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Daily Mail attacks ‘extremist’ Welsh place names petition

23 Apr 2023 4 minute read
A petition has been launched calling for non-Welsh place names to be scrapped

The Daily Mail has attacked the petition calling for non-Welsh place names to be scrapped and described the man behind it as a language extremist.

The petition – which had been set up by Mihangel ap Rhisiart via Change.Org – was started in December 2022 and went fairly unnoticed, beginning with only a modest target of 200 signatures.

Since the move to ditch the English version of Brecon Beacons which even saw Downing Street enter the row, the petition started slowing picking up momentum and the target was changed to 1000 signatures.

After hitting the new target, he switched it to an official Senedd petition so it would stand a chance of being debated.

Mihangel, who is a researcher at Cardiff University, said that the petition is in the “spirit of respect for Wales as its own nation” and explained that scrapping non-Welsh place names would acknowledge “cultural oppression historically inflicted on Wales”.

The Mail piece, written by James Tozer, complains: “All English place names could be erased from Wales under a campaign launched by a language extremist.

“Emboldened by the controversial renaming of beauty spots Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, branded “bonkers” by critics, language purists now claim the continuing use of non-Welsh place names and spellings highlights the ‘cultural oppression historically inflicted on Wales’.

“Their radical proposal would see the names of the nation’s biggest cities outlawed, including Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Wrexham.

“Instead Cardiff would be officially known just as Caerdydd, Swansea as Abertawe, Newport as Casnewydd and Wrexham as Wrecsam – with all English signs banned.”

Colonialism

Mihangel said: ”I started the petition because I don’t think places in Wales should need two names.

“I do think there is an issue of colonialism, no matter how many centuries it might be since Wales was conquered and then subsequently made legally part of England.

“However, even without this the Welsh place names have existed for a lot longer than the English versions and there is no justification in saying that it is forcing the Welsh language on people because there is no need to be able to understand the meaning of the place names in order to simply say them.

“We don’t think it wrong to expect people to use names like Worcester and Loughborough even then there is no way of knowing from the spelling how they should be pronounced, and I certainly have no idea what they actually mean.

“At least with Welsh there are clear rules of pronunciation which mean the manner of pronouncing Abertawe or Rhydaman is easily known even without an understanding of what they mean.”

Backlash

The decision to revert to the original Welsh name Bannau Brycheiniog for the Brecon Beacons National Park last week has sparked a furious backlash from Tory politicians.

Welsh Secretary David TC Davis described it as “virtue signalling” and “one of the more bonkers ideas I’ve heard in some time”.

Brecon and Radnorshire’s Tory MP Fay Jones questioned the cost and impact of the “symbolic” rebrand and demanded to know why local people were not consulted.

“I’m amazed that a change of name should be imposed on those who live and work in the National Park without any consultation,” she said.

“I am worried that this is symbolic. This is about looking trendy and jumping on a sustainability bandwagon for PR purposes.”

Andrew RT Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, also posted a bizarre tweet on Saturday morning (22 April) which attempted to link the Daily Mail’s coverage of the petition to the UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Earlier in the week Mr Davies said: “Wales has a rich and valuable culture that we should celebrate.

“Many places rightly embrace their Welsh language names, but I do not support change for change’s sake.

“Out of touch Labour ministers in the Senedd are presiding over longer NHS waiting lists than England, slower ambulance response times, smaller pay packets and worse education results.

“Fixing this must be the priority, not pet projects to please their nationalist coalition partners.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
9 months ago

Petition started by a human being is extremist says Daily Mail, the newspaper that wrote “Hurrah For The Blackshirts” and supported Hitler.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
9 months ago

Oh dear, we’re getting our country back. They don’t like it up ‘em Mr Mainwaring.

Llyn
Llyn
9 months ago

Andrew RT Davies, said: “I do not support change for change’s sake”. Can anyone tell me what this means and where in Wales a name of something was changed “for change’s sake”, beyond of course possibly the Tories changing the name of the Severn Bridge?

Davd
Davd
9 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

Llyn I think you need to get your facts correct. Nobody has changed the name of the original Severn Bridge. The Severn Crossing has had a name change and the bridge is only a small part of the Severn Crossing.

Jane
Jane
9 months ago

If the Daily Mail attacks it it must be right. I’m Irish/English living in Wales and I love it here. I think using Welsh names is exactly the right thing many others will follow the Welsh example.
Harder for people like myself to pronounce but I’m here in Wales so I’ll have to learn.

Hywel
Hywel
9 months ago
Reply to  Jane

We’ll help you Jane, you’ll soon get the gist of it.
I’m part Irish too, and find words like teaghlaigh (household) strange, but my Irish mates help me out.
Good old Daily Fail – shows we’re on the right track ffrindiau.

Deio
Deio
9 months ago
Reply to  Hywel

Teaghlaigh sounds very much like teulu in Cymraeg.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
9 months ago
Reply to  Deio

Germans refer to their country as Deutschland.
Both Wales and France refers to Germany as Almaen.

All languages are different words for the same place.
The correct names are those assigned by the locals.

Deio
Deio
9 months ago

Quite agree. I used to laugh at my French father-in-law trying to pronounce Southampton when he was crossing over to see us in Cymru. He did manage Garndolbenmaen. His daughter is a fluent speaker of Cymraeg however. Whatever country you are in one has a responsibility to respect the language and traditions. Now I am trying to do that in France

Frank
Frank
9 months ago

We in Wales, Ireland and Scotland have been polite enough to learn how to pronounce English placenames but it seems they are inadequate and incapable when it comes to returning the effort we made. It seems they have a problem with everyone else’s language. As for the Daily Mail, who cares!! The writer gives his opinion and we are expected to think that this is the opinion of every English person. The article was not written by the whole English nation. One man’s opinion is not much is it?

Kris
Kris
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Exactly – I can barely pronounce Cirencester or Worcestershire they should change their names to make it easier for tourists to pronounce

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Don’t forget Beaulieu, Marlborough, Dulwich, Chiswick, Greenwich, Frome. These are all place names that should be changed immediately,

John Brooks
John Brooks
9 months ago

And Cholmondely – Chumley
Ratlinghope – Ratchup

Kris
Kris
9 months ago

This is definitely worth discussion however as with most issues the situation is actually much more complex. Some changes have already taken place Pontypridd used to be called Newbridge Caernarfon was known as Caernarvon Some are just stupid like a Merthyr Tydfil which should be changed to Merthyr Tudfil immediately. (U is an I in Welsh) Some English names are nonsense like Cardiff which is just a corruption of Caerdydd in the first place . Brecon as well. The furore over the National park name change is bizarre as the English name is modern and meaningless. Swansea would be a… Read more »

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

We could always keep Swansea as having 2 historic names – one Welsh: Abertawe and the other, Old Norse: Sven’s Ey (Sven’s island) – Dim problem!

Roderich Heier
Roderich Heier
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

When was Pontypridd called Newbridge please? Newbridge is a completely different place. Pontypridd was once called Pontytypridd, which, I think, means the bridge of the earthen house.

Kris
Kris
9 months ago
Reply to  Roderich Heier

Yep mate , Pontypridd was called Newbridge in English all through the 1700s to late 1800s https://www.pontypriddtowncouncil.gov.uk/history-of-pontpridd https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bridge,_Pontypridd In the early 18th century Pontypridd, then known as Pont-y-tŷ-pridd (The bridge of the earthen house),[8] was a tiny hamlet.[9] Pont-y-tŷ-pridd took its name from the original bridge of the same name,[9] however very little is known of that ancient ford with stepping stones, which ran alongside the current Old Bridge,[10] and was used only when the river ran low.[10] Possibly in 1744 or after the bridge was built,[10] Pont-y-tŷ-pridd became known as Newbridge or New Bridge after the William Edwards Bridge.[10][11]… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Kris
Tories out!
Tories out!
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Changing names now for major cities would cost an absolute fortune, right at a time when we need every penny for the NHS. Trying to pretend that Wales isn’t bilingual is ridiculous. Both names should remain for now. Having said that – the publicity that has been generated for Bannau Brycheiniog has been fantastic!

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  Tories out!

It need not cost anything extra, just as signs etc need to be replaced as they age over the years then use just the Welsh version for the new signs

Tories out!
Tories out!
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Ammanford is the original name chosen by Welsh people – Rhydaman came later!

Hywel
Hywel
9 months ago
Reply to  Tories out!

Incorrect I’m afraid – Ammanford was originally called Cross Keys after the pub on the square.

Notttabottt
Notttabottt
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

I was talking about Swansea also, I think the history of that name is super interesting and has a lot of Welsh history wrapped up in it. Case by case would probably be the way to go with most

Kris
Kris
9 months ago

Caerdyf is the name in old welsh , would be pronounced ‘cayr divV ’ in English phonetics .

It doesn’t change the fact the English name is meaningless

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
9 months ago

I can taste the salt in those tears. More please!

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
9 months ago

“Extremist”???

They should know what that means ……

If the Daily Mail hates you, you are a good person.

If the Daily Mail is against something, it is worth pursuing.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Besides, what the Daily Mail calls ‘extremist’, I call ‘decolonisation’ – just like India, Australia, South Africa, Eswatini and other former victims of the British Empire have also, rightly, done.

Would the Daily Mail call Australia ‘extremist’ for removing the name ‘Ayers Rock’ from Uluru? Or would they call India ‘extremist’ for removing the colonial names Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Madras etc.?

Your answers please, Daily Mail and Tory Party …….

Last edited 9 months ago by Mr Williams
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

There are many examples even here in Cymru where names have been rectified without all this extremist Empire furore. Port Dinorwic was dispatched a quarter of a century ago to be known only be its’ true name of Y Felinheli. History shows that all attempts to eradicate a people, its’ language and its’ culture ultimately fail as it clearly has done here.

Some1
Some1
9 months ago

Just more chaff to distract a feeble-minded readership away from their failing Brexit project.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
9 months ago

Credaf y dylai ‘Wrexham’ troi yn ‘Caer Fantell’, nid yn ‘Wrecsam’. Ceir sawl cofnod o’r enw hyfryd a phersain hwn.

Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
9 months ago

There will always be critics of the Welsh language whether they are inside or outside of Wales. They should not distract Wales from using Welsh only placenames which will save the country money. People will complain at first but they will get used to it.

One criticism of this article it implies Welsh Secretary David TC Davis thinks it was bonkers to change the name when the Daily Mail says he thought it was bonkers “because it implied a link to wood-burning, carbon-emitting blazing beacons – which are not eco-friendly.” Most people would agree with that.

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
9 months ago

Why don’t the daily mail try and Justify the Welsh Not where a child would have a thrashing for speaking Welsh in school and a plack made out of wood Hung around the children’s neck

Rhian Davies
Rhian Davies
9 months ago

Maybe there’s a chance now for the English to admit how arrogant and embarasing the Imperialist attitudes of some of their people to other nations are? The English translations are a blaring (semiotic) sign of the abusive way the ingenious Cymry are treated by the English. If some of the English can’t see their insensitivity to Celtic culture, then I suspect there’s no hope for them, because they simply can’t see themselves – neither do they appear to see the gross inequalities metered out to some of their own people. To sum it up, some of the English are blind… Read more »

Stephen John Owen
Stephen John Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  Rhian Davies

Many of them think they don’t have an eccent because they think being English is the norm and that they are the centre of the world

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago

I meant accent

Graham Williams
Graham Williams
9 months ago

I was in London earlier this week and a woman in the meeting I was at asked me “why are the Welsh making things up just to upset the English”. She was referring to Bannau Brycheiniog, or “that Brecons thing”, as she called it. When I explained matters and said that our language and culture was 2000 years older than hers she called me a “woke fanatic”. I just smiled and laughed. The Brits are rattled.

Stephen John Owen
Stephen John Owen
9 months ago

She seems twp fel c***u (thick as sh*t for those who don’t understand our beautiful language)

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
9 months ago

I’ve just run your scenario in my head and I congratulate you on your self control and facing down this ignorance but it made me feel so sick and angry, I feel that I would have to have left the room saying nothing for fear that it would turn into something very ugly indeed so I commend you again for your calm response.

Glan harries
Glan harries
9 months ago

Does Tozer translate to Tosser

Ap Kenneth
9 months ago

Perhaps the English educational curriculum should include some basic teaching of Welsh and Scottish Gaelicso that they can understand what the names mean and how they can be pronounced, a taster. Maybe then there will be a petition in England to change Malvern in Worcestershire back to the original Moelfryn.

Stephen John Owen
Stephen John Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

A very good idea, at least schools in England should teach that the island of Britain is made of three nations and that English is not the only language spoken

David Lloyd Owen
David Lloyd Owen
9 months ago

I signed. Let the haters know; I am Spartacus.

David Lloyd Owen
David Lloyd Owen
9 months ago

As somebody brought up in monolingual London decades ago, I rejoice in Welsh road signs and place names. Checking them in my Geriadur Mawr later gives me a window into a world and appreciation continues to grow. I rejoice in the richness and nuance this endows our landscape with.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
9 months ago

If the Daily Mail’s against something, I’m all for it.

Stephen John Owen
Stephen John Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Woods

Da iawn

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
9 months ago

Never forget that it was the likes of Dafydd Iwan who fought and went to prison for yr iaith Gymraeg. I fail to see precisely what the hell this has got anything to do with anyone in England. They seem to be under the deluded impression that the universe revolves around them and any decision anyone makes in their own country somehow has something to do with England. That’s bad enough and to be expected. But when a non-problem is turned into a problem by the likes of Real Ting and other quisling traitors who arrogantly call themselves Welsh, it… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
9 months ago

I would like to hear the reasons people like James Tozer, and those who support him, are against a country using its own language within its own borders, without sounding
1 condescending,2 imperialist, or 3 down right racist. Does the author have a good reason, or is he one of the three above, or a bit of all three.

Last edited 9 months ago by Gareth
Gareth Davies
9 months ago

Typical Daily Fail! Not to be trusted!

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
9 months ago

Wel y Djiw, Djiw – mae R2D2 a’r Daily Wail (dim ‘Typo’) wedi bod wrthi ‘to… Well, well, it seems R2D2 and the Daily Wail (not a ‘Typo’) have been at it again…

Mawkernewek
9 months ago

The Daily Fail showing the typical abusive DARVO technique.

(deny, attack, reverse victim and offender)

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
9 months ago

When the Daily Mail criticises something – it speaks volumes for the attitudes behind the criticism. Some years ago, I bought the best history book of Britain and Ireland that I have ever read; the author is Norman DAVIES and the title is ‘The Isles, A History’. It is the most in-depth, balanced and informative book by far on the subject . It justly received great praise from all of its many reviewers but one – the Daily Mail’s reviewer, Andrew Roberts. Allow me to quote that review for you here: “This is a dangerous book, written at a dangerous… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
9 months ago

When this kicked off a few days ago, my other half read an article out, and I couldn’t quite understand what was environmentally wrong with a brassiere? All became obvious after reading the article for myself,

Llyn
Llyn
9 months ago

This is pure Trumpian politics by Andrew RT Davies. A petition signed by a few people becomes a Welsh Government policy and a warning of what would happen under Keir Starmer?

Cris
Cris
9 months ago

Here’s a couple of English place names that cause some confusion: Towcester and Magdalen

WilliamsG
WilliamsG
9 months ago

Thanks Daily Mail, I wasn’t aware of this petition but I have signed it and shared it now. What a great piece of (unintentional) publicity. I suppose supporting our own language makes me an extremist as well

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
9 months ago

These rags do it to stir up ill feeling and hatred towards the Welsh those rags being Daily Mail and Torygraph mainly they poke their noses in the english that is where its not wanted or needed its nothing to do with them THE COUNTRY IS WALES THE LANGUAGE IS WELSH THE PLACE NAMES SHOULD BE WELSH the english nationalists tory voters go into bloody meltdown when they read something like that

Frank
Frank
9 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

Spot on. They have enough bad and controversial news over the border to keep them going but by writing and criticising Welsh issues, that does not really concern them, it takes the attention off them. It’s called “burying bad news”. Also, they know that the Welsh cannot agree on anything between themselves which helps keep the division between countrymen and this helps ensure we will never raise to be an united nation of our own. In other words it’s “stirring the 💩”. Until we can stand united we will never achieve independence and respect and will always be classed as… Read more »

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
9 months ago

Has ART Davies ever said anything positive about Wales? Bradwr!

Andy Williams
9 months ago
Reply to  Ed Jones

To add insult to injury, they call themselves “Welsh Tories”

Riki
Riki
9 months ago

God forbid the Britons protect British place names. This is the inherent and blatant proof that their ultimate goal is to end British culture, not the perverse British culture created by the Hanoverian monarchs, but rather the culture in which would morph into what is now known as Welsh in English. As long as we are aware of this fact, they can never fully follow through on this despicable plan.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago

Having only Welsh place names in Cymru is an even better idea if it upsets the Daily mail and the Tories. Da iawn, Cymru am byth 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago

In that case it is extremist for the Daily Mail to use only English, very narrow minded and limiting to use just one language. I use four languages daily, with Welsh being one of them

Stephen John Owen
Stephen John Owen
9 months ago

What we call places in Wales has nothing to do with people in England, they have enough problems in England to focus on. In other words they can mind their own business as it has nothing to do with them, the world does not revolve around them

The original mark
The original mark
9 months ago

I’m surprised that none of the stories in the media has pointed out that “penny van” not only being the highest Peak in Y Bannau but the highest peak in England and South Wales

Nia James
Nia James
9 months ago

I was told by a friend who works in the National Park that some visitors and groups (from guess where?) now call Pen y Fan “The Brecon Peak”.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
9 months ago
Reply to  Nia James

You will also hear/read the area referred to as The Brecons???

Eifion
Eifion
9 months ago

Gweld y pwynt ydach chi yn neud ond mae ryw 5 neu 6 o fynyddoedd Lloegr yn uwch na pennyvan Scafell pike a rhai arall ond yr Wyddfa ydi mynydd uchaf Cymru ag Iwerddon a Lloegr a Llanrwst

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
9 months ago
Reply to  Eifion

Sorry my mistake, Pen Y Van will often be referred to as the highest peak in southern Britain,

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago

What a load of fuss over a nation that has a different language to English considering – using that language more. As a country we have a right to promote our language when ever we want to. If some in England don’t like it – that is their problem not ours.

Karl
Karl
9 months ago

When the hate mail hates something, you know its good. Extremists s those employed by a paper that attacks the basics of our society and pretend to be journalists. Trying to shut down decent opinions and ideas is pretty extreme.

Marc
Marc
9 months ago

Tory MP Fay Jones “I’m amazed that a change of name should be imposed on those who live and work in the National Park without any consultation,”
What are her views on the ‘Prince of Wales’ bridge? No consultation needed for that name change?
Tory hypocrisy at its finest

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
9 months ago
Reply to  Marc

Or on passing The Title From Charlie to Bill

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
9 months ago

Nation Cymru can you forward the comments section on this to The Daily Fail.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

The Daily Fail at its anti-Welsh worse. Remember this is a news paper who in the past has been criticised for being openly racist, A bigoted paper that championed Brexit using xenophobic rhetoric . And they call those who want to restore ancient Welsh place changed during conquest as extremists? , lol. Hilarious! 🥴🇬🇧

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
9 months ago

Remember They supported Moseley and his fascists.

Andy Williams
9 months ago

Wales, a saxon word meaning “the land of the foreigner” Says it all really.

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