Welsh English

A Handbook of Varieties of English, edited by Bernd Kortmann et al. (Mouton de Gruyter, 2004).


A variety of the English language that is used in Wales.

Welsh English has been influenced by the Welsh language (Cymraeg), an ancient Celtic language spoken today by roughly 600,000 people. As of 2011, the English and Welsh languages officially have equal status in Wales.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "[T]he relatively recent term Welsh English (apart from sounding like a contradiction in terms) is deeply controversial. . . . It is increasingly applied by language scholars to English usage in Wales that has three influences operating on it: the Welsh language; dialects in adjacent counties of England; and the standard language as taught in school and used in the media. The influence of Welsh is strongest in the northern counties, which are sometimes referred to as Welsh Wales and in which Welsh/English bilingualism is significant. This influence is weaker in mid-Wales and weakest in South Wales, but even in such southern sities as Cardiff and Swansea the influence of the Welsh language is present and has been increasing."
    (Tom McArthur, The Oxford Guide to World English. Oxford Univ. Press, 2002)
  • "Welsh-language influence, although not as pervasive as in Welsh English phonology, is prominently evident in some areas of Welsh morphology and syntax. . . .

    "Generalized isn't it as a confirmatory interrogative tag, applying to the whole of a preceding statement, irrespective of the main verb, is common in Welsh English. . .

    "As Parry (1999: 120) reports, Standard English how + adjective as an introductory adverbial phrase in exclamations is commonly expressed in Welsh English by there's + adjective:
    (6) there's funny questions
    (7) there's twp ('stupid') I've been
    (8) there's nice to see you
    [T]his feature is associated more with southern Welsh English than with northern."
    (Robert Penhallurick, "World English: Morphology and Syntax." A Handbook of Varieties of English: A Multimedia Reference Tool, ed. by Bernd Kortmann et al. Mouton de Gruyter, 2004)
  • A Welsh Cwtch
    "It's one of the nations's favourite words, and symbolises that warm feeling that only closeness to a loved one can create.

    "Now we each have another reason to give someone a cwtch today, after the word was entered in the Concise Oxford Dictionary of English for the first time.

    . . . "In the dictionary cwtch, which has long been a familiar word in the Welsh language, was given two definitions: noun (Welsh) 1. a cupboard or cubbyhole. 2. a cuddle or hug. . . .

    "The word has its origins in the Middle English word couche which meant a resting or hiding place. It was then adopted into the Welsh language to mean a cupboard. But Mr [Nicholas] Shearing [an OED editor] said the word's origins also lie in the French word coucher which means to lie down. There are also early recordings of people telling their dogs to 'cwtch in the corner.' But during this century the word has also taken on the meaning to hug."
    (Molly Watson, "English Dictionary Realises Benefits of a Cwtch." Western Mail, Aug. 11, 2005)