The Welsh Language as an Expression of a Form of Life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

There is much debate about the influence which the Welsh Language has to Welsh Identity, indeed some go as far as to argue that the ability to speak Welsh is an essential part of what it means to be Welsh - but I believe that this sort of thinking is deeply misguided, and potentially detrimental. When a person argues that being able to speak Welsh is essential to having a Welsh Identity, they’re not as if arguing that a person cannot be Welsh unless they can make a range of noises with their mouth - they mean to say that the Welsh Language represents far more than just shapes on a page, or noises from the tongue. I wish to discuss, through Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Language, that what it means to be Welsh is not dependent on a person’s ability to speak the Welsh Language, it’s instead the other way around, the meaning of the Welsh Language reflects the meaning of the Welsh way of living. The danger is that if we base our understanding of Welsh Identity too heavily on just the functional capacity to speak and read Welsh words, we run the risk of trivializing and neglecting the sincere depth of the Welsh way of living life, something which likely contributed to us questioning our Welsh Identity in the first place.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Centre Wales Postgraduate Conference
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Cymru
  • Cymraeg
  • Welsh langauge
  • welsh identity
  • welsh culture
  • philosophy
  • language
  • identity

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