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  • a Brythonic branch of Celtic spoken natively in the western part of Britain known as Wales (Cymru), and in the Chubut Valley, a Welsh immigrant colony in the Patagonia region of Argentina.
  • The 2001 census gives a figure of 20.5% of the population of Wales as Welsh speakers (up from 18.5% in 1991), out of a population of about 3 million.
  • Even among the Welsh-speakers, few, if any, residents of Wales are monolingual in Welsh. However, a large number of 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 (known in linguistics as code-switching).
  • Although Welsh is a minority language, and thus threatened by the dominance of English, support for the language grew during the second half of the twentieth century, along with the rise of nationalist political organisations such as the political party Plaid Cymru and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society).
  • Welsh as a first language is largely restricted to the less urban north and west of Wales, principally Gwynedd, Merioneth, Anglesey (Mn), Carmarthenshire, North Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, and parts of West Glamorgan.
  • Welsh is very much a living language. It is used in conversation every day, and seen in Wales everywhere. Local government (including the Welsh Assembly) uses Welsh as its official language, public bodies issue official literature and publicity in Welsh versions (e.g. letters to parents from schools, library information, and council information) and all road signs in Wales are in English and Welsh, including the Welsh versions of place names (some of which are recent inventions based on the English names).
  • Modern Welsh can be divided into two periods. The first, Early Modern Welsh ran from the 14th century to roughly the end of the 16th century, and was the language used by Dafydd ap Gwilym. Late Modern Welsh began with the publication of William Morgan's translation of the Bible in 1588. Like its English counterpart, the King James Version, this proved to have a strong stabilising effect on the language, and indeed the language today still bears the same Late Modern label as Morgan's language. Of course, many minor changes have occurred since then.
  • Welsh is used in education, and many Welsh universities are bilingual, most notably the University of Wales at Bangor.
Online Dictionaries
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Other resources
  • Gwybodiadur - A directory of language resources for Welsh learners and teachers including the Web's most up-to-date and comprehensive information on Welsh dictionaries.
  • Learn Welsh
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