How to Learn Welsh

The Welsh language, Cymraeg, or y Gymraeg, is a Celtic Indo-European language closely related to Breton and Cornish, and more distantly related to Irish, Manx, and Scottish Gaelic. Welsh is the indigenous language of Wales, and is spoken natively by 560,000 people in Wales (19.0% of the Welsh population), 5,000 people in the Patagonia/Chabut, Argentina, and a further 200,000 people in England, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

Welsh has a rich medieval, classical, and modern bardic and literary tradition, and it is experiencing a vibrant linguistic revival through Welsh-medium schools or Addysg Cyfrwng Cymraeg, Welsh law, Welsh-language immersion programs and festivals, and Welsh-language media, including television, radio, newspapers, books, and the arts.

This article will guide you on the way to being a Welsh speaker.


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    Because a lot of Welsh words do not follow the English pronunciation format, it is often best to start by simply listening (whilst not understanding) to Welsh speakers. Try listening online to the BBC's Radio Cymru available online (only to UK users due to license funding) to the people talking.
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    If you live in Wales, there is a great chance that you are able to visit a Learn Welsh class, as the Welsh Government is trying to promote Welsh as a language. Visit them at the site listed below for more information on this.
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    For distance learners, there is a great deal of resources available to purchase online - from the inexpensive to the very costly. Start trying for free on the BBC's Big Welsh Challenge which isn't restricted viewing, and progress to CD learning from companies such as Talk Now!, World Talk and languages for Beginners. All of these are available on Amazon by searching simply "Learn Welsh". You may also want to consider a new approach to language learning through a programs such as Cadw Swn who use music to stimulate the brain whilst listening to the language.
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    If you wish to do a Welsh course, the Open University have recently begun a Welsh language program, though this may be too costly at £400 for some learners who wish to learn solely for interest. It is unlikely that there are other courses available elsewhere in the world, though Wales does provide numerous courses.
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    Many Welsh words are similar to English, but the pronunciation is a little different. For example, to say hello, the Welsh is 'Helo' [heh-law].
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    The Welsh alphabet is also slightly different- there is no j, k, q, v, x or z. Instead there are letters like ch, dd, ll, ng, etc. To pick up the pronunciation of these, it is best to listen to Welsh speakers.
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    Don't forget- there are very few Welsh people who don't speak English, so don't be afraid to ask for help on pronunciation or vocabulary! Welsh people like it when people make an effort to learn the language.
    • If living in Wales try starting conversations with helo (hello). Try saying os gwelwch yn dda (please), diolch (Thank you) and hwyl fawr (goodbye).


  • Start small. Try learning through the BBC's Welsh Challenge and see how you go.
  • Try the free course at This will give you a good idea whether you like the language, and whether it's worth spending money on learning more.
  • Welsh is no more complicated than any other language, with different dialects, and some features that are not shared with English. Try not to dive in headfirst and attempt to learn everything quickly. Relax, take your time and accept that it will take a while!
  • If you have a lot of time to invest, visit the Open University and enroll for their course after looking through the prospectus. This, as already mentioned, is expensive, however.


  • Be careful when buying online. No websites listed are approved by WikiHow in any way.

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Categories: World Languages