Patagonian Welsh

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Patagonian Welsh
Cymraeg y Wladfa
Native to Argentina
Region Chubut
Native speakers
1,500-5,000[1][2] (2017)
Latin (Welsh alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog pata1258[3]
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Patagonian Welsh (Welsh: Cymraeg y Wladfa) is the name given to the Welsh language as spoken in Y Wladfa, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Argentina, specifically in the province of Chubut.[4][5]

Teachers are sent to teach the language and to train local tutors in the Welsh language, and there is some prestige of knowing the language, even among those who are not of Welsh descent.[6]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 bilingual Welsh-Spanish language school called Ysgol yr Hendre situated in Trelew and a college located in Esquel. As of 2016, there are three bilingual Welsh-Spanish schools in Patagonia.[7]

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.[6] Toponyms throughout the Chubut Valley are of Welsh origin.

A total of 1,220 people undertook Welsh courses in Patagonia in 2015.[8]


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.[9] [10] 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[6] when many Welsh people visited the region in 1965 to celebrate the colony's centenary; since then the number of Welsh visitors increased.

In 1945 and 1946 the BBC World Service broadcast radio shows in Patagonian Welsh.[11]

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.[12]

Trilingual sign in Gaiman, Chubut
Ysgol yr Hendre, Patagonia's Welsh-language school.


  1. ^ "Patagonia's Welsh settlement was 'cultural colonialism' says academic". WalesOnline. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Wales and Patagonia". 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. ^ "Viewpoint: The Argentines who speak Welsh". BBC News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "BBC National Orchestra of Wales first for Patagonia". BBC News. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Huw Edwards (29 August 2016). "BBC One - Patagonia with Huw Edwards". BBC One. Retrieved 15 September 2016.  Television program by Huw Edwards on Patagonia and its Welsh community and culture.
  7. ^ Government, Welsh (16 March 2016). "A new bilingual Welsh and Spanish schools for Patagonia". 
  8. ^ "Welsh Language Project Annual Report 2015" (PDF). British Council. British Council. 
  9. ^ "The Welsh language in 19th century education". Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  10. ^ "The History of Welsh Patagonia". Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  11. ^ "75 Years - BBC World Service - Multi-lingual audio - BBC World Service". 
  12. ^ "patagonian welsh". 

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