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_______________________________________________The best Welsh language move in 2016?
Welsh medium college call by
Merthyr principal John O'Shea
The principal of Merthyr Tydfil College called for
a Welsh language college to be established in
John O'Shea said it could help the Welsh
Government's drive to have a million Welsh
speakers by 2050 if more post-16 education
opportunities in Welsh were available and
Ministers announced their plans & a consultation
--- at 2016's National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.
"We need to start thinking of different ideas,"
said Mr O'Shea.
"We have Welsh medium schools but we're
not getting that breakthrough in take up
of the language."
The 2011 census reported a drop in the number of
Welsh speakers from 582,000 in 2001 to 562,000,
about one in five of the population.
Mr O'Shea said: "If we don't have parity for the Welsh
language, then the chances of the Welsh language
developing and growing, are reduced."
He claims vocational courses or A levels for pupils
aged 16 and over, who want to study through the
medium of Welsh aren't as varied, if compared
to the range of subjects available to students
who study through the medium of English.
He added: "In the first case, we would need to find
a site in the middle of south east Wales where you
could bring all of the Welsh-speaking staff together
and all the Welsh speaking-students together in a
tertiary college --- because, at the moment, there
aren't enough numbers to set up a number of
"As it succeeds then, of course, you could diversify
and have more colleges in more local locations."
Iestyn Davies, the chief executive of Colleges
Wales, which represents further education
colleges, welcomed the idea.
He said reaching the Welsh-speakers target
would be a challenge and different options
should be considered.
In a statement, the Welsh Government said:
"We want everyone to have the opportunity
to learn through the medium of Welsh from
early years, to higher education and this
should be an integral part of the general
provision instead of something separate.
"The million speakers consultation is an opportunity
for everyone to have their say on the future of what
could be claimed the best asset of the country.
"We are confident that this will enable the language
to develop in a proactive and balanced way."
The BBC’s portrayal of Wales and the Welsh
On November 2nd, 2016, the Welsh Assembly’s
Culture, Welsh Language and Communications
Committee, scrutinised the Director General of
Angela Graham singles out the issue of portrayal.
Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er
Ocean without rest:
This month the Director General of the BBC appeared
before the Assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and
Communications Committee. The night before, the
University of South Wales described his BBC role in
terms so imperial, that Milton’s deity came to mind.
At this conferral of an honorary doctorate on Lord
Tony Hall we were reminded of the Corporation’s
magnitude and complexity. To be at its head
must require an uncommon set of talents
underpinned with relentless determination.
Was this, then, why, at the next day’s scrutiny
session with the AMs, I had the impression of
repeated collisions as the progress of the BBC
ship was impeded by reefs of objections in
Welsh waters? Lord Hall ‘gets’ Welsh concerns,
he so frequently reassures us, that it may irritate
him to find that dissatisfactions and concerns
remain. Surely by now we should all have got
happily on board?
No. The AMs are right to press him hard on the
implications for Wales of the BBC’s decisions
on funding, governance & portrayal. Precisely
because the BBC enterprise is so complex,
Wales must help the DG see through its eyes.
What can seem crystal clear from afar may look
murky at home. Portrayal – how Wales and its
people appear & are depicted in BBC media
− is a case in point.
Lord Hall referred to quarterly meetings, begun a few
months ago, between Charlotte Moore, Director of
BBC Content, and the Directors of the Nations and
Regions at which the BBC’s ‘portrayal objectives’
are analysed. He promised a report & data which
would allow an examination of the justification for,
and effectiveness of, one element or another. The
portrayal objectives are not public knowledge.
Their existence is a welcome sign of how far up
the agenda portrayal has moved, but why keep
them away from scrutiny?
And how frank will the report be? Lord Hall appeared
to give with one hand and take away with the other.
Yes, there will be information but ‘we need to find it
in a way that makes sense for us and sense for
Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Cymru Wales
added, ‘And just to be clear on that, in terms of
our reporting, the key thing is to tell you about
the programmes and the series that are being
delivered. It’s not so much the data – the real
test is what’s on screen. I think what we can
do routinely is to actually publish what it is
that is portraying Wales on screen – rather
than the metrics on volumes and hours…’
‘We might…’ Bethan Jenkins responded drily,
‘be interested in both.’
Lee Waters immediately pushed further on criteria for
portrayal and its relation to production by noting Lord
Hall’s citation of the BBC One series Ordinary Lies as
an example of portrayal of Wales. Claiming that the
series ‘could be set anywhere’, Lee Waters asserted
that Belfast-set, Belfast-made series, The Fall is ‘not
about Northern Ireland. So how are we going to get
that portrayal – rather than just the production,
which is very welcome − how are we going
to make sure that portrayal happens?’
Lord Hall agreed The Fall is not about Northern
Ireland but ‘it goes down very well’ there.
Hardly a sophisticated response.
Comparisons between Wales and Northern Ireland
require some scrutiny because Northern Ireland has
had a great deal of attention from tv drama focused
on its political conflict, so material that stresses that
it has problems common to the rest of the UK is not
unwelcome. Wales is in a different position. It has
seen so little drama originating from its own specific
circumstances that it must be very cautious about
scripts – and a drama slate taken as a whole −
which portray it as just like anywhere else,
and nothing more.
Although seeing Welsh characters portrayed,
hearing Welsh voices & seeing Welsh locations
are legitimate and welcome types of portrayal,
there should be, alongside these, an attempt to
share the experiences and viewpoints of people
in Wales, emerging from the country’s experience
of itself. Lee Waters is right to be worried that the
BBC may opt for material produced in and set in
Wales, but not about Wales in the deeper sense.
That would be to treat the country as little more
than a set or location-shooting opportunity with
novelty value. We have yet to reach a stage at
which seeing Wales portrayed, incidentally or
directly, in drama and other genres is
Lord Hall did move on to offer a ‘serious answer’,
asserting that the BBC has done so well for Wales
on hours and money that ‘we’ve even overshot the
target’. Not pausing to explain that, he endorsed
Rhodri Talfan Davies’s look-at-the-screen approach
& added, ‘then I suspect we’ll have disputes about
– or proper arguments, rather, debates about –
whether Ordinary Lies is really about Wales
or is about anywhere else, or whatever.’
This was not a helpful answer to Lee Waters’s
reasonable point and seems to put the cart
before the horse.
Lord Hall’s ‘whatever’ is revealing. Is it tiresome that
Wales wants to be seen as being distinguishable
from the rest of the UK? Many circumstances are
indeed common to, and therefore filmable in, any
British city and any village. It is easier to produce
network drama that makes use of commonalities
among the nations and regions of the UK than
to work from the local and specific outwards,
towards the universal.
The easier path can mean a tokenistic inclusion
of a few regional identifiers and the loss of a
distinctive lens through which universal
circumstances are seen. The plots work
but the depth of focus is shallow. We’ve
all encountered drama which has been
bled of local complexity --- leaving it
eminently digestible but insipid and
Hovering around Lord Hall is the ghost of
an infamous perhaps apocryphal London
commissioner’s response − ascribed to
Alan Yentob − to a Nineties BBC Wales
drama proposal, ‘It won’t be too Welsh,
The politicians must also be wary of any tendency
to regard portrayal as something that applies only
to drama. Portrayal happens across genres, as
Lord Hall pointed out:- ‘Every network genre
now has a portrayal objective.’ That is certainly
something to keep an eye on and – pace those
metrics – to quantify too. The BBC knows the
value of the measurable and we are all capable
of dealing with assessments of both quantity
and quality. We would like both.
Angela Graham is Chair of
the IWA's Media Policy Group.
Jill Evans ASE yn siarad mewn cinio ym
Mhenybont-yr-Ogwr ynglÅ·n â budd yr UE i Gymru
Siaradodd Jill Evans ASE mewn cinio ar nos Iau a drefnwyd
gan Cylch Cinio Merched Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr. Sgwrsiodd Jill
Evans am ei gwaith i helpu cefnogi cymunedau Cymreig yn
Senedd Ewrop a’r budd mae Cymru’n ei gael drwy fod yn
aelod o’r Undeb Ewropeaidd.
Soniodd Jill Evans am y ffordd a ddaeth i ymwneud â
gwleidyddiaeth am y tro cyntaf a’r newidiadau mae hi
wedi eu gweld yn Senedd Ewrop ers 1999. Wrth
gynrychioli Cymru gyfan, amlygodd Jill Evans yr
angen i hyrwyddo buddion pob cymuned yngh
Nghymru a chodi proffil Cymru ym Mrwsel.
"Mae Cymru wedi elwa’n fawr drwy fod yn aelod o’r Undeb
Ewropeaidd, yn arbennig o’r rhan mae wedi chwarae wrth
sicrhau heddwch yn Ewrop. Rwyf wedi gweithio’n agos
gyda fy nghyfeillion yn Fflandrys, lle mae gan Gymru
gyswllt arbennig ac rwy’n gweithio i sefydlu Corff Heddwch
yng Nghymru, yn debyg i’r un yn Fflandrys, fyddai’n ein
helpu i adeiladu cymdeithas well a mwy cyfiawn.
“Roedd yn bleser mawr i gael fy ngwahodd i siarad yng
Nghylch Cinio’r Merched am fy ngwaith yn Senedd Ewrop.
Cymeraf bob cyfle i egluro’r hyn rwy’n ei wneud dros Gymru
yn Ewrop i fy etholwyr a sut allaf gynrychioli eu
diddordebau a’u buddianau. Rwyf hefyd yn annog grwpiau
lleol i ymweld â’r Senedd ym Mrwsel i weld hwn dros
"Yn y refferendwm ar aelodaeth o’r UE byddwn yn gwneud
penderfyniad anferth ar ddyfodol Cymru. Credaf y gall
Cymru fod yn genedl lwyddianus, modern Ewropeaidd, gan
weithio gyda’n partneriaid Ewropeaidd. Rhaid i’r drafodaeth
ar yr UE fod yn agored ac onest ac mae’n rhaid i bobl gael
y ffeithiau i wneud dewis gwybodus. Cafwyd llawer o
ddiddordeb yn y cyfarfod heno ac fe gawson ni drafodaeth
ddiddorol iawn. Edrychaf ymlaen at fwy o drafodaethau
gyda phobl ym Mhenybont-ar-Ogwr ac ar draws Cymru yn
y misoedd i ddod."
Bilingual People Are Faster at
People who speak 2 languages may have
brains that are more efficient at language
processing and other tasks, new research
The new study suggests that bilingual
people are more efficient at higher
level brain functions such as...
ignoring other irrelevant information.
The study's brain scans show that people
who speak only one language, have to
work harder to focus on a single word,
according to a study published in 'Brain
& Language' by the University of Illinois.
People who are bilingual are constantly
activating both languages in their brain,
choosing which to use & which to ignore.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
We all know that 'ir hen iaith' is in
need of being used more, as well
Did ANYONE read Leighton Andrews'
magnificent 2012 policy statement, in
which spoken Welsh refresher courses
were identified as needed for/by the
age group 14 up?
You ALL read it? (it's just me then!)
Why isn't Welsh now spoken on our
streets, after we've schooled so many
thousands of youths in Welsh schools?
I've just discovered a tremendous blog,
which discusses Wales in most facets
- including how we're failing to help
our youngsters on their language use:
This blog is an amazing panorama of Wales,
the issues, and possibilities, and - if it also
starts to address how we could make it PAY
to speak Welsh in businesses and work
- it could be perfect!
NEW TO WELSH?
Here's a great starting point website if
you'd like to learn Welsh online:
"TAKE THEM TO COURT" (say the bells of ....)
Welsh-language broadcaster S4C says it is to
challenge the UK government in court, over
plans to hand its funding over to the BBC.
The channel's managing board says it is launching
a judicial review of the government's decision to
“effectively merge” it with the BBC.
The announcement comes after Chancellor George
Osborne tells the Commons that the BBC will now
“It would have a disastrous impact on viewers
across Wales at a time when the BBC has already
cut spending on both English and Welsh-language
programming in Wales,” chair John W Jones says.
"Under such an arrangement it is inevitable that
Welsh language tv would have to compete with
every other BBC service, and the S4C Authority
believes that this would pose a serious risk
to the provision of Welsh-language tv," he adds.
"I am astounded at the contempt that the London
government has shown, not just towards S4C, but
also towards the Welsh people, and indeed, the
Grant O God your protection,
and in protection strength,
and in strength understanding
and in understanding knowledge
and in knowledge
the knowledge of justice,
and in the knowledge of justice
the love of it,
and in the love of it
the love of all existences,
and in the love of all existences
the love of God and all goodness.