One would expect to find a variety of views about a phenomenon which a minority of the 2.3 million inhabitants of Wales (around 500,000 people) value highly, but which a majority literally cannot understand. The role that the Welsh language should play is a controversial subject both within and outside those circles where it is spoken. Wales is one of the countries where the Celtic language has survived as a living language (the other Celtic areas are: Ireland and Scotland, where some Gaelic is spoken; Cornwall in southern England, where the language is dead; Britanny, in northern France, where Celtic just about lingers on). In the immediate post-World War II period, Welsh, it was predicted by many, would die out, with the language only surviving for a few decades in remote areas of North Wales. However, provisions in the 1944 Education Act were responsible for the beginnings of a movement in the reverse direction, and by the sixties, there was a revival of the language, mainly thanks to the activities of an ethnically orientated nationalist movement organised partly through a political party, Plaid Cymru, and partly through the Welsh Language Society, Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Gymraeg (see Williams 1977; Williams 1982, pp. 145–202; the chapter on Wales in Stephens 1976).
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