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Text in Welsh Watch the video for practical advice on how to text in Welsh. Change your Mac language to Welsh Watch the video for practical advice on how to change your Mac language to Welsh. Of usual residents in Wales aged three and over, According to the Census , This suggests that there was a decrease in the number of Welsh speakers in Wales from to — from about , to , respectively.
The Welsh Language Wales Measure gave the Welsh language official status in Wales,  making it the only language that is de jure official in any part of the United Kingdom, with English being de facto official. The Welsh language, along with English, is also a de jure official language of the National Assembly for Wales.
The language of the Welsh developed from the language of Britons , according to academic T. 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, with a watershed moment being that proposed by Kenneth H. Four periods are identified in the history of Welsh, with rather indistinct boundaries: The period immediately following the language's emergence is sometimes referred to as Primitive Welsh,  followed by the Old Welsh period — which is generally considered to stretch from the beginning of the 9th century to sometime during the 12th century.
The name Welsh originated as an exonym given to its speakers by the Anglo-Saxons , meaning "foreign speech" see Walha [ citation needed ]. The native term for the language is Cymraeg: Classified as Insular Celtic , the British language probably arrived in Britain during the Bronze Age or Iron Age and was probably spoken throughout the island south of the Firth of Forth. It is not clear when Welsh became distinct. Jackson suggested that the evolution in syllabic structure and sound pattern was complete by around , and labelled the period between then and about "Primitive Welsh".
Jackson, however, believed that the two varieties were already distinct by that time. 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. An 8th-century inscription in Tywyn shows the language already dropping inflections 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 AD. This is evidenced by the dropping of final syllables from Brittonic: The argued dates for the period of "Primitive Welsh" are widely debated, with some historians' suggestions differing by hundreds of years. The next main period is Old Welsh Hen Gymraeg , 9th to 11th centuries ; poetry from both Wales and Scotland has been preserved in this form of the language.
As Germanic and 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, and so the languages diverged. Both the works of Aneirin Canu Aneirin , c. Middle Welsh Cymraeg Canol 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 , although the tales themselves are certainly much older.
It is also the language of the existing Welsh law manuscripts. Middle Welsh is reasonably intelligible to a modern-day Welsh speaker. During one of the King's many raids in the 12th century, Henry asked an old man of Pencader, Carmarthenshire whether the Welsh people could resist his army. The old man replied:. It can never be destroyed through the wrath of man, unless the wrath of God shall concur.
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Nor do I think that any other nation than this of Wales, nor any other language, whatever may hereafter come to pass, shall in the day of reckoning before the Supreme Judge, answer for this corner of the Earth. 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: Welsh government processes and legislation have worked to increase the proliferation of the Welsh language, e.
The Bible translations into Welsh helped maintain the use of Welsh in daily life. Welsh has been spoken continuously in Wales throughout recorded history, but by it had become a minority language, spoken by 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.
The Welsh Language Use Survey showed that The Census , however, showed a slight decline to ,, or 19 per cent of the population. Historically, large numbers of Welsh people spoke only Welsh. 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 known in linguistics as code-switching. However, first-language and other fluent speakers can be found throughout Wales. Welsh-speaking communities persisted well into the modern period across the border in England. Archenfield was still Welsh enough in the time of Elizabeth I for the Bishop of Hereford to be made responsible, together with the four Welsh bishops, for the translation of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into Welsh.
Welsh was still commonly spoken here in the first half of the 19th century, and churchwardens' notices were put up in both Welsh and English until about The number of Welsh-speaking people in the rest of Britain has not yet been counted for statistical purposes. In , the Welsh-language television channel S4C published the results of a survey into the numbers of people who spoke or understood Welsh, which estimated that there were around , Welsh-speaking people living in England, about 50, of them in the Greater London area.
The American Community Survey — noted that 2, people aged 5 years and over in the United States spoke Welsh at home. The highest number of those lived in Florida. 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 political party Plaid Cymru from and Welsh Language Society from The Welsh Language Act and the Government of Wales Act 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. 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 —, by way of statutory instrument.
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Subsequent to the forming of the National Assembly for Wales in , the Government Minister responsible for the Welsh language can and has passed statutory instruments naming public bodies who have to prepare Schemes. Neither the 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 , the Welsh Assembly unanimously approved a set of measures to develop the use of the Welsh language within Wales. With the passing of this measure, public bodies and some private companies are required to provide services in Welsh. The Welsh government's Minister for Heritage at the time, 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. Bethan Williams, chairperson 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. 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. Plaid Cymru 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.
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Local councils and the National Assembly for Wales use Welsh, issuing Welsh versions of their literature, to varying degrees. Since , the teaching of Welsh has been compulsory in all schools in Wales up to age That has had an effect in stabilising and 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.
The wording on currency is only in English, except in the legend on Welsh pound coins dated , and , which circulate in all parts of the UK.
The language has greatly increased its prominence since the creation of the television channel S4C in November , which until digital switchover in broadcast 70 per cent of Channel 4's programming along with a majority of Welsh language shows  during peak viewing hours. Since the digital switchover was completed in South Wales on 31 March , S4C Digidol became the main broadcasting channel and fully in Welsh. The main evening television news provided by the BBC in Welsh is available for download. There is no daily newspaper in Welsh. A daily newspaper called Y Byd The World was scheduled to be launched on 3 March , but was scrapped,  owing to poor sales of subscriptions [ citation needed ] and the Welsh Government deeming the publication not to meet the criteria necessary for the kind of public funding it needed to be rescued.
The decade around was a period of great social upheaval in Wales, manifested in the Chartist movement. In , 20, people marched on Newport , resulting in a riot when 20 people were killed by soldiers defending the Westgate Hotel, and the Rebecca Riots where tollbooths on turnpikes were systematically destroyed.
This unrest brought the state of education in Wales to the attention of the English establishment 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 , three commissioners, R. Lingen , Jellynger C. Vaughan Johnson, were appointed to inquire into the state of education in Wales; the Commissioners were all Anglicans and thus presumed unsympathetic to the nonconformist majority in Wales.
The Commissioners presented their report to the Government on 1 July in three large blue-bound volumes. This report quickly became known as the Treachery of the Blue Books Brad y Llyfrau Gleision  since, apart from documenting the state of education in Wales, the Commissioners were also free with their comments disparaging the language, 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 Glencoe 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 , 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. He made great progress in the cause of education, and more especially the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth , of which he was chief founder. He has been credited [ by whom? The first was completed in 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 O.
Edwards when he became chief inspector of schools for Wales in Edwards, as the first Welsh Primary School. Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth is still a very successful school, and now there are Welsh-language primary schools all over the country. Ysgol Glan Clwyd was established in Rhyl in as the first Welsh-medium secondary school. Under the National Curriculum , it is compulsory that all students study Welsh up to the age of 16 as either a first or a second language.
All local education authorities in Wales have schools providing bilingual or Welsh- medium education. Welsh is also taught in adult education classes. 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.
Welsh language schemes
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.
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. 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 Windows 7 , Microsoft Windows XP , Vista , Microsoft Office , LibreOffice , OpenOffice.
The model, available with the Welsh language interface, has been available since 1 September , with plans to introduce it on other networks. On Android devices, both the built-in Google Keyboard and user-created keyboards can be used. 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 localized.
Secure communications are often difficult to achieve in wartime.
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Cryptography can be used to protect messages, but codes can be broken. Therefore, lesser-known languages are sometimes encoded, so that even if the code is broken, the message is still in a language few people know. Similarly, the Royal Welch Fusiliers , a Welsh regiment serving in Bosnia , used Welsh for emergency communications that needed to be secure.
In , parliamentary rules were amended to allow the use of Welsh when the Welsh Grand Committee meets at Westminster. The change did not alter the rules about debates within the House of Commons, where only English can be used. In February , 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".
In November , the Welsh language was used at a meeting of the European Union's Council of Ministers for the first time. 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. 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.
The phonology of Welsh includes a number of sounds that do not occur in English and are typologically rare in European languages. Stress usually falls on the penultimate syllable in polysyllabic words, and the word-final unstressed syllable receives a higher pitch than the stressed syllable. Welsh is written in a Latin alphabet of 29 letters, of which eight are digraphs treated as separate letters for collation:. In contrast to English practice, "w" and "y" are considered vowel letters in Welsh along with "a", "e", "i", "o" and "u".
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: This change was not popular at the time. The most common diacritic is the circumflex , which disambiguates long vowels , most often in the case of homographs, where the vowel is short in one word and long in the other: Welsh 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 " conjugated prepositions " prepositions that fuse with the personal pronouns that are their object.
Welsh nouns belong to one of two grammatical genders , masculine and feminine, but they are not inflected for case. Welsh has a variety of different endings and other methods to indicate the plural, and two endings to indicate the singular technically the singulative of some nouns. In spoken Welsh, verbal features are indicated primarily by the use of auxiliary verbs rather than by the inflection of the main verb.
In literary Welsh, on the other hand, inflection of the main verb is usual.