Language - Welsh

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Background

Welsh is one of Europe’s oldest living languages. However, when Wales was legally incorporated into England in the mid 16th century, efforts were made to suppress the native language. Yet as late as the mid 19th century, the vast majority of the population would still have been Welsh speakers.

Although the language went into steady decline thereafter, recent decades have seen the tide turn. The language received a significant boost In the 1990s when Welsh was given equal status with English in the public sector. Today, of the six Celtic languages, Welsh is undoubtedly in the most robust health and Wales is officially bilingual. The most visible reminder of that fact is that all road signs are in both languages.

Estimates for the number of Welsh speakers vary, but a survey by the Office of National Statistics at the end of 2018 showed that 874,000 people are able to speak the language, around 29% of the population. The language is widely used in the public sector, something that the government is keen to promote. The official goal is to boost the number of Welsh speakers to 1 million by 2050.

Some words to get you started:

Wales Cymru
Welsh language Cymraeg
Good morning Bore da
Goodbye Hwyl
Please Os gwelwch yn dda
Thanks Diolch

Links

Welsh government website https://cymraeg.gov.wales
Learn Welsh Online https://www.learn-welsh.net/
Open University https://www.open.edu/openlearn/languages/welsh/