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Welsh (Cymraeg or y Gymraeg, pronounced [kəmˈraiɡ, ə ɡəmˈraiɡ]) is a member of the Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages. It is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina).[8] Historically it has also been known in English as "the British tongue",[9] "Cambrian",[10] "Cambric"[11] and "Cymric".[12]

The United Kingdom Census 2011 counted 3.1 million residents of Wales, 27% (837,000) of whom had been born outside Wales,[13] and 73% (2.2 million) of whom reported having no Welsh language skills. Of residents of Wales aged three and over, 19% (562,000) reported being able to speak Welsh, and 77% of these were able to speak, read and write the language (making 431,000 – 15% of the total population).[14] This can be compared with the 2001 Census, in which 20.8% of the population (582,000) reported being able to speak Welsh.[15] 787,854 (26.7%) of residents in Wales aged three and over had one or more skills in Welsh.[16] In surveys carried out between 2004 and 2006, 57% (315,000) of Welsh speakers described themselves as fluent in the written language.[17] An estimated 110,000 to 150,000 people speak Welsh in England.[1][18]

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 gave the Welsh language official status in Wales,[19] making it the only language that is de jure official in any part of the United Kingdom, English being de facto official.


Welsh uses an alphabet based on Latin. It consists of 29 letters and includes eight digraphs and the letters of the English alphabet except k, q, v, x and z.

Letter Pronunciation
a /a/ or /aː/
b /b/
c /k/
ch /x/
d /d/
dd /ð/
e /ɛ/ or /e:/
f /v/
ff /f/
g /g/
ng /ŋ/
h /h/
i /ɪ/ or /iː/
j /dʒ/
l /l/
ll /ɬ/
m /m/
n /n/
o /ɔ/ or /oː/
p /p/
ph /f/
r /r/
rh /r̥/
s /s/
t /t/
th /θ/
u /ɪ/ or /iː/
w /ʊ/ or /uː/
y /ɪ/ or /iː/

In addition, Welsh uses diacritics to mark some vowels. The circumflex (ˆ) is used to indicate a long vowel, but not all long vowels are marked with a circumflex.


Breton Cornish Irish Manx Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) Welsh