Welsh currently has 700,000 speakers and is a Celtic language, closely related to Cornish and Breton. It is believed to be one of the oldest living languages in Europe, dating back about 4000 years.
It is on the UNESCO endangered languages list with a rating of vulnerable, although efforts have been made to revive it. In Wales, Welsh has joint official status with English, and it is taught in schools up to 16.
Did you know….?
- As well as in Wales, Welsh is also spoken in Argentina. About 2500 people in Patagonia, descendants of 19th century immigrants from Wales, speak Welsh as their first language.
- It has 29 letters in the alphabet, compared to 26 in English. It has no k q v or z, but instead has ch dd ff ng rh th and the famous ll
- It may look as though it doesn’t have enough vowels, but actually it has 7: a e i o u y and w
- The longest word in Welsh is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch which is also the longest place name in Europe.