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The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

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Frank

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The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 10:17 am

I think there is a relevant discussion here. There have been two articles in The Graun about language use in Welsh Schools started by this article. It seems a school in Carmarthenshire is switching from being bilingual to Welsh-only.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/20/storm-welsh-only-schools-minority-language#comment-100687178

There followed this article, a kind of right of reply, in defence of Welsh. I personally think parents should have the choice of Welsh medium or English medium but I've grave concerns about English speaking pupils attending Welsh medium schools. And also a sense and it is only that, that language preservation is a higher priority than academic attainment.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/sad-english-parents-afraid-children-taught-welsh?CMP=share_btn_tw
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daearegwr

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 10:51 am

Frank wrote:I think there is a relevant discussion here. There have been two articles in The Graun about language use in Welsh Schools started by this article. It seems a school in Carmarthenshire is switching from being bilingual to Welsh-only.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/20/storm-welsh-only-schools-minority-language#comment-100687178

There followed this article, a kind of right of reply, in defence of Welsh. I personally think parents should have the choice of Welsh medium or English medium but I've grave concerns about English speaking pupils attending Welsh medium schools. And also a sense and it is only that, that language preservation is a higher priority than academic attainment.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/sad-english-parents-afraid-children-taught-welsh?CMP=share_btn_tw


This has been fairly poorly represented in the media. The particular school is Llangennech is not moving to being 'Welsh-only', it's being changed from a dual stream (English-medium & Welsh-medium stream to Welsh-medium) due to the increasing demand in the local area for Welsh-medium education. Whilst pupils are for the most part taught in Welsh in a Welsh-medium school, they still learn to read, write and speak in English. And given we live in the UK it's laughable to think (as some of the comments on those articles contend) that pupils would leave education being unable to speak English, it's almost all they hear outside of school via the media, TV, music etc.

Following the change it means Llangennech will have two local primary schools - Llangennech Primary School (Welsh medium) and Bryn Primary School (English medium). So parents have a choice.

Out of interest, why do you have grave concerns about English speaking pupils attending Welsh medium schools? Aren't children capable of picking up more than one language?
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RandomComment

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 11:01 am

I have a few friends who went to Welsh-medium education in Pontypridd. I don't think they really use it in their day-to-day lives at all. I can well believe the academic who says that Welsh-medium education may be a necessary but is far from a sufficient condition for proper language survival. I mean where Welsh is a language of communities and popular culture, not just something tick they can speak on a census form and never really use and actually lose ability in as they age (like Irish).

That said I'm not that keen on the sorts of policies that are used to try to maintain it as a community / adult use language. Things like making Welsh language impacts part of planning regimes; or requirements for Welsh language proficiency in jobs that do not really require it.

In terms of education, the evidence is bilingualism is good for cognitive development. If thats true why not make education more truly bilingual? (or better yet, trilingual, with some foreign language learning). Get kids reading stuff in English and having to write about stuff in Welsh, or vice versa. And if there are children for whom that is genuinely too intellectually demanding, provide English-medium education (because that is what will be most important if they can only really manage one language).
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daearegwr

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 11:12 am

And as this forum is mainly about goings on in Cardiff here is Cardiff Council's Welsh in education strategic plan https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/Your-Cou ... 20Plan.pdf
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Kyle

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 1:58 pm

RandomComment wrote:I have a few friends who went to Welsh-medium education in Pontypridd. I don't think they really use it in their day-to-day lives at all. I can well believe the academic who says that Welsh-medium education may be a necessary but is far from a sufficient condition for proper language survival. I mean where Welsh is a language of communities and popular culture, not just something tick they can speak on a census form and never really use and actually lose ability in as they age (like Irish).

That said I'm not that keen on the sorts of policies that are used to try to maintain it as a community / adult use language. Things like making Welsh language impacts part of planning regimes; or requirements for Welsh language proficiency in jobs that do not really require it.

In terms of education, the evidence is bilingualism is good for cognitive development. If thats true why not make education more truly bilingual? (or better yet, trilingual, with some foreign language learning). Get kids reading stuff in English and having to write about stuff in Welsh, or vice versa. And if there are children for whom that is genuinely too intellectually demanding, provide English-medium education (because that is what will be most important if they can only really manage one language).


Spot on. What I hate is the way the language is dividing us. They way it's being pushed and certainly the way we were punished in school for speaking English does nothing to help the language being used daily. There has to be a better way to ensure it's survival and for it to flourish.
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Cen

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 4:35 pm

Actual language development instead of just taking English words and changing the spelling would help. I personally can't take Welsh seriously when a lot of it is basically spoken in English with a few u's changed to w's. It makes it seem like Welsh is an ancient language that won't develop with the times.
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daearegwr

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 4:50 pm

Cen wrote:Actual language development instead of just taking English words and changing the spelling would help. I personally can't take Welsh seriously when a lot of it is basically spoken in English with a few u's changed to w's. It makes it seem like Welsh is an ancient language that won't develop with the times.


Because English doesn't borrow words from lots of other languages (and change the spelling slightly? :roll:

But to be more serious, comments like this show the lack of understanding of the Welsh language that is fairly prevalent. The Welsh language has its own words for almost everything, and that includes modern technological and scientific terms. Yes some of those will be broadly similar to the ones in English, but other aren't. And no 'popty ping' isn't a Welsh word for microwave, despite what WalesOnline would have you belief. :D
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Cen

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 5:04 pm

Coming from a technological and scientific background, no, Welsh does not have its own words for almost everything. Look at a Welsh periodic table and tell me it isn't lazily translated. I'm all for the Welsh language. I just think it will be taken more seriously if its modern words aren't just ripped straight from another language - in most cases English. And you can't deny it happens more than most other modern languages. It isn't a lack of understanding, it's an observation that many people make about the Welsh language.

All I'm saying is I think Welsh would be more inspiring if it didn't take from other languages as much as it does. I'm not trying to belittle it.
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Lyndon

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 5:09 pm

Cen wrote:Actual language development instead of just taking English words and changing the spelling would help. I personally can't take Welsh seriously when a lot of it is basically spoken in English with a few u's changed to w's. It makes it seem like Welsh is an ancient language that won't develop with the times.



The fact that you could make this comment while writing in English, a language where approximately 70% of the vocabulary has been nicked from other languages, sets new standards of unintentional irony.

What is the point of this thread other than trolling, by the way?
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Cen

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Re: The Guardian light the blue touch paper - Welsh Schools

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 5:21 pm

You're correct, but English as a language has developed with those specific inputs. Welsh was a completely separate entity, so shoehorning English words into a Celtic language looks and sounds wrong. The fact that supporters of the Welsh language get defensive when anyone mentions ways of improving the current status of the language is probably its greatest enemy. I wasn't trolling, I was giving my opinion on how the language could take in more people. Closing your eyes to what many people have said about the language (it's not just me) won't help anything.

Before somebody else jumps on my back, like I said, I'm all for the Welsh language and want to see it grow. I really don't see the problem with saying Welsh needs more truly Welsh words.
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