Welsh language 'should be taught in schools across Britain to increase appreciation of other cultures'
Benjamin Zephaniah said people should have a greater awareness of the 'different cultures and languages' that exist within the UK
Benjamin Zephaniah at the Eisteddfod
Performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah says Welsh should be taught in schools across Britain to increase appreciation of other cultures.
Mr Zephaniah said people should have a greater awareness of the “different cultures and languages” that exist within the UK.
“Hindi, Chinese and French are taught [in schools], so why not Welsh? And why not Cornish? They’re part of our culture,” he said.
'Sometimes we forget there are local cultures'
The poet made his comments during his first visit to the National Eisteddfod, which took place in Meifod, Powys.
2015 National Eisteddfod - Maldwyn ar Gororau Gymdeithas protest outside the goverment stand on Friday morning.
Talking to BBC Wales’ Cymru Fyw, he said: “In England, on the whole, when we talk about multiculturalism, we tend to talk about black people, Asian people and people who have brought their cultures here.
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“Sometimes we forget that there are local cultures which are very different to English mainstream culture and literature.
'We should appreciate British cultures'
“If this is multicultural Britain, multiculturalism should not just be about the cultures that come here it should be about the cultures that are here as well."
He said that the option of Welsh should be offered, but should not be compulsory.
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“Welsh is one of our languages.
“There are some things you can’t put a price on and we should appreciate the cultures of Britain.”
National Eisteddfod 2015 Cymraeg ©Steve Pope - FOTOWALES
He said he would “love to learn Welsh” but added it is “probably too late”.
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Last year, Guardian columnist Ellie Mae O’Hagan said English domination of Britain has led to the ‘jingoistic ridiculing’ of Scottish and Welsh identity and called for Welsh to be taught in schools in England.
“The Welsh language is not a backwards, insignificant thing; it is a fundamental part of Britain’s collective history,” she said.