Fear not, Jan Morris, “universally considered one of the greatest living travel writers”, has not turned to the Dark Side. After the silliness of yesterday’s Telegraph article on Duffy, I thought it’d make a pleasant change to recalibrate our persecution complexes with an article by someone who knows what she’s talking about:
The language is still spoken in the villages above, beyond the conifer woods, because the Llyn Peninsula is one of the Welshest parts of all Wales. Even there, though, it is constantly under threat, as the colossal forces of Anglophone globalism, expressed through television and e-mail, newspapers and popular trend, bludgeon all indigenous cultures everywhere. It is said that of the 6,000-odd languages spoken in the world today, half will be dead by the end of the century, and not long ago Welsh seemed obviously doomed too. There were less than three million people in Wales, and more than 40 million in England, and whereas English was one of the greatest of all the world languages, Welsh was spoken only by a third even of the Welsh themselves. Thousands of English people had settled in Wales, seldom bothering to learn Welsh, while the mass of the Welsh themselves found it advantageous to use the lingua franca of half the world, so accessible and so seductive a few miles away across the English border.