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Welsh Not

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Jones, Dan


The "Welsh Not" was a device used in the latter part of the 19th century to discourage the use of the Welsh language among school children. The piece of wood was hung around the neck of a boy or girl caught speaking Welsh. The victim could then transfer the Welsh Not to another pupil heard speaking the "inferior" tongue. At the end of the day a whipping would be given to whatever unfortunate person had the reminder around his/her neck. Well into the 1930s the plan appeared to be working, but an aggressive endeavor on the part of numerous dedicated individuals turned things around. In Wales today it is a distinction rather than a shame to be a Welsh-speaker. Over 20% of Wales's population of three million declare themselves to be speakers of this ancient tongue.