Wales

Wales

castle

Wales is a country of lakes and mountains. It has a population of two and three quarter million. On the north of Wales is one of the most beautiful scenery in the British islands, the Snowdon Mountain. Snowdon is Britain's second highest mountain. Wales is not an independent nation. In 1292, the English king, Edward, invaded Wales and built fourteen huge castles to control the Welsh people. His son, Edward, became the first Prince of Wales, since then all the kings and queens of England have given their eldest sons the title, Prince of Wales. Prince Charles became the twenty-first Prince of Wales. Although the English have ruled Wales for many centuries, Wales still has its own flag, culture, and, above all, its own language. In the towns and villages of North Wales, many people speak English only as a second language. Their first language is Welsh. In Lanberis (small town at the foot of Snowdon) eighty-six per cent of people speak Welsh as their first language. At the local primary school children have nearly all their lessons in Welsh. The children should be bilingual by the time that they are eleven years old. It is not a problem for children to learn two languages at the same time. Children have insight into two cultures, so have all the folk tales of two languages. Children like Welsh because in Welsh you spell things just how you say them, in English there are more silent letters. Welsh is one of the oldest languages in Europe. It's a Celtic language, like Breton in France, Gaelic in Ireland, or Gaelic in Scotland. Two and a half thousand years before these languages were spoken in many parts of Europe. They died out when the Romans invaded these areas, but some of them survived in the northwest corner of Europe. But over the last hundred years the number of Welsh-speaker has fallen very quickly. Now only twenty per cent of Welsh people speak Welsh. Here are some of the reasons for the decline.