UK

Woman Speaking Welsh To Her Child Told ‘Speak English Not Foreign Muck’

(This happened in Wales.)

11/09/2017 12:42 BST | Updated 11/09/2017 12:47 BST

In an occasional series on the practice of passing uninvited comment on the lives of others and it backfiring spectacularly, we bring you this gem.

Lampeter town councillor Elin T Jones was shopping with her baby daughter this weekend in south west Wales when a stranger approached the pair and delivered the observation: ‘You shouldn’t be speaking that foreign muck, you should be speaking English.’

The 32-year-old, replied she was speaking to her daughter in Welsh, upon which the woman turned on her heel and marched off.

Jones told HuffPost UK: “I was just shopping with my baby and saying to her the Welsh words for fruit because that’s a good way to start your child learning the language, where they’ve got the visual cues. And this lady came up to me and said: ‘You shouldn’t be speaking that foreign muck, you should be speaking English.’

“I said: ‘I’m sorry but I’m speaking Welsh.’ She just looked incredibly angry and turned and walked away. She didn’t try to justify her comments.”

Jones tweeted about the incident amassing 30,000 “likes” and was retweeted 11,000 times.

She added: “It’s not anybody’s business to tell others what language they should be speaking full stop. I don’t stand for any sort of discrimination whatsoever. My family moved here from England before I was born and I was born in Wales. I come from a very multicultural family and it’s something for me I would always defend, no matter what. I just thought ‘Oh, another bigot.’

“Whilst a lot of people would probably say everything is Brexit’s fault, I think there is a lot of things within the political environment and the general public’s feelings that build towards discontent. My grandparents moved here 40 years ago and they had comments made towards them, so I don’t think it’s a something particularly new, but I think it has been heightened by the rise of the far right.”  

In June last year events organiser Tom Bradbury witnessed a similar exchange when a niqab-clad woman was defended from a man who confronted her for not speaking English.

In a post on Facebook, Bradbury said the Muslim woman was sat playing with her toddler son, speaking to him in another language while on a rail replacement service between Newport and Cwmbran, in south Wales.

As she chatted to her child, an aggrieved fellow passenger sat in front of them turned around to challenge her. 

“When you’re in the UK you should really be speaking English,” he demanded.

The response from another woman passenger would have certainly come as a shock - as she revealed the lady was in fact speaking...Welsh.

Bradbury told HuffPost UK after his post went viral that he was “surprised” to hear the angry passenger “come out and say something like that so directly”. 

But when the Muslim woman responded - immediately, he recalled -“it made the few of us in the surrounding seats laugh”.

The instigator, Bradbury continued, “seemed to shrivel up a little bit and mumble something to himself, but stayed quiet afterwards”.