Thursday, June 23, 2011

Forgotten Voices

In 1946 the headmistress of the primary school in Selattyn, Shropshire, in reply to a query, stated that just 5 of her 46 pupils were fluent in the Welsh language.

I guess for most the obvious riposte to this information is "So what!" After all, at around the same time, there were first language Welsh speakers in John Lennon's class at the Dovedale Primary School in Mossley Hill, Liverpool and compared to the 957,490 pupils currently in English schools, for whom English is not a first language, it's a fact of no importance whatsoever.

At the same time there is a difference between John Lennon's school pals and those million non-English pupils on the one hand and the five stalwarts of Selattyn school on the other. The Shropshire children were speaking a language that was indigenous to their parish and had been spoken by natives of the place for generations.

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