Learning Welsh can help with your maths

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Welsh, a language which, not long ago, was spoken mainly by poets and peasants, can help pupils understand maths better, according to a new research paper.

Welsh-speaking pupils may have an advantage over others because of the way in which their language expresses mathematical ideas.

In Welsh, for example, the number 18 is un deg ag wyth or deunaw. Translated, they become "one ten and eight" and "two nines" respectively, and Welsh- speaking children confronted with a question on quadrilaterals in the 1995 national test for 11-year-olds may have had an advantage, the paper argues, because the Welsh for quadrilateral is pedrochr, which translates as four fives.

Dylan V Jones, of the Department of Education at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, who will present the paper tomorrow at the British Education Association's annual conference in York, said "the past few years have witnessed a [Welsh] language revival."