> Also, it is fair to ask why speaking English, rather than the native
tongue, would advance one's social
> and economic prospects *in Wales*?
First of all because one may want to move to England for economic / personal
reasons, second because South Wales was already English-speaking to a large
extent. A Welsh nationalist MP recently caused a storm of protest when he
referred to English as a foreign language - his critics included fellow
members of Plaid Cymru.
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----- Original Message -----
From: <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2001 11:10 PM
Subject: Re: Not so OT?
> In a message dated Thu, 22 Mar 2001 4:08:24 PM Eastern Standard Time,
"INGELBIEN RAPHAEL" <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> << TAK>> Now, what is wrong with reciting historical facts, and contending
that they should be known? There can be no serious question that the
expansionist and imperial tendencies of the English nation, as it grew to
Great Britain, had terrible consequences for many people, and that this has
been an important part of world history over the past 500 years (and
regional history far longer.)>>
> <Raphael>If you go through Nancy's posts again, you will note that she
blamed the horrors of clearances on 'the English speaking', which is not
always the same thing as the English. The English language wasn't simply
imposed on Scotland by its nasty Southern neighbour, it was often quite
deliberatley adopted by the Scottish aristocratic classes and used by them
as a means of
> oppressing their inferiors. Much has been made of the suppression of
Celtic languages by barbaric practices like the use of the infamous Welsh
knot in schools. What is less often noted is that Welsh parents often
encouraged their kids to speak English rather than Welsh: this would raise
their social and economic prospects. Ironically, the most outspoken
defenders of Welsh have included some English Tories who obviously regarded
Wales as a cultural theme park where creatures spoke a strange tongue.
> Arnold's advocacy of the Celtic languages doesn't mean that he was
sympathetic to the political demands of Irish nationalists - not by a long
> TAK replies:
> Mostly agreed. I tried to specify the "English nation", as opposed to
the "English people", because I'm trying to simply assess what happened, and
avoid an atmosphere of recrimination. (Nations are a little harder to
offend than peoples, I think.) The terminology is imprecise, however, I
concede. Still, whatever Nancy's specific complaints, my comments regarding
the English nation -- that entity that evolved into the governing heart of
Great Britain -- are essentially accurate, with such accuracy as comments
about "nations" may have. And England's behavior as a nation was simply a
more successful execution of the same basic play attempted by most nations,
when the opportunity for aggressively seeking self-interest presents itself.
> That said, I for one am very glad that my ancestors were compelled to
surrender Gaelic for English . . . it has certainly improved my social and
economic prospects in New York. But my happy results don't, in my view,
justify (nor need they) the measures taken in the past against people in the
West of Ireland who wanted to continue speaking their language. Just as I
believe people coming to America today should learn English -- for their own
good and for the good of the nation as whole -- but don't think, in doing
so, they should be seen as betraying their ancestors or implicitly accepting
acts of oppression against them.
> <<TAK had said> One could certainly complain that this sort of discussion
of historical grievences is inappropriate on the TSE list, or should be
> <Raphael>In this case, we may actually discuss Eliot's opinions on
'''regional'''cultures in Britain. They're to be found in Notes towards the
> Culture. Eliot was actually another example of how cultural conservatives
can defend regional differences while stopping short of supporting
nationalism. Perhaps Nancy can tell us what she makes of his none too high
> opinion of Scottish nationalism. The thread can then be called 'Eliot v.
> Tom K responds . . .
> Excellent connection. I'll look back at the essay. Eliot was not always
a model of enlightenment when discussing peoples generally looked down upon
by his peers, but almost never fails to have a more interesting opinion than
the mere popular prejudice.
> Tom K