Tell me who I am

fotocredit the history of the Welsh not

Tell me who I am I dare you

You never tell me who I could be

You never tell me who I could have been

Don’t tell me who I’m not

Who are you to tell me that?

Tell me who I am!


foto credit Wikipedia

During the 19th century the primary function of day schools in Wales was the teaching of English. It is said that the teaching of English in Welsh schools was generally supported by the Welsh public and parents who saw it as the language of economic advancement. Some schools practiced what we would now call total immersion language teaching and banned the use of Welsh in the school and playground to force children to use and become proficient in English. Some of these schools punished children caught speaking Welsh with the Welsh Not.

The Welsh Not was brought into use by teachers and school organisations, such as the National Society for Promoting Religious Education, rather than government policy, and its use came about via convention rather than law. The Not was used in schools from as early as 1798, throughout the early 1800s, as late as the 1870s.

The impact on Wales and its people of being — the first nation — to experience English colonisation was of course massive and profound. The lessons learned by England were to be used in Ireland and other colonies around the world.