Welsh (' or '','' pronounced (:kəmˈrɑːɨɡ, ə ɡəmˈrɑːɨɡ)) is a member of the Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in ''Y Wladfa'' (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina). Historically it has also been known in English as "the British tongue", "Cambrian",〔Nolan, Edward Henry. ''Great Britain As It Is'' (1859). p.47〕 "Cambric"〔Jackson,John. ''Chronological Antiquities'' (1752). p.143〕 and "Cymric".〔D. Walter Thomas, Edward Hughes. ''The Cymric language'' (1879)〕
The 2011 UK Census counted 3.1 million residents of Wales. Of these, 73% (2.2 million) reported having no Welsh language skills. Of the residents of Wales, 25% of the population is not from the country. Of the residents of Wales aged three and over, 19% (562,000) reported being able to speak Welsh, and 77% of these were able to speak, read, and write the language (making 431,000 – 15% of the total population). This can be compared with the 2001 Census, in which 20.8% of the population (582,000) reported being able to speak Welsh.〔(Census 2001, Report on the Welsh language ) (PDF)〕 In surveys carried out between 2004 and 2006, 57% (315,000) of Welsh speakers described themselves as fluent in the written language.〔(The Welsh Language Surveys of 2004-06 ) (PDF)〕
A greeting in Welsh is one of 55 languages included on the Voyager Golden Record chosen to be representative of Earth in NASA's Voyager program launched in 1977.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Greetings to the Universe in 55 Different Languages )〕 The greetings are unique to each language, with the Welsh greeting being ', which translates into English as "Good health to you now and forever".〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Welsh greetings )〕〔(Walesonline.co.uk The Welsh message hurtling through space )〕
The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 gave the Welsh language official status in Wales,〔(【引用サイトリンク】publisher=Welsh Assembly Government )〕 making it the only language that is ''de jure'' official in any part of the United Kingdom, English being ''de facto'' official.
Throughout Wales, roadsigns are bilingual with Welsh and English (e.g. Chepstow is the English name, also given as Cas-gwent which is the Welsh name). The language that appears on the signs first is decided by the local government.
(詳細はCommon Brittonic, the common ancestor of Welsh, Breton, Cornish and the extinct language known as Cumbric.
Four periods are identified in the history of Welsh, with rather indistinct boundaries: The period immediately following the language's emergence from Brittonic is sometimes referred to as Primitive Welsh; this was followed by the Old Welsh period, considered to stretch from the beginning of the 9th century to the 12th century.〔 The Middle Welsh period is considered to have lasted from then until the 14th century, when the Modern Welsh period began, which in turn divided into Early and Late Modern Welsh.
The name ''Welsh'' originated as an exonym given to its speakers by the Anglo-Saxons, meaning "foreign speech" (see Walha). The native term for the language is ''Cymraeg'' and ''Cymru'' for "Wales".
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