Patagonian Welsh

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Patagonian Welsh
Cymraeg y Wladfa
Native toArgentina
Native speakers
1,500-5,000[1][2] (2017)
Latin (Welsh alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
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Trilingual sign in Gaiman, Chubut
Ysgol yr Hendre, Patagonia's Welsh-language school.

Patagonian Welsh (Welsh: Cymraeg y Wladfa) is a variety of Welsh language spoken in Y Wladfa, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Argentina, specifically in the province of Chubut.[4]

Teachers are sent to teach the language and to train local tutors in the Welsh language, and there is some prestige in knowing the language, even among those not of Welsh descent.[5] 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 bilingual Welsh–Spanish language school called Ysgol yr Hendre situated in Trelew and a college located in Esquel. In 2016 there were three bilingual Welsh–Spanish primary schools in Patagonia.[6]

Patagonian Welsh has developed to be a distinct dialect of Welsh, different from the several dialects used in Wales itself;[how?] however speakers from Wales and Patagonia are able to communicate readily.[5] Toponyms throughout the Chubut Valley are of Welsh origin.

A total of 1,220 people undertook Welsh courses in Patagonia in 2015.[7]

The formal Eisteddfod poetry competitions have been revived,[8] although they are now bilingual in Welsh and Spanish.[9]


The Welsh people first arrived in Patagonia in 1865. They had migrated to protect their native Welsh culture and language, which they considered to be threatened in their native Wales.[10][11] 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[5] when many Welsh people visited the region in 1965 to celebrate the colony's centenary; since then the number of Welsh visitors increased.[12]

In 1945 and 1946 the BBC World Service broadcast radio shows in Patagonian Welsh.[13]

During the 1982 repatriation of Argentine troops from the Falklands war, British Merchant Navy seamen and Welsh Guardsmen met a Welsh-speaking Argentine soldier.[14] The detained troops were disembarked at Puerto Madryn.

In 2004 the Welsh speakers in Argentina asked the Welsh government to provide them with Welsh TV programmes to encourage the survival and growth of Welsh in Patagonia.[15]


Patagonian Welsh[16] Welsh (Wales) English
Singlet Fest Vest
Poncin Pwmpen Pumpkin
Mynd i baseando Mynd am dro To go for a walk
Corral Corlan sheepfold, corral
Siarad drwy'r ffôn Siarad ar y ffôn To talk on the phone
Pasiwch Dewch i mewn Enter (or Come In)
Tan tro nesaf Hwyl fawr Goodbye
Allan Mas (South Wales), allan (North Wales) Out
Cur pen Pen tost (South Wales), cur pen (North Wales) Headache
Fo Fe (South Wales), fo (North Wales) Him
Fyny Lan (South Wales), fyny (North Wales) Up
Nain a taid Mamgu a tadcu (South Wales), nain a taid (North Wales) Grandmother and Grandfather
Ffwrn Ffwrn (South Wales), popty (North Wales) Oven
Llaeth Llaeth (South Wales), llefrith (North Wales) Milk
March March (South Wales), stalwyn (North Wales) Stallion
Costio N/a To be difficult for someone (from Spanish, 'costar')

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Patagonia's Welsh settlement was 'cultural colonialism' says academic". WalesOnline. Archived from the original on 2017-08-27. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Wales and Patagonia". Archived from the original on 2017-04-17. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Patagonian Welsh". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Ariel Brooks, Walter (25 October 2018). "The Welsh language in Patagonia: a brief history". British Council. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Huw Edwards (29 August 2016). "Patagonia with Huw Edwards". BBC One. Archived from the original on 2016-10-15. Retrieved 15 September 2016. Television program by Huw Edwards on Patagonia and its Welsh community and culture.
  6. ^ "A new bilingual Welsh and Spanish schools for Patagonia". Welsh Government. 16 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  7. ^ "Welsh Language Project Annual Report 2015" (PDF). British Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Welsh language in 19th century education". BBC Wales. Archived from the original on 2014-04-28. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  11. ^ "The History of Welsh Patagonia". Archived from the original on 2017-11-08. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  12. ^ E. Wyn James, ‘Identity, Immigration, and Assimilation: The Case of the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 24 (2018), 76-87. ISSN 0959-3632.
  13. ^ "75 Years". BBC World Service. Archived from the original on 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  14. ^ Johnson-Allen, J. They couldn't have done it without us 2011 Seafarer Books p.168 ISBN 9781906266233
  15. ^ "Patagonian welsh". Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  16. ^ "Cymraeg y Wladfa a Chymraeg Cymru - beth yw'r gwahaniaethau?". BBC Cymru Fyw. 2018-09-28. Archived from the original on 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-10-01.

External links[edit]