Wales is a country of lakes and mountains. It's about half the size of Switzerland. It has a population of two and tree quarter million. In the north is some of the most- beautiful scenery in the British Isles. There is Snowdon, Britain's second highest mountain. Wales is not an independent nation. In 1282, the English king Edward I, invaded Wales and built fourteen huge castles to control Welsh people. His son, Edward, became the 1st Prince of Wales. Since then all the kings and queens of England have given their eldest son the title of Prince of Wales. The latest one being Prince Charles. At Caernarfon Castle he became the 21st Prince of Wales. Although the English have ruled Wales for many centuries, Wales still has its own flag, its own 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!
The language policy in some schools is that children should be bilingual by the time they are 11 years old. Then they have an insight into two cultures - they learn to read, so they have all the folk tales of two languages. It also helps them when they pick up the third and fourth language.
Welsh is one of the Celtic in Europe. It is a Celtic language, like Breton in France, Gaelic in Ireland or Gaelic in Scotland. Most of these languages died out a long time ago when the Roman invaded these areas. The Welsh language has survived for more than two thousand years, though today only 20 percent of Welsh people speak Welsh.
English is now the first language. But many people believed that Welsh should be preserved. What are they doing about this? All the official forms and documents have to be in English and Welsh. All the road signs have to be bilingual too. There is also a Welsh language TV channel since 1982. Most importantly of all, all children at school now have to learn Welsh.
A lot has been done up to now but a lot more English people have to be educated and need to be told that the Welsh are a nation that stands by itself and has a language and its own culture!.
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