I HAVE always lived the dynamics of border towns, having grown up in a border village myself, and this past weekend have spent a significant amount of time out and about talking to people in Oswestry.

People in Oswestry were proud to showcase the Welsh language in their town.

From bilingual signage in place to old house names it felt like a home away from home.

Speaking to many people, one part of their identity became clear; they identified as being Welsh speakers who were not Welsh. The area did in some ways feel Welsh, from the Cylch Ti a Fi to the lovely Siop Cwlwm, the Welsh language is present.

Though conversely, many would call it “Oswestry” and not “Croesoswallt”.

Some of them had lived on the border for generations but the vast majority identified as English.

They were excited to chat in the language that was very much their own and it made me feel at peace. In a Welsh speaking world where we are all assumed to be Welsh, what happens when we aren't?

I have been thinking about this for some time and it's the othering of Welsh speakers by Welsh organizations of those of us who are not Welsh.

I live in Wales and I enjoy living here but I don't feel Welsh, I believe that is OK.


When speaking to people, I am always asked what school I attended and people get surprised that my parents don't speak Welsh.

There is an assumption that we all watch S4C, enjoy the Eisteddfod and sing "Yma o hyd".

I'm not one of those people, with S4C discriminating against minorities, the Eisteddfod failing to have proper equality and diversity policies and Dafydd Iwan talking about all the “Indians and Pakistanis”, none of that has made me feel comfortable.

The question then comes, how do we ensure that we can get to one million Welsh speakers when most of us do not feel attached to or represented by the current environment of the Welsh media? Is there enough that caters to Welsh speakers who are not Welsh?

Across the world, there are Welsh speakers of varying abilities. Some have learnt the language due to a stay in Wales, others have had their land colonized by Welsh people in the past and many have decided to learn the language out of curiosity.

All of this means that the days of thinking of Welsh speakers as a homogenous mass of Welsh people from Wales are outdated.

The best way for us to showcase our language is to ensure a wide range of media in it.


We should be seeing media call outs from Welsh speaking production houses looking for people who speak Welsh outside of Wales, to share their experiences, their history and their thoughts.

This starts with working with England to preserve the historic linguistic ecosystem found in the border counties, as well as some of our British cities where the Welsh language is spoken.

This could be a gamechanger not only in terms of boosting the number of Welsh speakers outside of Wales but understanding Welsh connections outside of Wales.

This linguistic dimension of having no attachment to Welsh soil but speaking the Welsh language needs to be further explored in order for Wales to inform itself on its international view.

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