Languages communities

The languages spoken on the Tosta-island are the languages of the regions that participate in the Tosta project. They are all small, lesser used or minority languages. Every region uses its own language on this website when publishing news items. If you want an oversight of all the news items published in one particular language just click on one of the language tags. For most news items you can find a summary in English next to the full article.

The languages

Cymraeg – Welsh

Just over half a million Welsh people are natural Welsh speakers, a figure rising now for the first time in many years. Back in history, Welsh was also spoken over much of northern England and southern Scotland, but British government policies have for centuries tried to eliminate the language in Wales – and failed. William Morgan’s Bible, published in Welsh in 1588, played a big part in standardising and saving the language. The protest movement Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) has done a great deal since 1962 to reinvigorate the language, which is now taught in all Welsh schools, protected in law, and powerful in the media including TV and radio.

Euskara – Basque

Basque, or Euskara, is the language of the Basque Country. It is spoken in the West of the Pyrenees, on both sides of the frontier of the Spanish and French states. It has around 900.000 speakers. However, it is not official in all the territory and this limits the transition of the language in some areas.

In 1968 the official academy of the Basque language, Euskaltzaindia, agreed on the bases for the unified Basque. The standardised variety of the different Basque dialects is now used in administration, education system, media and cultural activities.

Thanks to the diverse social movements for the Basque arisen in the last 50 years, the language is being revitalised. In this period, schools where children can learn in Basque (ikastola), adult alphabetisation schools, local associations that work for the language, cultural organisations or means of diffusion have been created. This is bringing steps forward towards the knowledge and the normalisation of the language. Henceforth, the challenge is to increase the number of speakers in the close future.

Frysk – Frisian

Frysk or Frisian is spoken by 450.000 people and is one of the two official languages in the Netherlands.

Of the 650.000 inhabitants of Fryslân 94% can understand spoken Frisian, 74% can speak Frisian, 75% can read Frisian, and 27% can write it. The Frisian language is more than 1,500 years old and is a Germanic language, closely related to Old English. The West Frisian language consists of a number of mutually intelligible dialects.

For over half of the inhabitants of the province of Friesland, 55% Frisian is the native language. Apart from the use of Frisian as a first language, it is also spoken as a second language by about 120,000 people. The Frisian language is used throughout the Frisian community.

Gàidhlig – Scottish

Scottish Gaelic is the traditional language of the Gaels, and the historical language of the majority of Scotland. It has been continually spoken in Scotland since around the 4th century AD and is one of Europe’s oldest written languages.  Gaelic has a rich oral and written tradition, having been the language of the bardic culture of the Highland clans for several centuries, and there are many festivals which celebrate the wealth of Gaelic literature, music and song today.

Gaelic medium education began in the late 20th century and demand for Gaelic medium schools continues to grow.  The 2011 census shows that the number of Gaelic language speakers in Scotland – 58,000 – has almost stabilised at 2001 Census figures largely as a result of Gaelic medium education. Gaelic radio station BBC Radio nan Gàidheal has been in operation since the 1980s and the digital television channel, BBC Alba, began broadcasting in 2007.

Ghaeilge – Irish

Irish is a Celtic language. Many scholars believe that Irish has been spoken in Ireland for over 2,500 years. The oldest remains of Ancient Irish that we have are inscriptions on Ogham stones from the 5th and 6th centuries. The status of Irish as a major language was lost in the 15th and 16th century. The language was on the point of extinction after the famine. A revival of the language began in the 19th century and Irish has being promoted by both state and other bodies since then.

The image of the Irish language has changed a great deal in recent years. The Irish language is the daily language of the community in Gaeltacht regions (about 66,238 people) According to the Census of 2011, 1.77 million people in the Republic of Ireland can speak Irish.

Kernewek – Cornish

Our language, Cornish, is one of the Celtic family of languages, closely related to Breton and Welsh. The period from 1200 to 1600 AD was perhaps the heyday of Cornish with epic religious dramas being performed in the numerous outdoor amphitheatres (plen an gwari).
But the Reformation brought enforced use of the English language in church. In 1549 the Cornish rebelled and many thousands of Cornish speakers were killed.

By the early nineteenth century the language had died as a spoken community language, although there were always a few determined people who maintained an interest. Now, the language is once again a living language and a vitally important part of the identity of Cornish people.

O Galego – Galician

Galician is a Romance language. Arises around the eighth century as the evolution of Latin spoken in the province of Gallaecia. During the Middle Ages the language of today’s Galicia and northern Portugal are the same. The gradual loss of Galician political power and the Portugal identity’s affirmation centered in Lisbon will contribute to the emergence of the first differences (linguistically minor), accentuated by taking different paths in later centuries and by the pressure that the Spanish exert on Galician language.

After the Middle Ages, Galicia is subjected and the use of Spanish is imposed in all spheres of power. Galician was  the language of the majority of the population but did not regain the use of writing until the mid-nineteenth century. In 1980 it is approved the Statute of Autonomy that recognizes the co-official status of the Galician language. It begins to legislate the use of the language to ensure the restoration of Galician in different areas of society, but this legislation was not sufficiently determined and many social areas continue to exclude Galician. Despite the advances of recent decades, the acceleration of the loss of speakers in urban areas and among children and youth is worrisome.

English, Frysk

Lekker en gesellich ite yn it Admiraliteitsgebou fan Museum Dokkum… Dat kin! Dêrst oars eksposysjes sjen kinst is no foar ien kear in restaurant iepene. Ite yn in sfearfolle museumseal dêr’t yn ‘e 17 iuw it kolleezje fan de Admiraliteit byinoar kaam.

It diner is gearstald troch Jan Cooks 4 You út Brantgum en bestiet út 6 gongen, seis streekgerjochten út gebieten yn Europa dêr’t in minderheidstaal praat wurdt. It Tosta-festival hat dêrby as ynspiraasje tsjinne, dat dit jier ûnderdiel is fan it Admiraliteitswykein yn Dokkum.


English, Frysk

Hieltyd mear bands, artysten en oare aktiveiteten kinne definityf fêstlein wurde foar it TOSTA-Festival yn Fryslân. It programma groeit mei de dei en it sjocht der no al prachtich út. Fan workshops foar jong en âld oant byldzjende keunst en fan muzyk út Asturië oant Fryske street art. Begjin septimber is it grut feest yn Dokkum tidens de Admiraliteitsdagen yn de TOSTA-Village en dêrbûten fansels!


English, Galego

Cheguei a Irlanda o luns de Pascua. Para este país é unha data moi importante, porque hai xa cen anos que deron o primeiro paso para constituirse como nazón soberana. Tiven a sorte de participar en moitos actos culturais relacionados co centenario: poesía, arte, historia… pero sen dúbida como mellor se coñece a un pobo é escoitando a súa música.


Cymraeg, English

Mae’n wythnos Gŵyl Ddewi yng Nghymru, a chyfle i ni ddathlu diwrnod ein nawddsant trwy ganu, dawnsio, gwisgo cenhinen bedr a bwyta Cawl a chacennau bach neu deisennau cri.  Mae rhai cwmniau yn rhoi diwrnod o wyliau i’r gweithlu i ddathlu, ond nid yw’n ŵyl banc swyddogol… eto!

Mae wedi bwrw eira yma yn Felinfach bore ‘ma, ond gobeithio y bydd y stwff gwyn wedi’n gadael ni erbyn Gŵyl Tosta fydd yn dod i Theatr Felinfach ym mis Mehefin eleni.