South Wales Guardian Opinion

First published in News

ONE of Wales’s oldest Welsh-language support groups has parted company with its chief executive. Former newspaper editor Cathryn Ings has left her post at Menter Cwm Gwendraeth amid claims that her Welsh was not considered good enough.

If this is indeed the case, it raises serious questions. What exactly and who precisely defines "good" Welsh anyway? Those who know Ms Ings will be aware she is a fluent Welsh speaker who also writes in the language.

So if her Welsh fails the test what message does that send out to people eager to learn or the large numbers who simply lack the confidence to converse in their native tongue?

Such an elitist, middle-class approach to our language comes across as narrow-minded and snobbish – yet Menter Cwm Gwendraeth's prime aim to to get more people to speak Welsh.

You can hear more Welsh on the streets of Ammanford, for instance, that you can in several towns further west or up north.

It is, of course, a different kind of Welsh to that spoken in, say, Blaenau Ffestiniog. Nevertheless, it is a type of Welsh that many people in the Amman Valley feel comfortable with – the same can obviously be said for the Gwendraeth, Towy and Swansea Valleys and other areas throughout the Principality.

Surely the diversity of the different types of Welsh is something to be celebrated, along with regional accents?

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