Learn Welsh

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About Welsh

Welsh is one of the six Celtic languages and is most closely related to Breton and Cornish, with weaker ties to Manx, Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is an official language in Wales, where the largest number of speakers are in the North and West of the country. During the last century, Welsh went into decline but never died out, and currently about 20% of the population speaks the language. All schoolchildren in Wales up to the age of 16 learn Welsh, and a fifth of primary school children receive their education in the language.

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Fun facts — Welsh

  • There is a region in Patagonia called Y Wladfa where people have been speaking Welsh as a first language since the first Welsh settlers arrived in the mid-1800s.
  • Welsh has an especially evocative word, cwtch, which means a hug that conjures memories of childhood and a sense of safety.
  • The village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the longest place name in Britain.
  • The letters w and y are vowels in Welsh.
  • The Welsh word 'hiraeth' means a longing for something absent, whether a homeland, person, era or feeling.
  • Cymraeg, meaning Wales (in Welsh) comes from the Brythonic word combrogi, which means 'compatriots' or 'fellow countrymen'.

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