is
> widespread. There is a major justification in that English is the
> language of international technology, science and largely, business. But
> that is only one justification. The criticisms are just as powerful.
> The English (and I speak from mixed heritage) are known for being
> uncouth, simpletons, in international circles. They can hardly be
> otherwise when they miss so much of what is going on. They miss both
> data in terms of explicit content, and also the implicit, nuances of
> culture. As above the English miss out on a major source of sheer brain
> power. They also lack manners because they overlook cultural differences.
> The root reason for English using English is entirely political, not
> just 'an accident of history' that provides a technological, scientific
> and business world using English. The supposed 'accident' is an Empire,
> one which took over others' territories and resources, crushed their
> cultures, and imposed English law with English language. It has been a
> marker of upper status to be able to insist that others speak the
> hegemonic language.
> It is therefore not surprising, and further, unavoidable, that Welsh
> defenders of Welsh must engage with politics. A certain amount of that
> will not be pretty but we can take comfort from the old adage about
> making omelettes.
> Wales has a treasure in its remarkable language, with its outstanding
> literatures which pioneered so much in the mediaeval period, and led the
> way in cultural renaissance out of colonial suppression. But its partner
> treasure is its bilingual modern society, combining native and incomer,
> old and new, two different language paradigms that fertilise
> intelligence when held in one person.
> Bilingual societies are always complex and precious. Most are immigrant,
> not ancetral indigenous. This one, in salvaging and rebuilding its
> native heritage right in the heart of the most ruthless colonial power
> in modern history, is an extraordinary phenomenon. It reflects the
> striking pragmatism, determination, ingenious politics and sheer grace,
> of this rare nation.
> *Shan Morgain*
> *Research site <www.mabinogistudy.com> <http://www.mabinogistudy.com>*
> Incl. 'The Mabinogi Bibliography' annotated, searchable; 1,800 entries.
> *NLW nominated to the UK Web Archive*
> as 'an important part of Wales documentary heritage'(2017)
> *Adran y Cymraeg, Swansea University*
> *, Wales*.
> *Academia* <https://swansea.academia.edu/ShanMorgain>
> ASWWE (Association for Welsh Writing in English)
> GENCAS (Centre for Research into Gender and Culture)
> MEMO (Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Research)
> RIAH (Research Institute for Arts and Humanities
> (Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship)
> SURF (Swansea University Research Forum)
> Tel. 01633 853 693 Casnewydd/ Newport.