How I Accidentally Became an Online Welsh Teacher

Gwyneth Jones
8 min readSep 11, 2020

And yes, there are people who want to learn it

I went from someone who just happened to speak Welsh to a mini-Youtube star who is able to live in the beautiful city of Prague, mostly from the income that I make from teaching Welsh. How did that happen?

Firstly, what is Welsh?

Wales is part of the UK — while not technically a sovereign nation, it does have its own Senate, flat, capital city, and historical identity. We’ll cover the history of this in another post, but long story short, some have referred to Wales as the first and final British colony (controversial, I know).

And — in case you didn’t know — Wales has its own language which dates back at least 1400 years, although perhaps much further. It is a Celtic language, most closely related to Breton (spoken in Brittany, France) or Cornish (which was spoken in Cornwall), as well as to Scottish and Irish Gaelic.

It is probably most famous for having a village named Llanfairpwllgwyngullgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (and yes, I can say it — AND teach you to say it) or sounding “cool and Elvish” (Tolkien was famously enchanted by Welsh and based some Elvish languages on it), but it is, of course, far more than that.

For me, Welsh is the language that I was brought up with. I spoke it at home with my father and grandparents, we spoke it at school (only around 10% of our lessons took place in English), and I would speak it with neighbours and people in shops and cafés. This fact often surprises people — even people within the UK — because there is a bit of an old misconception that Welsh is a “dying language”.

In fact, people were worried about the future of the language back in the 1960s, but thanks to a lot of campaign efforts (including from Plaid Cymru, the Welsh political party) by today, the number of Welsh speakers in Wales is around 874,700 and rising. The Welsh Government currently aims to have 1 million people speaking Welsh by 2050.

While it is hard to find statistics on the number of Welsh speakers elsewhere, the 1991 census suggested up to 133,000 Welsh speakers living in England. There are over 2000 Welsh speakers at least in the US, and let’s not even mention the fact that there’s a former Welsh colony in Patagonia, Argentina, where people speak both Spanish and Welsh to this day.

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Gwyneth Jones

Can we thrive in the Anthropocene? Deep Adaptation & EQ Coach in Prague. Gardener & activist. Host of The Story Anew. Cymraeg. www.gwynethjones.coach