do all Scottish, Irish and Welsh speak English?

Benjamin   Wed May 17, 2006 10:38 pm GMT
I know that this is an old thread, but ...

« What I think the Irish and Welsh governments should do if they're seriously interested in helping their native languages survive, is to offer financial advantages to those using Welsh or Irish as the everyday language of their household. There's not usually a better incentive than money. :P

Tax deductions...........higher paid jobs...........etc. you get the idea. »

That would be grossly discriminatory and is, in my view, comparable to giving people tax deductions etc. if they convert to a certain religious faith.

I'm usually more idealistic than pragmatic, but... what, ultimately, would be the advantage of converting people in Ireland to Irish-speaking when they seem to be managing perfectly fine (actually with the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world, as well as one of the highest human development index in the world) speaking English?

Should we revive the Cumbric language in Northern England and encourage us to go back to the language which we used to speak before the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans came and took over?
Jim C, Jorvicskyre   Wed May 17, 2006 10:41 pm GMT
My sister was born in Wrexham/Wrescam, she is learning Welsh inorder to teach in Wales, and also Irish to teach in Ireland. My cousins' first languages are Welsh. Not declining as you say.
Damian yn yr Albaen   Thu May 18, 2006 8:13 am GMT
I don't think Welsh is declining....the teaching of Welsh is compulsory in all schools in all parts of Wales up to a certain age.....not sure what that is - i am just going on the infor my mate in Anglesey. Even in the most Anglicised areas of Wales this policy applies, but of course once they reach a certain age kids are allowed to drop it. Once they leave through the schoolgates then all Welsh is forgotten in most parts of Wales.

Anglesey is very Welsh speaking, like much of North and West Wales (areas furthest away from the English border) and when I was there I heard young kids were playing and speaking Welsh to each other as a matter of course.

Wrexham is actually very close to the English border but maybe the Welsh teaching policy means that a lot of people there are able to speak, or at least understand, some Welsh. Looking at the map of Wales a lot of places around Wrexham (or Wrecsam as it is in Welsh apparently) have very Welsh names with no English equivalents. One place just outside Wrexham, and close to the border with Cheshire, England, is called Rhosllanerchrugog! Try saying that after a pint or two...or even dead sober. :-)

Hwyl fawr! (That expression I do know and universally used in simply means: Have fun!)

btw: The Welsh for Scotland is Yr Albaen (literally The Alba).
Willima Wallacky   Thu May 18, 2006 2:23 pm GMT

you all the time use the word "probably", why?

About the scottish people, some scottish from the islands in the north do not speak any word of english, and their number is not decreasing. Why do you speak about things you ignore?
Jim C, York   Thu May 18, 2006 3:16 pm GMT
Well I was born in Oswestry, which is one of those places (a bit like Berwick on Tweed) that was constantly swapping sides of the border, actually a met a lass from Snowdonia who still believed it was in Wales, it is actually further west than Wrexham, so that is understandable. But it says I'm English on my passport, oh, and I'm still a Yorkshireman, that’s the only place I've known.

My cousins in Welshpool (not actually cousins, friends of family thing..) they are a little Anglicised, I think they only speak a little Welsh, I'm not sure though. My family spend allot of time in West Wales, seeing family, and certainly, every one is very Welsh, the further away from the border you get as you say. My sister is only picking up the Welsh now, at uni, but she has been trying to learn for a long time, its hard on your own really though.

Willima, interestingly I never hear mention from the actual people who speak Gaelic, on TV or anything. I suppose they are a quiet bunch. My Granddad can remember his Grandparents speaking it, but he doesn’t, so I would guess it is in more danger than other languages?
Benjamin   Thu May 18, 2006 3:28 pm GMT
It's certainly true that one doesn't hear anywhere near as much about Scottish-Gaelic as one hears about Welsh and Irish. It just doesn't seem to have the political connotations that the others have, especially as it's often considered a regional language within Scotland itself.
Damian in Edinburgh   Thu May 18, 2006 3:53 pm GMT

I'm sorry if I'm contradicting you here but I doubt very much if there are many (if any at all) people in the remoter Scottish islands who are monoglot Gaelic speakers with little or no understanding of English! If there are then they must be very ancient indeed. Full time education all over the UK is compulsory up to the age of 16 and this includes the Islands, and of course English is also compulsory, as it is everywhere in the UK.

As a lad..well up until my late teens...I accompanied my sister and parents virtually every year to the Isle of Lewis, in the Western Isles...the most north westerly part of Scotland (indeed the entire UK) and stayed in the capital Stornoway. Gaelic flourishes there, is the first Language of the cradle for many, kids speak it as they play (as their cousins in Wales do in Welsh)...but I never ever met anybody who was not fluent in English. If there are any people who don't speak or understand English then I never came across them nor have I ever heard of such people. Sorry......I'm just a Scot who lives in a part of Scotland where the reverse is true.....everybody speaks English all the time and virtually nobody understands a word of Gaelic here in Scotland's capital city.

I knew that Oswestry has had a similar history to Berwick-upon-Tweed....Berwick has been switched between Scotland and England nine times over the centuries. England holds the trump card right now. As England does for Oswestry right now too, having snatched it out of tem! It even has a Welsh version of its name...Croesoswallt - meaning Oswald's Cross. St Oswald must be a local saint or something.

Down in South Wales the whole of Monmouthshire has been swapping sides as well......part of Wales for a time then part of England for a couple of centuries and now it's in Wales again.....I bet the people there were pissed off with having to switch from leeks and Welsh rarebits to roast beef and Yorkshire pud then back to the other again.

I read this on a one time years ago all pubs in Wales were closed on Sundays and people had to cross the border into England to get a Sunday pint. There is one pub near Oswestry that literally straddles the English / Welsh border...the public bar is in Wales and the lounge bar in England...the village is called Llanymynech and the border splits the village betwen the two countries. On Sundays you could sup in the lounge bar but not in the public bar. For those outside the UK both public and lounge bars are open to the public during opening hours...both are public bars in that sense, only the public bar is called the public bar and the public lounge bar is called the lounge bar even though it's public. Isn't life fun in the UK! LOL Enjoy.....
Adam   Thu May 18, 2006 6:32 pm GMT
"Anglesey is very Welsh speaking, like much of North and West Wales (areas furthest away from the English border) and when I was there I heard young kids were playing and speaking Welsh to each other as a matter of course. "

I'm not sure if its anything to do with how close they live to the English border.

Remember, Welsh isn't just spoken in Wales. It's also spoken in English counties that border Wales - such as Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire - by English (not Welsh) people. Some towns and villages in those counties have Welsh names. Around 133,000 to 150,000 Englishmen speak Welsh as a native language.
Adam   Thu May 18, 2006 6:35 pm GMT
" But it says I'm English on my passport"

No. It says you're British.
Adam   Thu May 18, 2006 6:40 pm GMT
"Down in South Wales the whole of Monmouthshire has been swapping sides as well......part of Wales for a time then part of England for a couple of centuries and now it's in Wales again.....I bet the people there were pissed off with having to switch from leeks and Welsh rarebits to roast beef and Yorkshire pud then back to the other again. "

Monmouthshire is in Wales - but it's only been a part of Wales since the 1960s. Before that, it was a part of England. Most maps from before the Sixties show the English/Welsh border passing to the West of Monmouthshire. In fact, members of the EDP (English Democrats Party) are considering standing in the 2007 Welsh Assembly Elections on the Ticket "English Democrats - letting Monmouthshire decide" to see whether or not the people of Monmouthshire want to be in Wales or in England.

Here's the history -

Monmouthshire - England or Wales ?

Monmouth is an abbreviation of Monnow-mouth, Monnow originally deriving from the Welsh Myn-wy (myn - swift, wy - water), thus combining both English and Welsh elements. To understand Monmouthshire's position, you first need to understand how the idea of 'England' and 'Wales' was created.

When the Romans were finally driven out in 410 A.D., it wasn't long before the Angles, Saxons and Jutes turned up and settled around the eastern and southern coastal areas. The divided Celtic tribes were too busy fighting each other to notice what was going on, and before too long the Anglo-Saxons were in control of an area roughly corresponding to modern England. There were a number of small Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, which later consolidated into just four; East Anglia, Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria.

Mercia, the midlands kingdom, was at first like the others, driving the Celts out of Shropshire and Herefordshire. But under its two great eighth-century leaders, Aethelbald and Offa, the emphasis changed. More concerned with getting the upper hand over their rival Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, they largely left the Celts to the West untroubled. By this time all these Celts were being called Welsh (from the Anglo-Saxon word wealh, meaning foreigner or slave), whilst they called themselves cymry, meaning comrades. Thus there were the North Welsh ('Cymry-land' or Cumberland), Mid-Welsh (Wales), West Welsh ('Cerniw-wealh' or Cornwall) and South Welsh (Brittany). The Welsh tribes in Wales, being Celtic, still spent most of their time fighting each other. They had cause; in around 760 King Offa began work on the famous Offa's Dyke, a huge ditch to mark the border with the Welsh. It is probable that this ditch was less a defensive device and more a 'here's the border and let's keep it that way' one, enabling Offa to concentrate his efforts against his Anglo-Saxon rivals.

Around this time much of the future west and central Monmouthshire was known as Gwent, and was a kingdom which enjoyed periods of independence between periods of being bossed around by the neighbouring kingdom of Glywysing (roughly Glamorganshire). The combined area, during the periods of unity, was known as Morgannwg. This state of affairs continued for some centuries, but came crashing to an end in 1066 with the Norman Invasion of England. The new king, William I, chose his most savage barons and set them up in the three Marcher counties of Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire, with a licence to get as much land as they could from the Welsh. Monmouthshire was an early victim, and was under full English control by 1074.

Over the next two centuries, the English slowly nibbled away at the Welsh kingdoms until finally, in 1282, they conquered Gwynedd. That year the Principality of Wales came under the control of Edward I. The Statute of Rhuddlan (1284) created the administrative areas that became the shires of Anglesey, Caernarfonshire, Flintshire, Merionethshire, Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. Because Edward made his son the first Prince of Wales, this area was called 'the Principality' a name which in modern times has extended to the whole of Wales. The rest of what is now Wales (including Monmouthshire) remained 'uncountified' and in the hands of the Norman-English Marcher lords.

Time rolled on, and in 1485 the Tudors (a Welsh dynasty) came to the English throne. This at first did not affect Wales much - but England's most infamous king, Henry VIII, was to change all that. In 1536, primarily as a financial move, he passed the Act of Union. As part of the reorganisation of the country the Marcher lordships were formed into the counties of Brecknockshire, Denbighshire, Glamorganshire, Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, Pembrokeshire and Monmouthshire, which along with the 'Principality' shires of Wales, were to be "incorporated, united and annexed to and with his Realm of England".

It was all nice and clear - for six years. Then in 1542 English Common Law was made applicable to the whole of Wales. This gave a statutory foundation to the Court of the Council of the Marches, and justice and administration for Wales were vested in the officers of a new court - the King's Great Session in Wales. Whereas the other twelve counties had their own court circuits, Monmouthshire came under the jurisdiction of the Courts of Chancery and Exchequer at Westminster. There were certain advantages in this. One of these was that Monmouthshire was allowed to send two Knights to Parliament like English counties, unlike Welsh counties which returned only one. In the reign of Charles II, Monmouthshire was included in the Oxford circuit, together with Oxford, Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford. The county became a popular one for rich Victorians to settle in during the Industrial Revolution. A 1937 map shows the Anglo-Welsh border passing clearly to the west of the county.

Monmouthshire's motto as a county was Usque Fidelis (Latin, faithful to both), emphasizing its border status. It carried on quite happily, until the disastrous 1974 c**k-up of local government, when it was renamed Gwent and formally transferred to Wales by a Labour government bent on placating the Welsh Nationalists. (A sneaky move, as being a predominantly English county this weakened the nationalist cause overall). In 1996 it was all change again as a second round of cockeyed misorganization followed. Gwent was replaced by five Unitary Authorities, one of which was half into old Glamorganshire, plus a few other border changes.

In 2000 another Labour government ran a referendum on Welsh devolution. In spite of millions being pumped into the Yes campaign (nothing for the No side, of course), it just scraped home by a fraction of a percent. The 'new' Monmouthshire voted 49-1 against.

The only way to settle the matter is to have a referendum for the people of Monmouthshire, to decide on whether they wish to be 'in Wales' or be 'in England'.

As the United Kingdom begins to dismantle then this will be a very important decision for the people of Monmouthshire.

English Democrats are considering standing in the 2007 Welsh Assembly Elections on the Ticket "English Democrats - letting Monmouthshire decide"

English Democrats to make stand in Monmouthshire

Next year (2007) will be the Third "Welsh Assembly" Elections (and indeed Scottish Parliament Elections)

Subject to National Council Approval, then the English Democrats will be putting up Candidates for

The Consituency of Monmouthshire - currently in Wales (although it was in England until the 1960's)

and also on the Party List for SE Wales - where Monmouthshire is currently located.


To qualify as a candidate you only need to be a UK Citizen.

Ideally we would like to select candidates who live in Monmouthshire, or Wales or close to Wales.

If you are interested in Standing for the English Democrats to

1 Make a point that Wales has elections and England does not - as we don't have an English Parliament.

2 Demand a referendum for the people of Monmouthshire to decide if they wish to be in Wales or England - obviously if Wales becomes independent, then the people of Monmouthshire may want to be English rather the Welsh - (Certainly I would !)

If you are interested please send an E-mail to our Party Chairman Robin Tilbrook - in the Subject Matter put "Welsh Assembly - Monouthshire" with you details.

(At this stage you do not have to be an English Democrats party member)


Adam   Thu May 18, 2006 6:50 pm GMT
So I was wrong. Monmouthshire was an English county until 1974.
WHY????????????   Thu May 18, 2006 7:20 pm GMT
Why Adam, Why?
David   Tue May 30, 2006 1:17 am GMT
how can i learn to speak welsh
Damian in Edinburgh   Tue May 30, 2006 7:57 am GMT
***how can i learn to speak welsh***

Move to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllantisiliogogogoch*.

Once you've got the name of your village right, you're on to a winner, cannae lose out.

*It's in Anglesey (or Sir Fon - with ^ the locals).
Nun Es   Tue May 30, 2006 8:10 am GMT

""A lot of the time, they converse with each other in English, but then speak Welsh to an English-speaker who can't speak Welsh. "

That must be because when they see you, they realize you are not interesting. I understand them.