Myfyrdod adeg Gŵyl Ddewi

Heddiw o bob diwrnod, dylem ddathlu mor wyrthiol ydyw ein bod ni yng Nghymru, er i ni gael ein concro yn y drydedd ganrif ar ddeg, a byw yng nghysgod un o brif ieithoedd cyffredin y byd, eto’n medru siarad ein hiaith ein hun. Wedi ein hir hanes dan reolaeth estron, mae’n rhyfeddol odiaeth fod y genedl Gymreig yn medru sefyll mewn ystafell ynghanol eu cymdogion Seisnig a chael sgwrs hollol breifat.

Dengys y cyfrifiad diweddaraf, serch hynny, na allwn fod yn hunanfodlon. Mae dirywiad unwaith yn rhagor yn dynesu’n llechwraidd. Rŷm o hyd yn uwch na lefel 1991 o 581,000 ac mae hyn yn galonogol, ond bod y cyfartaledd o siaradwyr Cymreig wedi gostwng 2% o 2001 i 562,000 (19%).

Felly, mae’r broblem y tynnwyd ein sylw ati gyda’r fath bendantrwydd gan araith “Tynged yr Iaith” Saunders Lewis, ysywaeth, wedi dychwelyd – sut gallwn ni sicrhau nad â’r iaith hynafol hon i ebargofiant yn ystod ein gwyliadwriaeth ni? Nid oes neb eisiau bod yn perthyn i genhedlaeth y bydd yn rhaid iddi gyfaddef ei bod wedi gadael i’r iaith wywo ar y winwydden.

‘Fum i erioed yn byw yng Nghymru, ac mae fy ngwybodaeth o’r Gymraeg yn deillio o ymgomio â’m teulu ac o fynd i Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain tan i mi gyrraedd chwe mlwydd oed. Fe wn i, o brofiad, ei bod yn dra anodd i ddal ati i gadw’r Gymraeg pan nad ydych yn ei defnyddio’n wastadol.

Dyna paham y mae’n rhaid i ni drawsnewid yn gyfangwbl ein holl ymagweddiad at y Gymraeg.

Nid yw gorfodi astudio’r Gymraeg hyd lefel TGAU yn ddim ond gwasanaeth gwefus, os na fydd yn datblygu i fod yn iaith yr iard chwarae, y dafarn a’r siop. Lletchwithdod cymdeithasol pur yw rhan o’r broblem.

O gwrteisi fe siaredir Saesneg gan nifer sylweddol o Gymry mewn lleoedd cyhoeddus i osgoi cau allan pobl na allant, o bosib, fedru’r Gymraeg. Fodd bynnag, er mwyn ei gwneud yn iaith fwy naturiol a phoblogaidd rhaid newid hyn. Gan fod y Cymry’n drwyadl yn y Saesneg mae’n rhy hawdd o lawer ei mabwysiadu fel ein ‘lingua franca’ ninnau hefyd, yn enwedig pan fydd cynifer o bobl Seisnig yn symud i mewn i’r wlad i gymryd mantais o brisoedd rhatach tai.

Nid wyf, o gwbl, yn gwarafun i Saeson, nad ŷnt yn medru’r Gymraeg, ddod i Gymru, ond mae’n rhaid iddynt gyfaddasu â’r Cymry ac nid i’r gwrthwyneb. Unwaith y bydd crynswth beirniadol o bobl na fedrant y Gymraeg, a hynny mewn tref fechan, fe all yn gyflym symud i gymuned i siarad Saesneg yn hytrach na’r Gymraeg.

Byddai dysgu’r Gymraeg dipyn yn llai o ymdrech i ddysgwyr pe gwnaed hi’n iaith dderbyniol yn gyhoeddus. Fe glywais, hyd yn oed, am Saeson a ymdrechodd ddysgu’r Gymraeg, yn achwyn na chânt ddigon o ymarfer, oherwydd, weithian, onid yw pobl yn sicr eich bod yn siarad Cymraeg, fe dybiant nad ydych yn gwneud hynny. Mae angen trawsnewid y cyhoedd dan y camargraff hwnnw yn gadarn yn ôl i’r Gymraeg.

Fy hoff ddyfais ddiweddar i, yw’r bathodynnau ‘Cymraeg’ y gall gweithwyr yn rhywle yng Nghymru eu harddangos i brofi eu bod yn medru’r Gymraeg. Mae hyn yn torri allan y dyfalu lletchwith.

Mae’r newid hwn ymhlŷg â bod yn amyneddgar gyda phobl nad ŷnt yn rhugl. Y duedd naturiol, wrth gwrs, i achub rhywun sy’n cloffi gyda’u Cymraeg yw symud i’r Saesneg yn gyflym, ond mae hyn, mewn gwirionedd yn wrthgynhyrchiol. Sut gallant wella eu Cymraeg fyth ?

Problem arall ynglŷn â chadw’r Gymraeg y tu allan i’r ysgol yw bod rhai rhieni’n ymddangos yn ddrwgdybus ynglŷn â’i gwerth, yn enwedig os nad ydynt yn ei siarad eu hunain. Rhan o hyn yw’r syniad hen-ffasiwn y bydd eu Saesneg yn dioddef os bydd plant yn ceisio ymdopi â iaith arall, ond nid yw hynny wedi ei seilio ar brofiad. Mae’r Saesneg mor gryf ym Mhrydain fel y tuedda plant ddatblygu’n ddwyieithwyr rhugl – gyda’r fantais o ddwy iaith, dwy gelfyddyd a dwy farchnad gwaith. Mae plant Ewrop yn siarad llawer iaith heb unrhyw drafferth. ‘Does yna’r un rheswm na ddylai hyn fod yn berthnasol i Brydain.

Mae’r Bwrdd Addysg Gymraeg yn awr wedi ei ddisodli i wneud lle i Gomisiynydd Newydd y Senedd. ‘Dyw’r Senedd ddim yn nodedig am ei hochr greadigol ac ‘rwyf i’n ofni fod ei chynllun strategol am yr iaith, sydd i’w gyhoeddi eleni, mor ddiffygiol a diddychymyg â’i pholisiau eraill. Felly ‘rwy’n gobeithio y bydd y Senedd yn ymroi i feddwl yn weithredol ac ar lefel leol. Maent yn tueddu canolbwyntio ar yr agwedd swyddogol – cael biliau nwy a ffurflenni Treth Cyngor yn y Gymraeg, ac wrth gwrs, pethau tebyg.

‘Rwyf yn gobeithio y byddant yn meddwl y tu allan i fiwrocratiaeth gan eu bod wedi ymgymryd â’r cyfrioldeb o feithrin ein hiaith. Gobeithiaf am ragor o syniadau fel y bathodynnau Cymreig oren. Mae’n syniad mor syml, ond mae’n ymwneud â hybu gweithredol, bywyd bob dydd a synnwyr cymunedol. Popeth yn wir, y dylai polisi iaith fod.

Os yw mynd o amgylch yn siarad Cymraeg yn gyhoeddus yn peri i rai pobl fod yn anghysurus, boed hi felly. Ni ddylem adael i iaith canrifoedd ddarfod i arbed nifer bach o ysbeidiau anodd. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus – Happy St David’s Day.

Confused? Don't speak Welsh? Try this one.

Photograph: Getty Images
John Moore
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The man who created the fake Tube sign explains why he did it

"We need to consider the fact that fake news isn't always fake news at the source," says John Moore.

"I wrote that at 8 o'clock on the evening and before midday the next day it had been read out in the Houses of Parliament."

John Moore, a 44-year-old doctor from Windsor, is describing the whirlwind process by which his social media response to Wednesday's Westminster attack became national news.

Moore used a Tube-sign generator on the evening after the attack to create a sign on a TfL Service Announcement board that read: "All terrorists are politely reminded that THIS IS LONDON and whatever you do to us we will drink tea and jolly well carry on thank you." Within three hours, it had just fifty shares. By the morning, it had accumulated 200. Yet by the afternoon, over 30,000 people had shared Moore's post, which was then read aloud on BBC Radio 4 and called a "wonderful tribute" by prime minister Theresa May, who at the time believed it was a genuine Underground sign. 

"I think you have to be very mindful of how powerful the internet is," says Moore, whose viral post was quickly debunked by social media users and then national newspapers such as the Guardian and the Sun. On Thursday, the online world split into two camps: those spreading the word that the sign was "fake news" and urging people not to share it, and those who said that it didn't matter that it was fake - the sentiment was what was important. 

Moore agrees with the latter camp. "I never claimed it was a real tube sign, I never claimed that at all," he says. "In my opinion the only fake news about that sign is that it has been reported as fake news. It was literally just how I was feeling at the time."

Moore was motivated to create and post the sign when he was struck by the "very British response" to the Westminster attack. "There was no sort of knee-jerk Islamaphobia, there was no dramatisation, it was all pretty much, I thought, very calm reporting," he says. "So my initial thought at the time was just a bit of pride in how London had reacted really." Though he saw other, real Tube signs online, he wanted to create his own in order to create a tribute that specifically epitomised the "very London" response. 

Yet though Moore insists he never claimed the sign was real, his caption on the image - which now has 100,800 shares - is arguably misleading. "Quintessentially British..." Moore wrote on his Facebook post, and agrees now that this was ambiguous. "It was meant to relate to the reaction that I saw in London in that day which I just thought was very calm and measured. What the sign was trying to do was capture the spirit I'd seen, so that's what I was actually talking about."

Not only did Moore not mean to mislead, he is actually shocked that anyone thought the sign was real. 

"I'm reasonably digitally savvy and I was extremely shocked that anyone thought it was real," he says, explaining that he thought everyone would be able to spot a fake after a "You ain't no muslim bruv" sign went viral after the Leytonstone Tube attack in 2015. "I thought this is an internet meme that people know isn't true and it's fine to do because this is a digital thing in a digital world."

Yet despite his intentions, Moore's sign has become the centre of debate about whether "nice" fake news is as problematic as that which was notoriously spread during the 2016 United States Presidential elections. Though Moore can understand this perspective, he ultimately feels as though the sentiment behind the sign makes it acceptable. 

"I use the word fake in inverted commas because I think fake implies the intention to deceive and there wasn't [any]... I think if the sentiment is ok then I think it is ok. I think if you were trying to be divisive and you were trying to stir up controversy or influence people's behaviour then perhaps I wouldn't have chosen that forum but I think when you're only expressing your own emotion, I think it's ok.

"The fact that it became so-called fake news was down to other people's interpretation and not down to the actual intention... So in many interesting ways you can see that fake news doesn't even have to originate from the source of the news."

Though Moore was initially "extremely shocked" at the reponse to his post, he says that on reflection he is "pretty proud". 

"I'm glad that other people, even the powers that be, found it an appropriate phrase to use," he says. "I also think social media is often denigrated as a source of evil and bad things in the world, but on occasion I think it can be used for very positive things. I think the vast majority of people who shared my post and liked my post have actually found the phrase and the sentiment useful to them, so I think we have to give social media a fair judgement at times and respect the fact it can be a source for good."

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.