Language and Culture

Cymraeg (the Welsh language)
Cymraeg (Welsh) is a language of the Celtic family. It is the direct descendant of Brythoneg (Brythonic or Ancient British), and its nearest relatives are Cornish and Breton. (Irish and Scottish Gaelic are more distant relations.) It is spoken today by about half a million people, some 20% of the population of Wales, and following a sustained and costly campaign during the 1960s-80s it has a status in administration and government. Over a period of 1,500 years it has had an exceptionally rich literary tradition, represented today by a living literature and a periodical press. There are Welsh-medium radio and TV channels, and a variety of institutions and societies dedicated to its upkeep. One cannot speak with absolute confidence of the future of any minority language in today’s world, especially where there are ethnic and political issues involved. It is probable that most Welsh-speakers today, if pressed, would say that they have, perhaps, a fighting chance; but the challenges are enormous. It cannot be too emphatically stressed, Welsh is not a dialect; it is a language, like any other language.
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