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Gwenu dan Fysiau

Llawlyfr y Piwritan Newydd



Ti'n boen yn y tîn

19.12.05

Dwi ddim yn siwr yn union beth i'w wneud o'r post hwn gan gyfranwr at Gair Rhydd (papur myfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd), ble mae'n sôn mae hen grachen polisi iaith yr undeb wedi ccael ei chrafu unwaith eto, gyda un person yn cwyno am y diffyg Cymraeg yn y papur a'r awgrym fod hyn yn groes i'r ddeddf iaith. Tydw i ddim yn meddwl bod papurau myfyrwyr yn dod o dan y ddeddf iaith, ond efallai ei fod yn dod o dan bolisi/gynllun iaith yr Undeb Myfyrwyr.

Es i ddim i Brifysgol Caerdydd, ond gan fod fy nghariad yn gweithio yno, dwi'n cael cip ar ambell gopi nawr ac yn y man. Gwir mai prin yw'r cynnwys yn Gymraeg, ond deallaf bod ategolyn Cymraeg o'r enw Taf-Od, ac fel mae awdur y blog yn dweud mae cynnwys hwn yn ddibynnol ar gyfraniadau gan fyfyrwyr sy'n siarad Cymraeg. Fy nghwyn i am ei gynnwys yw ei fod mor Seisnig ei naws (ond wedyn mae myfyrwyr o Loegr yn ganran mor uchel o boblageth myfyrwyr y brifysgol does fawr o syndod).

Dwi'n un da i siarad ond mae neges y post yn aneglur braidd. Mae'r awdur yn dweud ar un llaw ei fod yn cyd-ymdeimlo gyda'r diffyg cyfleodd i ddefnyddio'r Gymraeg gan fyfyrwyr Cymraeg eu hiaith o fewn yr Undeb a pha mor anghyson yw y geeli'r darllen pob poster yn ddwyieithog tra na elli'r archebu peint yn Gymraeg yn y 'Taf', ond ar y llaw arall mae o'r farn:
We must cater for the majority – after all, that’s how democracy is supposed to work – and the sad fact remains that in Wales only a quarter of the population speaks Cymraeg.

Wedyn mae'n gorffen gan ddweud ei fod wedi prynnu llyfryn i ddysgu Cymraeg.

Christopher, if you find your way here, a translation may be visable on my other blog depending on how fast the translation department works. In the meantime I hope your copy of ‘Teach Yourself Welsh’ has arrived, but why not take advantage of Cardiff Uiversity's excellent Welsh Language Teaching Centre?
postiwyd gan Rhys Wynne, 2:20 pm

11 sylw:

Er, hello.

Translation isn't visible yet, but I would like to know what it says. (I've not started learning Welsh yet - don't know how long I'll be staying in Cardiff.)

I wrote that in April. The internet is mental.

-Christopher
sylw gan Blogger Geordie, 6:08 pm  

Hi Rhys,

I'd also be quite interested to read what the post says.

(Sadly, despite coming from a Welsh family, something I'm proud of, my Welsh extends only as far as 'Bore da', 'Nadloig Llawen' and 'Dwi'n hoffi coffi' - and even then the spelling and grammar may be hideously wrong. I've got a copy of teach yourself Welsh - it's a bit battered from the number of times I've thrown it across the room in frustration. A linguist I am not).

Erm, anyway, diversion apart, I was Chris' editor at the time, so can give a bit more background to exactly what he's referring to, along with how gair rhydd worked then (it probably hasn't changed much since) and the practicalities of the Welsh section.

BTW, I'm putting your English site onto my blogroll - just spent the past half hour skimming through - makes for quite interesting reading.
sylw gan Blogger Gary, 9:09 pm  

Gan fy mod i wedi cyfiethu'r post (esgusodwch unrhyw gamgymeriadau) i Chris, dyma fe yn ei gyfanrhwydd:

You're a pain in the Arse

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this post by one of the gair rhydd's (Cardiff University's Student Paper) contributors, where he talks about the old scab of the Students' Union's bilingual policy being scratched again, in response top a letter complaining about the lack of Welsh in the paper suggesting that this breaks the Language Act. Whilst I don't think that student newspapers come under the Language Act, it's possible that it does come under the Union's bilingual policy.

I didn't go to Cardiff University, but as my girlfriend works there, I manage to get a chance to skim over a few copies every so often. While it's true that there is a very limited ammount of Welsh in each edition, I understant that there's a Welsh section named Taf-Od, and that the author of the blog notes that the content is dependant on Welsh speaking students contributing to the paper. My gripe is that the content is English-orientated (but considering the high proportion of English students within the Student populus this is hardly surprising).

I'm a fine one to talk but, the post's message is rather unclear. The author on the one hand claims to empathise with the lack of opportuninties Welsh speaking students have to use their first language within the Students' Union and note the lack of balance, all posters have to be in Welsh yet you'd be hard pressed to order a pint in the Taf in Welsh, yet on the other his opinion is:

"We must cater for the majority – after all, that’s how democracy is supposed to work – and the sad fact remains that in Wales only a quarter of the population speaks Cymraeg."

He finishes with the statement that he's purchased a book with the intention to learn Welsh.

Fel cyn olygydd Taf-Od, rydw i'n gweld y broblem o'r ddau ochr.

Gyda phob parch, nid oedd y llythyr yn un ddoeth, mae'n ddigon teg i nodi anfodlonrwydd am diffyg cynnwys yn y Gymraeg, ond roedd y modd o rhoi'r farn yma ond yn mynd i godi cefn y rhai ddi-Gymraeg yn fwy.

Y gwir yw, os mae Cymry Cymraeg y brifysgol am gael mwy o gymraeg yn y papur rhaid iddynt ymgesio i rhoi i fewn erthyglau Cymraeg o safon yn hytrach na rhoi bai. Dim ond ychydig o waith caled gan grwp bach brwdfrydig sydd agen i gael papur yn gyfoethog mewn erthyglau Cymraeg.

Elgan
Cyn-Olygydd Taf-Od

Translation:

Being the former editor of Taf-Od I can see the arguement from both sides.

With all due respect to the author of the letter, I believe the wording of the letter was unwise. While it's fair comment to show displeasure at the lack of Welsh content in the paper, the manner in which he chose to state this opinion only irritated and raise the heckles of those who don't speak Welsh.

The plain truth is, to have a more Welsh identity and more Welsh content in the paper someone has to write the articles. All it takes is a few dedicated people who want to do it and the problems solved. Rather than trying to atribute blame, we need to be ready to work on the solutions.

Elgan
Former Taf-Od Editor
sylw gan Blogger Loki, 1:29 pm  

Ok, now I know what all means:

Yes, my writing wasn't especially clear. I wasn't exactly empathising with the lack of opportunity for Welsh-speakers to use their language, more pointing out that the Union's bilingual policy isn't especially useful.

In that quote from my article, I meant that 'we' as in 'gair rhydd' have to write for [the majority of] our readership,which is obviously largely composed of English-speakers.

The paper probably isn't covered by the Welsh Language Act, but the Students' Union is, and if it were ruled that the Union inluded the paper then we'd probably have been in trouble. The complaint was actually pretty quickly dropped.

[Translate into Welsh please Elgan]
sylw gan Blogger Geordie, 2:57 pm  

Hi Chris, Elgan and Carwr Coffi,

I'll reply in English to reach the mass audience ('wink' smiley) and as I haven't got round to translating the post after saying I would ('embarass' smiley) - thankfully Elgan saved me the trouble.

As you mentioned in the original post Chris, there is an opportunity for Welsh speakers to contribute, but for some reason they don't. This could be down to many factors such as they'd rather winge than actually do something (and I see this happening), but it could also be to do with the 'Englishness' of the paper that puts many welsh speaking students off.

What I mean by this is the content not the language it's written in. As I say I only read the occasional issue, but in the last 2 that I've read, two thing's struck me.

1. An article about how 'we' didn't/don't do enough to celebrate England getting to the World Cup. The author didn't feel the need to mention he was (most likely) and Englishman, and that he's studying in Cardiff (Wales' capital) - so maybe there actually was more celebrating, with cars hooting in the streets a la france, turkey etc going on back home. Ironically perhaps there was a letter by a Welshman in the same edition complaingn how he was dissapointed at having to go to four different pubs in Roath before being able to watch the Wales footie match on telly as it was only the England match being played everywhere - suppose that is a balance?

2. In the last edition before the last general elaction, it had the picture of Blair, Howard and Kennedy on the front page with the question 'Who do you trust?'. This I felt was a little unfair to Plaid Cymru as it reinforces the view that there's only three main parties in Wales - which depending on your political leaning you might agree with. Granted the Plaid candidate was give the same coverage as the other three inside, but still.

Anyway, you may think that these are pretty lame arguments, but it's going to be difficult getting people to contibute to the paper (in Welsh) if welsh speakers don't feel the paper belongs to them.
sylw gan Blogger Rhys Wynne, 5:16 pm  

Interesting, and yes, some valid points as well, and I'll try to address them as best I can...

Taf-od:
I'm a little hazy as to the exact history of taf-od (or why it even got that name in the past) but contributors, and contributions, were a real problem, although I was really proud that the 2004/05 gair rhydd had more Welsh content in than any other year I'd been at Cardiff University, so that's definitely progress of sorts.

The year before there was a taf-od section that was edited by three people who I never met. In the last term they simply vanished and we couldn't track them down for neither love nor beer.

So, at the start of my editorship I was without a Welsh editor, or any idea what to do with the section, not being a Welsh speaker myself. I had tried advertising, sending out requests to the Welsh department of the university and the gym gym but to no avail. Thankfully Elgan stepped into the breach and did a sterling job to take something that was infrequent and ignored at best into a mainstay of the paper.

But article quality... well that was another thing. We got several articles from the gym gym along the lines of: "We went out, we got pissed, we had a great time." Wonderful for them, but I'd refused to print those kind of articles from other societies or groups before so I wasn't going to do the same. Both Elgan and myself decided that we wanted the articles to be of a certain levl of quality - and I didn't think the "we got drunk" articles would doanything to help promote the gym gym, or Wales as a whole. You can get drunk anywhere.

Part of the problem was we never properly defined Taf-Od. It would have been easy to make the section into a rewrite of other areas, just putting a Welsh spin on it, but I felt strongly that it should be of as much relevance as posisble to Welsh readers, so the stories should be as directly relevant as possible to those who read the page. But laying out a plan for Taf-od was something I never got round to (along with many other things).

And yes, we did get an awful lot of whinging from the gym gym, but not once did they offer to do something about it.

1. I spent bloody ages trying to find a pub showing the Wales game as well.

But that genuinely hadn't occurred to me. I guess, having grown up in England, it's not something I'd have naturally noticed. England football eurphoria tends to pass me by anyway - I'm not really interested in how they do.

2. Haha, I'll take full responsibility for that front cover, as that was my idea. I'd had it visualised in my head for ages.

And yes, you're probably right again that Plaid should have shared that space. Although we gave them even coverage everywhere else during the election campaign. And as a final irony, I voted Plaid in the last election. Probably because I couldn't trust any of the other buggers, thereby answering my own question.

But yes, I can see where you're coming from re: getting Welsh speakers involved. I have no idea what the current system is up there.

Last year was, I thought, a good year for Welsh in the paper, as there was a Welsh president overseeing the whole Union (and I'd occasionally consult him on Welsh-related things) and Elgan was prepared to fight for what he wanted in the paper.

Interestingly, the Welsh Affairs Officer never came to see me once. I had a to-do list note to chat with her and Elgan about Welsh content in the paper, but it slipped my mind (I'm just as absent-minded about other things as well).

Still, it could always be better, and I won't disagre that, with hindsight, maybe more could have been done, although I'm still proud of the paper's efforts last year (well, I would say that).

One option might be to have a seperate Welsh paper, as they do in Bangor and Aberystwyth, although I can't see the Union going for that, finance wise.
sylw gan Blogger Gary, 5:47 pm  

It does sound like you and others did all you could to find original welsh articles - short of writting them yourself! Certainly just translating english ones or providing tales of drunken nights out certianly wouldnt advance welsh journalism.
I think student unions in Wales in general - not just their papers 'struggle' (if that's the word) to get Welsh speakers involved. As I've already mentioned it may be that many (welsh speakers), myself incuded find/found it a hard pill to swallow that when they choose to study at a Welsh University that they are/were outnumbered by students (mainly from England) by around 20 to 1.

Why should it matter some may ask, and something that's often said is that Welsh speakers should 'broaden their horizons'.
Well, in my opinion a lot of students from England (and probably abroad) treat studyning in Wales as just being at Uni in another English/British town - and who could blame them with the demographics of the the Uni and this is reflected in the union and also in the papers (with exeption of individuals, such as yourself who make/made a point of trying to be different)

Maybe a seperate Welsh paper would make welsh speaking students feel like it belonged to them - but there might still be the same problem with contributors, who knows.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply and I've found more blogs to add to my blogroll from this posting (which could be a bad thing as it'll take even longer to read them all now!)

I think I'll have to persuade a blogger named Chris Cope to contribute to Taf-Od next year. As you can see by his blog he's American, but I came across him through his Welsh blog. He's just been accepted to study for a Welsh degree after the summer - he's completely self taught in Welsh, but is completely fluent as I meet him before is interview. He's currently employed as an on-line columist.
sylw gan Blogger Rhys Wynne, 8:50 am  

I have 2 comments about Welsh students.

First of all, the Gym Gym wanted Taf-Od to be it's mouthpiece. Someone even suggested that we created a "Fool of the Week" segment. This isn't good journalism.

The most feedback Taf-Od ever got was during the bilingual editions. People were overwhelmingly in support of being to read about Welsh issues though they couldn't understand Welsh. It is however, too much work for one editor to do that each week.

Secondly, Welsh speaking students are by far the most cleaky people in Universities. In Aberystwyth and Bangor they have their own Halls, and they used to have all the Welsh flats in one Block of Senghenydd (Block J) here in Cardiff.

Block J had a reputation for causing more trouble than all the other blocks put together.

The reputation and stigmatism Welsh Students have is partly deserved. By not engaging with others within the student body and in some cases being militantly fundamental about Welsh language and independance issues they're further alienate themselves.

I can't justify being a member of the Gym Gym because it's a glorified drinking society which happens to field a couple of sports teams.

As for the Welsh Affairs Officer I can quote another Sabb: "All she wants to do is go to the pub and get hammered".

Sums it up really, in my first year I was on a forum to look at the University's Welsh Language policy and suggest improvements.

By the second year it was disbanded because no one was bothered. I was sorely disappointed.

Chris Cope would be a highly valued addition to Taf-Od. Maybe even a Welsh columnist, that would be interesting.
sylw gan Blogger Loki, 9:59 pm  

Mae ymddygiad rhai myfyrwyr Cymraeg eu hiaith yn achos embaras llwyr, allai'm gwadu hynny. Er mi ddewisiais i fyw mewn neuadd Gymraeg am ddwy flynedd ym Mhrifysgol Bangor a dwi heb droi allan yn rhy wael. Mi oeddwn i'n cymdeithasu gyda myfyrwyr di-Gymraeg oddi ar fy nghwrs a cwrddais â'm partner o 7 mlynedd tra'n astudio yno (Saesnes yw hi!). Mae pobl yn meddwl ei fod yn od y byddai siaradwyr Cymraeg eisiau byw gyda siaradwyr Cymraeg eraill, ond does dim o'i le ar fyfyrwyr Saesneg eu hiaith yn byw mewn neuadd llawn siaradwyr Saesneg.
sylw gan Blogger Rhys Wynne, 8:44 am  

Ironically enough last year in Cardiff you had a Welsh speaking president, a Welsh (well, parentage, but grew up in England, and don't speka the language) editor in myself, and a Kairdiff boy (VERY basic Welsh speaker) as Deputy Editor along with a Taf-Od editor who did more than any other Welsh speaker before.

My initial feeling is, if there's a real drive to get Weslh-speakers involved, a separate paper would be the best solution - maybe an 8 page pull out entitled gair rhydd cymru with a spereate editor, run along similar lines to Quench magazine, reporting to the overall editor.

Although where the funding wouldcome from for that I have no idea. It may be viable fortnightly but that's adding a signifcant annual cost onto the print run.

Another option may be to link up with UWIC and produce a joint Welsh student paper for Cardiff.

I never saw the Abersytwyth or Bangor Welsh papers, so I guess if anybody was to do this those whould be as good a starting point as any.

But, regardless as to what this year's tem and next year's editor do with the Welsh section, the paper can only benefit from increased Welsh contribution and I think that's something everybody recognises. It's what to do with it that's the bigger problem and I'd be lying if I said I, my successor, or anybody else involved with the production of the paper, had the answers.
sylw gan Blogger Gary, 11:08 pm  

Rhai wrth gwrs pedio peintio pawb gyda'r un brwsh ac mae'n siwr bod llawer o fyfyrwyr Cymraeg eu hiaith gyda chydbwysedd rhwng cariad at yr iaith a'n gwlad.

Mewn gwirionedd, y lleiafrif sydd ddim yn cymdeithasu llawer gyda'r Saeson, ond rheini oeddwn i'n delio efo gan amlaf tra oeddwn i'n Golygu Taf-Od.

Gary, the UWIC idea sounds like a good one, do they have a paper at all? You could include Swansea too. Perhaps one edition every month would be best as a start.

There are equal opportnities issues in having a purely Welsh paper, requiring a Welsh Speaker may be common sense but it's a little hazy on a legal standing.Personally I'd say the workload would be too high for a student to do, it'd be a full time job, the logistics of doing a paper over 3 or 4 campuses is tricky to say the least. It's definately worth looking into though.
sylw gan Blogger Loki, 4:11 pm  

Gadawa sylw