Иностранные языки

Survival of the Welsh Language

                  Министерство образования и науки Украины
                    Таврический национальный университет
                            Им. В.И. Вернадского
                       Факультет иностранной филологии
                        Кафедра английской филологии

Гура Егор Николаевич

Реферат на тему: «The Survival of the Welsh Language»

Дисциплина «Лингвострановедение»
Специальность 7.030502
«английский и немецкий языки и литература»
курс 4, группа 42

                              Симферополь 2001
                                 Contents :

   1. Introduction
   2. Part I
   3. Part II
   4. Part III
   5. Part IV
   6. Part V
   7. Part VI
   8. Part VII
   9. Part VIII
  10. Part IX
  11. Welsh language guide
  12. List of used sources


It is the eighth wonder of Wales that is the most wondrous of them all,  the
survival of the Welsh language in the face of almost impossible odds.
Sometime in the seventh century, a Welsh Bishop heard an Englishman's  voice
on the bank of the River Severn  and  was  filled  with  foreboding  at  the
sound.. He recorded his unsettling experience  thus:  "For  the  kinsman  of
yonder strange-tongued man whose voice I heard across the river.  .  .  will
obtain possession of this place, and it will be theirs, and they  will  hold
it in ownership."
The bishop was wrong. More than  twelve  centuries  have  passed  since  the
strange tongue of the Saxon was heard on the  borders  of  Wales,  centuries
during which the ancient tongue of the Bishop and  his  fellow  Britons  had
every opportunity to become extinct and yet which has stubbornly refused  to
die. The survival of the native language is truly one of the  great  wonders
of Wales, to be appreciated and marvelled at  far  more  than  any  physical
feature or man-made object, and far more than the  so-called  seven  wonders
of Wales.
It is a something of a shock when visitors travel  from  England  west  into
Wales, for, almost without warning, he may find himself in areas  where  not
only the dialects become  incomprehensible,  but  where  even  the  language
itself has changed. The roadside signs "Croeso i Gymru" (accompanied by  the
red dragon, the ancient badge of Wales) let it be  known  that  one  is  now
entering  a  new  territory,  inhabited  by  a  different  people,  for  the
translation is "Welcome to Wales" written in one  of  the  oldest  surviving
vernaculars in Europe. For amusement with the language, after  getting  used
to names such as Pontcysyllte, Pen y Mynydd , or Glynceiriog, one  can  take
a little detour off the main route through Anglesey  to  Ireland  and  visit
the village  with  its  much-photographed  sign  announcing  the  now-closed
railway station:


To account for the abrupt linguistic change from  English  into  Welsh,  one
must journey far, far back into history.

                                   Part I

It was about 1000 BC that the Celtic languages arrived in Britain,  probably
introduced by small groups of migrants who  became  culturally  dominant  in
their new homelands, and whose  culture  formed  part  of  a  great  unified
Celtic "empire"  encompassing  many  different  peoples  all  over  Northern
Europe. The Greeks called these people, with  their  organized  culture  and
developed social structure Keltoi, the Romans called them Celtai.
In spite of the fact that they were perhaps  the  most  powerful  people  in
much of Europe in 300 BC, with lands stretching from Anatolia  in  the  East
to Ireland in the West, the  Celts  were  unable  to  prevent  inter  tribal
warfare; their total lack of political unity, despite  their  fierceness  in
battle, ultimately led to their defeat and subjugation  by  the  much-better
disciplined armies of Rome.  The  Celtic  languages  on  Continental  Europe
eventually gave way to those stemming from Latin.
The Celts had been in Britain a long time before the  first  Roman  invasion
of the British Isles under Julius Caesar in 55 BC which did not lead to  any
significant occupation. The Roman commander, and  later  Emperor,  had  some
interesting, if biased comments concerning the native inhabitants. "All  the
Britons," he wrote, “paint themselves with woad, which gives  their  skin  a
bluish color and  makes  them  look  very  dreadful  in  battle"  (De  Bello
Gallico). It was not until a hundred years later,  following  an  expedition
ordered by the Emperor Claudius, that a permanent Roman  settlement  of  the
grain-rich eastern territories of Britain begun in earnest.
From their bases in what is  now  Kent,  the  Roman  armies  began  a  long,
arduous and perilous series of battles with the native Celtic tribes,  first
victorious, next vanquished, but as  on  the  Continent,  superior  military
discipline and leadership, along with a carefully organized system of  forts
connected by straight roads, led to  the  triumph  of  Roman  arms.  In  the
western peninsular, in what is now  Wales,  the  Romans  were  awestruck  by
their first sight of the druids (the religious leaders and teachers  of  the
British). The historian Tacitus described them as being  "ranged  in  order,
with their hands uplifted, invoking the  gods  and  pouring  forth  horrible
imprecations" (Annales)
The terror was only short-lived;  Roman  arms  easily  defeated  the  native
tribesmen, and it was not long before a great number  of  large,  prosperous
villas were established all over Britain, but especially  in  the  Southeast
and  Southwest.  Despite  defeats  in  pitched  battles,   the   people   of
mountainous Wales and Scotland were not as easily settled;  their  scattered
settlements remained "the frontier" -- lands where military  garrisons  were
strategically placed to guard the Northern and Western  extremities  of  the
Empire. The fierce resistance of the tribes in Cambria meant  that  two  out
of the three Roman legions in Britain were stationed on the  Welsh  borders.
Two impressive Roman  fortifications  remain  to  be  seen  in  Wales:  Isca
Silurium (Caerleon)  with  its  fine  amphitheatre,  in  Monmouthshire;  and
Segontium, (Caernarfon), in Gwynedd.
In Britain, at least for a few hundred years after the  Roman  victories  on
mainland Europe, the Celts held on to much of their customs  and  especially
to their distinctive language, which has miraculously survived  until  today
as Welsh. The language of most of Britain  was  derived  from  a  branch  of
Celtic known as Brythonic: it later gave rise to Welsh, Cornish  and  Breton
(these differ from the  Celtic  languages  derived  from  Goidelic;  namely,
Irish, Scots, and  Manx  Gaelic).  Accompanying  these  languages  were  the
Celtic  religions,  particularly  that  of  the  Druids,  the  guardians  of
traditions and learning.
Though the Celtic tongue survived as the medium of  everyday  speech,  Latin
being used mainly administrative  purposes,  many  loan  words  entered  the
native vocabulary, and these are still found  in  modern-day  Welsh,  though
many of these have entered at various times  since  the  end  of  the  Roman
occupation. Today's visitors to Wales who know some Latin are  surprised  to
find hundreds  of  place  names  containing  Pont  (bridge),  while  ffenest
(window), pysgod (fish), milltir (mile),  melys  (sweet  or  honey)  cyllell
(knife), ceffyl (horse), perygl (danger), eglwys (church),  pared  (wall  or
partition), tarw (bull) and many others attest to Roman or Latin influence.
When the city of Rome  fell  to  the  invading  Goths  under  Alaric,  Roman
Britain, which had experienced hundreds of years of  comparative  peace  and
prosperity, was left to its own  defences  under  its  local  Romano-British
leaders, one of whom may have been  a  tribal  chieftain  named  Arthur.  It
quickly  crumbled  under  the  onslaught   of   Germanic   tribes   (usually
collectively referred to  as  Anglo-Saxons)  themselves  under  attack  from
tribes to the east and wishing to settle  in  the  sparsely  populated,  but
agriculturally rich lands across the narrow channel that separated them.
More than two hundred years of fighting between the native Celts,  as  brave
as ever but comparatively disorganized, and the ever-increasing  numbers  of
Germanic tribesmen eventually resulted in Britain sorting  itself  out  into
three distinct areas: the Britonic West, the Teutonic East, and  the  Gaelic
North. It was these areas  that  later  came  to  be  identified  as  Wales,
England, and Scotland, all with their very separate cultural and  linguistic
characteristics (Ireland, of course, remained Gaelic: many  of  its  peoples
migrated to Scotland, taking their language with them to replace the  native
From the momentous year 616, the date of their defeat at the  hands  of  the
Saxons in the Battle of Chester, the Welsh people in  Wales  were  on  their
own. Separated from their fellow Celts in Cornwall and  Cumbria,  those  who
lived in the western peninsular gradually began to think of themselves as  a
distinct  nation  in  spite  of  the  many  different  rival  kingdoms  that
developed within their borders such as Morgannwg, Powys, Brycheinion,  Dyfed
and Gwynedd. It is also from this period that we  can  speak  of  the  Welsh
language, as distinct from the older Brythonic.
In a poem dated 633, the word Cymry appears, referring to the  country;  and
it was not too long before the Britons came to be known  as  the  Cymry,  by
which term they are known today. At this point, we  should  point  out  that
the word Welsh (from Wealas) is a later word used by the Saxon  invaders  of
the British Isles perhaps to denote people they considered "foreign"  or  at
least to denote people who had been Romanized. It originally  had  signified
a Germanic neighbor, but eventually came to be used  for  those  people  who
spoke a different language.
The Welsh people themselves still prefer to  call  themselves  Cymry,  their
country Cymru, and their language Cymraeg. It is also from  this  time  that
the Celtic word Llan appears, signifying a  church  settlement  and  usually
followed by the name of a saint, as in Llandewi  (St.  David)  or  Llangurig
(St. Curig), but sometimes by the name of a  disciple  of  Christ,  such  as
Llanbedr (St. Peter) or even a holy personage such as Llanfair (St. Mary).

                                   Part II

It is in Wales, perhaps, that today's cultural  separation  of  the  British
Isles remains strongest, certainly linguistically, and  for  that,  we  must
look to the mid 8th Century, when a long ditch was constructed,  flanking  a
high earthen rampart that divided the Celts of the West from the  Saxons  to
the East and which,  even  today,  marks  the  boundary  between  those  who
consider themselves Welsh from those who consider  themselves  English.  The
boundary, known as "Offa's Dyke," in memory of its builder  Offa,  the  king
of Mercia (the middle kingdom) runs from  the  northeast  of  Wales  to  the
southeast coast, a distance of 149 miles.
English-speaking peoples began to cross Offa's Dyke in  substantial  numbers
when settlements were created by Edward 1st in his  ambition  to  unite  the
whole of the island of  Britain  under  his  kingship.  After  a  period  of
military  conquest,  the  English  king  forced  Welsh  prince  Llywelyn  ap
Gruffudd to give up most of his lands, keeping  only  Gwynedd  west  of  the
River Conwy.
Edward then followed  up  his  successes  by  building  English  strongholds
around the  perimeter  of  what  remained  of  Llewelyn's  possessions,  and
strong,  easily  defended  castles  were   erected   at   Flint,   Rhuddlan,
Aberystwyth,  and  Builth.,  garrisoned  by  large  detachments  of  English
immigrants and soldiers.  Some  of  these  towns  have  remained  stubbornly
English ever since. Urban settlement, in any case, was entirely  foreign  to
the Celtic way of life.
In 1294, the Statute of Rhuddlan  confirmed  Edward's  plans  regarding  the
governing  of  Wales.  The  statute  created  the  counties   of   Anglesey,
Caernarfon, and Merioneth, to be governed by the  Justice  of  North  Wales;
Flint, to be placed under the  Justice  of  Chester;  and  the  counties  of
Carmarthen and Cardigan were left under the Justice of South Wales.
In the year 1300, the situation seemed permanently established,  when  "King
Edward of England made Lord Edward his  son  [born  at  Caernarfon  Castle],
Prince of Wales and Count of  Chester,"  and  ever  since  that  date  these
titles have been automatically conferred upon  the  first-born  son  of  the
English monarch.  The  Welsh  people  were  not  consulted  in  the  matter,
although an obviously biased entry in Historia Anglicana for the  year  1300
In this year King Edward of England made Lord  Edward,  his  son  and  heir,
Prince of Wales and Count of Chester. When the Welsh heard this,  they  were
overjoyed, thinking him their lawful  master,  for  he  was  born  in  their
Following his successes in Wales, signified  by  the  Statute  of  Rhuddlan,
sometimes referred to as The  Statute  of  Wales,  Edward  embarked  on  yet
another massive castle-building program, creating such world-heritage  sites
of today as Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech, and Beaumaris  in  addition  to  the
earlier  not  so-well  known  (or  well-visited)  structures  at  Flint  and
Rhuddlan. Below their huge,  forbidding  castle  walls,  additional  English
boroughs were created, and English traders were invited to settle, often  to
the exclusion of the native Welsh, who  must  have  looked  on  in  awe  and
despair from their lonely hills at the site of so  much  building  activity.
Their ancestors must have felt the same sense of dismay as they watched  the
Roman invaders build their heavily defended forts  in  strategic  points  on
their lands.
The Welsh were forbidden to inhabit such "boroughs" or to carry arms  within
their boundaries (even today, there are laws remaining on the statute  books
of Chester, a border town,  that  proscribe  the  activities  of  the  Welsh
within the city walls). With the help of the architect Master James  of  St.
George, and with what must have seemed like limitless resources in  manpower
and materials, Edward showed his determination to place  a  stranglehold  on
the Welsh. Occasional rebellions were easily crushed; it was not  until  the
death of Edward III and the arrival of  Owain  Glyndwr  (Shakespeare's  Owen
Glendower), that the people of Wales  felt  confident  enough  to  challenge
their English overlords.
Owain Glyndwr was Lord of Glyndyfrdwy (the Valley of  the  Dee).  He  seized
his opportunity in 1400 after being crowned  Prince  of  Wales  by  a  small
group of supporters and defying Henry IV's many attempts  to  dislodge  him.
The ancient words of Geraldus Cambrensis could have served  to  inspire  his
The English fight for power; the Welsh  for  liberty;  the  one  to  procure
gain, the other to avoid loss. The English hirelings for  money;  the  Welsh
patriots for their country
The comet that appeared in 1402 was seen by the Welsh as  a  sign  of  their
forthcoming deliverance from bondage as well  as  one  that  proclaimed  the
appearance of Owain. His magnetic  personality  electrified  and  galvanized
the  people  of  Wales,  strengthening  their  armies  and  inspiring  their
confidence. Even the weather was favorable.
The Welsh leader's early successes released the long-suppressed feelings  of
thousands of Welshmen who eagerly flocked to his support from all  parts  of
England and the Continent. Before long, it seemed  as  if  the  long-awaited
dream of independence was fast becoming a reality: three  royal  expeditions
against Glyndwr failed: he held Harlech and Aberystwyth,  had  extended  his
influence as far as Glamorgan and Gwent, was receiving support from  Ireland
and Scotland;  and  had  formed  an  alliance  with  France.  Following  his
recognition by the leading  Welsh  bishops,  he  summoned  a  parliament  at
Machynlleth, in mid-Wales, where he was crowned as Prince of Wales.
It didn't seem too  ambitious  for  Owain  to  believe  that  with  suitable
allies, he could help bring about the  dethronement  of  the  English  king;
thus he entered into a tripartite alliance with the Earl  of  Northumberland
and Henry Mortimer (who married  Owain's  daughter  Caitrin)  to  divide  up
England and Wales between them. After all, Henry  IV's  crown  was  seen  by
many Englishmen as having been falsely obtained,  and  they  welcomed  armed
rebellion against  their  ruler.  Hoping  that  The  Welsh  Church  be  made
completely independent from Canterbury, and that appointments  to  benefices
in Wales be given only to those who could speak Welsh, Glyndwr was ready  to
implement his wish to set up two  universities  in  Wales  to  train  native
civil servants and clergymen.
Then the dream died.

                                  Part III

Owain's parliament was the very  last  to  meet  on  Welsh  soil;  the  last
occasion that the Welsh people had the  power  of  acting  independently  of
English rule. From such a promising beginning to a national  revolt  came  a
disappointing conclusion, even more upsetting because of the speed at  which
Welsh hopes crumbled with the failure of  the  Tripartite  Indenture.  Henry
Percy (Hotspur) was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury, and  the  increasing
boldness and military skills of Henry's son, the  English  prince  of  Wales
and later Henry V, began to turn the tide against Glyndwr. Like so  many  of
his predecessors, Glyndwr was betrayed at home. It  is  not  too  comforting
for Welsh people of today to read that one of the staunchest allies  of  the
English king and enemy of Glyndwr was a man of  Brecon,  Dafydd  Gam  (later
killed at Agincourt, fighting for the English).
A sixth expedition into Wales undertaken by Prince Henry retook much of  the
land captured by Owain, including many strategic castles. The boroughs  with
their large populations of "settlers," had remained  thoroughly  English  in
any case, and by the end of 1409, the Welsh rebellion had dwindled  down  to
a series of guerilla raids led by the  mysterious  figure  of  Owain,  whose
wife and two daughters had been captured at Harlech and taken to  London  as
prisoners. Owain himself went into the mountains,  becoming  an  outlaw.  He
may have suffered an early death. for nothing is known of him either by  the
Welsh or the English.  He  simply  vanished  from  sight.  According  to  an
anonymous writer in 1415," Very many say that he [Owain Glyndwr]  died;  the
seers say that he did not" (Annals of Owain Glyndwr). There  has  been  much
speculation as to his fate and much guessing as to where he ended his  final
days and was laid to rest.

There is an expression coined in the nineteenth  century  that  describes  a
Welshman who pretends to have forgotten his Welsh or who  affects  the  loss
of his national identity in order to  succeed  in  English  society  or  who
wishes to be thought well of among his friends. Such a man is known  as  Dic
Sion Dafydd, (a term used in a satirical 19th century poem).  The  term  was
unknown  In  fifteenth  century  Wales,  but,  owing  to  the  harsh   penal
legislation imposed upon them, following the abortive rebellion,  it  became
necessary for many Welshmen to petition Parliament to be "made  English"  so
that they could enjoy privileges restricted to  Englishmen.  These  included
the right to buy and hold land according to English law.
Such petitions may have been distasteful to the  patriotic  Welsh,  but  for
the ambitious and socially mobile gentry rapidly emerging in  Wales  and  on
the Marches, they were a necessary step for any chance  of  advancement.  In
the military. At the same time, Welsh mercenaries, no longer fighting  under
Glyndwr for an independent Wales, were highly sought after by the  new  king
Henry V for his campaigns in France. The skills  of  the  Welsh  archers  in
such battles as Crecy and Agincourt is legendary.
Such examples of allegiance to their commander, the English sovereign,  went
a long way in dispelling any latent  thoughts  of  independence  and  helped
paved  the  way  for  the  overwhelming  Welsh  allegiance  to  the   Tudors
(themselves of Welsh descent) and to general acquiescence  to  the  Acts  of
Union. The year 1536 produced  no  great  trauma  for  the  Welsh;  all  the
ingredients for its acceptance had been put in place long before.
The so-called Act of Union of that year, and its corrected version  of  1543
seemed inevitable. More than one historian has pointed out that  union  with
England had really been achieved by the Statute of Rhuddlan in  1284.  Those
historians who praise the Acts state that the Welsh people had now  achieved
full equality before the law with  their  English  counterparts.  It  opened
opportunities for individual advancement in all walks of life, and  Welshmen
flocked to London to take full advantage of their chances.

The real  purpose  was  to  incorporate,  finally  and  for  all  time,  the
principality of Wales into the kingdom of England.  A  major  part  of  this
decision was to abolish any legal distinction between the people  on  either
side of the new border. From henceforth, English law would be the  only  law
recognized by the courts of Wales. In  addition,  for  the  placing  of  the
administration of Wales in the hands of the Welsh gentry, it  was  necessary
to create a Welsh ruling class not only fluent in  English,  but  who  would
use it in all legal and civil matters.
Thus inevitably, the Welsh ruling class would be divorced from the  language
of their country; as pointed out earlier, their eyes were  focused  on  what
London or other large  cities  of  England  had  to  offer,  not  upon  what
remained as crumbs to be scavenged in Wales itself, without a government  of
its own, without a capital city, and without even a  town  large  enough  to
attract an opportunistic urban middle class, and  saddled  with  a  language
described by Parliament as  "nothing  like  nor  consonant  to  the  natural
mother tongue used within this realm."

From 1536 on, English was to be the only language of the  courts  of  Wales,
and those using the Welsh language were not to receive public office in  the
territories of the king.

                                   Part IV

It was the arrival of the Welsh Bible, however, that  brought  the  language
back to a respected position.
In 1588, the translation of the whole Bible itself, the climax of the  whole
movement, made Welsh the language of public worship and thus much more  than
a generally despised peasant tongue. Perhaps it is to this that much of  the
present-day strength of the  Welsh  language  is  owed,  compared  to  Irish
(which did not get its own Bible until 1690) and Scots Gaelic (which had  to
wait until 1801).
The Welsh Bible, a magnificent achievement, was completed after eight  years
by William Morgan and a group of fellow scholars. In 1620 Dr John Davies  of
Mallwyd and Richard Parry, Bishop of  St.  Asaph,  produced  a  revision  of
William Morgan's Bible. Most  of  the  nearly  one  thousand  copies  of.the
earlier book had been lost or worn  out,  and  this  revised  and  corrected
edition is the version that countless generations of Welsh people have  been
thoroughly immersed ever since, it has been as much a part  of  their  lives
as the Authorized Version  has  been  to  the  English-speaking  peoples  or
Luther's Bible to the Germans.
In 1630, the  Welsh  Bible,  in  a  smaller  version  (Y  Beibl  Bach),  was
introduced into homes in Wales and as  the  only  book  affordable  to  many
families, became the one book from which the majority of  the  people  could
learn to read and write.  Other,  poorer  families,  unable  to  afford  the
Bible, were able to share its contents in meetings  held  at  the  homes  of
neighbors or in their churches or chapels. Later on,  countless  generations
of children were taught its contents in Sunday School. It is  in  this  way,
therefore, that we can  say  the  Welsh  Bible  "saved"  the  language  from
possible extinction.
It has been touch and  go  all  the  way  since,  however,  with  determined
efforts coming from both sides of Offa's Dyke to stamp out the language  for
ever. Yet every time  the  funeral  bells  have  tolled,  the  language  has
miraculously revived itself.
For the continued survival of the language,  however,  there  had  to  be  a
groundwork laid in the field of general education among  the  masses.  There
were still too many people in Wales who could  not  read  or  write.  As  so
often in Welsh history, help came from outside the country itself.
In 1674, a charitable organization, the Welsh Trust, was set  up  in  London
by Thomas Gouge to establish English schools in Wales and to  publish  books
"in Welsh." Over 500 books were printed in 1718 and 1721  at  Trefhedyn  and
Carmarthen respectively. Many of these were translations of popular  English
works, Protestant tracts that encouraged private worship  and  prayers,  but
along with the six major editions of the  Bible  that  appeared  during  the
same period, they had the unpredicted effect of  ensuring  the  survival  of
the language in an  age  where  many  scholars  were  predicting  its  rapid
demise.  Of  equal  importance  were  the  cheap   catechisms   and   prayer
books.highly prized by rural families who read them (along  with  the  Beibl
Cymraegd) in family groups during the long, dark winter nights.
So successful  were  educators,  benefactors  and  itinerant  teachers  that
perhaps as many as one third or more of the population of Wales  could  read
their scriptures by the time of Griffith Jones' death  in  1761.  Jones  had
realized that preaching  alone  was  insufficient  to  ensure  his  people's
salvation: they needed to read the scriptures  for  themselves.  Though  not
intended by such as Jones (the rector of Llanddowror  and  therefore  not  a
Nonconformist minister), his writings created a  substantial  Welsh  reading
public  primed  and  ready  to  receive  the  appeal  of  the   ever-growing
Methodists, whose ability in such preachers as Hywel Harris was  matched  by
their eloquence in the pulpit, and who obviously filled a great  need  among
the masses.

One influential convert was Thomas Charles who joined in 1784, and  who  set
up the successful Sunday School movement in North  Wales  that  had  such  a
profound and lasting influence on the language and culture of  that  region.
Another preacher of great influence was Daniel Rowland,  who  had  converted
in 1737 after hearing a sermon by Griffith  Jones.  With  Hywel  Harris,  he
assumed the leadership of the Methodist Revival. Rowland's enthusiasm  along
with that of his colleagues, attracted thousands  of  converts,  and  though
their initial intention was to work within the framework of the  established
church, opposition from their Bishops, all of whom had little real  interest
in Wales and knew nothing of its language and culture, led  finally  to  the
schism of 1811 when an independent union was founded.
This was the Calvinistic Methodist Church (today known as  the  Presbyterian
Church of Wales). Providing the excitement and fervor that  the  established
church had been lacking for so long, it did much to pave  the  way  for  the
rapid growth of the other non-conformist sects  such  as  the  Baptists  and
Independents. The movement also was  responsible  for  producing  two  names
that are outstanding in the cultural history of Wales: William Williams  and
Ann Griffiths (dealt with at length in my History of Wales).

                                   Part V

The result of the coming of heavy  industry  to  south  Wales  in  the  19th
century could not have been foreseen, especially its twofold effect  on  the
language and social life of the area. First, with  so  many  Welsh  speakers
moving into the area in search of jobs, bringing their language  (and  their
chapels) with them, a Welsh  culture  survived  in  many  fields  of  valley
Such a heavy toll came to so many areas of  the  southern  valleys.  In  the
counties of Glamorgan  and  Monmouth,  the  long,  verdant  valleys  quickly
filled up with factories,  mills,  coal  mines,  iron  smelting  works  (and
later, steel works), roads, railways, canals, and above all, people.  Houses
began to spread along the narrow hillsides, filling  every  available  space
upon which a house could be set,  small  houses,  crammed  together  in  row
after row, street after street, town after town all strung together  on  the
valley floor. Houses separated only spasmodically by the grocery store,  the
somber, grey chapel,  or  the  public  house.  Above  them  all  loomed  the
blackened hillsides and the slag heaps of waste coal or  industrial  refuse.
And all this brought about by the discovery of coal.

In the southern valleys, an Anglo-Welsh character came into being; one  that
came to dominate the political, social and literary life of  Wales,  and  it
was here also that a new  and  particular  kind  of  Welshness  was  forged,
symbolized by  the  cloth-capped,  heavy  drinking,  strike-prone,  English-
speaking, rugby fanatic of the  Valleys..To  such  a  character,  and  to  a
certain extent, to the majority of the three large urban areas  of  Cardiff,
Swansea and Newport, the people of the West  and  North,  the  Bible-toting,
chapel-going, teetotal, parsimonious,  and  above  all  Welsh-speaking  were
totally  alien  beings  who  might  have  come  from  another  planet.   The
repercussions  are  felt  strongly  today  as  only  one  in  five  of   the
inhabitants of Wales use Welsh as a language of everyday affairs.
In other areas, the Welsh language had been in decline for over  100  years.
In Flintshire, so near to the large urban areas of Merseyside  and  Cheshire
there had long been deliberate attempts to stamp out the Welsh language.
Other areas did not suffer the loss of the language.
Some of the letters published in The Cambrian in the mid 19th  Century  show
an  attitude  of  many  Englishmen  towards  the  Welsh  language  that  has
persisted until today. In  one  of  them,  the  writer  was  amused  by  the
proposal to have the infant Prince of Wales (eldest son of Queen  Victoria),
instructed in the Welsh language. He wrote that the  prince,  by  trying  to
pronounce the Welsh "ll" or "ch" would  be  perceived  as  having  spasmodic
affections of the bronchial  tubes  "that  would  lead  to  quinsy  or  some
terrible disease of the lungs and jugulum and would alarm everyone."

                                   Part VI

By the middle of the 19th century,  Victoria's  views  notwithstanding,  the
tide was running  heavily  against  Welsh.  In  1842,  a  Royal  Commission,
looking into the state of education in Wales, noted  that  some  Welsh  boys
employed at mines in Breconshire were learning to  read  English  at  Sunday
School, but that they could speak only Welsh. This was  intolerable  to  the
It was demanded in Parliament that an inquiry be conducted  into  the  means
afforded to the laboring classes of Wales to  acquire  a  knowledge  of  the
English tongue. The report of the Commissioners of Inquiry for  South  Wales
in 1844 lamented the fact  that  "The  people's  ignorance  of  the  English
language practically prevents the working of the laws and  institutions  and
impedes the administration of justice." It  didn't  seem  to  occur  to  the
commissioners that it was their own  ignorance  of  the  language  that  was
obstructing justice!

The report led to another Royal Commission, conducted in 1847, which was  to
have a lasting effect on the cultural  and  political  life  of  Wales.  The
report, in three volumes bound in blue covers, has become known  as  Brad  y
Llyfrau Gleision (The Treachery of the Blue Books, for the three  young  and
inexperienced lawyers who conducted the report had no understanding  of  the
Welsh language,  nor,  it  seems,  did  they  understand  non-conformity  in
religious matters.
Bright, intelligent and well-read Welsh-speaking  children  were  unable  to
understand the questions put to them in  English,  and  the  surveyors  pig-
headedly assumed  that  this  was  due  to  their  ignorance.  Their  report
lamented what they considered to be the sad state  of  education  in  Wales,
the too-few schools, their deplorable condition, the  unqualified  teachers,
the  lack  of  supplies  and  suitable  English  texts,  and  the  irregular
attendance  of  the  children.  All  these  were  attributed,   along   with
dirtiness, laziness, ignorance, superstition,  promiscuity  and  immorality:
to Nonconformity, but in particular to the Welsh language.
One result, of course, of the publication of such "facts" led to so many  of
its speakers being made to feel ashamed and embarrassed. The effects of  the
controversy thus stirred up has lasted up  until  today;  it  certainly  did
much ot bolster the position of those who agreed with  much  of  the  report
and who saw the language as the biggest drawback to  the  people  of  Wales.
One drastic remedy, the imposition of English-only Board  Schools  did  much
to further has ten the decline of Welsh over a great part  of  the  country.
In these schools, as in Flintshire a half century earlier, the  "Welsh  Not"
rule was imposed with severe penalties for  speaking  Welsh,  including  the
wearing of a wooden board, the old "Welsh lump" around one's neck.
In Caernarfon, Gwynedd, an area still predominantly  Welsh-speaking  in  the
1990's, there is a high school named after  Sir  Hugh  Owen,  a  pioneer  in
education in Wales. Owen's untiring  efforts  to  secure  a  university  for
Wales led to a commission to  promote  the  idea  in  1854,  the  university
itself to be established through voluntary contributions.  Owen's  pleas  to
the  government  for  financial  help  were  unheeded,  and  it  was  public
subscription that brought to fruition the old dream  of  Owain  Glyndwr.  In
1872 Aberystwyth University opened its doors to  twenty-six  students  in  a
very impressive building on the seafront designed as a hotel, but which  was
fortunately vacant at the time. For the first few years  of  its  existence,
the  college  depended  greatly  on   voluntary   contributions   from   the
nonconformist chapels,  but  it  attracted  many  who  would  come  to  have
profound influence on the culture of their  nation.  In  so  many  areas  it
provided the foundations that led to the national revival of  Wales  in  the
late 1890's.
The work of Owen M. Edwards, in a period of language  decline,  was  crucial
in this renaissance. A native of Llanuwchllyn on the shores  of  Llyn  Tegid
(Bala Lake),  Oxford  University  lecturer  and  later  Chief  inspector  of
Schools of the newly-created Welsh Board of Education, Edwards did  much  to
popularize the use of Welsh as an everyday language. Alarmed by the  decline
in the language, he published a great number of Welsh books  and  magazines,
with particular interest in works for children. In 1898 he  founded  Urdd  y
Delyn, a forerunner of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the  largest  youth  organization
in Wales and one that still conducts its activities through  the  medium  of
Despite the success of organizations such as Urdd, one problem has  remained
for the survival of Welsh ever  since  the  Acts  of  Union  in  the  middle
1500's. The Welsh language has considered to be a great hindrance  to  one's
feeling of Britishness. Even  before  the  First  World  War,  when  British
soldiers from all parts of the kingdom marched off under the Union  Jack  to
fight the Boers in South Africa, the feeling  took  hold  that  "...side  by
side with the honourable contribution which the  Welsh  could  make  to  the
British Empire, the Welsh language could be considered an irrelevance..."
This idea was implanted even more firmly in the Welsh mind by the  intention
of  the  leaders  of  the  Welsh-speaking  community  to   show   that   the
peculiarities  of  Welsh  culture  were  not  a  threat  to  the  unity  and
tranquility of the kingdom of Britain. When ideas of a  separate  government
for the Welsh people began to take hold  in  the  late  19th  century,  once
again, the idea of a British national  identity  found  itself  overwhelming
the purely local, isolated, and all  too  often  ridiculed,  aspirations  of
those who wished for a Welsh nationhood.
In mainly English-speaking  South  Wales  in  particular,  feelings  on  the
matter  were  sharply  expressed.  At  a   crucial   meeting   in   Newport,
Monmouthshire, in January 1898 it was firmly stated (by  Robert  Byrd)  that
there were thousands of  true  Liberals  who  would  never  submit  "to  the
domination of Welsh ideas." With few exceptions, this seems to  sum  up  the
attitude of most Welsh politicians of the  next  one  hundred  years.  There
were too many in Wales whose close ties  with  English  interests  made  the
idea of home rule repugnant and one to be fought against at all costs.
Welsh-speaking Lloyd George, future Prime Minister, who was howled  down  at
the meeting, questioned if the mass of the Welsh nation was  willing  to  be
dominated by a coalition of English capitalists who had made their  fortunes
in Wales. Yet even his motives were held with suspicion  as  being  entirely
self-serving. And, as a fluent Welsh speaker, he was mistrusted by  many  in
the audience who  looked  with  suspicion  upon  those  who  could  speak  a
language that they could not.
In 1881,  the  Aberdare  Commission's  report  showed  that  provisions  for
intermediate and higher education in Wales lagged behind those in the  other
parts  of  Britain;  it  suggested  that  there  should  be  two  new  Welsh
universities, Cardiff and Bangor. It was found, however, that  there  was  a
lack of adequately trained students for these  new  colleges  and  thus,  in
1899 the Welsh Intermediate Act came into being that  gave  the  new  county
councils the power to raise a levy (to be matched  by  the  Government)  for
the provision of secondary schools.In 1896 came the Central Welsh  Board  to
oversee these schools.
The result was that thousands of Welsh children from all levels  of  society
were able to continue their education at a secondary level. Another  result,
however, was  the  continued  decline  of  the  status  accorded  the  Welsh
language, for the new secondary schools were thoroughly English,  only  very
few even bothering to offer  Welsh  lessons.  An  educated  class  of  Welsh
people was thus created that  fostered  the  cultural  traditions  of  their
country in the language of England.

                                  Part VII

In the meantime, in an age where radio and movies began  to  play  important
roles in the regular everyday life of the  people  of  Wales,  the  language
continued its precipitous  decline.  North  Wales  got  its  news  from  and
followed the events in Liverpool; South Wales was more  tied  to  happenings
in Bristol or even London.  Links  between  the  two  areas  of  Wales  were
practically non-existent; roads and rails went West to East,  not  North  to
South, and the flow of ideas and language went in the same  directions.  Any
sense of a national Welsh identity was disappearing rapidly along  with  the
In an attempt to stop the rot, a new party came into being  in  1925,  Plaid
Genedlaethol Cymru (The National Party of Wales) that was  fiercely  devoted
to purely Welsh causes such as preservation of the language and culture.  In
1926, Saunders Lewis took over the presidency, but the party  received  very
little general support and, in some  areas  of  Wales,  was  the  object  of
ridicule. It was to take forty years before Plaid Cymru was taken  seriously
and gained its first seat in Parliament. Much had been happening until  then
to further erode Welsh as a common language and the idea of the Welsh  as  a
common, united people worthy of their own government as part  of  a  greater
The views of Henderson and Lewis,  as  imaginative  and  forward-looking  as
they were, did not appeal to the majority of the Welsh people' at the  time,
those who thought the politician and the poet were those  of  a  very  small
minority indeed. In the meantime, the  process  of  anglicization  continued
unabated; more people living  in  Wales  considered  themselves  Anglo-Welsh
than Welsh. Much of the blame (or for some,the praise),  can  be  placed  on
the educational system that, even before the outset of the Second World  War
was geared to producing loyal Britons.
When World War ll finally arrived, there was much more unanimity of  support
throughout Britain than there had been for the First World  War.  And  there
was less trauma inflicted upon the people of Wales, for this was  a  crusade
against Fascism and Nazism and Hitler that almost everyone  could  subscribe
to. It was also a fight to preserve the Empire. The heavy  bombing  meant  a
large exodus of children from the targeted larger English  cities  into  the
more rural areas. In Wales, thousands of  refugees  learned  Welsh,  but  in
many areas their English language overwhelmed  the  local  speech.or  tipped
the scales against its survival.
To counter the linguistic threat to the  Welsh  culture  at  Aberystwyth,  a
private Welsh-medium school was established.by Ifan  ab  Owen  Edwards,  the
son of the famous educator. Apart  from  this  little  school,  however,  it
wasn't until Llanelli Welsh School began in 1947 that the idea  of  teaching
children through the medium of Welsh began to take hold  in  earnest.  Other
schools followed, so that by 1970, even Cardiff  had  its  Ysgol  Dewi  Sant
(St. David's School) one of the largest primary schools in  Wales,  teaching
through the medium of Welsh. The increase in the Welsh primary  schools  was
accompanied by a demand for a Welsh secondary education, and the first  such
schools opened in Flintshire, Ysgol Gyfun Glan Clwyd and Ysgol  Maes  Garmon
in areas in which  the  great  majority  of  the  parents  were  monolingual
English. The success of these schools were followed by  Ysgol  Rhydfelen  in
Glamorganshire in 1962 and by many others by the 1980's.
It may have taken a long while, and for many, it might have been  too  late,
but the change in the attitude of the Welsh  people  toward  their  language
has been dramatic since 1962. Not only that, but  great  strides  have  been
made in convincing immigrants to Wales that their children would not  suffer
the loss of their English language if they were to  be  taught  through  the
medium of Welsh, and that a bilingual education may well be superior to  one
that confines them to a single language. Many a  non-Welsh  speaking  parent
is now anxious to point with pride at the achievement of their  children  in
the Welsh language. It is no longer fashionable in Wales  to  refer  to  the
language as "dying," and the activities of the Eisteddfod as "the  kicks  of
a dying nation," sentiments the  author  heard  at  Swansea  in  1964.  What
caused the sea-change?
One place we can start to look for  the  answer  is  the  media,  especially
public radio. Beginning in 1922, the BBC broadcasts in  Wales  were  eagerly
awaited. Its voice, however, was one that gave  prestige  and  authority  to
its views, the voice of a public-school-educated upper-class Englishman.  In
addition, the majority of broadcasts led a majority  of  British  people  to
believe that a BBC accent was not only desirable, but was the  correct  one,
and that their own accent, dialect, or in the case of much of  Wales,  their
language, was inferior. It  was  Radio  Eireann,  the  voice  of  the  Irish
Republic,  that  broadcast  the  only  regular  Welsh   language   material,
beginning in 1927.
At time, and for a long period afterward, incredible as it  now  seems,  the
head of the BBC station in Cardiff ignored protests  from  devotees  of  the
Welsh language who wished to hear Welsh language programs. There  were  then
almost one million speakers of Welsh. But aided by such attitudes  of  those
in authority, a rapid decline was about to begin. This was  not  inevitable.
Perhaps the language would have even advanced, given sufficient air time  in
the late 1920's and early 30's. The problem was that  most  Welsh  listeners
enjoyed their English language programs; it was only the  few  who  realized
that their enjoyment was coming at the expense of  their  cherished,  native

                                  Part VIII

One who did take notice, and one who provided the second place to  look  for
the answer was Ifan ab Owen  Edwards,  whose  father  Owen  M.  Edwards  had
founded Urdd y Delyn in 1898. The son, in his  turn,  established  the  most
influential of all youth movements in Wales, Urdd  Gobaith  Cymru  in  1922;
the movement has involved countless thousands of Welsh boys and  girls  ever
since,  conducting  their  camps,  sports  activities,  singing   festivals,
eisteddfodau, etc. all through the medium of  Welsh  and  proving  that  the
language was not one that should be  confined  to  an  older,  chapel-going,
puritanical generation. Continued protests against the policies of the  BBC,
unable and in most cases unwilling to cater to the new,  younger  generation
eventually led to the BBC  studio  at  Bangor  broadcasting  Welsh  language
programs. In 1935, and in July of 1937 the Welsh Region of the  BBC  finally
began to broadcast on a separate wavelength. Radio Cymru,  however,  had  to
wait until 1977.

Another pivotal figure in the fight for survival of the Welsh language,  and
one who made good use of the power of the radio broadcast was the  poet  and
dramatist Saunders Lewis. Like Ifan  ab  Owen  Edwards,  Lewis  was  greatly
concerned that, unless something was  done,  and  done  quickly,  the  Welsh
language as a living entity would disappear before the end of  the  century.
Lewis, a major  Welsh  poet  and  dramatist,  generally  considered  as  the
greatest literary figure in the Welsh language of this century, was born  in
Cheshire into a Welsh family; he  later  became  a  lecturer  at  the  newly
established University College, Swansea. Heavily  influenced  by  events  in
Ireland and the struggle for national identity in  that  country  that  took
place in the political sphere, he was one of the founders of Plaid Cymru  in
1925 at the Pwllheli National Eisteddfod, becoming its president in 1926.
Lewis envisioned a new role for the people of  Wales  that  would  transform
their position as a member of the British Empire  into  one  in  which  they
could see themselves as one  of  the  nations  that  helped  found  European
civilization. As he viewed it:
   What then is our nationalism?...To fight not for Welsh  independence  but
   for the civilization of Wales. To claim for Wales  not  independence  but
   freedom. (Egwyddorion Cenedlaetholdeb, 1926)
Ten years later, with two companions, D.J.  Williams  and  Lewis  Valentine,
Lewis deliberately set a fire at Penyberth in  the  Llyn  Peninsular,  North
Wales, a site that the military wished to use for construction of a  bombing
school. The three then turned themselves in  to  the  authorities  and  were
duly indicted and summoned to appear in court. The failure of the  court  to
agree on a verdict at Caernarfon, a town sympathetic to their  cause,  meant
the removal of their trial to London, where  they  were  each  sentenced  to
nine months imprisonment. Lewis was dismissed  from  his  teaching  post  at
Swansea even before the arrival of the guilty verdict at the Old Bailey.
Leading Welsh  historians  agree  that  The  fire  at  Penyberth  should  be
regarded as  a  cause  celebre  in  the  struggle  for  Welsh  identity;  it
certainly had its impact on Welsh thinking, an impact that  was  not  wholly
dampened by the onset of Word War ll  which  again  focused  the  people  of
Britain on their shared identity in the face of  an  enemy  that  threatened
their survival as a nation. The pacificism of Lewis was an affront to  many,
even within Plaid Cymru who saw the need to defeat as overriding  any  other

                                   Part IX

The improvements in the road system meant that  many  areas  in  Wales  were
easy to get to. Their beauty and tranquility became an  irresistible  magnet
to thousands ready to retire from the squalor and overcrowding  of  the  big
industrial  cities  of  northern  and  middle  England.  Welsh  communities,
especially along the North Wales coast, found themselves  inundated  with  a
flood of newcomers who  were  either  too  old  to  learn  the  language  or
couldn't be bothered. Many of the younger couples had  no  idea  that  Wales
had a language of its own, or when they  did  find  out  were  adamant  that
their  children  be  educated  through  the  medium  of  English.  Far  more
significant was the fact that it was far too easy to get by  perfectly  well
in Wales without knowing a word of its language.
The whole north Wales coast, known as "the Welsh  Riviera"  became  first  a
weekend playground for, and then an extension of, Merseyside. The  mid-Wales
coast, similarly was transformed  by  a  huge  influx  of  people  from  the
Midlands. LIverpool accents  were  more  common  in  Llandudno  than  Welsh;
Birmingham accents common in Borth, or even Aberystwyth. The author  vividly
remembers visiting a pub in Bangor where every customer but one could  speak
Welsh, but all of whom used English to defer  to  a  monolingual  Englishman
(who had been in the area forty years without  learning  a  single  word  of
Welsh). The same situation was found throughout much of North Wales.
The result of such massive invasions, often by retirees, certainly by  those
with little incentive to learn Welsh was  drastic.  From  almost  a  million
Welsh speakers in 1931, the number fell to just over 500,000  in  less  than
fifty years.despite the large increase in  population.  Strongholds  of  the
language and its attendant culture were crumbling fast, and it  seemed  that
nothing could be done to stem the tide.  In  1957  occurred  an  event  that
exemplified the situation: the Liverpool Corporation got the  go-ahead  from
Parliament  to  drown  a  valley  in  Meirionydd   (Merionethshire)   called
Tryweryn, which housed a strong and vibrant  Welsh-speaking  community.  The
removal of the people of Tryweryn to make way for a source of water  for  an
English city convinced many in Wales that the  nation  was  on  its  way  to
extinction. The survival of the Welsh language seemed  irreversibly  doomed,
and no-one seemed to care.
Then something happened; someone seemed to care after all. At  Pontarddulais
in 1962, at the summer school of Plaid Cymru, a new movement  began.  Mainly
involving a younger active post-war Welsh generation, many of  them  college
students, the Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language  Society)  decided
to take matters in their own hands  to  try  to  halt  the  decline  of  the
language by forcing the hand of the government. Saviors to many,  scoundrels
and troublemakers to others, frustrated members  of  the  Society  had  been
galvanized into action by a talk given on  the  BBC  by  Saunders  Lewis  in
February, 1962.
In his talk, entitled Tynged yr Iaith (Fate of  the  language)  Lewis  asked
his listeners  to  make  it  impossible  for  local  or  central  government
business to be conducted without the use of the  Welsh  language.  This  was
the only way, he felt, to ensure its survival. Plaid Cymru could  not  help,
as it was a political party, so the banner was taken  up  by  Cymdeithas  yr
Iaith Gymraeg. At narrow Trefechan Bridge, Aberystwyth  in  February,  1963,
members of the society sat down in the road and stopped all  traffic  trying
to get into town over the bridge, or  trying  to  leave  town  on  the  same
Undeterred by prison sentences  for  disturbing  the  peace  and  for  their
subsequent destruction of government property (mostly road signs),  and  led
by such activists as Fred Fransis, and folk-singer Dafydd Iwan, the  society
began a serious campaign. In the  face  of  much  hostility  from  passivist
locals and prosecution from the  authorities,  Cymdeithas  pressed  for  the
right to use Welsh on all government documents, from Post  Office  forms  to
television licenses, from driving licenses to tax forms. In particular,  the
society engaged in surreptitious night time  activities,  removing  English-
only sign posts and directional instructions from the  highways  or  daubing
them with green paint. All over Wales,  in  early  morning,  motorists  were
faced with the green paint and daubed slogan that mysteriously had  appeared
overnight. It became frustrating and expensive  for  local  authorities  and
the Ministry of Transport to keep replacing road signs.
Eventually, in 1963, faced with an ever-growing campaign,  increased  police
and court costs, destruction of  government  property,  and  the  vociferous
demands  for  action  by  an  increasingly  angry  and  frustrated  national
movement, the central government decided to establish a  committee  to  look
at  the  legal  status  of  Welsh.  Its  report,  issued  two  years  later,
recommended that the language be given  "equal  validity"  with  English,  a
diluted version of which was placed into the Welsh Language Act of 1967.
There came about a new feeling in the land. The young people of  Wales  were
answering the  call  of  Saunders  Lewis;  the  older  generation  began  to
reconsider their passiveness. Dafydd Iwan and  many  of  his  contemporaries
inaugurated a  whole  new  movement  in  popular  Welsh  music,  translating
English and American pops into Welsh, or writing  stirring  new  lyrics  and
music or protest. The popularity of mournful, funereal hymns  sung  by  male
voice choirs found a competitor, the  loud,  heavy  rhythms  and  rebellious
music of new bands. Groups such as Ar Log and Plethyn  rediscovered  ancient
Welsh folk music and brought it up to date. The National Eisteddfod  entered
into the spirit, each year erecting a Roc Pavilion, where such groups  could
attract the younger audiences. Wales began to finally shake off the  shrouds
cast by the Methodist Revival of over a century before.
Since the 1960's, in the author's birthplace Flint and  in  other  towns  in
Clwyd, attempts to reintroduce the Welsh language in the schools  have  been
warmly welcomed by many of the townsfolk, and  a  whole  new  generation  of
children who can speak, read and write Welsh may help ensure the  future  of
the language (and ultimately, of Plaid Cymru)  in  such  heavily  anglicized
areas. Other areas, such as the Cardiff region and the Valleys have  already
experienced some growth in the numbers of those able to speak Welsh.
Factors for this increase include the rise of a Welsh  bureaucracy;  further
expansion of the Welsh-oriented mass  media;  the  continued  activities  of
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, with its appeal to the  young  generation;  and
the effects of the Welsh Language Act of 1967.  Perhaps  most  important  is
the subtle change in attitude towards the  language  brought  about  by  the
advantages that can be gained by its speakers in both  social  and  economic
fields. Of crucial importance in winning the hearts and minds  of  the  non-
Welsh speakers who have young children has  been  Mudiad  Ysgolion  Meithrin
(the Welsh Nursery School Movement) founded in 1971.
In the anglicized areas of Wales, we may yet again read such  sentiments  as
that given by Sir Walter Scott, in a letter  to  his  son,  dated  December,
   You hear the Welsh spoken much about you, and  if  you  can  pick  it  up
   without interfering with more important labours, it will be worth while
In the late 1990's, as we shall see, one of the  more  important  labors  of
many of the Welsh people has been to continue the fight  to  preserve  their
language, and with it, much  of  the  culture  upon  which  it  depends.  To
preserve this language, the  ancient,  magnificent  tongue  of  the  British
people for so many, many centuries, will be indeed, a labor of love to  make
up for so much past pain.

                                                                Supplement 1

                            Welsh Language Guide

The language of Wales, more properly called Cymraeg in preference  to  Welsh
(A Germanic word denoting "foreigner"), belongs to a branch  of  Celtic,  an
Indo-European  language.  The  Welsh  themselves  are  descendants  of   the
Galatians, to whom Paul  wrote  his  famous  letter.  Their  language  is  a
distant cousin to Irish and Scots Gaelic and  a  close  brother  to  Breton.
Welsh is still used  by  about  half  a  million  people  within  Wales  and
possibly another few hundred thousand in England and other areas overseas.

In most heavily populated areas of Wales, such as the Southeast  (containing
the large urban  centers  of  Cardiff,  Newport  and  Swansea),  the  normal
language of everyday life is English, but there are other areas, notably  in
the Western and Northern regions, (Gwynedd  and  Dyfed  particularly)  where
the Welsh language remains strong and highly visible.  The  Welsh  word  for
their country is Cymru (Kumree), the land of the Comrades;  the  people  are
known as Cymry (Kumree) and the  language  as  Cymraeg  (Kumrige).  Regional
differences in spoken Welsh do not make speakers in one area  unintelligible
to those in another (as is so often claimed), standard Welsh  is  understood
by Welsh speakers everywhere.

Despite its formidable appearance to the uninitiated, Welsh  is  a  language
whose spelling is entirely regular and phonetic, so that once you  know  the
rules, you  can  learn  to  read  it  and  pronounce  it  without  too  much
difficulty. For young children learning to read, Welsh  provides  far  fewer
difficulties than does English, as  the  latter's  many  inconsistencies  in
spelling are not found in Welsh, in which all letters are pronounced.

                      THE WELSH ALPHABET: (28 letters)
A, B ,C ,Ch, D, Dd, E, F, Ff, G, Ng, H, I, L

Ll, M, N, O, P, Ph, R, Rh, S, T, Th, U, W, Y
(Note that Welsh does not possess the letters J, K, Q, V,  X  or  Z,  though
you will often come across "borrowings" from English, such as  John,  Jones,
Jam and Jiwbil (Jubilee); Wrexham (Wrecsam); Zw (Zoo).

THE VOWELS: (A, E, I, U, O, W, Y)
A as in man. Welsh words: am, ac Pronounced the same as in English)

E as in bet or echo. Welsh words: gest (guest); enaid (enide)

I as in pin or queen. Welsh words: ni  (nee);  mi  (me);  lili  (lily);  min

U as in pita: Welsh words:  ganu  (ganee);  cu  (key);  Cymru  (Kumree);  tu
(tee); un (een)

O as in lot or moe. Welsh words: o'r  (0re);  don  (don);  dod  (dode);  bob

W as in Zoo or bus. Welsh words: cwm  (koom),  bws  (bus);  yw  (you);  galw

Y has two distinct sounds: the final sound in happy or the  vowel  sound  in
myrrh Welsh words: Y (uh); Yr (ur); yn (un); fry (vree); byd (beed)

All the vowels can be lengthened by the addition of a circumflex (д),  known
in Welsh as "to bach" (little roof). Welsh words: Tдn (taan), lдn (laan)
Ae, Ai and Au are pronounced as English "eye": ninnau (nineye); mae (my);
henaid (henide); main (mine); craig (crige)

Eu and Ei are pronounced the same way as the English ay in pray. Welsh
words: deisiau (dayshy), or in some dialects (deeshuh); deil (dale or
dile); teulu (taylee or tyelee)

Ew is more difficult to describe. It can be approximated as eh-oo or
perhaps as in the word mount. The nearest English sound is found in English
midland dialect words such as the Birmingham pronunciation of "you" (yew).
Welsh words: mewn (meh-oon or moun); tew (teh-oo)

I'w and Y'w sound almost identical to the English "Ee-you." or "Yew" or
"You": Welsh words: clyw (clee-oo); byw (bee-you or b'you); menyw (menee-
you or menyou)

Oe is similar to the English Oy or Oi. Welsh words: croeso (croyso); troed
(troid); oen (oin)

Ow is pronounced as in the English tow, or low: Welsh word: Rhown (rhone);
rho (hrow)

Wy as in English wi in win or oo-ee: Welsh words: Wy (oo-ee); wyn (win);
mwyn (mooin)

Ywy is pronounced as in English Howie. Welsh words: bywyd (bowid); tywyll

Aw as in the English cow. Welsh words: mawr (mour); prynhawn (prinhown);
lawr (lour)
For the most part b, d, h, l, m, n, p, r, s, and t are pronounced the same
as their English equivalents (h is always pronounced, never silent). Those
that differ are as follows:

C always as in cat; never as in since. Welsh words: canu (Kanee); cwm
(come); cael (kile); and of course, Cymru (Kumree)
Ch as in the Scottish loch or the German ach or noch. The sound is never as
in church, but as in loch or Docherty. Welsh words: edrychwn (edrych oon);
uwch (youch ), chwi (Chee)

Dd is pronounced like the English th in the words seethe or them. Welsh
words: bydd (beethe); sydd (seethe); ddofon (thovon); ffyddlon (futh lon)

Th is like the English th in words such as think, forth, thank. Welsh
words: gwaith (gwithe); byth (beeth)

F as in the English V. Welsh words: afon (avon); fi (vee); fydd (veethe);
hyfryd (huvrid); fawr (vowr), fach (vach)

Ff as in the English f. Welsh words: ffynnon (funon); ffyrdd (furth);
ffaith (fithe)

G always as in English goat, gore. Welsh words: ganu (ganee); ganaf
(ganav); angau (angeye); gem (game)

Ng as in English finger or Long Island. Ng usually occurs with an h
following as a mutation of c. Welsh words Yng Nghaerdydd (in Cardiff:
pronounced ung hire deethe) or Yng Nghymru (in Wales: pronounced ung

Ll is an aspirated L. That means you form your lips and tongue to pronounce
L, but then you blow air gently around the sides of the tongue instead of
saying anything. Got it? The nearest you can get to this sound in English
is to pronounce it as an l with a th in front of it. Welsh words: llan
(thlan); llawr (thlour); llwyd (thlooid)

Rh sounds as if the h come before the r. There is a slight blowing out of
air before the r is pronounces. Welsh words: rhengau (hrengye); rhag
(hrag); rhy (hree)
The most common expressions that Welsh-Americans  come  across  are  Cymanfa
Ganu (Kumanva Ganee); Eisteddfod (Aye-steth-vod); and  Noson  Lawen  (Nosson

While preparing the essay the  following  publications  and  resources  were

 Publications by Professor R. Rees Davies, M.A., D.Phil. All Souls College,

1. The Age of Conquest. Wales 1063-1415, Oxford, 1991
2. The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr (Oxford, 1995)
3. The Matter of Britain and the Matter of England, Oxford, 1996

Internet resources:
   1. www.bbc.co.uk/history
   2. www.planet-britain.com

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