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13.8.15

Dr Benjamin Zephaniah on Cornish and Welsh

"I am a multiculturalist. In England, on the whole, when we talk about multiculturalism, we tend to talk about black people, Asian people and people who have brought their cultures here, and sometimes we forget that there are local cultures which are very different to English mainstream culture and literature. So when I come to Wales, I treat Wales like a different country with a culture and language of its own. And if Wales is a part of Britain, then that culture is an important part of Britain - as important as Jamaican culture, Trinidadian culture or Indian culture for example.

That's why I've always said that the Welsh language should be taught in schools in England. Hindi, Chinese and French are taught, so why not Welsh? And why not Cornish? They're part of our culture, and I know of people in England who don't know that people in Wales speak Welsh, or that there's a Scottish language." - Dr Benjamin Zephaniah

"Dwi'n berson aml-ddiwylliannol. Yn Lloegr, yn gyffredinol, pan rydan ni'n trafod amlddiwylliannaeth rydan ni'n cyfeirio at bobl du, pobl Asiaidd a phobl eraill sydd wedi dod â'u diwylliannau yma, a rydan ni'n anghofio weithiau bod 'na ddiwylliannau lleol sydd yn wahanol iawn i ddiwylliant a llenyddiaeth prif ffrwd Saesneg. Felly pan dwi'n dod i Gymru, dwi'n trin Cymru fel gwlad wahanol gyda'i hiaith a'i diwylliant ei hun. Ac os yw Cymru yn rhan o Brydain, yna mae'i diwylliant yn rhan bwysig o Brydain hefyd - yr un mor bwysig â diwylliant Jamaica, Trinidad neu India er enghraifft.

Dyna'r rheswm dwi'n dweud y dylai'r iaith Gymraeg gael ei dysgu mewn ysgolion yn Lloegr. Mae Hindi, Tsieinëeg a Ffrangeg yn cael eu dysgu, felly pam ddim Cymraeg? A pham ddim Cernyweg? Maen nhw'n rhan o'n diwylliant, a dwi'n gwybod am bobl yn Lloegr sydd ddim hyd yn oed yn gwybod bod pobl yng Nghymru yn siarad Cymraeg, neu fod 'na iaith Gaeleg yn yr Alban." - Dr Benjamin Zephaniah

The full article in Welsh and English can be found here: What the English could learn from the Eisteddfod - BBC Cymru Fyw

Fine sentiments from Dr Zephaniah and I can only hope the BBC in Cornwall, who at times appear rabidly anti-Cornish, take note. But as long as unhealthy relations abound between LibLabCon politicians and BBC journalists I won't hold my breath.

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