Tuesday, 25 October 2016

25th October 2016 - Welsh and Stuff

Thought for the day: "The Flat earth Society has members all around the globe!"

I was musing about my desktop today and looking at some of the varied stuff that I gather at times and pop onto the desktop to use "sometime"..

One of those was a picture of Welsh Speaking in Wales - and because I can't think what else to say about it I thought I would just post it here for information ,

It was interesting for me when I made the transition in going to University in Aberystwyth, as at the age of nineteen, having been brought up in Glasgow ( for a short period) and London, and considering myself fairly well educated, I had no concept that people still used Welsh as a language. I am not even sure that I was aware that the language had once been universal.

I was not totally unaware, I had a copy of Mary Jones and her Bible while I was still an evangelical youngster, indeed I later got a copy of the same book in Welsh and it is somewhere in the warehouse "in a box"....
was the same edition I think
Mary Jones was from a poor family, the daughter of a weaver, who lived at Llanfihangel-y-pennant, Abergynolwyn, at the foot of Cader Idris near Dolgellau. She was born in December 1784. Her parents were devout Calvinistic Methodists, and she herself professed the Christian faith at eight years of age. Having learned to read in the circulating schools organised by Thomas Charles, it became her burning desire to possess a Bible of her own. 

The nearest copy was at a farm two miles distant from her little cottage, and there was no copy on sale nearer than Bala – 26 miles (42 km) miles away; and it was not certain that a copy could be obtained there. 

Welsh Bibles were scarce in those days. 

Having saved for six years until she had enough money to pay for a copy, she started one morning in 1800 for Bala, and walked the 26 miles over mountainous terrain, barefoot as usual, to obtain a copy from Rev. Thomas Charles, the only individual with Bibles for sale in the area. 

According to one version of the story, Mr. Charles told her that all of the copies which he had received were sold or already spoken for. Mary was so distraught that Charles spared her one of the copies which was already promised to another. 

In another version, she had to wait two days for a supply of Bibles to arrive, and was able to purchase a copy for herself and two other copies for members of her family. According to tradition, it was the impression that this visit by Mary Jones left upon him that impelled Charles to propose to the Council of the Religious Tract Society the formation of a Society to supply Wales with Bibles.

Mary later married a weaver of Bryn-crug named Thomas Lewis. She died in 1864 and was buried at the graveyard of Bryn-crug Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.

A "Mary Jones Walk" was held in the year 2000 to commemorate Mary's journey, and has been repeated several times.
So I was aware that there had been a language, but in the same way as I presumed no-one used the Gaelic I assumed the same for Wales. Moving to Wales  and renting a small cottage in a village called Llanfarian (for £25 a month instead of the £45 we were paying in London for a leaking flat under the Brent Cross Flyover) was a real eye opener. One of the Halls of residence Pantycelyn was for Welsh speakers only and they often kept themselves apart from the rest of the campus - or at least that was what appeared to be happening. It was the first time I came across the principle that any notice on any wall in college had to be translated into Welsh first and that Welsh had to be the first language on the notice. Anything else would be immediately removed. Street signs would be painted Green!

The principle is still in existence despite the level of Welsh across Wales. However, as you cross the Loughour Bridge into "West" Wales rater than "South" Wales there is a subtle difference. In South Wales all street signs are in Welsh and English - that is law for Wales, however the law does not state which should have precedence. In South Wales, the English is followed by the Welsh. As soon as you come into Dyfed (now Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Ceredigion) the Welsh must be first. While I was back in my previous job I often would chair meetings to discuss roadworks and improvements with local authority and service suppliers. This included the interesting concept that if you were going to dig up the road it is better to do all the services at the same time - rather than do the gas today and water next week etc.  Seemed a good idea in those days - do not know why it is not still done - but that is another matter. No, the interesting part of those meetings would be the big construction companies who had managed to get all their road works signs translated - and would be told that they were in the wrong order as soon as they passed into the county and would have to be re-made...  That caused a lot of eyebrows for those who travelled up from the depths of England. But it was practice. Travel up the M4 motorway tomorrow and look at the road signs ..  You will see the change in the last 5 miles as you enter "God's Own Land".....

I recall a friend visiting many years ago when the M4 was not completed and there was a stretch at Stormy down where the motorway stopped and all traffic had to cover about 12 miles on normal roads - always a bind.... But this Friend was delayed in her journey, and when queried, she explained that she kept of finding signs saying "Pob Cerbyd" with arrows and she had to stop a few times to try to find out if she wanted to go to Pob Cerbyd and where was it because she could not find it on the map..  Of course the signs actually read "All Traffic" with "Pob Cerbyd" beneath (because it was in South Wales). Not understanding Welsh she interpreted this as being "All Traffic that want to go to Pob Cerbyd" when of course "Pob Cerbyd" is the Welsh translation for "All Traffic"..

We laughed...

I still remember my first Welsh. "Dyma HTV Cymru. M'aen deg o'gloch" - not sure of the spelling, I never really learned to write. But that was "This is HTV Wales. It is 10 'oclock" which was time for the 10 o'clock news, and time to let the dogs out for their "last night walk" across the fields ...

Nos Da!

In other news - there is still an election going on in the US    

1 comment:

  1. From my sister:
    It reminded me of when we travelled through France en famille, I kept seeing signs to this city. Poids Lourds. I thought it must be a very big city almost the size of Paris as there were so many signs at roundabouts pointing to this Poids Lourds place.

    Turn on the pages a few years to French lessons. Poids Lourds of course meant Heavy Load or Heavy Weight and it points to a direction to a bypass for any town to avoid getting stuck in a lorry with a heavy loads

    Oh well. Vive La France.