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- DescriptionAs the oldest living language in Europe (after Basque), Welsh is a unique aspect of British heritage. But, despite its official status and the proliferation of Welsh-medium schools, it has all but disappeared as a living language outside of a handful of communities in the west and rth of Wales. In this book I trace the history of Welsh from the early medieval period, through the Act of Union between England and Wales in the sixteenth century, to industrial Wales in Victorian times, and then during the twentieth century. There is an analysis of the current state of the Welsh language and policies which attempt to protect it. I explore the relationship between identity and language, and argue that language has been the defining characteristic of Welsh identity. I suggest that the orthodox account - that Welsh was driven out by an imperialist British establishment, which enforced an English-only policy in the schoolroom - is misconceived. At a time when immigration and the free movement of people have become sensitive and controversial issues, it seems apposite to look at the one region of Britain where a large influx of outsiders in a short space of time destroyed a local culture. By the early twentieth century, Wales had become a land of two cultures and thus two peoples. I therefore explore the reasons why Welsh has retreated to a mere shadow of its former self. Ather highly topical issue is self-government, particularly with the Welsh Assembly elections in May 2016. The success of the SNP in Scotland has put the very existence of Great Britain in doubt. What does this mean for Wales? I consider the political relationship between Wales and England, and suggest that while Wales managed to retain a cultural separateness, it has been successfully integrated, in a political sense, into England initially, and then Britain. Based on a boundary that long ago lost any meaning, the Welsh Assembly has historical validity, is unnecessary, and actually damages the Welsh language, which is ultimately the only characteristic that is unique to Wales.
- Author BiographyMartyn Ford formerly served as a councillor on a local authority in Swansea. He has recently acquired an M.A. in history from Swansea University, and obtained a first degree at Aberystwyth University in 1976.
- Author(s)Martyn Ford
- PublisherAmberley Publishing
- Date of Publication15/06/2016
- SubjectLocal History, Names & Genealogy
- Place of PublicationChalford
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintAmberley Publishing
- Content Note50
- Weight363 g
- Width165 mm
- Height235 mm
- Spine10 mm
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