Wales

Wales
What is a welshman
Visit also Transcript's Special Welsh Edition.

Before the Roman conquest, Brythonic, a Celtic language from which Welsh derives, was widely spoken on the island of Britain. With the fall of the Roman empire, and the arrival of Anglo-Saxon tribes, speakers of Celtic dialects found themselves isolated and driven west. Early in the second millenium AD, Welsh had become the language of an area corresponding roughly to the territory of modern Wales: from the river Severn west.

Today Wales is a bilingual country. Of its popuation, some 2.8 million, about 20% profess to know Welsh, while English is now the language of the majority.

The Welsh language boasts a strong and varied literary tradition stretching back to medieval times. On the one hand, its poetry, like that of Iceland, for example, can be traced to pre-modern times, while on the other, its prose and ideas owe much to the Protestant tradition of northern Europe.

English-language writing in Wales, overshadowed perhaps by writing in England on one hand, and by Welsh on the other, produced several internationally acclaimed writers during the twentieth century, and, in the twenty first, is the voice of the urban southeast, and the post-industrial valleys.

As part of its look at writing in bilingual worlds, Transcript, in this issue, introduces its readers to R.S. Thomas, one of the finest poets to have written in English since Yeats, and to Mihangel Morgan, a prolific Welsh-language novelist.

Read also Mary Ann Constantine's 'Stories for Old Dictators', a comprehensive comparison of Y Dwr Mawr Llwyd by Robin Llywelyn with Them by Xosé Luís Méndez Ferrín.


Visit also Transcript's Special Welsh Edition.









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