Monday, June 11, 2007

Bore Da

We're all used to the government and the EU telling us how to run our lives, and small businesses how to run their business (even though I always thought he who paid the piper called the tune, but there we go) but even jaded Trixy thought this was appalling:

The Commission for Racial Equality in Wales says it will write to Thomas Cook asking the firm to explain why staff have been asked not to speak Welsh.
Staff at the travel agents' Bangor shop in Gwynedd have been told all work conversations must be in English.

I presume they have been asked not to speak Welsh because in a small shop like that it helps if everyone speaks the same language. It's not like Welsh is widely spoken in Wales; only about a fifth of people speak it, and in the most populated areas of Wales it is hardly used. The knowledge of the language is on the increase because of the 1993 Welsh Language Act, and the subsequent Act of 1998 which requires Welsh to be taught to all children in Wales up to the age of 16. However, above school age, mongolot Welsh speakers are virtually unheard of.

I, personally, do not like the idea of languages being forced down peoples throats. The Welsh language is being used by the strident Welsh nationalists in their separation agenda and defunct establishments like the Welsh National Assembly are wasting time and money making sure all signs are in Welsh, literature is bilingual and so on. I wish I could remember the Welsh translation for Abergavenny, which is a Welsh name anyway (Aber being 'mouth of') but which has been changed because the English were using it. It's like Aberdovy now being Aberdyfi.

Anyway, back to the point:
A company statement said: "Thomas Cook requests that all staff speak English when discussing work-related matters in the work place.
"This ensures clear communication at all times and is respectful to team members who do not speak other languages.
"Thomas Cook employs staff from many cultural backgrounds, therefore the company appreciates its staff may want to talk to colleagues in other languages for anything that is not business related".

Thomas Cook is a private company who should employ whomsoever they want and tell them how to behave whilst they are working for, representing and being paid by that company. The Welsh Language Board may find it "disappointing" but they should understand that these Acts informing people to learn Welsh and have everything translated had to be done by Parliament / the Assembly because there wasn't the demand from the market to do so before. I should imagine that the number of people graduating with Welsh degrees end up working for government organisations, because the demand simply isn't there in the private sector. English has spread across the globe thanks to the British Empire and, more recently, the Americans. So many people learn it because it's a useful language, and those of us lucky enough to have it as our mother tongue should be able to chose which other language we learn in school besides it. The children of Wales seem to be disadvantaged in that respect, because whilst their peers in England and Scotland are learning French, German, Spanish and for the very lucky, Chinese, they are learning a language for a political point, rather than a business one which could help them in the future.

I think it's great that there are different languages and dialects, but in Wales it's strident nationalism which does rather seem to miss the point.

Nos da, cariad.


Bugail Aberdyfi said...

Okay, here we go:

1. There has been a massive outcry against this from people in Wales even by politicians, media and ordinary joe schmoes like me. The commission is interjecting due to a legal aspect. But Thomas Cook have really shot themselves in the foot PR wise.

2. While you may say that Welsh is holding people back then why parents are sending their kids to Welsh medium schools ? On top of that why is languages in schools is plummeting in popularity in England. So much so, that they've had to commission a report to look into it 'The Languages Review' ?While you're at it gave a read of Demos report on the global English: As you like it. It will scare you

A German joke sums my atttitude:
What do you call a person who speaks three languages ? Trilingual
Two languages ? Bilingual
One language ? English.

2. Aberdovey is English version of Aberdyfi. If the English came first to naming villages where from the Queen's English came Rhosllanengrugog?

Bugail Aberdyfi said...

Bugger, just wasted my time on leaving some comments on your blog hoping you would see my viewpoint as a Welsh speaker and get into some a reason debate. then I realised you were UKIP supporter.....

Trixy said...

And yet your last point says so much more about you than it does about me. Well done.

An Englishman in Wales said...

Very much so with the Welsh language being a statement of Nationalism.

Bugail Aberdyfi said...

Well I am sorry to inform you. I am not a nationalist but a liberal democrat !