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Welsh (Cymraeg or y Gymraeg, pronounced [kəmˈraiɡ, ə ɡəmˈraiɡ]) is a member of the Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages. It is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina).[8] Historically it has also been known in English as "the British tongue",[9] "Cambrian",[10] "Cambric"[11] and "Cymric".[12]

The United Kingdom Census 2011 counted 3.1 million residents of Wales, 27% (837,000) of whom had been born outside Wales,[13] and 73% (2.2 million) of whom reported having no Welsh language skills. Of residents of Wales aged three and over, 19% (562,000) reported being able to speak Welsh, and 77% of these were able to speak, read and write the language (making 431,000 – 15% of the total population).[14] This can be compared with the 2001 Census, in which 20.8% of the population (582,000) reported being able to speak Welsh.[15] 787,854 (26.7%) of residents in Wales aged three and over had one or more skills in Welsh.[16] In surveys carried out between 2004 and 2006, 57% (315,000) of Welsh speakers described themselves as fluent in the written language.[17] An estimated 110,000 to 150,000 people speak Welsh in England.[1][18]

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 gave the Welsh language official status in Wales,[19] making it the only language that is de jure official in any part of the United Kingdom, English being de facto official.

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