It was her native language in her native country
The debate rages on: whether people should learn the language of the country they are now living in. But what about those who are speaking the region’s most ancient language? Should they be forced to speak the most common language so that people don’t feel uncomfortable not knowing what the person next to them is saying? That seems to be the sentiment of a few people who feel that Welsh is just a bit too radical to speak in the country of Wales.
Yeah, you read that right.
The Country of Wales
Wales is a country that is officially a part of the United Kingdom. While many people mistake it for being part of England — considering they share a border and common history — it is it’s own unique country with it’s own language: Welsh. Wales is a bilingual country with about 500,000 countrymen able to speak fluent Welsh in addition to English. That’s why it was so shocking to one native mother to be told that she should stop speaking such an offensive language.
Elin Jones, a town councilor for Plaid Cymru, originally of the Welsh city Aberystwyth, was speaking to her little girl in Welsh one day, when she was rudely interrupted. Elin explained what happened on Twitter: “Just got asked by a lady in a shop why I don’t speak English and not foreign muck to my baby. I was speaking Welsh. In Wales.”
While she was taken aback by the strange and ludicrous comment, she said, “I think I was pretty calm about the situation to be honest. I said to her: ‘I think you are misunderstood – I am speaking Welsh to my children.’ But she turned on her heels and walked away. She didn’t even try and justify what she had said.”
As mass immigration has swept every corner of Europe, some citizens are becoming increasingly nationalistic and right-wing; any type of foreign influence seems to feel threatening to them and this is a prime example. This woman was so blinded by her bigotry that she failed to realize she was chastising a Welsh woman for speaking her native language in the country in which she is from — not that it should really make a difference. Elin felt similarly and went on to praise the diversity of her home country.
“Wales and the UK is a multicultural country and I love that about it in general and we should be far more accepting. Most people usually recognise that it’s Welsh, particularly when I’m in Wales,” she wrote.
Welsh is not a widely-known language, but there are efforts in the country to get more people speaking it. Elin was speaking Welsh to her child because she’s raising her to speak the language fluently. She explained, “Our home is bilingual and the children learn it in school too. I am a first-generation Welsh speaker as my grandparents are from the London area. I have always been in Welsh education and they are always really proud that I speak Welsh. I wanted to follow that through in my children too.”
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time that she was told to stop speaking that “hideous foreign” language. “But maybe because I don’t sound Welsh when I am speaking it I have had comments from people saying ‘go back to your own country’, which is very funny because I am from [here].”
Elin’s public posts about speaking Welsh in Wales and being targeted as a “foreigner” have riled people who feel that zealous patriotism has gone too far. Elin concurred, “It’s gone a bit ridiculous to be honest. I put it on Twitter last night and I checked my account this morning and was a bit shocked! It’s in a good way though, we should be promoting tolerance towards all.”
Do you feel that people should be careful about what language they’re speaking in around others? Let us know what you think about it in the comments and SHARE this story!