"Welsh; the language they speak in heaven...."

So runs the river......

Welsh is, of course, one of the last remaining, living  languages that is part of the group of languages spoken throughout Europe by Celtic tribes thousands of years ago.

The Celtic names of rivers, mountains, regions, towns and cities are everywhere if you choose to look below the surface. For example Paris comes from the Celtic tribe Parisii living in that region, similarly Belgium marks the stamping ground of the Celtic Belgae tribes.

The language gives rise to numerous other names in use today. The name of one of Europe's most important rivers, the Rhone comes from Rodonos or Rotonos, literally "that which runs or rolls".

The original Celtic root `ret-' is still retained to the present day in the Welsh word `rhedeg' meaning, you've guessed it, `to run'. You probably use a variation of this yourself as it gave rise, via Latin, to  "rotate" and "to roll" in English.

Incidentally, for better or worse, I have heard that the Welsh also gave the world `the car' - `to carry' also being of Celtic origin!


Ali G in WALES

Ali G (alter ego of `Borat') goes to Wales to explore Welsh homeland security, 3 metre long squirrels found in coal mines and how to speak Welsh 

FOR ALI G - Click here/ Cliciwch yma

Well, can you say




Learn to count from one to ten in Welsh with TV's Big Brother

  Small languages never die, they only fade away:

The case of Welsh in Australia

Dr Arthur F. Hughes, Regency Institute, South Australia

The language of the Cymry (the Welsh people) is one of the oldest languages in Europe, if not the oldest.

It is also a poetic and noble language and It provides an unbroken thread of civilised literature  through the dark ages of Europe.

       The bard Taliesin, for example, in the first half of the 4th Century AD, describes the dead legions of English soldiers after a battle with the Cymry  to repel the insurgents thus:

If.. it was a primitive society which produced this work, it was also a cultured one. This is one of the great wonders of our history - that the Welsh language was the medium of such beauty and civility in such an uncivilised age; that a radiance streamed through it when the lights of Christian Europe had been extinguished. When Gaul and Spain and Italy were in the grip of the barbarians..; when the darkness over England was so profound that only a few fragments are known about its condition and its history; a generation before Mahomet fled to Medina: nearly a millennium before Columbus sailed for the West, this is when a superb and shimmering stream of Welsh literature began upon its course down fourteen hundred years........

Hunger strike at the 2005 Eisteddfod as the Welsh battle for their language




Welsh classes in Canberra - You are very welcome at our regular lessons in Cymraeg, which are held on Wednesdays at the Harmonie German Club, Narrabundah.

Click here/ Cliciwch yma


 Click here/Cliciwch yma  

Speaking Welsh in Cardiff

Did You Know?

The language we call English is probably related closest to Friesian, a language of The Netherlands. It as probably not until the fifteenth century that a recognisable form of English emerged.

If you do want to learn how to pronounce this lovely name here's a nice way to do so - with the use of music

Why Wales? Pam Cymru (Why Cymru)?

The name of our country in Welsh is Cymru, but in English it is Wales.  There is an interesting background to each name.

Let’s begin with Wales.  The root of this name goes back to the word walh or wealh, which is ‘stranger’ in old German, the early language from which English and German developed.  Walh was the word given by Germanic people on the continent about 2000 years ago, for a person whose speech they did not understand......

Britain was full of people speaking a foreign language – some speaking Latin and many more speaking Brythonic which was a Celtic language.  Altogether they were called Walh, or Weals in the plural.  Wales and Welsh are later forms of Weals.  To the early English we were foreigners, even in our own country!

The same was true of the people of Cornwall.  The English called them Cornwealas, that is, the foreigners who lived in the ‘corn’ or peninsula.  Later Cormwealas was changed to Cornwall.


The origin of Cymry, our name for ourselves, is totally different.  Cymry is the plural of Cymro [Welshman], and Cymro originates in very, very early Welsh, and, before that, in a Brythonic word that was a compilation of com and bro – ‘an area of land within a boundary’.  The original meaning of Cymro was ‘a man from the same area, a man from a country or area within a boundary’.  Cymry, therefore, means ‘people from the same area’ or ‘fellow countrymen’.....

The ‘mb’ also continues in the names Cumbria and Cumberland in the north of England.  These names are forms of Cymry.  Cumberland used to be Gwlad y Cymry [The land of the Cymry], before the Cymry there were conquered by the English.  At that time the people of Cumbria and the people of our Cymru [Wales] saw each other as fellow country-people.  We, today, still call the north of England and the south of Scotland ‘Yr Hen Ogledd’ [The Old North] – our Old North!

Translated from Bedwyr Lewis Jones’ book - ‘Enwau’ (Names). This extract is taken from December 2003/January 2004; issue 21 of Plaid Cymru Melbourne Branch's `Cymru Oz` Newsletter

Humour Spot: When a train stopped at the station of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-Llantysilio-gogogoch the porter would cry out "Anybody in there for out here?"

International Mother Language Day – Make Welsh official in Europe
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans

On International Mother Language Day (Friday 21 February), Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has repeated calls for Welsh to be made an official language of the European Union to give a boost to the Welsh economy as well as giving our two official languages the same status.

Jill Evans pointed to the evidence from Ireland of the positive economic benefits of making Irish an official EU language in 2007.

Welsh is an official language in Wales, and has co-official status at EU level following a campaign by Jill Evans in 2008. This allows limited use of the language in the EU institutions and by people who contact them. But  despite the fact that there are more Welsh speakers than speakers of other official EU languages, such as Irish or Maltese, Welsh is not treated equally.

Evidence shows that people have benefitted enormously since Irish became official. The number of students studying Irish to degree level in Galway University has increased by a third, and there is a similar pattern in other colleges. This has largely been due to the prospect of skilled translation jobs in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Fluency in two official EU languages is a pre-requisite for a job in the EU administration. At the moment, despite the fact that many students in Wales are bilingual, the Welsh language does not count. Making it official would make a huge difference to young people in Wales in terms of jobs and skills.

It would also be a boost to universities and colleges as well as Wales's successful and experienced translation industry. Dublin City University has been involved in producing the EU terminology database in Ireland which receives up to 900,000 team searches every month. 

Jill Evans MEP believes that making Welsh an official EU language will raise Wales's profile in Europe and bring tangible economic benefits.

Jill Evans said:

"The Welsh language belongs to all of us in Wales, whether we speak it or not.

"Making Welsh an official EU language would bring real economic benefit as well as raising Wales's profile in Europe.

"We can see from the Irish example what opportunities this would provide for young people, for the translation industry, for schools and colleges and for the economy as a whole.  We are a bilingual European nation and both our official languages should be recognised equally. We are proud of the fact that so many young people in Wales are fluent in two languages and they should benefit from that as young people do in other EU countries. Many more could then seek work in the EU.

"This is a decision for the UK government. I have launched a petition to request that it does as Ireland did in 2007 and request that Welsh is included as one of the UK languages in the EU. 

"It does not necessarily mean that every meeting and every document is translated. Irish will not have complete translation until 2015 and the rules allow for some flexibility.

"Whenever I have called for this in the past, cost has been used as an argument against. The real cost is to our economy today. We pay for all the twenty four current languages, and I do not believe that we should be disadvantaged.

"Welsh is an official language in Wales, and if we are truly equals in Europe, it should be an official language of the European Union as well."

UNESCO cites the revival in Welsh usage in the 20th century as `one of the big success stories' in world culture... BUT warns, as a living language, it is still unsafe!

THE Welsh language faces extinction by the end of the century unless it is given help to survive, the United Nations warned yesterday.

Unesco, the UN's cultural and educational arm, classified Welsh as 'unsafe' in its Atlas of World Languages in Danger.

But the rating is second on a scale of six, moving from 'safe' through to 'extinct', and Unesco cited the revival in Welsh usage in the 20th century as 'one of the big success stories'.

The organisation rated Manx and Cornish as 'extinct', and put Scots Gaelic in the same category as Welsh.

According to the 2001 census, 582,000 Welsh residents say they can speak the language, around 20.8% of the population. There are an estimated 100,000 Welsh speakers living in the rest of the UK, and about 20-25,000 in Patagonia, Argentina.

The Assembly Government has recently made a formal request to the UK Government for powers over the language to be formally devolved.

The Labour-Plaid administration wants to update the 1993 Welsh Language Act to oblige a greater number of bodies to provide services in Welsh.

Source: WalesOnline 20/02/09

Link to BBC Welsh Language Website; Catchphrase

Guest Lesson; Ioan Gruffudd (before he hit Hollywood; Titanic, Hornblower, Blackhawk Down, X Men etc).