Do they still teach the geography of Great Britain in America ... sorry, in the US? If not, I apologise for having to say something that is obvious to some folks and a matter of exotic "nuances" to others:

England, Wales and Scotland are parts of Great Britain. they are also parts of the same state (the United Kingdom), but:

1. Wales and England are separate countries.
2. Scotland and England are separate countries.
3. Wales and Scotland are separate countries.

People in Wales and Scotland on the whole dislike being called "English" and they dislike it when their respective countries are treated by ignorant outsiders as parts of England, as if they had no historical and cultural identity of their own. If a remark to that effect is made by an academic (say, Alexeev), it's ignorant nevertheless. An educated person should have known better.

Welsh is a (Brythonic) Celtic language still spoken in some parts of Wales. As with any other language, there may be small Welsh-speaking communities outside Wales, but Welsh is associated _primarily_ with Wales and Wales alone, and the fact that it continues to be used there as a living language is important from the point of view of the Welsh people. For most inhabitants of Wales, English (Welsh English, to be precise) is the first language. That doesn't make Wales part of England, just like Australia, Canada or the US are not parts of England, though "English" is the traditionally fixed name of the dominant language spoken there.

To sum up:

The statement 'Welsh is spoken in (some parts of) Wales' is true, and this is what Alexeev should have said or written. It remains true even though English is _also_ spoken in Wales.

The isolated statement 'Welsh is spoken in England' is _false_ even if there are some Welsh speakers scattered here and there in England. It would be like saying that 'Finnish is spoken in the US'. A sentence like 'Welsh is spoken in Great Britain' or 'Welsh is spoken in the Solar System', while technically true, is misleading because it fails to make explicit the primary association of Welsh with the territory of Wales.


----- Original Message -----
From: <richard.wordingham@...>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2003 10:23 PM
Subject: [Nostratica] Literal Truth

> The statement, 'Beavers build dams.' is true. Its passive, 'Dams are built by beavers.', is false, for people also build dams. Th problem lies in implicit quantification.
> Similarly, the isolated statement, 'Welsh is spoken in the South of England and English in the North.' is false, for it will be understood as meaning that the language of the South is Welsh while the language of the North is English.