The Welsh Language

Welsh is a Celtic language, closely related to Cornish and Breton. The Welsh we speak today is directly descended from the language of the sixth century, and is one of Europe’s oldest living languages.

Welsh is spoken widely throughout the country and is the first language in many parts of the north and west. National TV and radio stations broadcast in Welsh, road signs are written in Welsh and English, there are Welsh medium schools, books, magazines newspapers and websites.

It’s called Cymraeg in Welsh, and it’s a language with entirely regular and phonetic spelling. Although you wouldn’t necessarily know it to look at a word like Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

But most other Welsh words are a lot shorter, and once you know the rules, you can learn to read and pronounce Welsh fairly easily.

Basic Welsh Phrases

Here are some simple words and phrases to get you started:

  • Bore da (Pronounced: Boh-reh dah): Good morning
  • Prynhawn da (Prin-houn dah): Good afternoon
  • Nos da (nohs dah): Good night
  • Croeso i Gymru (Croesoh ee Gum-reeh): Welcome to Wales
  • Iechyd da! (Yeh-chid dah): Cheers!
  • Tafarn (Tav-arn): Pub
  • Diolch (Dee-olch): Thanks
  • Da iawn (Dah ee-aw-n): Very good

Learning Welsh

Online

Take a look at the BBC learn Welsh Site or S4C's www.learnons4c.co.uk

In Wales

Nant Gwrtheyrn offers residential Welsh courses on the beautiful Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales.

In the US

Take some Welsh lessons before your trip, through the Madog Center Online Welsh Programme, based in Ohio.