1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Welsh is in the Incubator!


Welsh is in the Incubator!

October 8, 2015



Excellent! A lot of people have been asking for it. It's good to see that minority languages are getting representation on Duolingo.

Incidentally, I opened the link twice in the space of a few seconds. In the first tab, the course has one contributor. In the second, it has two! It looks like you caught it being added before they were done.


While Irish and Welsh are both (Insular) Celtic languages, Irish is from the Goidelic group while Welsh is from the Brittonic group:

Insular Celtic languages are those Celtic languages that originated in the British Isles, in contrast to the Continental Celtic languages of mainland Europe and Anatolia. All surviving Celtic languages are from the Insular Celtic group; the Continental Celtic languages are extinct. The six Insular Celtic languages of modern times can be divided into:

  • the Goidelic languages: Irish, Manx, and Scottish Gaelic

  • the Brittonic languages: Breton, Cornish, and Welsh

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insular_Celtic_languages

So it's nice that we now have a representative from each group on duolingo.


I'm considering trying the Welsh course when it comes out and I have two questions to anyone who can answer them:

  1. What is the current status of Welsh – how widely is it spoken, used in writing, taught in schools, does it suffer from traditional/learnt split like Irish, does it have spoken/written diglossia?

  2. What are differences between Irish and Welsh? I'm mostly interested in grammar, but other features are interesting as well. All I know is that Welsh has saner spelling.

Also, good news: the TTS company Ivona has two Welsh voices, so we might not have to wait for recording as with, for example, Ukrainian.


Someone living in Wales may be able to give more detailed answers, but I'll have a shot:

  1. Polls show that about 20% of the population of Wales claims to speak Welsh. That is self-reported, so no doubt some people do know the language, but don't think that they are "fluent" enough to claim to be speakers. The Welsh language has official legal protections, so things like laws, street signs, and official documents are published in both English and Welsh. Sometimes people have to fight for this, though. A couple of years ago there was a language activist who had to demand that he receive a Welsh language menu when he was in jail for some civil disobedience action. Welsh medium schools, where instruction is in Welsh, are very popular because they are perceived as offering better education, even by parents who do not necessarily care if their kids learn the language. There is a distinction between colloquial spoken Welsh and "literary Welsh" Formal documents and articles are in literary Welsh, which is basically the Welsh as written in the Morgan bible, translated in the 1600s. But much modern written Welsh is more like colloquial speech. If you visit online news sites, for example, the language is close to spoken Welsh.

  2. Though they are both Celtic and share many characteristics, the similarities between Welsh and Irish are not obvious. In fact, it was not until the 1800s that linguists agreed that they were related at all.


I'm welsh (although I don't speak the language) and the fluency is more like 11% of the population. The language is very much pushed by the government who wish to improve the overall fluency but not sure they are having much success. I have never heard people say that the welsh schools are any better although in someways the welsh education system does have it's advantages but that goes for the english speaking ones in Wales as well.

  • 2004

Actually the latest Estyn (Welsh Schools Inspectors) report on language abilities of children showed that the skills in English of children in Welsh medium schools is significantly better than of children in English medium schools. This seems a contrary result to the expected but can be explained by the latest research into the important advantages in terms of enhanced brain development of bilingual (and multilingual) individuals compared with monlingual individuals.

Also the amount of money the Welsh government spends on promoting the language is an absolute pittance.


I think the truth is that nobody really knows if the right answer is 11% or 20% or something else, and it is probably impossible to know. It depends on how you ask the question, and what definition of fluency is used by the questioner (and by the ones being asked).

For example, there are plenty of people who speak perfectly workable Welsh who believe that they are not fluent because they don't speak "proper" Welsh and have not taken classes. They feel somehow that they don't deserve to claim that they are fluent. The irony is that many of them speak much better than others who have formally studied the language.

But whatever the real number is, it surely isn't enough, and it would be great to get the language past the tipping point where it could possibly die out.


Yes it would be nice, I have tried a few times to learn Welsh but have failed thus far. The Duolingo style is really enjoyable for me and it would be fantastic to learn my countries language.


Also I looked up the census data again and the number 20% is correct, the number I was given was the fluency of my local authority, my apologies.


2- They are probably as simillar as English and German are, or as Romanian and Portuguese ;)

  • 1892

Wahoo! Looking forward to having a the Welsh dragon by my name!


I am excited as well!


Literally internally screaming right now. I LOVE Celtic languages. After the amazing experience I had with Irish I can only expect greatness from Welsh as well.


Hurray! Cymraeg! I'm gonna be taking this course from day one.


I've been wanting to learn Welsh for a long time. Like, I picked the most Welsh-sounding name I could think of for myself on Duolingo as a hint :)


I made a post about Welsh, and it was downvoted by 6 people. I don't understand that.

I am very excited for Welsh though, I'll definitely learn it when it comes out.


YES my grandfather spoke Welsh and I want to learn it!


This is wonderful news! Guarani is also added! :)


Thats great and all but I really wish Duo would cave into all our cries for Finnish!


Congratulations! This is great news! How did you manage to convince them? How long did it take to be accepted? Me and a few friends want to make a Bavarian course and seeing that another "minority" language has been added to the Incubator is a huge moral boost.


http://omniglot.com/writing/welsh.htm A bit of background on Welsh, and some resources for those who want to get a head start before the course gets here. ;)


Awesome! One of the languages I would like to learn.


Love your username. :)


Thank you. I have since realized that I should have used Otto Didactyl. Maybe I'll change it. I did the meme picture too.


Nice! That estimated completion date though XD


I really hope Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch will be included under a section about places.


This is good news, but why did this get upvotes and praise from everyone yet another post saying the same thing gets downvotes and disappears?


People don't like reading the same thing over and over again and I got there first.

  • 1508

I think it's not the best use of downvotes, when the post is just similar to an earlier one, especially as not everyone goes very far down the list of new posts - I read them as a way of having a break when changing languages, and often only look at the first half-dozen.
Welsh coming on is very exciting, I'm looking forward to reviving my childhood language, which I've sadly mostly forgotten.


Oh! That's sooooo great!!!! I want to learn Welsh sooo much! \(^o^)/


Excellent! Finally after a lot of efforts made by Team Welsh we will be able to learn Welsh soon! Congratulations!!

  • sings and plays an imaginary crwth happily *


At long last! I have plans to go to Wales soon, and parts of it, especially western Wales, are quite monolingually Welsh according to wikipedia which is apparently wrong.


No one in Wales is monolingual. But there are areas in the west and north where people conduct their day-to-day lives in Welsh.


Damn you wikipedia!


They may not be monolingual, but there is a semi-strong push in Powys to become monolingual. They are even changing some of their schools to Welsh only.

  • 2121

Really excited by this news. Now I need to try and finish my French tree before Welsh reaches Beta.


This is great news, I would love to learn Welsh. I usually have at least one holiday in North Wales each year, but apart from the obvious words on street signs and the roads, and a dread of double Ls ;-), I have very little knowledge.


I have no knowledge of Welsh other than it often looks completely non pronounceable. I want to visit Wales someday to see the home of Dr. Who and Torchwood (and others I am sure),


And Guaraní for Spanish speakers in in the incubator too. Isn't that great? Wiiiii! :D


My favorite word in Welsh: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. It is a town in Wales and the meaning of the name is “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave”

source: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch


Welsh and Guarani. Irish and Catalan. Duolingo is being serious about preserving minority languages. Thank you, guys!


Yay! :D I'm so glad it's finally been added!


Fantastic! Another Celtic language! I've done a bit of Irish here on Duolingo and I'm currently studying Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, so I can't wait to try out a very different Celtic language. I've always wanted to try Welsh. It looks so cool!

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.