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The Welsh Language > History of

The History of the Welsh Language

In the early part of the 1st millenium BC a powerful and brilliant society emerged in West Central Europe around the headwaters of the River Danube - these people were the Celts. By the 5th century BC the British Isles were Celtic with the existing native population being absorbed into the new culture.

The Celtic language in the British Isles consisted of two distinct groups; Giodelic (Gaelic or Q-Celtic) and Brythonic (British or P-Celtic). Gaelic was spoken in Ireland, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and the Isle of Man. The rest of Britain including Wales spoke Brythonic. With the Roman Invasion in 43AD onwards, the Brythonic language survived alongside latin, and some latin words were added to the language.

After the Roman withdrawal in the early 5th century AD, Germanic tribes came across the North Sea to colonise Britain. These groups (generally known as the Anglo-Saxons) spoke a language that was the precursor of the English language, and the Celts in south-eastern Britain were absorbed into their culture. The Celtic west resisted fiercely, but Anglo-Saxon victories at Dyrham near Bath in 577AD, and Chester in 616AD, isolated the Celts of Wales from the Celts of south-west Britain and Cumbria respectively. Many Celts fled from Britain to Brittany in France.

Hanes yr Iaith Gymraeg

Yn gynnar yn y mileniwm cyntaf CC fe gododd cymdeithas nerthol a galluog yng Ngorllewin Canol Ewrop o gwmpas tarddiadau'r Afon Donaw - rhain oedd y Celtiaid. Erbyn y 5ed ganrif CC roedd ynysoedd Prydain yn Geltaidd hefo'r boblogaeth frodorol a oedd yno'n barod yn cael eu llyncu i fewn i'r diwylliant newydd.

Roedd yr iaith Geltaidd ym Mhrydain yn cynnwys dau grwp gwahanol; Goideleg (Gaeleg neu Q-Celteg) a Brythoneg (neu P-Celteg). Siaradwyd Gaeleg yn yr Iwerddon, yn Ucheldiroedd ac Ynysoedd yr Alban, ac yn Ynys Manaw. Roedd gweddill Prydain (gan gynnwys Cymru) yn siarad Brythoneg. Ar ôl i'r Rhufeiniaid lanio'n 43 OC, fe barhaodd yr iaith Frythonaidd ochr yn ochr â Lladin, ac fe gafodd rhai geiriau Lladin eu ychwanegu at yr iaith.

Wedi i'r Rhufeiniaid adael Prydain yn gynnar yn y 5ed ganrif OC, fe ddaeth llwythau Almaenig ar draws Môr y Gogledd i wladychu Prydain. Roedd y grwpiau hyn (a'u hadnabyddir yn gyffredinol fel y Saeson) yn siarad iaith a fyddai'n datblygu i fewn i'r iaith Saesneg, a llyncwyd y Celtiaid yn ne-ddwyrain Prydain i fewn i'w diwylliant. Fe wrthsefodd y Celtiaid yn y gorllewin yn ffyrnig, ond fe dorrwyd Celtiaid Cymru i ffwrdd o'r Celtiaid yn ne-orllewin Prydain ac yn Rheged (yn y gogledd-orllewin) gan fuddugoliaethau'r Saeson yn Dyrham ger Caerfaddon yn 577 OC, ac yng Nghaer yn 616 OC. Fe ffôdd lawer o'r Celtiaid o Brydain i Lydaw yn Ffrainc.

language map

From then the Brythonic language developed seperately in Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and Cumbria, and the Welsh language was born. The Celtic language in Cumbria died out in the 14th century, but Welsh and Breton are still widely spoken, and Cornish having nearly died out is now experiencing a revival. The similarities between the languages can be seen from the examples below:

Ar ôl hynny fe ddatblygodd yr iaith Frythonaidd ar wahân yng Nghymru, Cernyw, Llydaw a Chumbria, ac fe ganwyd yr iaith Gymraeg. Farwodd yr iaith Geltaidd allan yng Nghumbria yn y 14edd ganrif, ond siaredir Cymraeg a Llydaweg yn eang, ac, wedi bron iawn a marw allan, mae Cernyweg nawr yn gweld adfywiad. Gellir gweld y tebygrwydd rhwng yr ieithoedd yn yr engreifftiau isod:

English
Saesneg

English Flag
Welsh
Cymraeg

Welsh Flag
Cornish
Cernyweg

Cornish Flag
Breton
Llydaweg

Breton Flag
short
arm
a rock
a sheep
a swallow
a lamb
byr
braich
carreg
dafad
gwennol
oen
bear
breh
carrack
davas
gwennol
oan
berr
brec'h
karreg
danvad
gwennel
oan
 


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