Languages of the UK

A rather long name for a village (see info on Welsh song below), followed by a handy guide to its pronunciation


English, Scots, British Sign Language, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish, Cornish, Manx, Angloromani and Shelta

What is the common bond here? Obviously they’re all languages that are currently in use in the UK.

Well…no…it’s not that obvious. You probably haven’t heard of Angloromani or Shelta, and you might not have heard of Cornish or Manx if you’re not into that sort of thing.

The list of languages above comes from a short but fascinating article in The Guardian, titled “Don’t neglect the UK’s indigenous languages.” My freshmen had a brief break from geometry a couple of weeks ago when we did a linguistic lagniappe on Welsh and other languages of the UK. Some already knew that Welsh is spoken in Wales, but most didn’t. Some already knew that it’s a Celtic language, but most didn’t. Some knew that Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic are also Celtic languages, but no one had heard of Cornish or Manx. (Note that the list above from the Guardian article uses “Gaelic” to refer to Scots Gaelic, and “Irish” to refer to Irish Gaelic, which some people still call “Gaelic” instead of “Irish.” Very confusing. It’s almost as bad as some of the language we use in math….)

Part of our linguistic lagniappe was to listen to a song about the village named in the sign in the image above. Do listen to it! It’s quite catchy, and it will convince you that Welsh is no harder to pronounce than “metabidiminshed rhombicosidodecahedron.”



Categories: Linguistics, Teaching & Learning