BBC presenter Jeremy Vine is accused of likening Welsh to a foreign language and suggesting people should speak English in pubs
- Jeremy Vine is embroiled in a social media debate over the Welsh language
- Man from Pontypridd said people switched from English to Welsh in spite of him
- Star accused of offending the Welsh by suggesting they speak English in pubs
Jeremy Vine came under fire in a debate over the Welsh language
Jeremy Vine has been accused of ‘insulting’ the Welsh after a listener suggested people in Wales should speak English instead of their mother tongue.
Earlier this year the BBC star interviewed a man from Pontypridd in South Wales who said: ‘I don’t want to speak [Welsh], it’s a horrible language.
‘If you go into any pub in west Wales, or North Wales, they’re all there speaking English. As soon as they hear my accent, they start changing into Welsh, so we can’t understand them.’
But Vine came under fire when the comment resurfaced during his ‘review of the year’ show on Radio 2.
A Twitter user criticised the review for giving air time ‘to the tired old trope about walking into a pub and people switching to English’, branding it ‘nonsense.’
When some people compared speaking the Welsh language in Wales to using French in France, Vine responded on Twitter: ‘Is France in the UK?’
The tweet has since been deleted.
Replying to a Twitter user who suggested he apologised or explained, Vine said: ‘My tweet was misconstrued!
Vine came under fire when the comment resurfaced during his ‘review of the year’ show on Radio 2
‘I was pointing out that the listener on my show who complained about people not speaking English to him in Wales was not quite the same as a Brit in Paris who complains no-one speaks English there.
‘Didn’t mean to offend.’
But Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly member Sian Gwenllian, whose Arfon constituency is in the Welsh-speaking heartland of north west Wales, invited Vine to visit the area ‘so [he] can understand what it means to live in a community where Welsh is the day-to-day medium of communication.’
Replying to a Twitter user who suggested he apologised or explained, Vine said: ‘My tweet was misconstrued!’ and said he did not mean to offend
She wrote: ‘Perhaps then you will see why your recent remark about the Welsh language is profoundly insulting to our identity, culture and way of life.’
The politician claimed the ‘obvious and dangerous’ implication was that ‘English is the language that should be spoken in the UK. Other languages don’t belong here.’
Vine responded: ‘There is nothing better than diversity of language and of everything. I was arguing against an analogy and not doing it very well.’
Today a fan of Vine’s radio show from Conwy said: ‘The Welsh mustn’t be seen to lack a sense of humour.
‘There are always language zealots who seem to be easily offended.’