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Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic language of the
Celtic language family The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used to describe this language group by Edward Lhuyd in 1707, fol ...
that is native to the
Welsh people The Welsh ( cy, Cymry) are a Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Secon ...
. Welsh is spoken natively in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign ...

Wales
, by some in
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
, and in
Y Wladfa Y Wladfa (, "The Colony"), also occasionally Y Wladychfa Gymreig (, "The Welsh Settlement"), is a successful Welsh settlement in Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country l ...
(the Welsh colony in
Chubut Province Chubut ( es, Provincia del Chubut, ; cy, Talaith Chubut) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnationa ...

Chubut Province
,
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered ...

Argentina
). Historically, it has also been known in English as "British", "Cambrian", "Cambric" and "Cymric". According to the
Census A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single cu ...
in 2011, 19.0% of the population of Wales aged three or older (562,016 people) were able to speak Welsh, and nearly three quarters of the population in Wales said they had no Welsh language skills. Recent estimates suggest that 29.2% (884,300) of people aged three or older in Wales could speak Welsh in June 2021. The
Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic language of the Celtic language family The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" ...
gave the Welsh language official status in Wales, making it the only language that is ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' official in any part of the United Kingdom, with English being ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' official. Both the Welsh language and English are ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' official languages of the
Senedd Senedd (/ˈsɛnɛð/), a Welsh cognate of "senate", may refer to: * Senedd Cymru – the Welsh Parliament, the devolved legislature of Wales * Senedd building, the building which houses the Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament {{Disambiguation ...

Senedd
. The Welsh government plans to have one million Welsh language speakers by 2050. Since 1980, there has been an increase in the number of children attending Welsh-medium schools and a decrease in those going to Welsh bilingual and dual-medium schools. Welsh is the most vibrant of the Celtic languages in terms of active speakers, and is the only Celtic language not considered
endangered An endangered species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group ...
by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
.


History

The language of the Welsh developed from the language of
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed ...
. The emergence of Welsh was not instantaneous and clearly identifiable. Instead, the shift occurred over a long period of time, with some historians claiming that it had happened by as late as the
9th century The 9th century was a period from 801 ( DCCCI) through 900 __NOTOC__ Year 900 ( CM) was a leap year starting on Tuesday A leap year starting on Tuesday is any year with 366 days (i.e. it includes 29 February) that begins on Tuesday, 1 Januar ...
, with a watershed moment being that proposed by linguist
Kenneth H. Jackson Prof Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson CBE FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged to be ...
, the Battle of Dyrham, a military battle between the
West Saxons Wessex (; ang, Westseaxna rīċe , 'the Kingdom of the West Saxons') was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United K ...

West Saxons
and the Britons in 577 AD, which split the South Western British from direct overland contact with the Welsh. Four periods are identified in the history of Welsh, with rather indistinct boundaries: Primitive Welsh, Old Welsh, Middle Welsh, and Modern Welsh. The period immediately following the language's emergence is sometimes referred to as Primitive Welsh, followed by the
Old Welsh Old Welsh ( cy, Hen Gymraeg) is the stage of the Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic language of the Celtic language family The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They for ...
period – which is generally considered to stretch from the beginning of the 9th century to sometime during the 12th century. The
Middle Welsh Middle Welsh ( cy, Cymraeg Canol, wlm, Kymraec) is the label attached to the Welsh language of the 12th to 15th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period. This form of Welsh developed directly from Old Welsh ( cy, Hen Gym ...
period is considered to have lasted from then until the 14th century, when the
Modern Welsh The history of the Welsh language spans over 1400 years, encompassing the stages of the language known as Primitive Welsh, Old Welsh, Middle Welsh, and Welsh language, Modern Welsh. Origins Welsh evolved from British language (Celtic), British, ...
period began, which in turn is divided into Early and Late Modern Welsh. The word ''Welsh'' is a descendant, via Old English , of the
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
word ''*
Walhaz ''Walhaz'' is a reconstructed word meaning "Roman", "Romance-speaker" or "(romanized) Celt". The term was used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former , who were largely and spoke Latin languages (cf. in ). Th ...
'', which was derived from the name of the
Celtic people The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages are ...

Celtic people
known to the Romans as
Volcae The Volcae () were a tribal confederation constituted before the raid of combined Gauls The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of Celts, Celtic peoples of Continental Europe in the Iron Age Europe, Iron Age and the ...
and which came to refer to speakers of Celtic languages, and then indiscriminately to the people of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
. In
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
the term went through semantic narrowing, coming to refer to either
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed ...
in particular or, in some contexts, slaves. The plural form evolved into the name for their territory, Wales. (1994) ''A History of Wales''. Penguin: p.71; . The modern names for various
Romance-speaking The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries. They are a subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European langua ...

Romance-speaking
people in
Continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical region ...

Continental Europe
(e.g.
Walloons Walloons (; french: Wallons ; wa, Walons) are a Romance ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a commo ...
, Valaisans,
Vlachs "Vlach" ( or ), also "Wallachian" (and many other variants), is a historical term and exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the H ...
/ Wallachians, and , the
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
name for Italians) have a similar etymology. The Welsh term for the language, , descends from the Brythonic word ''combrogi'', meaning "compatriots" or "fellow countrymen".


Origins

Welsh evolved from
Common Brittonic Common Brittonic ( ang, Brytisċ; cy, Brythoneg; kw, Brythonek; br, Predeneg), also known as Common Brythonic or Proto-Brittonic, was a Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-C ...
, the Celtic language spoken by the ancient
Celtic Britons The Britons ( la, Pritani), also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons were the Celtic people The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C. ...
. Classified as
Insular Celtic Insular Celtic languages are the group of Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used ...
, the British language probably arrived in
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

Britain
during the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
or
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
and was probably spoken throughout the island south of the
Firth of Forth The Firth of Forth ( gd, Linne Foirthe) is the estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed Coast, coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a t ...

Firth of Forth
.Koch, pp. 291–292. During the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
the British language began to fragment due to increased dialect differentiation, thus evolving into Welsh and the other Brittonic languages. It is not clear when Welsh became distinct. Linguist
Kenneth H. Jackson Prof Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson CBE FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged to be ...
has suggested that the evolution in syllabic structure and sound pattern was complete by around AD 550, and labelled the period between then and about AD 800 "Primitive Welsh".Koch, p. 1757. This Primitive Welsh may have been spoken in both Wales and the
Hen Ogledd ''Yr Hen Ogledd'' (), in English the Old North, is the historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( ...
("Old North") – the Brittonic-speaking areas of what are now northern England and southern
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
– and therefore may have been the ancestor of
Cumbric Cumbric was a variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equation ...
as well as Welsh. Jackson, however, believed that the two varieties were already distinct by that time. The earliest Welsh poetry – that attributed to the or "Early Poets" – is generally considered to date to the Primitive Welsh period. However, much of this poetry was supposedly composed in the Hen Ogledd, raising further questions about the dating of the material and language in which it was originally composed. This discretion stems from the fact that Cumbric was widely believed to have been the language used in Hen Ogledd. An 8th-century inscription in
Tywyn Tywyn (Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh ...

Tywyn
shows the language already dropping
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
s in the declension of nouns. Janet Davies proposed that the origins of Welsh language were much less definite; in ''The Welsh Language: A History'', she proposes that Welsh may have been around even earlier than 600 AD. This is evidenced by the dropping of final syllables from Brittonic: ''*bardos'' "poet" became ''bardd'', and ''*abona'' "river" became ''afon''. Though both Davies and Jackson cite minor changes in syllable structure and sounds as evidence for the creation of Old Welsh, Davies suggests it may be more appropriate to refer to this derivative language as rather than characterising it as a new language altogether.


Primitive Welsh

The argued dates for the period of "Primitive Welsh" are widely debated, with some historians' suggestions differing by hundreds of years.


Old Welsh

The next main period is
Old Welsh Old Welsh ( cy, Hen Gymraeg) is the stage of the Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic language of the Celtic language family The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They for ...
(, 9th to 11th centuries);
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
from both Wales and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
has been preserved in this form of the language. As
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...
and
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...

Gaelic
colonisation of Britain proceeded, the Brittonic speakers in Wales were split off from those in northern England, speaking Cumbric, and those in the southwest, speaking what would become
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...
, and so the languages diverged. Both the works of
Aneirin Aneirin or Neirin was an early Medieval The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century A century is a period of ...
(, c. 600) and the ''
Book of Taliesin The Book of Taliesin ( cy, Llyfr Taliesin) is one of the most famous of Middle Welsh manuscripts, dating from the first half of the 14th century though many of the fifty-six poems it preserves are taken to originate in the 10th century or before. ...
'' () were written during this era.


Middle Welsh

Middle Welsh Middle Welsh ( cy, Cymraeg Canol, wlm, Kymraec) is the label attached to the Welsh language of the 12th to 15th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period. This form of Welsh developed directly from Old Welsh ( cy, Hen Gym ...
() is the label attached to the Welsh of the 12th to 14th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period. This is the language of nearly all surviving early manuscripts of the ''
Mabinogion The ''Mabinogion'' () are the earliest British prose stories, and belong to the Matter of Britain The Matter of Britain is the body of medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain and Brittany, and the list of ...
'', although the tales themselves are certainly much older. It is also the language of the existing
Welsh law Welsh law is the primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music ...
manuscripts. Middle Welsh is reasonably intelligible to a modern-day Welsh speaker. File:Map o ieithoedd Cymru (A map of the languages of Wales) - 1750.svg, 1750 File:Map o ieithoedd Cymru (A map of the languages of Wales) - 1800.svg, 1800 File:Map o ieithoedd Cymru (A map of the languages of Wales) - 1850.svg, 1850 File:Map o ieithoedd Cymru (A map of the languages of Wales) - 1900.svg, 1900


Modern Welsh

The
Bible translations into Welsh Parts of the Bible have been translated into Welsh since at least the 15th century, but the most widely used translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of relig ...
helped maintain the use of Welsh in daily life. The
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
was translated by
William Salesbury William Salesbury also Salusbury (c. 1520 – c. 1584) was the leading Welsh language, Welsh scholar of the Renaissance and the principal translator of the 1567 Welsh language, Welsh New Testament. Biography Salesbury was born some time before ...
in 1567, and the complete Bible by William Morgan in 1588. Modern Welsh is subdivided into Early Modern Welsh and Late Modern Welsh. Early Modern Welsh ran from the 15th century through to the end of the 16th century, and the Late Modern Welsh period roughly dates from the 16th century onwards. Contemporary Welsh differs greatly from the Welsh of the 16th century, but they are similar enough for a fluent Welsh speaker to have little trouble understanding it. During the Modern Welsh period there has been a decline in the popularity of the Welsh language: the number of Welsh speakers declined to the point at which there was concern that the language would become extinct. Welsh government processes and legislation have worked to increase the proliferation of the Welsh language, e.g. through education.


Geographic distribution


Wales

Welsh has been spoken continuously in Wales throughout history, but by 1911 it had become a minority language, spoken by 43.5 percent of the population. While this decline continued over the following decades, the language did not die out. By the start of the 21st century, numbers began to increase once more, at least partly as a result of the increase in
Welsh-medium education Education delivered through the medium of the Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic language family that is native to the Welsh people. Welsh is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, a ...
. The 2004 Welsh Language Use Survey showed that 21.7 percent of the population of Wales spoke Welsh, compared with 20.8 percent in the 2001 Census, and 18.5 percent in 1991 Census. The
2011 Census2011 censuses were conducted in the following countries: * Australia: Census in Australia * Austria: Demographics of Austria * Bangladesh: 2011 Bangladesh Census * Bulgaria: Demographics of Bulgaria * Canada: Canada 2011 Census * Croatia: 2011 Censu ...
, however, showed a slight decline to 562,000, or 19 per cent of the population. The census also showed a "big drop" in the number of speakers in the Welsh-speaking heartlands, with the number dropping to under 50 percent in and
Carmarthenshire Carmarthenshire (; cy, Sir Gaerfyrddin; or informally ') is a in , and one of the . The three largest towns are , and . Carmarthen is the and administrative centre. The county is known as the "Garden of Wales" and is also home to the . C ...
for the first time. However, according to the Welsh Language Use Survey in 2019–20, 22 percent of people aged three and over were able to speak Welsh. The Annual Population Survey by the
Office for National Statistics The Office for National Statistics (ONS; cy, Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority cy, Y Bwrdd Ystadegau , seal = , logo = UK Statistics Authority logo.svg , formed = , jurisdiction = United Ki ...
(ONS) estimated that, for the year ending in June 2021, 884,300, or 29.2 percent of the population of Wales aged 3 and over, were able to speak the language, implying a possible increase in the prevalence of the Welsh language since the 2011 census. ONS also reported that 15.4% (466,200) of people aged three or older reported that they spoke Welsh daily, 5.0% (151,900) weekly and 7.0% (213,400) less often. Approximately 1.7% (52,700) reported that they never spoke Welsh despite being able to speak it, with the remaining 70.8% not able to speak Welsh. The APS estimates of Welsh language ability are historically higher than those produced by the Census. The National Survey for Wales, conducted by Welsh Government, has also tended to have a higher percentage of Welsh speakers than the Census, with the most recent results for 2018–2019 suggesting that 22 percent of the population aged 3 and over were able to speak Welsh, with an additional 16 percent noting that they had some Welsh-speaking ability. Historically, large numbers of Welsh people spoke only Welsh. Over the course of the 20th century this monolingual population "all but disappeared", but a small percentage remained at the time of the 1981 census. Most Welsh-speaking people in Wales also speak English (while in
Chubut Province Chubut ( es, Provincia del Chubut, ; cy, Talaith Chubut) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnationa ...

Chubut Province
, Argentina, most speakers can speak Spanish – see ). However, many Welsh-speaking people are more comfortable expressing themselves in Welsh than in English. A speaker's choice of language can vary according to the subject domain and the social context, even within a single
discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conversation is interactive communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy) ...

discourse
(known in linguistics as
code-switching In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
). Welsh speakers are largely concentrated in the north and west of Wales, principally ,
Conwy Conwy (, ), previously known in English as Conway, is a walled market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or mediev ...
,
Denbighshire Denbighshire ( cy, Sir Ddinbych; ) is a Local government in Wales#Principal areas, county in the North East Wales, north-east of Wales. Its borders differ from the Denbighshire (historic), historic county of the same name. This part of Wales con ...
(),
Anglesey Anglesey (; cy, Ynys Môn ), an island off the north-west coast of Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individua ...
(), Carmarthenshire (), north
Pembrokeshire Pembrokeshire ( ; cy, Sir Benfro ) is a Local government in Wales#Principal areas, county in the South West Wales, south-west of Wales. It is bordered by Carmarthenshire to the east, Ceredigion to the northeast, and the rest by sea. The count ...
(), , parts of
Glamorgan , HQ = Cardiff Cardiff (; cy, Caerdydd ) is the capital city of Wales and a Local government in Wales, county. Officially known as the City and County of Cardiff, it is the United Kingdom's eleventh-largest city and the main ...

Glamorgan
(), and north-west and extreme south-west . However, first-language and other fluent speakers can be found throughout Wales.


Outside Wales


The rest of the UK

Welsh-speaking communities persisted well into the modern period across the border in England.
Archenfield Archenfield (Old English: ''Ircingafeld'') is the historic English name for an area of southern and western Herefordshire in England. Since the Anglo-Saxons took over the region in the 8th century, it has stretched between the River Monnow and Ri ...
was still Welsh enough in the time of
Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_an ...

Elizabeth I
for the
Bishop of Hereford The Bishop of Hereford is the Ordinary (officer), ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Hereford in the Province of Canterbury. The episcopal see is centred in the Hereford, City of Hereford where the bishop's seat (''cathedra'') is in th ...
to be made responsible, together with the four Welsh bishops, for the translation of the Bible and the
Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

Book of Common Prayer
into Welsh. Welsh was still commonly spoken there in the first half of the 19th century, and churchwardens' notices were put up in both Welsh and English until about 1860.
Alexander John Ellis Alexander John Ellis, (14 June 1814 – 28 October 1890) was an English mathematician, philology, philologist and early phonetics, phonetician who also influenced the field of musicology. He changed his name from his father's name Sharpe to his ...
in the 1880s identified a small part of
Shropshire Shropshire (; alternatively Salop; abbreviated in print only as Shrops; demonym Salopian ) is a landlocked historic Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands region of England. It is bordered by Wales to the we ...

Shropshire
as still then speaking Welsh, with the "Celtic Border" passing from
Llanymynech Llanymynech is a village straddling the Wales-England border, border between Montgomeryshire/Powys, Wales, and Shropshire, England, about 9 miles (14 km) north of the Welsh town of Welshpool. The name is Welsh language, Welsh for "Church of ...
through
Oswestry Oswestry ( ) () is a market town, civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and co ...
to
Chirk Chirk ( cy, Y Waun) is a town and community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behavio ...

Chirk
. The number of Welsh-speaking people in the rest of Britain has not yet been counted for statistical purposes. In 1993, the Welsh-language television channel
S4C S4C (, ''Sianel Pedwar Cymru'', meaning ''Channel Four Wales'') is a Welsh language free-to-air television channel. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, S4C is the fourth-oldest terrestrial televi ...
published the results of a survey into the numbers of people who spoke or understood Welsh, which estimated that there were around 133,000 Welsh-speaking people living in England, about 50,000 of them in the Greater London area. The
Welsh Language Board The Welsh Language Board ( cy, Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) was a statutory body set up by Her Majesty's Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the Un ...
, on the basis of an analysis of the
Office for National Statistics The Office for National Statistics (ONS; cy, Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority cy, Y Bwrdd Ystadegau , seal = , logo = UK Statistics Authority logo.svg , formed = , jurisdiction = United Ki ...
Longitudinal Study, estimated there were 110,000 Welsh-speaking people in England, and another thousand in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the
2011 Census2011 censuses were conducted in the following countries: * Australia: Census in Australia * Austria: Demographics of Austria * Bangladesh: 2011 Bangladesh Census * Bulgaria: Demographics of Bulgaria * Canada: Canada 2011 Census * Croatia: 2011 Censu ...
, 8,248 people in England gave Welsh in answer to the question "What is your main language?" The Office for National Statistics subsequently published a census glossary of terms to support the release of results from the census, including their definition of "main language" as referring to "first or preferred language" (though that wording was not in the census questionnaire itself). The wards in England with the most people giving Welsh as their main language were the
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...

Liverpool
wards of
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
and Greenbank and Oswestry South. The wards of Oswestry South (1.15%), Oswestry East (0.86%) and St Oswald (0.71%) had the highest percentage of residents giving Welsh as their main language. The Census also revealed that 3,528 wards in England, or 46% of the total number, contained at least one resident whose main language is Welsh. In terms of the
regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest ...

regions of England
, North West England (1,945), London (1,310) and the West Midlands (1,265) had the highest number of people noting Welsh as their main language. In the 2011 Census, 1,189 people aged three and over in Scotland noted that Welsh was a language (other than English) that they used at home.


Argentina

It is believed that there are as many as 5,000 speakers of
Patagonian Welsh Patagonian Welsh ( cy, Cymraeg y Wladfa) is a variety of the Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic language family that is native to the Welsh people. Welsh is spoken natively in Wales, by s ...
.


Australia

In response to the question 'Does the person speak a language other than English at home?' in the
2016 Australian Census The 2016 Australian census was the seventeenth national population census held in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (contine ...
, 1,688 people noted that they spoke Welsh.


Canada

In the 2011 Canadian Census, 3,885 people reported Welsh as their
first language A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) ...
. New Zealand The
2018 New Zealand census The 2018 New Zealand census was the thirty-fourth national census in New Zealand The New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings ( mi, Te Tatauranga o ngā Tāngata Huri Noa i Aotearoa me ō rātou Whare Noho) is a national population and hous ...
noted that 1,083 people in New Zealand spoke Welsh.


United States

The
American Community Survey The American Community Survey (ACS) is a demographics survey program conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census, such as ancestry, citizenship, educati ...
2009–2013 noted that 2,235 people aged 5 years and over in the United States spoke Welsh at home. The highest number of those (255) lived in
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
.


Status

Although Welsh is a minority language, support for it grew during the second half of the 20th century, along with the rise of organisations such as the
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
political party from 1925 and
Welsh Language Society The Welsh Language Society ( cy, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, often abbreviated to Cymdeithas yr Iaith or just Cymdeithas) is a direct action pressure group Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy ...
from 1962. Of the six living Celtic languages (including two revived), Welsh has the most number of native speakers who use the language on a daily basis, and it is the only Celtic language which is not considered to be endangered by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
. The
Welsh Language Act 1993 The Welsh Language Act 1993, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the of the , the and the . It alone possesses and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK ...
and the
Government of Wales Act 1998 The Government of Wales Act 1998 (c. 38) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws ...
provide that the Welsh and English languages be treated equally in the public sector, as far as is reasonable and practicable. Each public body is required to prepare for approval a Welsh Language Scheme, which indicates its commitment to the equality of treatment principle. This is sent out in draft form for public consultation for a three-month period, whereupon comments on it may be incorporated into a final version. It requires the final approval of the now defunct
Welsh Language Board The Welsh Language Board ( cy, Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) was a statutory body set up by Her Majesty's Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the Un ...
(). Thereafter, the public body is charged with implementing and fulfilling its obligations under the Welsh Language Scheme. The list of other public bodies which have to prepare Schemes could be added to by initially the Secretary of State for Wales, from 1993 to 1997, by way of
statutory instrument In many countries, a statutory instrument is a form of delegated legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subord ...
. Subsequent to the forming of the
National Assembly for Wales The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...

National Assembly for Wales
in 1997, the Government Minister responsible for the Welsh language can and has passed statutory instruments naming public bodies who have to prepare Schemes. Neither the 1993 Act nor secondary legislation made under it covers the private sector, although some organisations, notably banks and some railway companies, provide some of their information in Welsh. On 7 December 2010, the Welsh Assembly unanimously approved a set of measures to develop the use of the Welsh language within Wales. On 9 February 2011 this measure, the Proposed
Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic language of the Celtic language family The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" ...
, was passed and received Royal Assent, thus making the Welsh language an officially recognised language within Wales. The measure: * confirms the official status of the Welsh language * creates a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services through the medium of Welsh * creates a Welsh Language Commissioner with strong enforcement powers to protect the rights of Welsh-speaking people to access services through the medium of Welsh * establishes a Welsh Language Tribunal * gives individuals and bodies the right to appeal decisions made in relation to the provision of services through the medium of Welsh * creates a Welsh Language Partnership Council to advise Government on its strategy in relation to the Welsh language * allows for an official investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner of instances where there is an attempt to interfere with the freedom of Welsh-speaking people to use the language with one another The measure requires public bodies and some private companies to provide services in Welsh. The Welsh government's Minister for Heritage at the time,
Alun Ffred Jones Alun Ffred Jones (born 29 October 1949) is a Wales, Welsh politician and member of Plaid Cymru and former television producer, writer and director. Jones was the National Assembly for Wales Member for Caernarfon 2003–07 and for the newly create ...

Alun Ffred Jones
, said, "The Welsh language is a source of great pride for the people of Wales, whether they speak it or not, and I am delighted that this measure has now become law. I am very proud to have steered legislation through the Assembly which confirms the official status of the Welsh language; which creates a strong advocate for Welsh speakers and will improve the quality and quantity of services available through the medium of Welsh. I believe that everyone who wants to access services in the Welsh language should be able to do so, and that is what this government has worked towards. This legislation is an important and historic step forward for the language, its speakers and for the nation." The measure was not welcomed warmly by all supporters: Bethan Williams, chairman of the Welsh Language Society, gave a mixed response to the move, saying, "Through this measure we have won official status for the language and that has been warmly welcomed. But there was a core principle missing in the law passed by the Assembly before Christmas. It doesn't give language rights to the people of Wales in every aspect of their lives. Despite that, an amendment to that effect was supported by 18 Assembly Members from three different parties, and that was a significant step forward." On 5 October 2011,
Meri Huws Meri Huws was the Welsh Language Commissioner The role of the Welsh Language Commissioner () was created by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, effective on 1 April 2012, with the aim of promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh lang ...
, Chair of the
Welsh Language Board The Welsh Language Board ( cy, Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) was a statutory body set up by Her Majesty's Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the Un ...
, was appointed the new Welsh Language Commissioner. She released a statement that she was "delighted" to have been appointed to the "hugely important role", adding, "I look forward to working with the
Welsh Government , image = , caption = , date_established = , country = Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales ...
and organisations in Wales in developing the new system of standards. I will look to build on the good work that has been done by the Welsh Language Board and others to strengthen the Welsh language and ensure that it continues to thrive." First Minister
Carwyn Jones Carwyn Howell Jones (born 21 March 1967) is a Welsh politician who served as First Minister of Wales and Welsh Labour, Leader of Welsh Labour from 2009 to 2018. He served as Counsel General for Wales from 2007 to 2009. Jones was first elected Mem ...

Carwyn Jones
said that Huws would act as a champion for the Welsh language, though some had concerns over her appointment:
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language E ...
spokeswoman Bethan Jenkins said, "I have concerns about the transition from Meri Huws's role from the Welsh Language Board to the language commissioner, and I will be asking the Welsh government how this will be successfully managed. We must be sure that there is no conflict of interest, and that the Welsh Language Commissioner can demonstrate how she will offer the required fresh approach to this new role." Huws started her role as the Welsh Language Commissioner on 1 April 2012.
Local councilsLocal council may refer to: Political subdivision * Local council (Israel) * Local council (Jordan) * Local councils of Malta * An elected authority in the local government in the United Kingdom * An elected authority in the local government in Aus ...
and the
Senedd Senedd (/ˈsɛnɛð/), a Welsh cognate of "senate", may refer to: * Senedd Cymru – the Welsh Parliament, the devolved legislature of Wales * Senedd building, the building which houses the Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament {{Disambiguation ...

Senedd
use Welsh, issuing Welsh versions of their literature, to varying degrees. Road signs in Wales are in Welsh and English. Since 2000, the teaching of Welsh has been compulsory in all schools in Wales up to age 16; this has had an effect in stabilising and reversing the decline in the language. The wording on currency is only in English, except in the legend on Welsh pound coins dated 1985, 1990 and 1995, which circulated in all parts of the UK prior to their 2017 withdrawal. The wording is , (), and derives from the national anthem of Wales, . Some shops employ bilingual signage. Welsh sometimes appears on product packaging or instructions. The UK government has ratified the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and internationa ...
in respect of Welsh. The language has greatly increased its prominence since the creation of the television channel
S4C S4C (, ''Sianel Pedwar Cymru'', meaning ''Channel Four Wales'') is a Welsh language free-to-air television channel. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, S4C is the fourth-oldest terrestrial televi ...
in November 1982, which until
digital switchover Image:Worldmap digital television transition.svg, upright=2, World map of digital television transition progress: Transition completed; all analog signals terminated Transition partially completed; some analog signals terminated Transition i ...
in 2010 broadcast 70 per cent of Channel 4's programming along with a majority of Welsh language shows during peak viewing hours. The all-Welsh-language digital station S4C Digidol is available throughout Europe on satellite and online throughout the UK. Since the digital switchover was completed in South Wales on 31 March 2010, S4C Digidol became the main broadcasting channel and fully in Welsh. The main evening television news provided by the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
in Welsh is available for download. There is also a Welsh-language radio station,
BBC Radio Cymru BBC Radio Cymru is a Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic language family that is native to the Welsh people. Welsh is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in Y Wladfa (the W ...
, which was launched in 1977. The only Welsh-language national newspaper ''Y Cymro'' (''The Welshman'') was published weekly until 2017. There is no daily newspaper in Welsh. A daily newspaper called ''Y Byd'' (''The World'') was scheduled to be launched on 3 March 2008, but was scrapped, owing to insufficient sales of subscriptions and the
Welsh Government , image = , caption = , date_established = , country = Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales ...
offering only one third of the £600,000 public funding it needed. There is a Welsh-language online news service which publishes news stories in Welsh called Golwg360 ("360 [degree] view"). As of March 2021, there were 58 local Welsh language community newspapers, known as "Papurau Bro", in circulation.


In education

The decade around 1840 was a period of great social upheaval in Wales, manifested in the Chartism, Chartist movement. In 1839, 20,000 people marched on Newport, Wales, Newport, resulting in a riot when 20 people were killed by soldiers defending the Westgate Hotel, and the Rebecca Riots where Toll road, tollbooths on Toll road, turnpikes were systematically destroyed. This unrest brought the state of education in Wales to the attention of the British government since social reformers of the time considered education as a means of dealing with social ills. ''The Times'' newspaper was prominent among those who considered that the lack of education of the Welsh people was the root cause of most of the problems. In July 1846, three commissioners, Ralph Lingen, 1st Baron Lingen, R.R.W. Lingen, Jellynger C. Symons and H.R. Vaughan Johnson, were appointed to inquire into the state of education in Wales; the Commissioners were all Anglicanism, Anglicans and thus presumed unsympathetic to the Nonconformist (Protestantism), nonconformist majority in Wales. The Commissioners presented Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales, their report to the Government on 1 July 1847 in three large blue-bound volumes. This report quickly became known in Wales as the (''Treason of the Blue Books'') since, apart from documenting the state of education in Wales, the Commissioners were also free with their comments disparaging the language, Nonconformity in Wales, nonconformity, and the morals of the Welsh people in general. An immediate effect of the report was that ordinary Welsh people began to believe that the only way to get on in the world was through the medium of English, and an inferiority complex developed about the Welsh language whose effects have not yet been completely eradicated. The historian Professor Kenneth O. Morgan referred to the significance of the report and its consequences as "the Massacre of Glencoe, Glencoe and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Amritsar of Welsh history". In the later 19th century, virtually all teaching in the schools of Wales was in English, even in areas where the pupils barely understood English. Some schools used the Welsh Not, a piece of wood, often bearing the letters "WN", which was hung around the neck of any pupil caught speaking Welsh. The pupil could pass it on to any schoolmate heard speaking Welsh, with the pupil wearing it at the end of the day being punished. One of the most famous Welsh-born pioneers of higher education in Wales was Hugh Owen (educator), Sir Hugh Owen. He made great progress in the cause of education, and more especially the Aberystwyth University, University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, of which he was chief founder. He has been credited with the Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict c 40), following which several new Welsh schools were built. The first was completed in 1894 and named Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen. Towards the beginning of the 20th century this policy slowly began to change, partly owing to the efforts of Owen Morgan Edwards, O.M. Edwards when he became chief inspector of schools for Wales in 1907. The Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth Welsh School () was founded in 1939 by Ifan ab Owen Edwards, Sir Ifan ap Owen Edwards, the son of O.M. Edwards, as the first Welsh Primary School. The headteacher was Norah Isaac. is still a very successful school, and now there are Welsh-language primary schools all over the country. was established in Rhyl in 1956 as the first Welsh-medium secondary school. Welsh is now widely used in education, with 101,345 children and young people in Wales receiving their education in Welsh medium schools in 2014/15, 65,460 in primary and 35,885 in secondary. 26 per cent of all schools in Wales are defined as Welsh medium schools, with a further 7.3 per cent offering some Welsh-medium instruction to pupils. 22 per cent of pupils are in schools in which Welsh is the primary language of instruction. Under the National Curriculum for Wales, National Curriculum, it is compulsory that all students study Welsh up to the age of 16 as either a first or a second language. Some students choose to continue with their studies through the medium of Welsh for the completion of their A-levels as well as during their college years. All local education authority, local education authorities in Wales have schools providing bilingual or Welsh-medium of instruction, medium education. The remainder study Welsh as a second language in English-medium schools. Specialist teachers of Welsh called support the teaching of Welsh in the National Curriculum. Welsh is also taught in adult education classes. The Welsh Government has recently set up six centres of excellence in the teaching of Welsh for Adults, with centres in North Wales, Mid Wales, South West, Glamorgan, Gwent, and Cardiff. The ability to speak Welsh or to have Welsh as a qualification is desirable for certain career choices in Wales, such as teaching or customer service. All universities in Wales teach courses in the language, with many undergraduate and post-graduate degree programmes offered in the medium of Welsh, ranging from law, modern languages, social sciences, and also other sciences such as biological sciences. Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Bangor, and Swansea have all had chairs in Welsh since their virtual establishment, and all their schools of Welsh are successful centres for the study of the Welsh language and its literature, offering a BA in Welsh as well as post-graduate courses. At all Welsh universities and the Open University, students have the right to submit assessed work and sit exams in Welsh even if the course was taught in English (usually the only exception is where the course requires demonstrating proficiency in another language). Following a commitment made in the One Wales coalition government between Labour and Plaid Cymru, the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (Welsh Language National College) was established. The purpose of the federal structured college, spread out between all the universities of Wales, is to provide and also advance Welsh medium courses and Welsh medium scholarship and research in Welsh universities. There is also a Welsh-medium academic journal called ''Gwerddon'' ("Oasis"), which is a platform for academic research in Welsh and is published quarterly. There have been calls for more teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools.


Use in professional engineering

When conducting applicants' professional reviews for Chartered Engineer status, the Institution of Engineering and Technology accepts applications in Welsh and will conduct face-to-face interviews in Welsh if requested to do so. One of the requirements for Chartered Engineer is also to be able to communicate effectively in English.


In information technology

Like many of the world's languages, the Welsh language has seen an increased use and presence on the internet, ranging from formal lists of terminology in a variety of fields to Welsh language interfaces for Microsoft Windows XP and up, Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox and a variety of Linux distributions, and on-line services to blogs kept in Welsh. Wikipedia has had a Welsh version since July 2003 and Facebook since 2009.


Mobile phone technology

In 2006 the
Welsh Language Board The Welsh Language Board ( cy, Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) was a statutory body set up by Her Majesty's Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the Un ...
launched a free software pack which enabled the use of SMS predictive text in Welsh. At the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2009, a further announcement was made by the Welsh Language Board that the mobile phone company Samsung was to work with the network provider Orange (UK), Orange to provide the first mobile phone in the Welsh language, with the interface and the T9 dictionary on the Samsung S5600 available in the Welsh language. The model, available with the Welsh language interface, has been available since 1 September 2009, with plans to introduce it on other networks. On Android (operating system), Android devices, both the built-in Google Keyboard and user-created keyboards can be used. iOS devices have fully supported the Welsh language since the release of iOS 8 in September 2014. Users can switch their device to Welsh to access apps that are available in Welsh. Date and time on iOS is also localised, as shown by the built-in Calendar application, as well as certain third-party apps that have been localised.


In warfare

Secure communications are often difficult to achieve in wartime. Just as Navajo language, Navajo code talkers were used by the Military of the United States, United States military during World War II, the a Welsh regiment serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia, used Welsh for emergency communications that needed to be secure.


Use within the British parliament

In 2017, parliamentary rules were amended to allow the use of Welsh when the Welsh Grand Committee meets at British parliament, Westminster. The change did not alter the rules about debates within the House of Commons, where only English can be used. In February 2018, Welsh was first used when the Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns, delivered his welcoming speech at a sitting of the committee. He said, "I am proud to be using the language I grew up speaking, which is not only important to me, my family and the communities Welsh MPs represent, but is also an integral part of Welsh history and culture".


Use at the European Union

In November 2008, the Welsh language was used at a meeting of the European Union's Council of the European Union, Council of Ministers for the first time. The Heritage Minister
Alun Ffred Jones Alun Ffred Jones (born 29 October 1949) is a Wales, Welsh politician and member of Plaid Cymru and former television producer, writer and director. Jones was the National Assembly for Wales Member for Caernarfon 2003–07 and for the newly create ...

Alun Ffred Jones
addressed his audience in Welsh and his words were interpreted into the EU's 23 official languages. The official use of the language followed years of campaigning. Jones said "In the UK we have one of the world's major languages, English, as the mother tongue of many. But there is a diversity of languages within our islands. I am proud to be speaking to you in one of the oldest of these, Welsh, the language of Wales." He described the breakthrough as "more than [merely] symbolic" saying "Welsh might be one of the oldest languages to be used in the UK, but it remains one of the most vibrant. Our literature, our arts, our festivals, our great tradition of song all find expression through our language. And this is a powerful demonstration of how our culture, the very essence of who we are, is expressed through language."


Use by the Voyager programme

A greeting in Welsh is one of the Contents of the Voyager Golden Record#Greetings, 55 languages included on the Voyager Golden Record chosen to be representative of Earth in NASA's Voyager program, Voyager programme launched in 1977. The greetings are unique to each language, with the Welsh greeting being , which translates into English as "Good health to you now and forever".


Vocabulary

Welsh supplements its core Brittonic vocabulary (words such as "egg", "stone"), with hundreds of word Lemma (morphology), lemmas borrowed :wikt:Welsh terms borrowed from Latin, from Latin, such as ( "window" < Latin , "wine" < Latin ). It also borrows words from English language, English, such as ( "shelf", "gate").


Phonology

The phonology of Welsh includes a number of sounds that do not occur in English and are linguistic typology, typologically rare in Languages of Europe, European languages. The voiceless dental and alveolar lateral fricatives, voiceless alveolar lateral fricative , the voiceless nasals , and , and the voiceless alveolar trill are distinctive features of the Welsh language. Stress (linguistics), Stress usually falls on the penultimate syllable in polysyllabic words, and the word-final unstressed syllable receives a higher pitch (music), pitch than the stressed syllable. Symbols in parentheses are either allophones, or found only in loanwords.


Orthography

Welsh is written in a Latin script, Latin alphabet of 29 letters, of which eight are digraph (orthography), digraphs treated as separate letters for collation: : a, b, c, ch, d, dd, e, f, ff, g, ng, h, i, j, l, ll, m, n, o, p, ph, r, rh, s, t, th, u, w, y In contrast to English practice, "w" and "y" are considered vowel letters in Welsh along with "a", "e", "i", "o" and "u". The letter "j" was not used traditionally, but is now used in many everyday words borrowed from English, like ''jam'', ''jôc'' (joke) and ''garej'' (garage). The letters "k", "q", "v", "x", and "z" are used in some technical terms, like ''kilogram'', ''volt'' and ''zero'', but in all cases can be, and often are, replaced by Welsh letters: ''cilogram'', ''folt'' and ''sero.'' The letter "k" was in common use until the 16th century, but was dropped at the time of the publication of the New Testament in Welsh, as
William Salesbury William Salesbury also Salusbury (c. 1520 – c. 1584) was the leading Welsh language, Welsh scholar of the Renaissance and the principal translator of the 1567 Welsh language, Welsh New Testament. Biography Salesbury was born some time before ...
explained: "C for K, because the printers have not so many as the Welsh requireth". This change was not popular at the time. The most common diacritic is the circumflex, which usually disambiguates vowel length, long vowels, most often in the case of homographs, where the vowel is short in one word and long in the other: e.g. ''man'' ("place") vs ''mân'' ("fine, small").


Morphology

Welsh morphology (linguistics), morphology has much in common with that of the other modern Insular Celtic languages, such as the use of initial consonant mutations and of so-called "inflected preposition, conjugated prepositions" (prepositions that fuse with the personal pronouns that are their object (grammar), object). Welsh nouns belong to one of two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine, but they are not inflected for grammatical case, case. Welsh has a variety of different endings and other methods to indicate the plural, and two endings to indicate the grammatical number, singular (technically the singulative number, singulative) of some nouns. In spoken Welsh, verbal features are indicated primarily by the use of auxiliary verbs rather than by the grammatical conjugation, inflection of the main verb. In literary Welsh, on the other hand, inflection of the main verb is usual.


Syntax

The canonical word order in Welsh is verb–subject–object (VSO). Colloquial Welsh inclines very strongly towards the use of auxiliaries with its verbs, as in English. The present tense is constructed with ("to be") as an auxiliary verb, with the main verb appearing as a verbnoun (used in a way loosely equivalent to an infinitive) after the particle ''yn'': : :Siân is going to Llanelli. There, ''mae'' is a third-person singular present indicative form of ''bod'', and ''mynd'' is the verb-noun meaning "to go". The imperfect is constructed in a similar manner, as are the periphrastic forms of the future tense, future and conditional mood, conditional tenses. In the preterite, future and conditional mood tenses, there are inflected language, inflected forms of all verbs, which are used in the written language. However, speech now more commonly uses the verbnoun together with an inflected form of ("do"), so "I went" can be or ("I did go"). ''Mi'' is an example of a preverbal particle; such particles are common in Welsh, though less so in the spoken language. Welsh lacks separate pronouns for constructing subordinate clauses; instead, special verb forms or relative pronouns that appear identical to some preverbal particles are used.


Possessives as direct objects of verbnouns

The Welsh for "I like Rhodri" is (word for word, "am I [the] liking [of] Rhodri"), with ''Rhodri'' in a possessive relationship with ''hoffi''. With personal pronouns, the possessive form of the personal pronoun is used, as in "I like ''him''": [Dw i'n ''ei'' hoffi], literally, "am I ''his'' liking" – "I like ''you''" is [Dw i'n ''dy'' hoffi] ("am I ''your'' liking"). Very informally, the pronouns are often heard in their normal subject/object form and aping English word order: ("Am I liking you").


Pronoun doubling

In colloquial Welsh, possessive pronouns, whether they are used to mean "my", "your", etc. or to indicate the direct object of a verbnoun, are commonly reinforced by the use of the corresponding personal pronoun after the noun or verbnoun: "his house" (literally "his house ''of him''"), "I like you" ("I am [engaged in the action of] your liking ''of you''"), etc. The "reinforcement" (or, simply, "redoubling") adds no emphasis in the colloquial register. While the possessive pronoun alone may be used, especially in more formal registers, as shown above, it is considered incorrect to use only the personal pronoun. Such usage is nevertheless sometimes heard in very colloquial speech, mainly among young speakers: ("Where are we going? Your house or my house?").


Counting system

The traditional counting system used in the Welsh language is vigesimal, i.e. it is based on twenties, as in standard French numbers 70 (, literally "sixty-ten") to 99 (, literally "four twenty nineteen"). Welsh numbers from 11 to 14 are "''x'' on ten" (e.g. : 11), 16 to 19 are "''x'' on fifteen" (e.g. : 16), though 18 is , "two nines"; numbers from 21 to 39 are "1–19 on twenty"(e.g. : 30), 40 is "two twenties", 60 is "three twenties", etc. This form continues to be used, especially by older people, and it is obligatory in certain circumstances (such as telling the time, and in ordinal numbers). There is also a decimal counting system, which has become relatively widely used, though less so in giving the time, ages, and dates (it features no ordinal numbers). This system originated in Patagonian Welsh and was subsequently introduced to Wales in the 1940s. Whereas 39 in the vigesimal system is ("four on fifteen on twenty") or even ("two twenty minus one"), in the decimal system it is ("three tens nine"). Although there is only one word for "one" (), it triggers the Welsh morphology, soft mutation () of feminine nouns, where possible, other than those beginning with "ll" or "rh". There are separate masculine and feminine forms of the numbers "two" ( and ), "three" ( and ) and "four" ( and ), which must agree with the grammatical gender of the objects being counted. The objects being counted appear in the singular, not plural form.


Dialects

Currently, there is no standardised or definitive form of the Welsh language, with significant differences in dialect marked in pronunciation, vocabulary and in points of grammar. For example: consider the question "Do you want a cuppa ''[a cup of tea]''?" In Gwynedd this would typically be while in the south of Dyfed one would be more likely to hear (though in other parts of the South one would not be surprised to hear as well, among other possibilities). An example of a pronunciation difference is the tendency in some southern dialects to palatalise the letter "s", e.g. (), usually pronounced , but as in parts of the south. This normally occurs next to a high front vowel like /i/, although exceptions include the pronunciation of "how" as in the southern dialects (compared with northern ).


The four traditional dialects

Although modern understanding often splits Welsh into northern (Gogledd) and southern (De) 'dialects', the traditional classification of four Welsh dialects remains the most academically useful: *, the Kingdom of Gwynedd, Gwynedd dialect *, the Kingdom of Powys, Powys dialect *, the Kingdom of Dyfed, Dyfed dialect *, the dialect of Kingdom of Gwent, Gwent and Morgannwg A fifth dialect is
Patagonian Welsh Patagonian Welsh ( cy, Cymraeg y Wladfa) is a variety of the Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic language family that is native to the Welsh people. Welsh is spoken natively in Wales, by s ...
, which has developed since the start of (the Welsh settlement in Argentina) in 1865; it includes Spanish loanwords and terms for local features, but a survey in the 1970s showed that the language in Patagonia is consistent throughout the lower Chubut valley and in the Andes. Subdialects exist within the main dialects (such as the Cofi dialect). The book () was accompanied by a cassette containing recordings of fourteen different speakers demonstrating aspects of different regional dialects. The book also refers to the earlier ''Linguistic Geography of Wales'' as describing six different regions which could be identified as having words specific to those regions. In the 1970s, there was an attempt to standardise the Welsh language by teaching ("Living Welsh") – a colloquially-based generic form of Welsh. But the attempt largely failed because it did not encompass the regional differences used by Welsh-speakers.


Registers

Modern Welsh can be considered to fall broadly into two main Register (sociolinguistics), registers—Colloquial Welsh () and Literary Welsh (). The grammar described is that of Colloquial Welsh, which is used in most speech and informal writing. Literary Welsh is closer to the form of Welsh standardised by the 1588 translation of the Bible and is found in official documents and other formal registers, including much literature. As a standardised form, literary Welsh shows little if any of the dialectal variation found in colloquial Welsh. Some differences include: Amongst the characteristics of the literary, as against the spoken, language are a higher dependence on inflected verb forms, different usage of some of the tenses, less frequent use of pronouns (since the information is usually conveyed in the verb/preposition inflections) and a much lesser tendency to substitute English loanwords for native Welsh words. In addition, more archaic pronouns and forms of mutation may be observed in Literary Welsh.


Examples of sentences in literary and colloquial Welsh

The differences between dialects of modern spoken Welsh pale into insignificance compared to the difference between some forms of the spoken language and the most formal constructions of the literary language. The latter is considerably more conservative and is the language used in Welsh Bible, Welsh translations of the Bible, amongst other things – although the 2004 () is significantly less formal than the traditional 1588 Bible. Gareth King, author of a popular Welsh grammar, observes that "The difference between these two is much greater than between the virtually identical colloquial and literary forms of English". A grammar of Literary Welsh can be found in ''A Grammar of Welsh'' by Stephen J. Williams or more completely in ''Gramadeg y Gymraeg'' by Peter Wynn Thomas. (No comprehensive grammar of formal literary Welsh exists in English.) An English-language guide to colloquial Welsh forms and register and dialect differences is by Ceri Jones.


See also

*Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters *''English and Welsh'' *Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion *Languages in the United Kingdom *List of Welsh-language media *List of Welsh films *List of Welsh-language authors *List of Welsh-language poets (6th century to c. 1600) *List of Welsh people *List of Welsh areas by percentage of Welsh-speakers *Literature of Wales (Welsh language), Welsh literature *St Benet's, Paul's Wharf *
Welsh Language Board The Welsh Language Board ( cy, Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) was a statutory body set up by Her Majesty's Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the Un ...
*Dal Ati *Welsh placenames *Welsh Tract *Sindarin (A language invented by J. R. R. Tolkien for his Tolkien's legendarium, legendarium – a body of literary works, mostly set in Middle-earth. The language was strongly influenced by Welsh.)


Notes


References

*J.W. Aitchison and H. Carter. ''Language, Economy and Society. The changing fortunes of the Welsh Language in the Twentieth Century''. Cardiff. University of Wales Press. 2000. *J.W. Aitchison and H. Carter. ''Spreading the Word. The Welsh Language 2001''. Y Lolfa. 2004


External links

* Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011: available i
Welsh
and
English

Welsh Language Commissioner

Welsh Language Board: ''The Vitality of Welsh: A Statistical Balance Sheet'', August 2010

Link for Welsh language statistics
from the Welsh Assembly Government (accessed 10 January 2009)
Example knowledge of Welsh (KS25) data
(Newport, Wales, Newport) from the Office for National Statistics {{DEFAULTSORT:Welsh Language Welsh language, Languages attested from the 6th century Brittonic languages Fusional languages Languages of the United Kingdom Spoken articles Verb–subject–object languages Languages of Argentina Languages of Wales