This morning, my Facebook status feed brought this little article / study to my attention. I found it rather interesting despite it not concerning me too much- I mean, I’ll continue to learn the Gaelic tongue of the Highlanders regardless of whether it lives on or dies under the stresses and strains of that Germanic bully-language they previously referred to as Ænglisc…. or something!
It also turned my attentions back to the first language I ever learned (after my mother tongue, of course!)…. Welsh! Unfortunately my pessimistic mind seems to only want to discuss the limited lifespan of Cymraeg more and more these days…. I guess it’s the job!
Language, to take it’s definition back to it’s origins, is primarily our most simple means of communication, right? But who uses Welsh in this spoken and vocal manner?
It’s fine for the non-technophobe to boast that Welsh is the third most used minority language on Twitter. It’s also fine for nationalists fearing language death to say that in 10 years 45% of ‘sheep-sha***rs’ will have the ability to talk in the language that looks like it was invented by a curious kitten taking a stroll across a computer’s keyboard…. But how many will then use it as a means of communication? As in face-to-face communication, not bloody peer2peer!
And now, from peer…. to pier!
When I worked in a small hardware shop in Aberystwyth, Welsh was used as the language of choice. Despite this, and owing to unfortunate linguistic misunderstandings, most non-regular (yet Welsh speaking) customers decided to use English because they weren’t sure if I spoke Welsh or not.
My long winded point is, Welsh is only used between those who KNOW for certain that the others involved in the conversation also speak it. Nobody ever goes out of their way to try Welsh first. And ultimately for this reason primarily, Welsh WILL cease to exist as a form of communication very soon.
Now stepping back slightly from Wales and her language, an unfortunate statistic curses my brain…. There are more Welsh speakers than Breton, Cornish, Manx and Scots Gaelic PUT TOGETHER! Some 750,000 versus 314,000 respectively. Steering back to my prior point that ‘marwolaeth ieithyddol’ (language death) will happen to Welsh rather soon, would anyone care to lend me an ounce of hope for those four? And Irish too, for that matter! Cumbric has NO CHANCE!
Difficult to pull a smiley face out of this one, huh? How about a defeatist grin for our merry olde English friends nextdoor? 🙂