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Welsh English refers to the dialects of English spoken by Welsh people. The dialects are significantly influenced by Welsh grammar and often include words derived from Welsh. In addition to the distinctive words and grammar, a variety of accents are found across Wales, including those of North Wales, the Cardiff dialect, the South Wales Valleys and west Wales.
Accents and dialects in the west of Wales have been more heavily influenced by the Welsh language while dialects in the east have been influenced more by dialects in England. In the east and south east, it has been influenced by West Country and West Midland dialects while in north east Wales and parts of the North Wales coast, it has been influenced by Merseyside English.
Aside from lexical borrowings from Welsh like bach (little, wee), eisteddfod, nain and taid (grandmother and grandfather respectively), there exist distinctive grammatical conventions in vernacular Welsh English. Examples of this include the use by some speakers of the tag question isn't it? regardless of the form of the preceding statement and the placement of the subject and the verb after the predicate for emphasis, e.g. Fed up, I am or Running on Friday, he is.
In South Wales the word where may often be expanded to where to, as in the question, "Where to is your Mam?". The word butty (Welsh: byti, probably related to "buddy") is used to mean "friend" or "mate"
There is no standard variety of English that is specific to Wales, but such features are readily recognised by Anglophones from the rest of the UK as being from Wales, including the (actually rarely used) phrase look you which is a translation of a Welsh language tag.
The word tidy has been described as "one of the most over-worked Wenglish words" and can have a range of meanings including - fine or splendid, long, decent, and plenty or large amount. A tidy swill is a wash involving at least face and hands.
Spellings are almost identical to other dialects of British English. Minor differences occur with words descended from Welsh that are not anglicised unlike in many other dialects of English.
In Wales, cwm, valley, is always preferred over the Anglicised version coombe. As with other dialects of British English, -ise endings are preferred: realise instead of realize. However, both forms are acceptable.
Welsh code-switchers fall typically into one of three categories: the first category is people whose first language is Welsh and are not the most comfortable with English, the second is the inverse, English as a first language and a lack of confidence with Welsh, and the third consists of people whose first language could be either and display competence in both languages.
Welsh and English share congruence, meaning that there is enough overlap in their structure to make them compatible for code-switching. In studies of Welsh English code-switching, Welsh frequently acts as the matrix language with English words or phrases mixed in. A typical example of this usage would look like dw i'n love-io soaps, which translates to "I love soaps".
In a study conducted by Margaret Deuchar in 2005 on Welsh-English code-switching, 90% of tested sentences were found to be congruent with the Matrix Language Format, or MLF, classifying Welsh English as a classic case of code-switching. This case is identifiable as the matrix language was identifiable, the majority of clauses in a sentence that uses code-switching must be identifiable and distinct, and the sentence takes the structure of the matrix language in respect to things such as subject verb order and modifiers.
The presence of English in Wales intensified on the passing of the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535-1542, the statutes having promoted the dominance of English in Wales; this, coupled with the closure of the monasteries, which closed down many centres of Welsh education, led to decline in the use of the Welsh language.
The decline of Welsh and the ascendancy of English was intensified further during the Industrial Revolution, when many Welsh speakers moved to England to find work and the recently developed mining and smelting industries came to be manned by Anglophones. David Crystal, who grew up in Holyhead, claims that the continuing dominance of English in Wales is little different from its spread elsewhere in the world.
While other British English accents from England have affected the accents of English in Wales, especially in the east of the country, influence has moved in both directions. Accents in north-east Wales and parts of the North Wales coastline have been influenced by accents in North West England, accents in the mid-east have been influenced by accents in the West Midlands while accents in south-east Wales have been influenced by West Country English. In particular, Scouse and Brummie (colloquial) accents have both had extensive Anglo-Welsh input through migration, although in the former case, the influence of Anglo-Irish is better known.
"Anglo-Welsh literature" and "Welsh writing in English" are terms used to describe works written in the English language by Welsh writers. It has been recognised as a distinctive entity only since the 20th century. The need for a separate identity for this kind of writing arose because of the parallel development of modern Welsh-language literature; as such it is perhaps the youngest branch of English-language literature in the British Isles.
While Raymond Garlick discovered sixty-nine Welsh men and women who wrote in English prior to the twentieth century, Dafydd Johnston believes it is "debatable whether such writers belong to a recognisable Anglo-Welsh literature, as opposed to English literature in general". Well into the nineteenth century English was spoken by relatively few in Wales, and prior to the early twentieth century there are only three major Welsh-born writers who wrote in the English language: George Herbert (1593-1633) from Montgomeryshire, Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) from Brecknockshire, and John Dyer (1699-1757) from Carmarthenshire.
Welsh writing in English might be said to begin with the fifteenth-century bard Ieuan ap Hywel Swrdwal (?1430 - ?1480), whose Hymn to the Virgin was written at Oxford in England in about 1470 and uses a Welsh poetic form, the awdl, and Welsh orthography; for example:
A rival claim for the first Welsh writer to use English creatively is made for the poet, John Clanvowe (1341-1391).
The influence of Welsh English can be seen in My People by Caradoc Evans, which uses it in dialogue (but not narrative); Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, originally a radio play; and Niall Griffiths whose gritty realist pieces are mostly written in Welsh English.
Other English dialects heavily influenced by Celtic languages