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Ann: Hi, Susie, haven't seen you for a long time! What have you been doing? Where have you been hiding? Susie: I've been working on my talk about Wales for the last week and spent many hours in the library.
Ann: Wales? What can be interesting about that part of Britain? No big cities, no picturesque scenery, no interesting facts on the history of the country.
Susie: Aren't there? You can't imagine, Ann, how wrong you are here. The book I'm reading says: "Though visitors don't need passports to cross the border from England into Wales, they soon realize that they are entering a country with its own geography, culture, traditions and language."
Ann: What do you mean? Don't the Welsh speak English? Susie: They do. But the Welsh language is spoken widely, especially in the north of the country and it is still the first language for many people. By the way English is taught side by side with Welsh in schools. Ann: Is Welsh different from English?
Susie: Very much so. Welsh is one of the Celtic1 languages, like Scottish and Irish Gaelic.2 Even if your English is fluent you won't be able to understand Welsh.
Ann: Interesting. And what about the cities? I hear that Wales is agricultural; there are few cities there, rather small and unimportant.
Susie: Let's not argue, but look up in the book I'm reading. I know at least one big city in Wales. It's Cardiff," its capital and the main port.
Ann: (looking through the book) You are right. It says: "Cardiff is an industrial city, which also has a castle, a cathedral, a university. There are other big towns in Wales too, Swansea and Newport among them." OK. But what about the scenery, the history, the culture?
Susie: The west coast, mid Wales and North Wales are wild and beautiful. Wales has high mountains, including Mount Snowdon, the second highest mountain in Britain.
Ann: I have always thought that Wales is a land of green fields, forests and farms.
Susie: And you have been right. But it is also a land of mountains and valleys, streams and waterfalls. In North Wales you can follow mountain paths for miles and miles.
Ann: Tell me a few words about Mount Snowdon.
Susie: Got interested? OK. In summer, when the sun is shining, Snowdon looks very peaceful and beautiful. A little train runs to the top and the walk is not at all hard. But in winter the mountains can become very dangerous.
Ann: But do climbers go there?
Susie: They do, but every year climbers get lost in bad weather or fall and injure themselves. When this happens, the Mountain Rescue Service1 has to go out to look for the climbers.
Ann: I see. And what about Welsh traditions and the history of the country?
Susie: Sorry, Ann. I've got to run. Here are my notes. I made them during the lecture by Mr Roger Davis, a visiting professor from Wales. If you're really interested you can look through my notes. They are all on Welsh traditions and culture. Though they are very brief you can find them
Read some more information about Wales.
In Wales most road signs are in English and in Welsh.
The fourth channel on Welsh television gives programmes mainly in Welsh.
St. David is the patron saint of Wales. On 1st March, St. David's Day, patriotic Welsh people wear a leek or a daffodil, both symbols of Wales.
Every year, an international festival called Eisteddfod is held in the town of Llangollen. People come from all over the world to recite poetry, sing and dance in this colourful competition.
Cardiff, the modern capital of Wales, has a Roman castle and a modern shopping centre.
Rugby is the national game of Wales. The rules of the game are quite difficult. A team consists of fifteen players. The game is played with an egg-shaped ball.
Welsh is a Celtic language, and is very difficult to learn. It has very musical intonation, and difficult sounds.
There are three National Parks in Wales. These parks are protected by law because of their natural beauty, but people live and work there.
The highest mountain peak in Wales is Snowdon. It is 1085 metres high.
The Welsh for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten is un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump, chwech, saith, wyth, naw, deg.
The population of Wales is about two and a quarter million.
The Welsh call their country Cymru ['kimru] and themselves Cymry ['kimri], a word which has the same root as "camrador" (friend, comrade).
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