Welsh Language in the News

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For a language that was once in decline, Welsh has been in the news quite a bit lately. Here’s a quick summary of what’s been keeping it in the headlines:

Welsh Language Bill Passed and Signed

The Official Languages Bill, designed to ensure that English and Welsh are treated equally by the Welsh Assembly, was passed by the Assembly in October and became law in an official ceremony in Cardiff on Monday, November 12th.

Schoolchildren (Maybe) Punished for Speaking English

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Welsh schoolchildren were often punished with the “Welsh Not” system for speaking Welsh in school. But is the shoe on the other foot now?  According to anonymous statements made on the website BiLingo, children at Welsh schools in Ceredigion have been published for speaking English.

However, the BBC was unable to find out anything more about the accusations. Keith Towler, children’s commissioner for Wales, has said he will investigate them. In the meantime, representatives of the school district advised parents to bring any concerns to the school.

Welsh Road Sign Translation Fail

In the Vale of Glamorgan, a set of road signs put up by contractors for  Network Rail contain some amusing errors. For example, according to the BBC, one sign uses the word “adloniant” to mean a diversion or detour. Unfortunately, that word only means “diversion” in the sense of entertainment.

Meanwhile, another sign uses the word “acses” for access. Alas, that word doesn’t exist. Sorry, folks- you can’t just make up “Welsh” words by rearranging letters.

A Network Rail spokesperson told the BBC:

“I’ve told everyone who’s inquired that we’re looking into it, and if there’s been a genuine mistake then we’ll fix it.”

Meanwhile, Chris Franks, Plaid Cymru councillor for the Vale of Glamorgan, said the signs are just one more indication that the Welsh language gets no respect:

“You’d just hope that the companies and authorities involved would take more pride in their professionalism, as ultimately they’re the ones who end up looking silly. It’s disappointing that these contractors failed to take adequate care; it does indicate a lack of respect for the language.”‘