If you’ve booked a hotel or caravan park in Snowdonia, you may be wondering about the Welsh Language if you’re not from the area. Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe, being nearly 4,000 years old and originating from the Celtic language spoken by the ancient Britons.
During the reign of Henry VIII in 1536, the use of Welsh was largely banned, having also been removed as an official language. Including work and education, the suppression was implemented by the government which came as a huge challenge to Welsh speakers and diluted the language. Thankfully, this changed and now over half a million people still speak the language in Wales today.
Welsh or Cymraeg, is a phonetic language which means that once you have learnt the rules of pronunciation, it’s very easy to pronounce. You will find that all road signs in Wales are bilingual, with both Welsh and English translations, all official bodies throughout the country also use Welsh as their official language.
Throughout Wales it is compulsory for all pupils to learn Welsh as part of their curriculum up to the age of 16, this should positively contribute to the growth of the language. The ‘Cymraeg 2050’ campaign aims to increase to the total number of Welsh Speakers to 1 million, facilitating an environment where Welsh can be spoken more often.
Welsh is actually spoken further afield too, with both Canada and Argentina having areas that fluently speak the language. It is said that Patagonia in Argentina was formed by the Welsh, who settled there in 1865. Today, it is estimated that over 50,000 Patagonians could be of Welsh descent.
Here are some useful phrases to try out during your visit:
Good Morning: Bore da – (bo-reh da)
Good Afternoon: P’nawn da – (pu’nawn da)
Goodbye: Hwyl fawr – (who-eel vawr)
Good Night: Nos da – (nos da)
Thank You: Diolch – (dee-olch)
You’re Welcome: Croeso – (kroisoh)