|Cymraeg y Wladfa|
|L1: 5,000 (2001–08)
to 13,000 (2004)
L2: 25,000 (1998)
|Latin (Welsh alphabet)|
Patagonian Welsh is the dialect of Welsh which is spoken in the region of the Argentine Patagonia in South America. The language is spoken principally in Y Wladfa with sporadic speakers throughout Argentina by Welsh Argentines.
The Welsh people first arrived in Patagonia in 1865. The reason for their migration was to protect their native Welsh culture and language, which they believed was threatened in their native Wales. Over the years the use of the language started to decrease and there was relatively little contact between Wales and the Chubut Valley. The situation began to change when many Welsh people visited the region in 1965 to celebrate the colony's centenary; since then the number of Welsh visitors has increased. Teachers are sent to teach the language and to train local tutors in the Welsh language and there is some sort of prestige of knowing the language, even among those who are not of Welsh descent. The Welsh education and projects are mainly funded by the Welsh Government, British Council, Cardiff University and the Welsh-Argentine Association. In 2005 there were 62 Welsh classes in the area and Welsh was taught as a subject in two primary schools and two colleges in the region of Gaiman. There is also a Welsh-language school called Ysgol yr Hendre situated in Trelew and a college located in Esquel.
In 2004, the Welsh speakers in Argentina asked permission from the Welsh government to access Welsh TV programmes to encourage the learning of the language and for the language to grow. Patagonian Welsh has developed to be a distinct dialect of Welsh, different from the several dialects used in Wales itself.[how?] Throughout the Chubut Valley toponyms are of Welsh origin.
It is estimated that around 5,000 - 12,000 people speak it as their first language, with a further 25,000 speaking it as their second language.
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