Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database

The SAC is here to provide you with opportunities to study Welsh outside class time. If you need advice and guidance on what to study, you should talk to your class tutor, who will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations on what to study.

A bit about the language

Welsh is a language completely separate from English. A member of the Celtic family of languages, it is the oldest spoken language in Great Britain, and one of the oldest spoken languages in Europe (competing for the title with Irish and Basque), and its older form being the language that gave us many place names across the island, including London, Thames, Dover, and Kent. It is still a community language spoken in Wales, used in all aspects of life in Wales, including government, media, music, and education, as well as being the everyday language in towns, villages, and communities throughout Wales. It is the second most spoken language in the United Kingdom, and along with English and Scottish Gaelic, an official language of the United Kingdom, with increasing use and recognition in the European Union, too.

It was used as a code language in the First World War. J R R Tolkien was so inspired by Welsh, he based his language, Elvish, on Welsh, and once remarked that Welsh "is the senior language of the men of Britain" in an address at Oxford University.

It has had an influence on English, not just on the dialect of English spoken in Wales, but on the standard language spoken throughout the world, with grammatical features like tag questions (e.g. It's raining, isn't it?), and words like penguin, corgi, and Tudor coming from Welsh. Other cultural influences to have originated in Wales include trick or treating at Hallowe'en, male voice choirs, and eisteddfodau (literary and musical competitions that take place in many places throughout the Anglo-American world).

The National Eisteddfod of Wales is the largest cultural and folk event in Europe, with music, singing, free-verse, and poetry competitions happening over several days. Many influential people speak, or have spoken Welsh, including Elizabeth I, David Lloyd-George, Dylan Thomas, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Ifans, and Huw Edwards. Welsh is spoken by many immigrant families in England, Canada, the United States, and Australia. It is also a community language, used as the everyday language and medium of education in villages in the Patagonia region of Argentina.