Are you interested in learning Welsh? Whether you’re planning a trip to Wales or just want to challenge yourself with a new language, Welsh is a great choice. A few months ago, Welsh became the top language of Polygloss. And since then, I’ve wanted to add some posts about Welsh to our website 🥰
Recently, I gathered the collective experience of the Welsh learning community to write this blog post series:
- Why learn Welsh? (this post → Read until the end for a musical gift 🎶)
- Fun facts and linguistic gotchas of Welsh (coming soon)
- The ultimate guide to learning Welsh (coming soon)
Quick History of the Welsh Language
Welsh is a Celtic language spoken in Wales, a country in the United Kingdom. It is believed to have originated from the Brythonic language spoken in Britain during the Iron Age. Over the centuries, Welsh has evolved into its own distinct language, with its own unique grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. For centuries, the language was stigmatized or banned in favor of English. Children were even beaten at schools for speaking it. In the last decades, however, the attitude towards it is gradually changing. There are multiple language revitalization projects intended to promote it and many schools and universities teaching primarily in Welsh. Nowadays, Welsh is the only Celtic language no longer considered endangered by UNESCO.
Why Learn Welsh?
Welsh is a unique and fascinating language. Compared to other languages, there are several reasons why you should consider learning Welsh:
- Welsh is one of the oldest languages in Europe, with roots dating back over 2,500 years.
- If you’re planning to travel to Wales, although English suffices for communication purposes, knowing some Welsh can make the trip a lot more interesting!
- Welsh is a Celtic language, which means it has a rich and unique cultural heritage. It is the Celtic language with the biggest number of speakers. So if you are interested in learning a Celtic language and more about this beautiful culture and heritage, Welsh is the language with more resources, materials, and people to practice with. Plus, if you live in Wales already, it’s an amazing way to feel more connected to it.
- Knowing Welsh can also be an advantage if you’re looking for work in Wales.
- By learning Welsh, you’re helping to support and promote the language. There’s a lot of collective enthusiasm and determination, which makes for a great learning environment.
- You can watch Welsh dramas and appreciate some amazing music too:
“My main reason for learning Welsh was to better understand and enjoy Welsh language music, having been a huge Datblygu fan since hearing then on John Peel. By being welcomed into an online Welsh speaking community, I have also discovered loads of great new Welsh language music. My favourite album of 2023 is likely to be by Hap a Damwain.”
Ciciwr Elffiaid - 55 year old retired language teacher
- It’s a low cost language to learn. There are loads of courses and materials online from government institutions.
“Any learner of Welsh must make the most of the wealth of media that exists for Welsh (BBC Radio Cymru, S4C, Youtube channels). This is very rare for small languages and Celtic languages. The fact that you can immerse yourselves no matter where you are (or indeed how much you understand) is very important.”
- The language itself is very beautiful and full of interesting quirks, our next post in this series will be entirely about that!
Promotion time 💪🏴
If you like learning languages by using them, download Polygloss, our free app for iOS and Android, and start practicing Welsh today!
Polygloss is an image-guessing game, inspired by DixIt, that helps you use Welsh in a non-stressful setting and improve your communication skills in Welsh. It’s also available in 80 more languages.
If you are curious about what Welsh looks like, here are some examples of Welsh text written by Polygloss players:
If you are curious about it sounds like, check out this playlist I curated on Spotify, also with the help from the Polygloss community. Only songs that have lyrics available were chosen for it. If you like studying with music lyrics, you can activate them on Spotify with the microphone button near the volume controls:
And now, finally, here’s your musical gift, enjoy 👇🥰🎶