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An Introduction to Wales

Welsh is an old Celtic language that is still spoken. Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. If you look at the place names, Caernarfon and Llangollen, you’ll get an impression of the language. Pronouncing them is a tongue twister, but have a go. . .!

Wales flagg

You can find an easy version of the text here: Wales - Text in Brief

An introduction to Wales

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An introduction to Wales

(The audio begins with a brief summary of the text)

Castle in Wales. Photo.
Castle in Wales

Mountains and Industry

Wales, with its 3 million inhabitants can be divided roughly into two geographical and economic areas. In the north there are beautiful, wild hills and deep river valleys. Tourism is a very important source of income in this area. Many Englishmen visit this rugged landscape, and some of them even build their own holiday cottages in northern Wales. The highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon (1,085 metres), is situated in Snowdonia National Park, an area perfect for mountain climbing. Due to the mountains and deep valleys, agriculture and industry have been difficult in this area, so the population density is low.

Southern Wales, on the other hand, is more densely populated. Traditionally, the south has been renowned for its coalmines. This has changed, however. Nowadays, most of the coalmines are closed, and the chief industries are engineering and electronics. In the countryside, sheep and cattle farming is predominant.

Welsh Cottage. Photo.
Welsh Cottage

Cities

The three most important cities in Wales are all situated in the south. Cardiff was chosen as the country’s capital city in 1955, mainly because of its size. Cardiff is a wonderful city for tourists with its castle, the Welsh National Museum and the Llandaff Cathedral. East of Cardiff is the city of Newport with its beautiful 15th century cathedral, and finally Swansea, the most industrial of all Welsh cities. In spite of its industry, Swansea can boast a total of 45 parks.

The Welsh have strong traditions of music and poetry and this is celebrated in their annual music festival – “eisteddfod”.

Tongue Twisters

In Wales, 20% of the population speak Welsh, a Celtic language, which is still taught in schools. You can see it on the road signs which are in both Welsh and English. See if you can get your tongue around these.

Welsh traffic sign. Photo.
Welsh sign
Welsh traffic sign. Photo.
Welsh sign 2

Not only difficult to pronounce but confusing!

The English is clear enough to lorry drivers - but the Welsh reads "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated." (BBC News 31 October 2008)

Tasks and Activities

Comprehension

Wales - Multiple Choice

Research

  1. Search the internet for tongue twisters and see if you can find any tricky words and phrases to pronounce yourself. There is also a tongue-twister activity in the menu on your right.
  2. Do a search on 'Welsh pronunciation' to find sound samples of Welsh. You may want to add *.mp3 or *.wav in your search if the search engine does not support specific audio search.
  3. What is Wales famous for? Search the internet and make a list of five things you would like to see or do in Wales. You may use places referred to in the text as your starting point.

Learning content

The British Isles

What is core content and additional content?
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Fagstoff

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The UK

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    An Introduction to England

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    A Closer Look at England

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    An Introduction to Scotland

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    A Closer Look at Scotland

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    A Closer Look at Wales

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    An Introduction to Northern Ireland

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    A Closer Look at Northern Ireland

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    An Introduction to Ireland

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    Easy Text - The UK

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  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Easy Text - An Intro. to England

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    London

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    Liverpool

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    Manchester

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    Cambridge

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    The North - South Divide

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    The Faces of London

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    Easy Text - An intro. to Scotland

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    Braveheart

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    Bobby - the Faithful Dog from Edinburgh

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  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Easy Text - An intro. to Wales

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    Easy Text - An intro. to Northern Ireland

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    The Troubles

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    The Troubles, Introduction - Text in Brief

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    The Troubles, History - Text in Brief

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    The Troubles, 1960s to Today - Text in Brief

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    The Orange and the Green

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    Flags in Northern Ireland

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    Dublin

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    Irish Proverbs

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    Molly Malone

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    Frank McCourt: Angela's Ashes

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Oppgaver og aktiviteter

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    UK Quiz - General Knowledge

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    England Quiz

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Task - Match place and description

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Plan a Holiday in Scotland

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Task: Bobby - the faithful dog...

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Wales Quiz

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Northern Ireland Quiz

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Tasks - The Troubles

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Task: Molly Malone

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    Quiz Molly Malone

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    Edinburgh Castle

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    Loch Ness

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  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    In the Name of the Father (film)

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SubjectEmne

Kildemateriale

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    The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain

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