WALES (2)

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           Wales is a part of Great Britain. It is the country of lakes and mountains. It is about a half size of Switzerland and it has the population more than three million inhabitants.

           There are very beautiful mountains in the north of Wales. They are Britain’s second highest mountains.

           In 1292, the English king, Edward, invaded Wales and built fourteen huge castles to control the Welsh. His son became the first Prince of Wales, since then all the kings and queens of England have given their eldest sons the title, Prince of Wales. Prince Charles became the twenty-first Prince of Wales. Having been ruled by Britain for many centuries, Wales still has its own flag, culture and its own language. In the towns and villages of North Wales, many people speak English only as a second language. Their first language is Welsh. At the local primary schools children have nearly all their lessons in Welsh. So, the population is bilingual. It is not a problem for children to learn two languages at the same time.

          Welsh is one of the oldest languages in Europe. It is a Cel­tic language, like Breton in France, Gaelic in Ireland or Gaelic in Scotland. Two and a half thousand years before, these lan­guages were spoken in many parts of Europe. They died out when the Romans invaded these areas, but some of them sur­vived in some corners of Europe. But over the last hundred years, the number of Welsh-speakers has fallen very quickly. Now, only twenty per cent of all Welsh people speak Welsh. The reason is that in the nineteenth century people thought that Welsh language was an uncivilized language and if you wanted to be successful in life, you had to learn English, the language of the British Empire. At the beginning of the twen­tieth century, many English and Irish people moved to South Wales to work in the coalmines and steel works. They did not speak Welsh and did not learn Welsh. So, English day by day pushed Welsh away.

           In the 1960s and 1970s many English people bought cot­tages and estate houses in villages in Wales. Most of them did not speak Welsh. Also, English comes into every Welsh home through the television; both cable and satellite TV, radio, news­papers, books, etc. There are some Welsh-language TVs and radio stations, but it is not enough.

           Local authorities try to reanimate the situation. Some posi­tive things have already done: road signs, documentation are in Welsh language in this area. The future of Welsh is uncer­tain. The problem is that Welsh has to survive next door to English but we all know very well, English is a very successful language.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1. Is Wales an independent country?

2. Is it a big country?

3. When was Wales invaded by the English?

4. Who is given the title of Prince of Wales nowadays?

5. Who became the twenty-first Prince of Wales?

6. Has Wales got its own flag, culture and language?

7. Is Welsh a young language?

8. How many people speak Welsh?

9. Why did English push Welsh away?

10. How do local authorities try to reanimate the situation?

 

 

 

VOCABULARY:

 

Switzerland — Швейцария

inhabitant — житель

to invade — вторгаться; захватывать, оккупировать

huge — большой, гигантский, громадный, огромный

bilingual — двуязычный; говорящий на двух языках

Welsh — валлийский/уэльский язык

Celtic — кельтский язык

Breton — бретонский язык (относится к кельтской груп­пе языков, распространен во Франции, носителей — 1 млн чел.)    

Gaelic — гэльский язык (особ, язык шотландских кель­тов)

to fall (past fell, p.p. fallen) — зд. упасть, уменьшиться

to push away — вытеснять

to buy (bought) cottage — купить коттедж

estate house — загородный домик

local authorities — местная власть, местные чиновники

road signs — дорожные знаки

to survive — выжить, выживать

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