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Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language
The English Empire ruled the world for many years, and in these years, the English language spread all across the world. This means many countries lost their native language in favour of the English, which is a shame, because a country’s language is not just a way of communicating; it is a central part of the country’s culture. One of these lost languages is Welsh, which is only spoken by 20 per cent of the Welsh population nowadays. But how and why has this happened? This problem is dealt with by Tom Law in the article Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language from 2013.
Is this article Tom Law criticizes the British Empire for being the reason for the drastic decrease of people speaking Welsh. His negative point of view can be seen already in the beginning of the article, where he is very sarcastic. “English is a dominant language (…) a gift to the planet. It helped to civilise the fuzzy wuzzies and spread culture and joy throughout distant lands.” The sarcasm is shown by Law calling the English a gift to planet, and by saying it has spread culture and joy to the world, because the British Empire often was met by opposition and resistance all over the world. An example of this is the fuzzy wuzzies, who fought the British Empire in the Sudan.
He explains this opinion by making up a fictional scenario, where everybody speaks German instead of English. The people who still speak English are considered as being dumb and poor, and there are practically no job prospects, if you cannot speak German. He admits that this scenario sounds completely foolish, but it is actually what has happened to the Welsh Language: “Now, this all sounds absolutely nuts (…) But this is what has happened to Wales and the Welsh language over the past 150 years. It was done by England and it continues to tear the country apart, affecting every aspect of Welsh life.” Law makes up this scenario for the English readers to see the situation from another perspective and potentially understand and agree with Law’s opinions.
Law himself does not express a lot of hope though. The tone in the article is very negative and hopeless. The hopelessness can be seen the in the end of the article, where he says, there is nothing left in Wales; nothing but a rugby top and an acceptance of destiny: “There’s no fight or energy left. No upsurge of anger. No dissent. No political will. No obvious solution. Just a blank stare, a rugby top and a grim Welsh cheeriness; a nihilistic acceptance of fate.”
This negative attitude and hopelessness are elaborated in the following quotation, where he personifies the two languages and the English language kills the Welsh by strangulation: “The Welsh language has declined so rapidly because the English placed a pillow over its face and smothered it. It has taken around 150 years to complete, there have been occasional bouts of kicking and thrashing against, but it’s pretty much job done.” This quotation is characterized of a lot of negatively loaded words such as smothered and trashing. In addition to Law’s very clear expression of his own opinion, this article is an example of the appeal form Pathos. By using pathos, he appeals to the receiver’s impulsive feelings.
This is further substantiated by Law’s references to his Welsh childhood, which makes the article even more personal: “It proposed that state funded English language schools should be set-up – and that’s what happened. It’s one of these schools where I, like most Welsh people, was taught.”
He expresses these quite firm opinions with a very uncompromising language, because he wants to create a debate, which is the very essence of the Sabotage Times in which the article is brought. Furthermore he is Welsh himself, and therefore he probably has even stronger feelings on the subject, when it is his native language.
To substantiate his opinions he uses history. At first he states the problem by referring to statistics, which show the decreasing percentage of Welshmen speaking Welsh: “Because back in the 1840s, around 80 percent of people living in Wales were Welsh speakers, many of them spoke no English at all. Fast forward to the recent 2011 census and that number has dropped to below 20 percent.” This is also an example of the appeal form logos, because he refers to statistics and facts. By using logos he appeals to the receiver’s rationality. The use of the appeal form logos is not nearly as dominant as the use of pathos, though.
Moreover he elaborates the unfairness of the situation from a historical aspect by explaining how it all began. He claims the English began to fear the Welshmen, because they started fighting for their rights: “It was a fear fuelled by the growth of Welsh working class radicalism; the rise of the Chartist movement, outbreaks of rebellion such as the Merthyr Rising of 1831 and the Rebecca Riots of the 1840s.” This gives a very positive image of the Welshmen as being good persons, who were just fighting for justice. On the other hand it makes the English look evil, because they fought against the Welshmen by doing the following: “(…) an 1847 report into the state of Welsh education and morality found the country’s population to be dirty, lazy, drunken and over-sexed. (…) And the cure was simple – the eradication of Welsh from the education system. It is therefore this report, which has started the decline of people speaking Welsh, and the consequences have been severe according to Law, who states that the Welshmen are ashamed of their language: “But the report’s other toxic legacy was to give many Welsh speakers a deep-rooted sense of inferiority and shame about their language.”
To conclude the essay, it can be said that is a fact that there has been a massive decrease of people speaking Welsh, and according to Tom Law is it England’s fault. He uses a historical aspect and rhetorical features such as the appeal forms logos and pathos to substantiate his opinions. Furthermore his article has a very negative tone, which does not leave a lot of hope for the future.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 1, line 6-11.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 2, line 69-76.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 4, line 263-268.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 2, line 120-122.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 3, line 188-192.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 2, line 77-82.
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 3, line 167-174
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 3, line 179-187
 Law, Tom. (2013). Cachau Bant: Mind Your Language. Page 3, line 200-203