As usual, Lewis clarifies my thoughts better than I can.
I’ve been conscious throughout my research that a Northern Irish person who doesn’t speak Welsh and is thus incapable of accessing half the influences and inferences in Welsh writing in English may be an inadequate critic. This has been exacerbated by my bewilderment in reading signs around Aberystwyth which are in Welsh, then English – a momentary feeling of foreignness in a town that doesn’t feel far removed from my coastal upbringing in Bangor, Co. Down.
‘Well, we’re all obsessed with language. But what I have been trying to do is explore why minority languages are important to people other than those who speak them. Because I think they show us the nature of language in an extreme situation. I think what can be learned from the decline of the Welsh language is not a minority issue, it’s actually a language issue.’
Kathryn Gray, ‘Gwyneth Lewis in America’, New Welsh Review, 70 (2005), pp. 8-13 (p. 12).[Emphasis mine]