A Word About Welsh

"Let me not understand you, then; speak it in Welsh." -- Shakespeare's Henry IV

Of all the Celtic languages still in use, Welsh is still spoken by the greatest number of people, although most Welsh men or women also speak English. It is not a dialect of English, as commonly believed, but a distinct language with its own pedigree that is older than English.

An Indo-European language, Welsh is more allied to French, German, and the Scandinavian languages than English. The Welsh people and their language originated with the Celts who came from Britain from across central Europe, a mixture of the Germanic peoples in the north, the Slavs in the East, and the Hellenic people in the South. These tribes belonged to the Roman Empire and spoke Celtic languages most closely related to present-day Welsh.

The Welsh language, called Cymraeg, borrows heavily from English today, although it's based on a completely different grammatical system. Only one-eighth of Welsh people speak Welsh as a first language. The language is one of the most difficult in the world to learn. If you want to tell a Welsh girl (or boy) that you love her (or him), it's said "dw I'n dy garu di" (doo een duh gar-ee dee). It sounds better in French.

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