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15 December 2016

Inuit group learning about Welsh language promotion

Wales is a bilingual nation that sees the Welsh language continue to flourish. A group of Inuit from the Canadian Arctic are in Wales this week learning how the Welsh language is promoted and how it has flourished as a living language.

The delegation of 17 members of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Language Committee in the Arctic are meeting with groups involved in promoting the Welsh language, including the First Minister Carwyn Jones, Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws and HRH The Prince of Wales.

The visit includes a trip to Bangor University, the Welsh Books Council, National Library of Wales and Welsh Joint Education Committee.

The group are keen to learn from Wales’s success in protecting the Welsh language. There are around 60 aboriginal languages in Canada, all of which are currently in decline. The committee is currently engaged in an historic process to create one standard written form of the Inuktitut language.

As part of a partnership between the British Council, Prince’s Charities Canada and the Canadian High Commission, Welsh author and academic Alys Conran will accompany the group to document their time in Wales.

Director of British Council Wales, Jenny Scott, said:

“Wales’s bilingualism is something that we always find is of great interest to our international visitors. I know our partners throughout Wales will give the Inuit delegation a very warm welcome and will share their love of Welsh culture and language, and expertise in its protection and promotion. We’re looking forward to reading Alys’s blog about the visit and hearing more about the Inuit language experience in Canada.”

The visit has been organised by Prince’s Charities Canada, the Canadian charitable office for HRH The Prince of Wales.

Director of the organisation, Matthew Rowe said: 

“The Prince of Wales has a longstanding relationship with Canada’s North having visited the North-West Territories during his very first visit to the country in 1970. Prince’s Charities Canada is honoured to support the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami in their efforts to revitalize the Inuit language and hope they are able to learn much from the Welsh example.”


Did you know?

  • The Welsh language is spoken by around 19% of the population.
  • The Welsh Language Act 1993, Government of Wales Act 1998, and Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 provide that the Welsh and English languages should be treated equally.
  • Road signs in Wales are in English and Welsh.
  • Welsh is a compulsory subject for all pupils up to the age of 16 in English-medium schools in Wales. Welsh is taught as a first language in Welsh-medium schools.
  • Around 5000 people in Chubut, Patagonia in South America speak Welsh.
  • You can learn to speak Welsh in America at the Welsh Studies Institute in North America Inc and there are many online resources.