Culture

Welsh place names a hit in Hungary as nation’s cities get a rebrand

19 May 2020 3 minutes Read
The Welsh language map of Hungary by David Smith

A Welsh-language map of Hungary has been a hit with the country’s news media.

The map was published by Welsh-Hungarian information hub Magyar Cymru, who worked with train controller David Smith to translate the names of Hungarian cities including Szeged and Győr.

The 25-year-old, originally from Birmingham, went viral a few months ago after translating the entire London tube map into Welsh with the help of his friends.

The new map was picked up by news media in the country, with Hungarian news portal Index.hu referring to the translations as ‘beautiful’.

Smith said: “I’m so pleased that the place names I created are now seen by thousands across Hungary, and I hope the map will inspire Hungarians to visit Wales once they are able to.”

Balint Brunner, Editor of Magyar Cymru, added: “We wanted to showcase Wales’ characteristic place names and its beautiful language to Hungarians, as part of our journey to build bridges between the two cultures.”

Smith said he had studied the etymology of each city and town, with some help from Magyar Cymru, and then translated them into Welsh to form names that ‘sounded’ like any town or village nestled in Gwynedd or Ceredigion.

Debrecen – or Llefyw – in Hungary

The town of Kaposvár (meaning castle of gates) got the name Casglwyd, while Szombathely (Saturday place) became Llesadwrn – both literal translations.

However, given the complexity of Hungarian place names, Smith sometimes had to rely on the historic names of cities – as well as their names in other languages – for inspiration.

Pécs, a historic city in the south of Hungary, was known by the Latin name Quinque Ecclesiae (five churches) in Mediaeval times, a label that continues to live on in the city’s German and Slovak names. This inspired Smith to suggest the Welsh name Pumllanau, or ‘five parishes’.

Other new names included Llanbedwen (church of the birch region, for Nyíregyháza), Llefyw (living place, for Debrecen), and Bwlch-y-Gafr (the goat’s path, referring to Kecskemét).

 

Ties

Smith said: “My favourite is the name I coined for the town of Veszprém: Tredderog. Many believe the name of the town comes from a Slavic given name meaning stubborn or obstinate. After much research, I came across the old Welsh name Derog, which has a similar meaning. This is how Veszprém became Tredderog, or Derog’s town.”

Alongside Hungary’s cities and the famous Lake Balaton (Llyn-y-Siglen), the country’s “Welshest village” also got a new name.

Lake Balaton – or Llyn-y-Siglen – in Hungary

The idyllic village of Kunágota, which regularly hosts Welsh-Hungarian concerts for its residents, became Llangadda-ym-Mhentregwman – a close translation of the name of the village: the parish of St. Agatha in the village of Cumans.

David Smith has been learning Welsh as he often works on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways in Snowdonia, where he regularly meets workers and customers who speak Welsh as their first language.

For over half a year, Magyar Cymru has been working to strengthen cultural ties between Wales and Hungary. Recent projects included giving a Budapest café a full Welsh-language makeover for Dydd Miwsig Cymru, and translating Calon Lân into Hungarian for a stunning bilingual performance by Hungarian folk singer Andrea Gerák.

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j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago

Next, some concerts maybe, or featuring Franz Liszt’s music?

Elizabeth Sillo
Elizabeth Sillo
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Yesss! Every March, we hold Welsh-Hungarian concerts in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff ( in the Urdd Hall). The next one is scheduled for the 6th March 2021. You are welcome ! Croeso! ( Do you know that Karl Jenkins composed an oratorio called The Bards of Wales…which is a Hungarian poem originally, based on Welsh History?) We might sing that too.

Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Or for that matter, show any classic Looney Tunes cartoon that features “Hungarian Rhapsody #2” (you may recognized it as the song played by Daffy Duck and Donald Duck in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”).

James W. Soares Jones

A hearty Diolch for cultural interchange and mutual learning!

Elizabeth Sillo
Elizabeth Sillo
1 year ago

Our last concert was cancelled in the last moment, although a Welsh opera singer was supposed to sing Franz Liszt’s song and some Welsh and Hungarian duest as well with me.😉

Jason Evans
Jason Evans
1 year ago

Fantastic article. I’m loving this Cymraeg-Magyar friendship

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Evans

Fi hefyd. It’s all good.

Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Evans

I can proudly note that in 2008, when I made to state finals for Jeopardy, even though I didn’t advance beyond that I still could identify the name Cymru.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 year ago

It’s good to see at least one part of the UK trying to keep ties close with our friends on the continent.

Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

A description that I read of Brexit is that the place that colonized half the world suddenly doesn’t want bureaucrats in a foreign country telling it what to do.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago

Britain gave up her colonies quite a long time ago. Perhaps you’ve been too busy with your fan club to notice?

Alasdair Dunford
Alasdair Dunford
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Are you learning Hungarian then?

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Why wouldn’t we? Brexit doesn’t mean we’ve turned into a paranoid ‘hermit kingdom’ like North Korea!

Jonathan Gammond
Jonathan Gammond
1 year ago

If only there was such enlightened thinking in Hungarian politics….

Heath
Heath
1 year ago

Hungarian politics is very enlightened. They place a high priority on preserving their culture and not allowing their country to be overrun by non Europeans. If only the UK was so enlightened.

Joshua
Joshua
1 year ago
Reply to  Heath

If only the U.K government and in most part, the Wales government, followed the example of the Hungarian Government, in terms of preserving the country culture and allowing the countries native people to remain the majority of the population.

Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua

That was literally Hitler’s modus operandi.

Alasdair Dunford
Alasdair Dunford
1 year ago

Admiral Horthy ( not Hitler) was Regent of Hungary during WW2. Eastern European states did not break from Communist bloc
in 80/90s only to have Western (EU!)
neo liberal policies imposed on them. A study of their histories under Ottomans or Russians or Germans would give you a better understanding of our Eastern European cousins. And really they are central Europeans as most of the east of Europe is in fact Russia, another great European power.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago

The plan’s not quite ready yet. I think the coronavirus has killed too many of the slave labourers so regrettably there are serious delays on the Panzer tank and V2 production lines. But once our Welsh stormtroopers advance back into Europe it will be a Thousand Year Reich! Heil Drakeford!

Anthony Mitchell
Anthony Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua

Those bloody non-European Americans! Always trying to influence our culture!

joseph skinner
joseph skinner
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua

Your referring to immigration (International or specifically ‘English)?

Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
1 year ago
Reply to  Heath

Nice racism you got going there.

Jason Evans
Jason Evans
1 year ago

Been reading your replies to some of the comments and besides coming to the conclusion you’re a troll I’ve also realised you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.
Hey stick to Twitter or Facebook

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Evans

He has that yankee style. ie NO style.

Anthony Mitchell
Anthony Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  Heath

I know exactly what you mean by non-Europeans! You’re talking about those damn Americans influencing every part of our culture with programmes such as “Friends” and fat greasy burger chains like McDonald’s or Burger King, those damn Yanks, always invading our culture and trying to change our identity through media. A Bane on our society.

Howard Edwards
Howard Edwards
1 year ago

Gan y bydd Gwledig Prydain yn ymadael â’r Undeb Ewropëaidd, syniad ardderchog yw ffurfio cysylltiadau diwylliannol rhwng Cymru a gwledig yn Ewrop. Mae Cymru’n perthyn i Ewrop.

Howard Edwards
Howard Edwards
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Edwards

Cywiriad – gwledydd, ac nid gwledyg !

Alasdair Dunford
Alasdair Dunford
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Edwards

Diolch am ei egluro.

Alasdair Dunford
Alasdair Dunford
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Edwards

Fel yr oedd y Sudetenland yn perthyn i’r Almaen?

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Edwards

Mae’n bendant sicr bod diwylliant Ewrop yn bwysig i Brydain holl. Ond nid busnes y biwrocratiaid ym Mrwsel yw llywodraeth ein gwlad. Nid yw bloc yr UE gwmws yr un peth ac Ewrop. Mae rhaid cofio hynny. Ond mae’n braf iawn bod Cymru fach yn dal i gael parchusrwydd gan bob gwlad ar y Cyfandir fel cenedl ar wahân.

Mark
Mark
1 year ago

Welsh National expression is so much more positive than Scotland’s .
Proof positive that UK’s sovereignty doesn’t restrict our love of Europe ( the continent, the people ,not the political construct)

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark

I love Scotland! The Edinburgh festival and the haggis and chips, and landscape, of Inverness!

Alasdair Dunford
Alasdair Dunford
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

I prefer the Netherlands with its windmills, clogs, cheese , pornography, drugs, and Dutch caps.

C Krudy
C Krudy
1 year ago

What about Sopron?

C Krudy
C Krudy
1 year ago

What about Sopron

Barrie
Barrie
1 year ago
Reply to  C Krudy

Sopron is a lovely place. Stayed there once when driving back to Cardiff from a wedding in Bwdapest. Bendigedig!

Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
1 year ago

Now let’s throw Icelandic into the mix to REALLY blow everyone’s minds!

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago

treip o uda.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

???

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

[the above ‘Cannot be edited’]

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  j humphrys

A ydych yn dweud ei fod yn siarad rwtsh? Mae’n ddiddorol i sylwi er mai 320,000 o bobol Gwlad yr Iâ sydd yn siarad iaith ei hunain, tra bod 550,000 ohonom ni yn siarad Cymraeg, brodorion Gwlad yr Iâ sy’n ennill y wobr, oblegid mae naw deg saith y cant ohonynt yn siarad iaith eu Gwlad, sydd wrth gwrs yn golygu mai iaith y mwyafrif bo hynny. Credaf fod llif amser yn caniatáu i ni ganmol cenedl y Llychlynwyr am lwyddo fel hyn. Mae’n sicr bod fanteision i fyw ar Ynys, fel deallodd y Derwyddon gynt yn iawn, a wnaeth… Read more »

365 Constantinople Days

Lake Balaton should have been Lake Bala/Llyn Y Bala/Llyn Tegid.

Anthony Mitchell
Anthony Mitchell
1 year ago

I was thinking that, Bala ton translates to Bala Town in Old English.

Ann Moore
Ann Moore
1 year ago

annieyncymru@gmail.com
I would so love to see the London Tube map too!
Do you have a link please? 😊

Anthony Mitchell
Anthony Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  Ann Moore

Me too!

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Ann Moore

As the Irishman said to the Englishman who had lost his way, and was asking for directions, ‘Well, I wouldn’t be starting from here.’

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