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What Is The Official Language Of Wales?

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4 Answers

Girija Naiksatam Profile
Wales has two official languages English and Welsh. Both languages are treated equally although English, being widely spoken and is considered as the de facto language. In most schools Welsh is taught as a language and in yet others it is the medium of instruction.

As Welsh is one of Europe's oldest languages, many efforts are made by dedicated bodies and individuals to keep the Welsh language flourishing. For e.g. many of the road signs are written in both Welsh and English.

Welsh is more popularly known as Cymraeg and is phonetic in nature. Around one fifth of the total population is fluent in Welsh. Referred to as the "language of heavens", it is highly lyrical in nature. Most people in Wales are bilingual, as the ability to speak and write Welsh is considered as a beneficial skill.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Someone has given you an initial bad rating, which is clearly not justified, for your answer is quite spot on. Please accept a superior rating for your efforts, which answered exactly what was asked.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
As a resident of North Wales, where the language is far more widely spoken than in the South (and where there is far more anti-English sentiment, sadly), I must disagree that most people are bilingual. Even here in North Wales, there are many who do not speak Welsh. It is true that many employers consider it a beneficial skill, which sadly makes it hard for some of the native Welsh folk to get jobs who do not speak or write Welsh. You will also find many speak the language but cannot write it, which also holds them back with certain jobs desiring that skill. At my workplace, some of the Welsh happily converse in either language, whilst others have a surprising tendency to prefer English as their primary means of communication.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Welsh is not an official language, neither is English. English is the de-facto official language of the UK however and this includes wales. ÉÓG1916
Melinda Michael Profile
Melinda Michael answered
In the last two decades, various Acts have been passed to ensure that, in Wales, Welsh and English are both official languages, and must be treated equally. These were the The Welsh Language Act 1993, The Government of Wales Act 1998, and The National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012.

The view expressed in this thread that Welsh should be confined to history horrifies me, seeming to hark back to previous centuries, when Welsh children were made to wear the "Welsh Not" if they were caught speaking their own language whilst at school. This was a heavy wooden board that was hung from a rope around their neck. Sounds pretty barbaric, doesn't it?

In the face of such a concerted attempt to eradicate a population's own language, it is a testament to the determination of the Welsh that they did not allow this to happen - and that the speaking of Welsh has increased in recent years.

Welsh is considered to be an older language than English with some written texts dating from the sixth century, but - like all languages, including English - it has inevitably picked up words and phrases from other languages over time. It is through such changes that languages stay dynamic and evolving, and English also contains many words borrowed from other languages.

I have never yet met a Welsh person who could not also speak English, and growing up bilingual is an advantage, anyway, as it makes the learning of additional languages easier. I speak four languages (and also learned Latin), and there is no-one in my family with a poor grasp of English which would "hold them back" in terms of gaining employment.

They are all well able to express themselves in English, as are all the other Welsh people I know. They may not choose to do so if they are in the company of other Welsh speakers - but is there any reason why they should, as long as they are not excluding any non-Welsh speakers in the group?

I am also not at all sure about the concept of "necessary" or "unnecessary" languages. If those criteria were applied - especially given how well much of the rest of the world speaks English - then many, many languages might be deemed superfluous. And yet, of course, they are not, as indigenous languages have a far wider significance than just as a means of communication.

I hope that Welsh children will always be encouraged to learn and speak their own language, as I would hope that children in other countries around the world will always be encouraged to use theirs. Indeed, I rather wish that we Brits could speak the languages of other nations as well as we expect them to speak ours!

It never ceases to surprise me when relatively-young children in even the poorer parts of the world speak English so well, despite the fact that they use their own languages within their tribes or communities.

On that basis, I might be tempted to argue that those who speak several languages are more highly-skilled than those who don't - and are therefore far from being "unable to communicate"!
Pacipia Jónsún Profile
But Welsh isn't just a literal language just studied or used on road signs. It is a language used every day by people of all ages. With successful Welsh TV the language is flourishing in a society where English dominates. A certain level of Welsh is expected by employers today, and speakers and non-speakers take pride in the language.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Welsh is an outdated, unnecessary language. I think that sometimes people lose sight of the purpose of language, which is to communicate effectively with other people. Therefore, logically English is the best choice, as it allows communication with a far broader range of people. Isn't that the whole concept of language? The emphasis of Welsh is now holding back children in Wales, leaving them as young adults with only a relatively poor command of English, which reduces their viability in many respects outside of Wales, especially with attaining good jobs in the rest of the UK. The Welsh language also borrows heavily from the English language; if one overhears a conversation in Welsh, one will hear many English words interspersed with the Welsh, as they simply do not have the words available, perhaps due to the language being archaic and not having advanced with the times as other more widely-used, dominant languages that are more in the foreground. Yet they largely profess to dislike English, claim it is pushing their language into the background, and then happily borrow from it constantly, sometimes using whole phrases when speaking in Welsh. It is about time that Welsh was confined to history where it belongs - no longer functioning adequately in the modern world, and stop holding onto something they seem to think is the only thing that makes them who they are.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
You deserve an excellent rating for your efforts. Someone wishes only to hear the answer they devised, whether this is user Chapster or some one else,, but do not be discouraged, since your answer was quite accurate and intent to answer the question asked honestly.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
I gave an 'average' rating, Yergamon. My answer also intends to answer the question honestly, and also includes some of my opinions, as is to be expected. The general consensus here is that Welsh is thrust down people's throats, and heavily pushed as the sole language that should be used. A friend of mine from work pointed out how, after pressure from the Welsh Language Board, one of the big high street banks started issuing pamphlets in their branch in Welsh and English, yet the English language ones were always gone in no time, and the Welsh ones hardly touched. He then asked some Welsh friends of his why this was, and their response was that although they speak Welsh, they prefer to read in English. Interestingly, or oddly, he also found (I don't know why he thought to investigate this) that every Welsh speaker he asked turned out to use English when doing mental arithmetic. Apparently, when asked, they said it was because the English words for numerals were much easier and quicker to use and 'say' in their inner monologue. Naturally, they dislike the English language, though.

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