New York-based actor Matthew Rhys only speaks to his son in Welsh
Matthew Rhys only ever speaks to his son in Welsh, despite living in the United States, he has said.
His five-year-old son Sam with his partner, actress Keri Russell, was born in 2016 and the family live in New York.
The Cardiff-born actor said speaking Welsh with his son was “as normal as breathing” and that the language needed to be “preserved at all costs”.
“I only speak to him in Welsh, and he understands everything I say,” he told Deadline.
“He’ll always answer me in English. He’ll pepper a few words sometimes in Welsh, I think just to please me. But he’s very clear about his Dada’s language and then there’s Mama’s language. So, he knows very clearly about whose is whose.”
Asked why he spoke Wesh with his won he answered: “Well, I grew up in a time where, and still, to this day and age, the Welsh language was under a considerable amount of threat, certainly in the ’80s. And I saw my parents do the marches and the protesting, in order for it to be recognized as an official language.
“And it’s only in the last 10 years it’s been taken off the endangered language list. So that was as normal in my house as breathing. I guess I was just born with it, this idea that we have to preserve this language at all costs.”
Matthew Rhys had previously said in 2018 that he intended to bring up his son in Welsh. “He’ll probably resent me for the amount of Welsh I’m going to force upon him,” he told the BBC.
The actor was also asked by Deadline whether growing up speaking Welsh made it easier for him to do so many American accents throughout his career.
“I’m not sure. I know the Welsh language is a very muscular language,” he said.
“So, I think that’s a great help in the kind of acrobatics sometimes you have to do inside your mouth. But I think more so my parents are very musical, and I think it’s the hearing of a sound that helps me, possibly more than anything else.
“I think I would attribute that to being a great help to me.”
Matthew Rhys was speaking before filming begins on the second series of HBO hit Perry Mason, in which he acts the titular star. The series follows on from his success in The Americans, for which he won an Emmy award.
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