Welsh at BYU: Inspiring a linguistic comeback

Welsh at BYU: Inspiring a linguistic comeback

PROVO, UT – Of the more than 58 languages offered at BYU, the Welsh program is one that is often overlooked. However, students enrolled in the class love it, and would recommend it to anyone looking to learn a new language.

Part of the reason students said they enjoy the class is the challenge of learning something so different. “Just having different grammar is kinda cool. It’s like a new puzzle to figure out,” stated  Matt Wagstaff, a Welsh student at BYU.

Professor Ron Schoedel has been teaching Welsh for three years, and said there was a time when speaking the language was illegal in its own country. “It was banned for a good part of the early 20th century. People did not learn Welsh. It was not allowed to be spoken by young people in schools,”  Schoedel stated that the language has only made a comeback in the last 30 years.

Welsh is a notoriously difficult language for some people to speak or read. Recently, Jimmy Fallon attempted on his show to pronounce the name of a town in Wales, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Similarly, students in the Welsh class are issued the challenge to learn how to say it.

“It takes longer to say than see if you drive through,” said Schoedel, regarding the small Welsh community.

BYU and Harvard are the only two universities that teach Welsh on a regular basis. You can learn more about the Welsh language program on their website: cls.byu.edu/welsh.

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