29 June 2013

Freewrite: Preserve Language, Preserve Culture

The language itself, whether you speak it or not, whether you love it or hate it, is like some bewitchment or seduction from the past, drifting across the country down the centuries, subtly affecting the nations sensibilities even when its meaning is forgotten.
~ Jan Morris, Wales: The First Place


Y

esterday I  met a man from Cardiff.  He had the most delicious accent, a clear, crisp tenor singing voice, and a deep love of the Welsh language.  I could have listened to him talk all day long.

Well, maybe not all day.

Ever since I heard David Tennent speak a few words of Welsh on Doctor Who (especially the Cardiff/Bad Wolf episode), and I found out that I’m almost completely half Welsh on my mother’s side, I developed a fondness for the language.  Somehow, it reminds me of Gothic ~ which to me is the most romantic language ever spoken.

Too bad it died out.

This man, Owen, works to make sure that doesn’t happen to the Welsh language.  He teaches Welsh at the University there.  And when I met him, he, along with a couple others, sang Welsh songs and talked about the origins of Welsh poetry.  It was beautiful, and mundane, and common, and yet somehow, still mythical and ethereal.  Even when they were singing about oxen plowing a field, or a black-hearted lass, or the soughing of the sea against the shore.

In some ways, to preserve a language is to preserve a culture.  Why else would conquerors outlaw the local native language of whatever village, tribe, or country they had invaded?  Yes, a common language makes trade or business easier.  But it also renders the thoughts of the enslaved open and a rebellion easier to spot.

Not to mention, if you stomp out the culture, the people have one less thing to fight for.
No society is ever completely free of conquerors.  There will always be men (and women) mad for power and ruthless enough to do whatever it takes to grab and keep it.  In our society today, I wonder what we have worth fighting for? 

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
Languages are not my gift.  But Welsh I would love to learn.  What languages move you?

 
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