Croeso – Welcome, to my first blog. As your probably reading this whilst thinking of travelling to Wales, what a good place to start by telling you about the Welsh language. Welsh language you might ask, I thought everyone spoke English in Wales, and indeed about 99% of people do. However, as you travel further west in Wales, you will hear the language spoken more frequently. Yes, you can think that you’re in a foreign country, how unexpected is that being within the British Isles.
Of course, Wales is not alone in having its own language, modern day Welsh or Cymraeg, (pronounced kem’raig) is known to be one of the ancient languages originating in Asia, which became a Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages; Gaelic (Ireland), Gaelic (Scotland), Cornish (Cornwall), the Isle of Man and Breton (Britany, France). It is relatively easy for Welsh and Breton and Cornish speakers, to understand one another even if they have none of the languages in common, with a bit of effort. Welsh and Gaelic speakers have more difficulty. There are dialect differences in north to south Wales, but generally people can understand each other. Historically, Welsh has also been known in English as “Cambrian”, “Cambric” and “Cymric”.
Welsh is a recognised minority language within the UK, Europe and in Y Wladfa, the Chubut province within Patagonia that is a region of Argentina, South America.
By the start of the 21st century, numbers of Welsh speaker began to increase once more. The 2004 Welsh Language Use Survey showed that 21.7% of the population of Wales spoke Welsh, compared with 20.8% in the 2001 census, and 18.5% in 1991. The 2011 census, however, showed a slight decline to 562,000, or 19% of the population. Wikipedia The Welsh Government is exploring ways of increasing the use of Welsh to 1 million by 2050.