During the 1990s, the Welsh language and those who spoke it dropped to a steep low of around 500,000.
With government support and a growing community of speakers in Wales, numbers have stabilised and are now beginning to increase as the language attains its own identity and culture.
Welsh originated from Brythonic, the language spoken across Wales, southern Scotland and England before the Romans invaded in 43AD.
Welsh then took on its own distinct form at estimated between 400 and 700AD, where there is evidence of Welsh poetry that has survived from this era.
You can find more fascinating facts about Welsh like that here.
The Welsh Government is now actively and ambitiously pushing for 1,000,000 Welsh speakers by 2050, and Welsh is seen to be a crucial part of the country’s development and future planning. It is even one of the seven pillars of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, a one-of-a-kind act in Wales for all public bodies to determine their long-term decision making.
It’s safe to say Welsh is on the rise again – and headed in the right direction!
Phrases and learning Welsh:
A really important part of the #EinDinas campaign for this year’s Wizz Air Cardiff Half for us is to welcome non-Welsh runners to the capital, but also to help them in engage in the nation’s language.
Welsh can be a difficult language to learn for a beginner, so we’ve provided a few easy phrases for you to use on race weekend. As a runner or spectator, you can use these and genuinely make a Welsh speakers day. Make sure you check for the orange ‘Cymraeg’ bubble on runner’s race bib to check whether they speak Welsh or not!
The Welsh Language has been recognised internationally on platforms such as Duolingo, with 476,000 learners estimated to be actively trying out Welsh on the world-famous learning app.
The Welsh football side has a natural affiliation with the Welsh Language now, with folk song ‘Yma o Hyd’ (meaning ‘Here Still’) now emblematic of the side’s rise to the top.
The National Eisteddfod is held every year in Wales; a festival dedicated to celebrating Welsh culture and language. Each year, it is held in a different location to bring in people from all over the country. As part of the celebrations, iconic and traditionally Welsh speakers are inducted into the Gorsedd Cymru, acknowledging their service to culture and language. In 1946, our late Queen was inducted, with first minister Mark Drakeford and legendary broadcaster Huw Edwards inducted in 2022.