Do you speak Welsh? A quick guide to learning a few words of CymraegPublished on 22 Sep 2022 by Amy Greenwood
Whether or not you have ever visited Wales, it cannot have escaped you that our beautiful country is home to two official languages: Cymraeg (Welsh) and English.
What you might not know is that Welsh is one of the oldest languages in Europe. Our beautiful language evolved from Brythonic, a Celtic language which was spoken in Wales, England, and Southern Scotland when the Romans invaded Britain under the command of Emperor Claudius in 43AD.
These days, Cymraeg is spoken by around a fifth of the population, with the highest proportion of Welsh speakers found in our home county of Gwynedd, and on nearby Ynys Môn (the Isle of Anglesey) in the north-west of the country.
When you are holidaying in Wales, it is quite likely you will hear people around you speaking in Welsh, as for many of us – especially here in the north-west – Cymraeg is our mother tongue, and the one we use to chat with our friends and families at home.
One of the nice – though probably fair to say totally unexpected – results of the Covid lockdowns was that so many people took the opportunity to learn a new language. According to the language app Duolingo, in 2020 Welsh was the fastest growing language in the UK.
We think that whatever language you choose to speak, learning new vocabulary and phrases enriches our minds, hearts, and souls. It is a brilliant way to make new friends, make a stranger smile, and to explore a new history and culture.
Our top tips for learning Cymraeg? Start with the easy stuff. Everyone loves to be greeted in their own language (try bore da – good morning), and you can’t go wrong with a thank you (diolch yn fawr).
Want to find out more? Why not pay a visit to Nant Gwrtheyrn or “the Nant” as it is often called, on the northern coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in north Wales. The Nant is a former quarrying village which is now home to the wonderful National Welsh Language and Heritage Centre.
Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Heritage Centre which houses displays about Welsh culture and the history of the development of the Welsh language. There is information about the fascinating history of the village, and about the unique wildlife which can be discovered in this beautiful coastal valley and beach. And a lovely café too. It’s a great day out.