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There are two main places in the world where the Welsh language is spoken: Wales, and the Chubut Province in Patagonia. How did this ancient language take root in rural Argentina, 12,000km away from its home base?
At the bottom of this post you can see a load of photos from Welsh Patagonia.
- As a primer on how Welsh was revived in Wales in the 20th century, listen to this episode of Witness from the BBC World Service.
- For more on Welsh Patagonia, watch this BBC documentary with Huw Edwards, or Gruff Rhys's charming film Separado.
- On 28 June 1865...
- Learn Welsh!
- Recipes for bara brith and Welsh cakes (wash them down with a cup of Welsh Brew tea).
- About the Mimosa, the ship that carried the first load of Welsh settlers to Patagonia.
- About some of those Welsh settlers.
- Visit the Gaiman museum, tended by Fabio Gonzalez, to see artefacts from the Welsh settlers; in Puerto Madryn, the Museo del Desembarco is close to where the Mimosa first landed.
- Luned Gonzalez pops up in this travel piece about the region.
- Welsh societies around the world.
- "People only give up their native language when it’s in their best interest - their economic or health interest... So you may maintain it yourself among your friends, but you don’t pass it down to your children. It can happen in a generation, two generations." The Vestiges episode of this show looks at the death of languages.
- Why is champagne smashed on ships' bows?
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/survival1.
Come to see me perform live, on the Radiotopia East Coast USA tour and some Bugle shows in May, and in Australia in June: theallusionist.org/events. More gigs will be added to that page when tickets go on sale.
YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Clare Vaughan is the teaching coordinator for the Welsh Language Project in Chubut, which Luned Gonzalez has also been part of since its launch in 1997. Her son Fabio Gonzalez manages the Museo Historico Regional de Gaiman.
- Benjamin Partridge was a great help in the making of this episode. Listen to his very funny podcast Beef and Dairy Network, and his new series Ray Moss: No Stone Unturned on the BBC's Kench podcast feed.
- Thanks also to Lyndsey Halliday, Sion James and Walter Brooks from the British Council in Cardiff for their help; and to the excellent singers at the wonderful noson lawen we attended in Gaiman.
- The episode was produced by me and Martin Austwick, who also makes the music for the show. Hear more of his work - with lyrics! - at palebirdmusic.com.
- Find me on the socials: facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/helenzaltzman and instagram.com/helenzaltzman.