Welsh language

Welsh language

Overview
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 branch of the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 spoken natively in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, by some along the Welsh border
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province
Chubut Province
Chubut a province in the southern part of Argentina situated between the 42nd parallel south and the 46th parallel south , the Andes range separating Argentina from Chile, and the Atlantic ocean...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

). Historically, it has also been known in English as "Cambrian", "Cambric" and "Cymric".

The Welsh Language Board
Welsh Language Board
The Welsh Language Board is a statutory body set up by the UK Government as part of the Welsh Language Act 1993. It is now an Assembly Sponsored Public Body...

 indicated in 2004 that 611,000 people (21.7% of the population of Wales in households or communal establishments) were able to speak Welsh.
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Encyclopedia
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 branch of the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 spoken natively in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, by some along the Welsh border
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province
Chubut Province
Chubut a province in the southern part of Argentina situated between the 42nd parallel south and the 46th parallel south , the Andes range separating Argentina from Chile, and the Atlantic ocean...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

). Historically, it has also been known in English as "Cambrian", "Cambric" and "Cymric".

The Welsh Language Board
Welsh Language Board
The Welsh Language Board is a statutory body set up by the UK Government as part of the Welsh Language Act 1993. It is now an Assembly Sponsored Public Body...

 indicated in 2004 that 611,000 people (21.7% of the population of Wales in households or communal establishments) were able to speak Welsh. This figure marks a 0.9 percentage point increase when compared with a figure of 20.8% from the 2001 census, and an increase of approximately 35,000 in absolute numbers within Wales. Welsh is therefore a growing language within Wales. Of those 611,000 Welsh speakers, 57% (315,000) considered themselves fluent, and 78% (477,000) consider themselves fluent or "fair" speakers. 62% of speakers (340,000) claimed to speak the language daily, including 88% of fluent speakers.

A greeting in Welsh is one of 55 languages included on the Voyager Golden Record
Voyager Golden Record
The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for...

 chosen to be representative of Earth in NASA's Voyager program launched in 1977. The greetings are unique to each language, with the Welsh greeting being Iechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd which translates into English as "Good health to you now and forever".

The Welsh Language Measure 2011 gives the Welsh language official status in Wales.

History



Welsh emerged in the 6th century from British, the common ancestor of Welsh, Breton
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

, Cornish
Cornish language
Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

, and the extinct language known as Cumbric
Cumbric language
Cumbric was a variety of the Celtic British language spoken during the Early Middle Ages in the Hen Ogledd or "Old North", or what is now northern England and southern Lowland Scotland, the area anciently known as Cumbria. It was closely related to Old Welsh and the other Brythonic languages...

.

Like most languages, there are identifiable periods within the history of Welsh, although the boundaries between these are often indistinct.

The name Welsh originated as an exonym given to its speakers by the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

s, meaning "foreign speech" (see Walha
Walha
Walhaz is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic word, meaning "foreigner", "stranger", "Roman", "Romance-speaker", or "Celtic-speaker". The adjective derived from this word can be found in , Old High German walhisk, meaning "Romance", in Old English welisċ, wælisċ, wilisċ, meaning "Romano-British" and in...

). The native term for the language is Cymraeg, and Cymru for "Wales."

Distribution of Welsh speakers



Welsh is a living language, used in conversation by hundreds of thousands and spoken throughout Wales. The 2004 Welsh Language Use Survey showed 21.7% of the population of Wales to be Welsh speakers. This is an increase from 20.5% in the 2001 census
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, and from 18.5% in 1991. The 2001 census also shows that about 25% of Welsh residents were born outside Wales. The number of Welsh speakers in the rest of Britain has not yet been compiled for statistical purposes. In 1993, S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

, the Welsh language television channel, 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-speakers living in England, about 50,000 of them in the Greater London area.

Historically, large numbers of Welsh people spoke only Welsh, but monoglot Welsh speakers are now virtually non-existent, except among mother tongue speakers below school age as well as small numbers of elderly people in traditional Welsh speaking regions. Almost without exception, Welsh speakers in Wales also speak English (while in Chubut Province
Chubut Province
Chubut a province in the southern part of Argentina situated between the 42nd parallel south and the 46th parallel south , the Andes range separating Argentina from Chile, and the Atlantic ocean...

, Argentina, almost all speakers can speak Spanish - see Y Wladfa). However, many first language Welsh speakers 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
Discourse generally refers to "written or spoken communication". The following are three more specific definitions:...

 (known in linguistics as code-switching
Code-switching
In linguistics, code-switching is the concurrent use of more than one language, or language variety, in conversation. Multilinguals—people who speak more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other...

).

Welsh as a first language is largely concentrated in the north and west of Wales, principally Gwynedd
Gwynedd
Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

, Conwy
Conwy (county borough)
Conwy County Borough is a unitary authority area in North Wales.-Geography:It contains the major settlements of Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Llanrwst, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, Colwyn Bay, Abergele, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan, and has a total population of about 110,000.The River Conwy, after...

, Denbighshire
Denbighshire
Denbighshire is a county in north-east Wales. It is named after the historic county of Denbighshire, but has substantially different borders. Denbighshire has the distinction of being the oldest inhabited part of Wales. Pontnewydd Palaeolithic site has remains of Neanderthals from 225,000 years...

 (Sir Ddinbych), Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

 (Ynys Môn), Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire is a unitary authority in the south west of Wales and one of thirteen historic counties. It is the 3rd largest in Wales. Its three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford...

 (Sir Gâr), north Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

 (Sir Benfro), Ceredigion
Ceredigion
Ceredigion is a county and former kingdom in mid-west Wales. As Cardiganshire , it was created in 1282, and was reconstituted as a county under that name in 1996, reverting to Ceredigion a day later...

, parts of Glamorgan
Glamorgan
Glamorgan or Glamorganshire is one of the thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. It was originally an early medieval kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three...

 (Morgannwg), and north-west and extreme south-west Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

, although first-language and other fluent speakers can be found throughout Wales.

Official status


Although Welsh is a minority language, support for the language grew during the second half of the 20th century, along with the rise of organisations such as the nationalist
Welsh nationalism
Welsh nationalism emphasises the distinctiveness of Welsh language, culture, and history, and calls for more self-determination for Wales, which may include more Devolved powers for the Welsh Assembly or full independence from the United Kingdom.-Conquest:...

 political party Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 from 1925 and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) from 1962.

The Welsh Language Act 1993
Welsh Language Act 1993
The Welsh Language Act 1993 , is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welsh language on an equal footing with the English language in Wales with regard to the public sector....

 and the Government of Wales Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 1998
This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998 This is about the Act that set up the Welsh Assembly. For the newer Government of Wales Act 2006, see that article.The Government of Wales Act 1998...

 provide that the Welsh and English languages be treated equally in the public sector, as far as is reasonable and practicable. Public bodies are required to prepare for approval a Welsh Language Scheme, which indicates their 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 Welsh Language Board
Welsh Language Board
The Welsh Language Board is a statutory body set up by the UK Government as part of the Welsh Language Act 1993. It is now an Assembly Sponsored Public Body...

 . 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 1993–1997, by way of Statutory Instrument. Subsequent to the forming of the National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly comprises 60 members, who are known as Assembly Members, or AMs...

 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 1993 Act nor secondary legislation made under it cover the private sector, although some organisations, notably banks and some railway companies, provide some of their literature through the medium of 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 received Royal Approval and was passed, 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 speakers 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 speakers to use the language with one another.


With the passing of this measure, public bodies and some private companies will be required to provide services in it, though it remains to be seen which companies will have to comply. The Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones
Alun Ffred Jones
Alun Ffred Jones is a Welsh politician and member of Plaid Cymru. Jones was the National Assembly for Wales Member for Caernarfon 2003–07 and for the newly created Arfon constituency since the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007....

, 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, chairperson of language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, 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, Chairwoman of Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg was appointed the new Welsh Language Commissioner. In a statement released by her, she said that she was "delighted" to have been appointed to the "hugely important role," adding, "I look forward to working with the Welsh Government 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 Jones
Carwyn Howell Jones is a Welsh politician and the First Minister of Wales. The third official to lead the Welsh Government, Jones has been Assembly Member for Bridgend since 1999. In the coalition government of Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, he was appointed Counsel General for Wales and Leader of...

 said that Meri will act as a champion for the Welsh language, though some had concerns over her appointment; Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 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."

Local councils and the National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly comprises 60 members, who are known as Assembly Members, or AMs...

 use Welsh as a quasi-official language, issuing their literature and publicity in Welsh versions (e.g. letters to parents from schools, library information, and council information) and most road signs in Wales are in English and Welsh, including the Welsh placenames. However, some references to destinations in England are still given in English only, even where there are long-established Welsh names (e.g. London: Llundain; The [English] Midlands: Canolbarth Lloegr).

Since 2000, the teaching of Welsh has been compulsory in all schools in Wales up to age 16, and that has had a major effect in stabilising and to some extent reversing the decline in the language. It means, for example, that even the children of non-Welsh-speaking parents from elsewhere in the UK grow up with a knowledge of or complete fluency in the language.

Although most road signs throughout Wales are bilingual, the wording on currency is in English only. The one exception is the legend on Welsh pound coins dated 1985, 1990 and 1995 (which are legal tender in all parts of the UK): Pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad, which means "True am I to my country") and derives from the national anthem of Wales, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the national anthem of Wales. The title – taken from the first words of the song – means "Old Land of My Fathers", usually rendered in English as simply "Land of My Fathers". The words were written by Evan James and the tune composed by his son, James James, both residents...

. The new British coinage from 2008 will not bear any Welsh language at all, despite being designed by a resident of North Wales and being minted at the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

 in Llantrisant, South Wales. Although many shops employ bilingual signage, Welsh still rarely appears on product packaging or instructions.

The UK government has ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is a European treaty adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe...

 in respect of Welsh.
The language has greatly increased its prominence since the creation of the television channel S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

 in November 1982, which until digital switchover in 2010 broadcasted 70% 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 thoughout 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
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 in Welsh is available for download. There is also a Welsh-language radio station, BBC Radio Cymru
BBC Radio Cymru
BBC Radio Cymru is BBC Cymru's Welsh-language radio station, broadcasting throughout Wales from studios in Cardiff, Bangor, and Aberystwyth on FM since 1977. At the time of its launch it was one of the few FM-only radio services in the UK...

, which was launched in 1977.

There is, however, no daily newspaper in Welsh, the only Welsh-language national newspaper Y Cymro
Y Cymro
Y Cymro is a Welsh language newspaper, first published in 1932.Y Cymro was founded in Wrexham, and succeeded other newspapers of the same name that had existed during the 19th and early 20th century. It is the only national newspaper in the Welsh language, and is published weekly, on a Friday.In...

("The Welshman") being published once a week. A daily newspaper called Y Byd
Y Byd
Y Byd was an attempt to launch the first Welsh language daily newspaper. It was scheduled to be published five days a week, from Monday to Friday, as of Monday 3 March 2008...

("The World") was scheduled to be launched on 3 March 2008 but has been scrapped, owing to poor sales of subscriptions and the Welsh Government deeming the publication as not meeting the criteria necessary for the kind of public funding it needed to be rescued.

Since December 2001 the British Government has planned to ensure that all immigrants speak English. It remains to be seen if Welsh will be considered a separate case. At present, knowledge of Welsh, English or Scottish Gaelic is sufficient for naturalisation purposes and it is believed that this policy will be continued in any proposed changes to the law.

Vocabulary


Welsh vocabulary draws mainly from original Brythonic words ( "egg", "stone"), with some loans from Latin ( "window" < Latin , "wine" < Latin ), and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 ( "shelf", "gate").

Orthography


Welsh is written in a version of the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 traditionally consisting of 28 letters, of which eight are digraph
Digraph (orthography)
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

s treated as single letters for collation
Collation
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

:
a, b, c, ch, d, dd, e, f, ff, g, ng, h, i, l, ll, m, n, o, p, ph, r, rh, s, t, th, u, w, y


In contrast to English practice, "a", "e", "i", "o", "u", "w" and "y" are all considered vowel letters in Welsh.

The letter "j" is 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, xeroser
Xerosere
Xerosere is a plant succession which is limited by water availability. It includes the different stages in a xerarch succession. Xerarch succession of ecological communities originated in extremely dry situation such as sand deserts, sand dunes, salt deserts, rock deserts etc...

and zero, but in all cases can be, and often are, replaced by Welsh letters: cilogram, folt, seroser and sero. The letter "k" was in common use until the sixteenth century, but was dropped at the time of the publication of the New Testament in Welsh, as William Salesbury
William Salesbury
William Salesbury also Salusbury was the leading Welsh scholar of the Renaissance and the principal translator of the 1567 Welsh New Testament.Salesbury was born in about 1520 in the parish of Llansannan, Conwy...

 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
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

 is the circumflex
Circumflex
The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

, which disambiguates long vowels
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

, 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".

Phonology



The phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

 of Welsh is characterised by a number of sounds that do not occur in English and are typologically
Linguistic typology
Linguistic typology is a subfield of linguistics that studies and classifies languages according to their structural features. Its aim is to describe and explain the common properties and the structural diversity of the world's languages...

 rare in European languages, specifically voiceless sonorants such as the voiceless lateral fricative [ɬ], voiceless
Voiceless
In linguistics, voicelessness is the property of sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating. Phonologically, this is a type of phonation, which contrasts with other states of the larynx, but some object that the word "phonation" implies voicing, and that voicelessness is the lack of...

 nasal consonants [m̥], [n̥], and [ŋ̊], and voiceless
Voiceless
In linguistics, voicelessness is the property of sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating. Phonologically, this is a type of phonation, which contrasts with other states of the larynx, but some object that the word "phonation" implies voicing, and that voicelessness is the lack of...

 rhotic
Rhotic consonant
In phonetics, rhotic consonants, also called tremulants or "R-like" sounds, are liquid consonants that are traditionally represented orthographically by symbols derived from the Greek letter rho, including "R, r" from the Roman alphabet and "Р, p" from the Cyrillic alphabet...

 [r̥]. Stress
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

 usually falls on the penultimate syllable in polysyllabic words, while the word-final unstressed syllable receives a higher pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 than the stressed syllable.

Morphology


Welsh morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 has much in common with that of the other modern Insular Celtic languages
Insular Celtic languages
Insular Celtic languages are those Celtic languages that originated in the British Isles, in contrast to the Continental Celtic languages of mainland Europe and Anatolia. All surviving Celtic languages are from the Insular Celtic group; the Continental Celtic languages are extinct...

, such as the use of initial consonant mutation
Consonant mutation
Consonant mutation is when a consonant in a word changes according to its morphological and/or syntactic environment.Mutation phenomena occur in languages around the world. A prototypical example of consonant mutation is the initial consonant mutation of all modern Celtic languages...

s, and the use of so-called "conjugated prepositions
Inflected preposition
In some languages, an inflected preposition, or conjugated preposition, is a word formed from the contraction of a preposition with a personal pronoun. For instance, in Scottish Gaelic, to say "before him," one can not say *, but , which historically developed from a fusion of pronoun and...

" (prepositions that fuse with the personal pronoun
Personal pronoun
Personal pronouns are pronouns used as substitutes for proper or common nouns. All known languages contain personal pronouns.- English personal pronouns :English in common use today has seven personal pronouns:*first-person singular...

s that are their object
Object (grammar)
An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

). Welsh nouns belong to one of two grammatical gender
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

s, masculine and feminine, but are not inflected for case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

. Welsh has a variety of different endings to indicate the plural, and two endings to indicate the singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

 of some nouns. In spoken Welsh, verb inflection
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 is indicated primarily by the use of auxiliary verb
Auxiliary verb
In linguistics, an auxiliary verb is a verb that gives further semantic or syntactic information about a main or full verb. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice,...

s, rather than by the 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.

Colloquial Welsh inclines very strongly towards the use of auxiliaries with its verbs. The present tense is constructed with ("to be") as an auxiliary verb
Auxiliary verb
In linguistics, an auxiliary verb is a verb that gives further semantic or syntactic information about a main or full verb. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice,...

, with the main verb appearing as a verbnoun (loosely equivalent to an infinitive) after the particle yn:
Siân is going to Llanelli.

Here mae is the third-person present form of bod, and mynd is the verb meaning "go". The imperfect is constructed in a similar manner, as are the periphrastic forms of the future
Future
The future is the indefinite time period after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the nature of the reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist is temporary and will come...

 and conditional
Conditional
Conditional may refer to:*Causal conditional, if X then Y, where X is a cause of Y*Conditional mood , a verb form in many languages*Conditional probability, the probability of an event A given that another event B has occurred...

 tenses.

In the preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

, future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

, and conditional
Conditional
Conditional may refer to:*Causal conditional, if X then Y, where X is a cause of Y*Conditional mood , a verb form in many languages*Conditional probability, the probability of an event A given that another event B has occurred...

 tenses, there are inflected forms of all verbs (which are invariably used in the written language). However, it is more common nowadays in speech to use the verbnoun together with the inflected form of ("to do"), so "I went" can be or . Mi is an example of a preverbal particle; such particles are common in Welsh.

Welsh lacks pronouns for constructing subordinate clauses; instead, preverbal particles and special verb forms are used.

Possessives as direct objects of verbal nouns


The Welsh for "I like Rhodri" is ("I am in liking [of] Rhodri"), where Rhodri is in a possessive relationship to hoffi. With personal pronouns, the possessive form of the personal pronoun is used, as in "I like him" : – literally, "I am in his liking" – "I like you" is ("I am your liking").

Pronoun doubling


In colloquial Welsh, possessive pronouns - whether used to mean "my", "your", etc., or to indicate the direct object of a verbal noun - are commonly reinforced by the use of the corresponding personal pronoun after the noun or verbal noun: "his house" (literally "his house of him"), "I like you" ("I am [engaged in the action of] your liking of you"), etc. It should be noted that this "reinforcement" (or, simply, "redoubling") adds no emphasis in the colloquial register. While the possessive pronoun alone may be used (as is especially common 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 by the Welsh language is vigesimal
Vigesimal
The vigesimal or base 20 numeral system is based on twenty .- Places :...

, which is to say it is based on twenties, as in standard French numbers 70 (soixante-dix, literally "sixty-ten") to 99 (quatre-vingt-dix-neuf, literally "four twenties nineteen"). Welsh numbers from 11 to 14 are "x on ten", 16 to 19 are "x on fifteen" (though 18 is deunaw "two nines"); numbers from 21 to 39 are "1–19 on twenty", 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).

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 is in especially common use in schools due to its simplicity, and in Patagonian Welsh. Whereas 39 in the vigesimal system would be ("four on fifteen on twenty"), in the decimal system it would be ("three tens nine").

While there is only one word for "one" (), it triggers the soft mutation
Welsh morphology
The morphology of the Welsh language shows many characteristics perhaps unfamiliar to speakers of English or continental European languages like French or German, but has much in common with the other modern Insular Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Cornish, and Breton. Welsh is a...

 (treiglad meddal) of feminine nouns, other than those beginning with "ll" and "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
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

 of the objects being counted.

Dialects


Dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

al differences are very pronounced in the spoken and, to a lesser extent, the written language. A convenient, if slightly simplistic, classification is into North Walian and South Walian forms (or and based on the word for North, , and the word Hwynthwy which means 'They Themselves' or 'Them'). The differences between dialects encompass vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar, although particularly in the last regard they are in fact fairly minor.

An example of the difference between North and South Walian usage would be the question "Do you want a cup (of tea)?" In the north this would typically be while in the south the question would be more likely (though in the South one would not be surprised to hear among other possibilities). An example of a pronunciation difference between Northern and Southern Welsh is the tendency in southern dialects to palatalise the letter "s", e.g. (month), would tend to be pronounced [miːs] in the north, and [miːʃ] in the south. This normally occurs next to a high front vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

 like /i/, although exceptions include the pronunciation of "how" as [ʃʊd] in the south (compared with northern [sɨt]).

Much more fine-grained classifications exist beyond north and south: the book , about Welsh dialects was accompanied by a cassette containing recordings of fourteen different speakers demonstrating aspects of different dialects. The book refers to the earlier Linguistic Geography of Wales as describing six different regions which could be identified as having words specific to those regions. An alternative traditional classification was of four dialects - Y Wyndodeg, the language of Gwynedd
Kingdom of Gwynedd
Gwynedd was one petty kingdom of several Welsh successor states which emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in the Early Middle Ages, and later evolved into a principality during the High Middle Ages. It was based on the former Brythonic tribal lands of the Ordovices, Gangani, and the...

; Y Bowyseg, the language of Powys; Y Ddyfedeg, the language of Dyfed
Kingdom of Dyfed
The Kingdom of Dyfed is one of several Welsh petty kingdoms that emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in south-west Wales, based on the former Irish tribal lands of the Déisi from c 350 until it was subsumed into Deheubarth in 920. In Latin, the country of the Déisi was Demetae, eventually to...

; and Y Wenhwyseg, the language of Gwent and Morgannwg.

Another dialect is Patagonian Welsh, which has developed since the start of the Welsh settlement in Argentina
Welsh settlement in Argentina
Y Wladfa refers to the Welsh settlement in Argentina, which began in 1865 and occurred mainly along the coast of Chubut Province in the far southern region of Patagonia...

 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.

Registers


Modern Welsh can be considered to fall broadly into two main styles—Colloquial Welsh (Cymraeg llafar) and Literary Welsh (Cymraeg llenyddol). The grammar described on this page 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
Register (linguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

, including much literature. As a standardised form, literary Welsh shows little if any of the dialectal variation found in colloquial Welsh. Some differences include:
Literary Welsh Colloquial Welsh
Can omit subject pronouns (pro-drop
Pro-drop language
A pro-drop language is a language in which certain classes of pronouns may be omitted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable...

)
Subject pronouns rarely omitted
More extensive use of simple verb forms More extensive use of periphrastic verb forms
No distinction between simple present and future
(e.g. af "I go"/"I shall go")
Simple form most often expresses only future
(e.g. af i "I'll go")
Subjunctive verb forms Subjunctive in fixed idioms only
3rd.pl ending and pronoun –nt hwy 3rd.pl ending and pronoun –n nhw


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

English Literary Welsh Colloquial Welsh
I get up early every day. Codaf yn gynnar bob dydd. Dwi'n codi'n gynnar bob dydd. (North)
Rwy'n codi'n gynnar bob dydd. (South)
I'll get up early tomorrow. Codaf yn gynnar yfory. Coda i'n gynnar fory/Na i godi'n gynnar fory
He had not stood there long. Ni safasai yno yn hir. Doedd o ddim wedi sefyll yno'n hir. (North)
(D)odd e ddim wedi sefyll yno'n hir. (South)
They'll sleep only when there's a need. Ni chysgant ond pan fo angen. Fyddan nhw ddim ond yn cysgu pan fydd angen.


In fact, 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. The latter is considerably more conservative and is the language used in Welsh translations
Welsh Bible
Bible translations into Welsh have existed since at least the 15th century, but the most widely used translation of the Bible into Welsh for several centuries was the 1588 translation by William Morgan, as revised in 1620...

 of the Bible, amongst other things (although the – New Welsh Bible – 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 (1980) by Stephen J. Williams, or more completely in Gramadeg y Gymraeg (1998) by Peter Wynn Thomas (no comprehensive grammar of Welsh exists in English).

Most Welsh writing, especially that found on the Internet or in magazines, is closer to colloquial usage, though it is often argued that this preference results in questionable orthographical and grammatical choices. This is also becoming more common in artistic literature, where the parallel with the well-known works of Irvine Welsh or Niall Griffiths may be helpful to understand the effect, and the controversy.

Ultimately, the labels Colloquial and Literary may be no more (or less) than convenient approximations: the spoken (i.e. colloquial) language naturally permits the use of formal as well as informal registers, and written (i.e. literary) conventions are likewise flexible in use of registers.

Welsh in education


The decade around 1840 was a period of great social upheaval in Wales, manifested in the Chartist
Chartism
Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and 1859. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838. Chartism was possibly the first mass working class labour movement in the world...

 movement, which culminated in 20,000 people marching on Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

 in 1839 resulting in a riot when 20 people were killed by soldiers defending the Westgate Hotel, and the Rebecca Riots
Rebecca Riots
The Rebecca Riots took place between 1839 and 1843 in South and Mid Wales. They were a series of protests undertaken by local farmers and agricultural workers in response to perceived unfair taxation. The rioters, often men dressed as women, took their actions against toll-gates, as they were...

 when tollbooth
Toll road
A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

s on turnpikes were systematically destroyed.

This unrest brought the state of education in Wales to the attention of the English establishment, as social reformers of the time considered education as a means of dealing with social ills. The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

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, 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 Anglicans, and presumed to be unsympathetic to the non-conformist majority in Wales.

The Commissioners presented their report to the Government on 1 July 1847 in three large blue-bound volumes. This report quickly became known as (The Treachery of the Blue Books
Treachery of the Blue Books
The Treachery of the Blue Books or Treason of the Blue Books was the name given in Wales to the Reports of the commissioners of enquiry into the state of education in Wales published in 1847. The term Brad y Llyfrau Gleision was coined by the author R. J...

) as, apart from documenting the state of education in Wales, the Commissioners were also free with their comments disparaging the language, non-conformity, and the morals of the Welsh people in general. An immediate effect of the report was for a belief to take root in the minds of ordinary people that the only way for Welsh people 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 Glencoe
Massacre of Glencoe
Early in the morning of 13 February 1692, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by John Graham of Claverhouse, an infamous massacre took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland. This incident is referred to as the Massacre of Glencoe, or in...

 and the 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
Welsh Not
The Welsh Not or Welsh Note was a punishment system used in some Welsh schools in the late 19th and early 20th century to dissuade children from speaking Welsh...

, 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 given a beating. Many tried in vain to get rid of this bigotry. One of the most famous Welsh born pioneers of higher education in Wales was Sir Hugh Owen. He made great progress in the cause of education, and more especially the University College of Wales (Aberystwyth), of which he was chief founder. He has been credited for with The Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889 after which several new Welsh Schools were built, the first of which was built in 1894 and named Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen
Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen
Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen is a secondary school located in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, North Wales. The school was opened in 1894 and is named after the educator Sir Hugh Owen....

.

Towards the beginning of the 20th century this policy slowly began to change, partly owing to the efforts of Owen Morgan Edwards
Owen Morgan Edwards
Owen Morgan Edwards was a Welsh historian, educationalist and writer. He is often known as O. M. Edwards....

 when he became chief inspector of schools for Wales in 1907.

The Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth is a historic market town, administrative centre and holiday resort within Ceredigion, Wales. Often colloquially known as Aber, it is located at the confluence of the rivers Ystwyth and Rheidol....

 Welsh School was founded in 1939 by 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. Ysgol Glan Clwyd
Ysgol Glan Clwyd
Ysgol Glan Clwyd is a Welsh medium secondary school, and was the first of its kind. It opened in 1956, initially at Rhyl on the coast before moving inland to St Asaph in 1969 . It is overseen by Denbighshire Local Education Authority.In 2006 it had 833 students, of whom 108 were in the sixth form...

 was established in Rhyl
Rhyl
Rhyl is a seaside resort town and community situated on the north east coast of Wales, in the county of Denbighshire , at the mouth of the River Clwyd . To the west is the suburb of Kinmel Bay, with the resort of Towyn further west, Prestatyn to the east and Rhuddlan to the south...

 in 1955 as the first Welsh language school to teach to a secondary level.

Welsh is now widely used in education, with 20% of all pupils in Wales being taught at Welsh-medium schools. All Welsh universities teach some courses in Welsh (most notably Bangor University
Bangor University
Bangor University is a university based in the city of Bangor in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales-United Kingdom.It was officially known for most of its history as the University College of North Wales...

 and Aberystwyth University), but are primarily English language. Under the National Curriculum, schoolchildren in Wales
Education in Wales
Education in Wales differs in certain respects from education elsewhere in the United Kingdom. For example, a significant number of students all over Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of Welsh: in 2008/09, 22 per cent of classes in maintained primary schools used Welsh...

 must study Welsh up to the age of 16 and many choose to continue with it in their A levels and college years. All Local Education Authorities in Wales have schools providing bilingual or Welsh-medium
Medium of instruction
Medium of instruction is a language used in teaching. It may or may not be the official language of the country or territory. Where the first language of students is different from the official language, it may be used as the medium of instruction for part or all of schooling. Bilingual or...

 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 (learncymraeg.org
Learncymraeg.org
Learncymraeg.org is the website for the North Wales Welsh for Adults Centre.The Centre was established on 1 April 2006 following the restructuring of Welsh for Adults education by the Welsh Assembly Government, who established 6 regional Centres throughout Wales. The North Wales Centre is one of...

), Mid Wales, South West, Glamorgan, Gwent and Cardiff. The ability to speak Welsh or to have Welsh as a qualification is essential or desirable for certain career choices in Wales, such as teaching or customer service.

Welsh in information technology


As with 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, Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is a non-free commercial office suite of inter-related desktop applications, servers and services for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, introduced by Microsoft in August 1, 1989. Initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications, the first version of...

, OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org, commonly known as OOo or OpenOffice, is an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. OpenOffice is available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software...

, Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser descended from the Mozilla Application Suite and managed by Mozilla Corporation. , Firefox is the second most widely used browser, with approximately 25% of worldwide usage share of web browsers...

 and a variety of Linux distribution
Linux distribution
A Linux distribution is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications...

s, and on-line services to blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

s kept in Welsh. A variety of websites are also available in Welsh: the social networking site Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 has offered a Welsh version since 2009, and Wikipedia since July 2003.

Mobile phone technology


In 2006 the Welsh Language Board
Welsh Language Board
The Welsh Language Board is a statutory body set up by the UK Government as part of the Welsh Language Act 1993. It is now an Assembly Sponsored Public Body...

 launched a free software pack which enabled the use of SMS
SMS
SMS is a form of text messaging communication on phones and mobile phones. The terms SMS or sms may also refer to:- Computer hardware :...

 predictive text
Predictive text
Predictive text is an input technology used where one key or button represents many letters, such as on mobile phones and in accessibility technologies. Each key press results in a prediction rather than repeatedly sequencing through the same group of "letters" it represents, in the same,...

 in Welsh. At the National Eisteddfod of Wales
National Eisteddfod of Wales
The National Eisteddfod of Wales is the most important of several eisteddfodau that are held annually, mostly in Wales.- Organisation :...

 2009, a further announcement was made by the Welsh Language Board that the mobile phone company Samsung
Samsung
The Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea...

 was to work with the network provider 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.

Welsh in warfare


Secure communications are often difficult to achieve in wartime. Cryptography
Cryptography
Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties...

 can be used to protect messages, but codes can be broken. Therefore, little-known languages are sometimes encoded, so that even if the code is broken, the message is still in a language few people know. For example, Navajo
Navajo language
Navajo or Navaho is an Athabaskan language spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages .Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the...

 code talker
Code talker
Code talkers was a term used to describe people who talk using a coded language. It is frequently used to describe 400 Native American Marines who served in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages...

s were used by the United States military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Similarly, the Royal Welch Fusiliers
Royal Welch Fusiliers
The Royal Welch Fusiliers was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. It was founded in 1689 to oppose James II and the imminent war with France...

, a Welsh regiment serving in Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, used Welsh for emergency communications that needed to be secure.

Use of Welsh at the European Union


In November 2008, the Welsh language was used at a meeting of the European Union's Council of Ministers
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 for the first time. The Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones
Alun Ffred Jones
Alun Ffred Jones is a Welsh politician and member of Plaid Cymru. Jones was the National Assembly for Wales Member for Caernarfon 2003–07 and for the newly created Arfon constituency since the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007....

 addressed his audience in Welsh as 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."

See also



  • Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters
    Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters
    The Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters is a professional body representing English/Welsh translators and interpreters in Wales. The Association has some 140 members, most of whom are translators; less than a quarter are interpreters...

  • English and Welsh
    English and Welsh
    English and Welsh is the title of J. R. R. Tolkien'svaledictory address to the University of Oxford of 1955.The lecture sheds light on Tolkien's conceptions of the connections of race, ethnicity and language....

  • Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion
    Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion
    The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion was founded in 1751 as a literary society devoted to the preservation of the Welsh language. It was founded by two brothers, Lewis Morris and Richard Morris, natives of Anglesey...

  • Languages in the United Kingdom
    Languages in the United Kingdom
    The de facto official language of the United Kingdom is English, which is spoken as the primary language of 95% of the UK population. Welsh is the second most spoken language in the United Kingdom.-Living:...

  • 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 principal areas by percentage Welsh language
  • Welsh literature
    Literature of Wales (Welsh language)
    After literature written in the classical languages literature in the Welsh language is the oldest surviving literature in Europe. The Welsh literary tradition stretches from the 6th century to the twenty-first. Its fortunes have fluctuated over the centuries, in line with those of the Welsh...

  • Welsh Bible
    Welsh Bible
    Bible translations into Welsh have existed since at least the 15th century, but the most widely used translation of the Bible into Welsh for several centuries was the 1588 translation by William Morgan, as revised in 1620...

  • Welsh Language Board
    Welsh Language Board
    The Welsh Language Board is a statutory body set up by the UK Government as part of the Welsh Language Act 1993. It is now an Assembly Sponsored Public Body...

  • Welsh placenames
    Welsh placenames
    The placenames of Wales derive in most cases from the Welsh language, but have also been influenced by linguistic contact with the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Anglo-Normans and modern English...

  • Welsh Tract
    Welsh Tract
    The Welsh Tract, also called the Welsh Barony, was a portion of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania settled largely by Welsh-speaking Quakers. It covers 40,000 acres to the west of Philadelphia...

  • Welsh (surname)
    Welsh (surname)
    -Etymology:It appears that the etymology of the name Welsh is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word wilisc meaning 'foreigner', 'stranger', or 'non-Anglo-Saxon'. These terms were used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former Roman Empire, who were largely romanised and...


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Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011
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