The Welsh language of our fathers is still very much alive today and can be heard ringing around the land during any Welsh national rugby match, “Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ac erioed-The language of Wales lives out to this day”. But how much do we now value and recognise the importance of this status?
Welsh comes from a branch of the Celtic languages and is the oldest language of the British Isles; it survived both Roman and Anglo-Saxon’s invasions (despite the interchanged impurities transmitted in the contact).
Quickly looking back on a major historical event such as the Union Act of Henry VIII, it is evident how strong the Welsh language is to have survived the English imposition. Indeed since 1536, with the attempt of unifying the empire under a modern and efficient English monolingual empire, the Welsh language faced many linguistic battles, but has been maintained and epically defended by the Welsh inhabitants for centuries.
It was once prophesied that Wales, even in its darkest moment, would not lose its language and culture. Despite fears of the language disappearing, the Welsh continued to fight for their language. It’s strength was based on the Bible translation, which constituted a major written witness of the welsh grammar. Other organisms also acted in defence and promulgation of the Celtic language, the most important of which include Plaid Cymru and the Welsh language society.
Despite the language being underestimated on various occasions, it is now strongly cultivated thanks to many governmental organisations that sustain welsh scholarly and the media support, with radio and TV channels prominently broadcasting in Welsh.
This brief historical insight is useful to sustain the thesis that a language is deeply tangled in a nation’s growth. It is thus vital for a nation to grasp the importance of its origin and to value and maintain traditions; traditions deeply filled with the hope of keeping the Welsh language alive.
While some families might not favour the maintenance and use of the language, schools provide efficient means by which tradition will survive and help young minds to develop an automatic linguistic base, within the support of a bilingual education system.
O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau. O may the old language endure.