As the oldest living language in Europe (after Basque), Welsh is a unique aspect of British heritage. Despite its official status and the proliferation of Welsh-medium schools, it has all but disappeared as a living language outside of a handful of communities in the west and north of Wales.
In this book Martyn Ford traces the history of Welsh from the early medieval period, through the Act of Union between England and Wales in the sixteenth century, to industrial Wales in Victorian times, and then during the twentieth century where due to mass migration Wales had become a land of two cultures and thus two peoples. The Welsh language is a defining characteristic of Welsh identity and this book aims to analyse the current state of the Welsh language, its relevance to Welsh culture today and the policies which attempt to protect it.
The highly topical issue of self-government is discussed - timely with the Welsh Assembly elections in May 2016. The success of the SNP in Scotland has put the very existence of Great Britain in doubt. What does this mean for Wales? Martyn considers the political relationship Wales has with England, exploring the idea that while retaining a cultural separateness, Wales has been fully integrated politically with England.
Martyn Ford formerly served as a councillor on a local authority in Swansea. He has recently acquired an M.A. in history from Swansea University, and obtained a first degree at Aberystwyth University in 1976.