As Katherine Jenkins, mezzo-soprano singer, is very open about her Welsh background, many of her fans have been curious about it. Since she does most of her interviews in English, her fans have further been wondering if she also knows Welsh or any other languages.
Katherine Jenkins is a fluent Welsh and English speaker, but she can also sing in Italian, French, German, Russian, Czech, Spanish and is learning Mandarin. Not only can she sing in these languages, but she can also understand what she is singing.
Continue reading to find out more about Katherine Jenkins’ extensive history with language learning.
Katherine’s History With Welsh
Katherine Jenkins was born in a small town called Neath in Wales. The town only has around 19,000 people out of the 3.1 million people in all of Wales.
The two official languages in Wales are English and Welsh. English is the dominant language as most official business is conducted either only in English or in English and Welsh.
Only a quarter of Wales’ population can speak Welsh (29.3% to be exact) while 99% of the population can speak English.
The government in Wales, however, is trying to encourage people to learn Welsh so it does not become an endangered language.
They hope to have one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and have been encouraging residents to put their children in Welsh-medium schools where all subjects are taught in Welsh.
Katherine Jenkins, on the other hand, went to an English-medium school, Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School. She was also raised speaking English as her first language by her parents Selwyn John Jenkins and Susan Jenkins with her sister Laura.
Despite being raised speaking English and her schooling being predominantly in English, Katherine Jenkins can speak Welsh. This is because she learned it as a second language in school.
She actually has an A-level in Welsh which means she is fluent in the language as an A-level is an Advanced Level subject that students take in the United Kingdom before university.
Since she learned Welsh in school, her way of speaking is said to be not as natural as a native speaker. Even though she is fluent, she tends to use the standardized, formal form of the language as she learned it, rather than a more informal form that a native speaker would use.
Despite that, her fluency also extends into singing. She has performed various songs in Welsh and has also sung the national anthem in Welsh before at events like an England versus Wales rugby game at Millennium Stadium.
Katherine has said she is very proud of her Welsh accent and is even worried that her children won’t inherit it.
She is worried because her husband is American and the family now lives in London, England. So she’s worried about her children having a “messed up, transatlantic accent”.
It is hard to tell what type of accent her children will have as they are still young. Her daughter was born in 2015 and her son was born in 2018.
Jenkins has said that her accent changed when she moved to London, so her children may develop a mix of the three accents.
What Other Languages Katherine Speaks
Not only can Katherine Jenkins fluently speak Welsh and English, but she can also sing in eight other languages.
As Katherine tends to sing classical music, she can sing in Italian, French, German, Russian, Czech, Spanish and has said she is also learning Mandarin.
Not only can she sing in those languages, but she has said that she understands every word she sings.
Katherine says she enjoys learning songs in other languages because when she visits those countries to perform, her fans really appreciate that she can sing in their language.
She further says she is not fluent in these languages, but people appreciate that she tries.
So, not only is Katherine Jenkins fluent in English and Welsh, but she also knows eight other languages.