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Complaints over spellings of Welsh village names

24 Jun 2024 3 minute read
One of the signs that has been complained about

Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter

The correct Welsh spellings of a couple of villages have been a topic of discussion between a council and the office of Welsh Language Commissioner Efa Gruffydd Jones.

On Tuesday June 25, Powys County Council’s cabinet member for the Welsh Language, Labour’s Cllr Sandra Davies is expected to take a delegated decision to agree the draft Welsh Language Standards annual report for 2023/2024.

The decision needs to be taken to allow the report to be published on the council’s website by the end of the month which is a legal requirement.


Usually, the report would be placed in front of the whole Cabinet.

But due to local government restrictions which mean no Cabinet meetings are taking place in Powys in the run to the General Election on July 4, this year the report is subject to a delegated decision.

Welsh Language Commissioner Efa Gruffudd Jones. Picture: Welsh Government.

The report by Welsh language officer Sion Rowley reveals that complaints had been received by the council over village names current spelling in Welsh.

In September last year a complaint about the spelling of Llansantffraid was made. which claimed that it is wrong to use the “t” in the name.

The report said: “The elected member for the ward (Cllr Gwynfor Thomas) advised that the community’s view was to continue using the spelling of Llansantffraid as decided by the council’s Cabinet on September 30, 2014. ”

The spelling of “Abercraf” near Ystradgynlais was also the subject of a complaint last December.

The complainant believed that a circumflex should be placed above the a to make it Abercrâf.

Standardised list

The report said:  “We checked the standardised list of Welsh place names from the Welsh Language Commissioner and sought clarification from their research department.

“Officers with expert knowledge of Welsh place names and orthography advised the circumflex should not be used in ‘craf’, but that we should use a hyphen and spell the place name as Aber-craf.”

The report explained that they had informed the complainant of the commissioner’s recommendation and the council will put up signs with the correct spelling when they need to be replaced for: “traffic management reasons.”

A complaint was made to the council over the Welsh spelling for the village of Abercraf near Ystradgynlais. From Google Streetview.

Other complaints the council dealt with were around the need for Cabinet papers to be bilingual.

Elsewhere in the report forthcoming work for this year to improve Welsh within the council is to: “Create links with Welsh universities to encourage students who speak and are learning Welsh to work for us.”

“Language awareness training” sessions will also be held for senior staff.

Like all other government and public bodies in Wales, Powys council is required to comply with the Welsh Language Standards, introduced under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

This gave the language an equal legal status with English and is supposed to make it easier for people to use Welsh in their day to day lives.

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Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
21 days ago

It is essential that these matters are sorted correctly. The cost is immaterial.

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
21 days ago

If no one can agree on the correct spelling, than maybe it doesn’t really matter!
Let Slepping Dogs Lie

21 days ago

It’s now time to ditch mis-spelled versions of Welsh place names eg Aberdovey, Rhayader, Lampeter and Barry and standardise on the correct forms (Aberdyfi, Rhaeadr, Llanbedr and Barri).

21 days ago

If we have “officers with expert knowledge of Welsh place names and orthography” why are there so many mis-spellings? “Experts” my a**e!! How much are we paying these “experts” who are not experts at all? Not only do we need to have mis-spelled placenames corrected we also need to have placenames that have been wrongly translated corrected too (e. g. : Llantwit Major).

Last edited 21 days ago by Frank
Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
20 days ago
Reply to  Frank

They don’t have the local knowledge of dialect either. Hence an attempt to overrule the locally used and accepted Cader Idris in favour of Cadair because they ignorantly assumed Cader was an Anglicism because it is elsewhere.
The locals won out in the end.

John Davies
John Davies
20 days ago

Llancadle in the vale of Glamorgan is Welsh as it means sacred Battlefield , so why is it called in Welsh supposedly Llancatal , it’s already Welsh so why alter it , it should be pronounced Llancad le , as there is a Cadle district of Swansea seems strange to me

20 days ago

What about the “dd” at the end of Llansantffraid on the sign in the photo?

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