We Might Be Getting a Welsh Alexa

By Holly Brockwell on at

In the ongoing effort to keep the amazing language that is Welsh active and thriving, the Welsh government is launching a 'technology action plan' that includes recommendations for smart speakers that speak the language.

Launching today, the Welsh Language Technology Action Plan (WLTAP for short, which kinda looks like a Welsh word itself) includes recommendations for smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo to listen and respond in Welsh. The worry is that with such tech speaking English by default, Welsh speakers will get used to speaking English in the home and neglect their language of excessive consonants and baffling pronunciations.

Speaking in English, Minister Eluned Morgan explains:

"So many people use technology for so many different things in their lives. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to do this in Welsh.

This is why we want Welsh language functionality to be readily available, without having to be requested, when it comes to technology, whether that is working on your computer, using your phone or tablet."

The recommendations make a lot of sense, and we hope the tech companies are listening. Partly because technology so far has been very biased towards American English and the Latin alphabet to the detriment of other forms of expression, and partly because Welsh is just a kickass language that makes you sound like some kind of elven deity.

For instance, the Welsh word for 'owl' is 'gwdihw,' which is pronounced 'goody hoo,' thus making you sound like an owl.

Similarly, 'no' is 'nagydw,' pronounced 'nag adoo' and thus extremely fun to sing to the tune of 'Agadoo,' which you will now have in your head for weeks.

However, even if we do get a Welsh Alexa (Alwena, perhaps?), don't get excited that the Amazon microwave will go on sale as a 'popty ping,' because that term is just a joke. The Welsh word for 'microwave' is 'microdon,' like some sort of tiny dinosaur. [BBC]