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Historic Welsh lake names safeguarded by National Park Authority

20 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Ogwen from Tryfan. Image: Snowdonia National Park Authority

Stephen Price

Eryri National Park members have voted unanimously in favour of using standardised Welsh names for lakes amid a growing backlash to the loss of their historic names.

The move follows a growing wave of criticism, most notably from comedian Tudur Owen and Siân Gwenllian, MS.

The initiative comes as a result of a pilot project between the National Park Authority and the School of Welsh at Cardiff University which aims to research, record and safeguard Eryri’s wealth of historical geographical names.

In doing so, it is hoped that the historic names will continue to be used extensively in conversations, on maps and in print and conserved for future generations.

Currently, depending on the source of their information, visitors to the park are presented with vastly different names in English and in Welsh, the most notable cases being Australia Lake for Llyn Bochlwyd, Bala Lake for Llyn Tegid and Bearded Lake for Llyn Barfog.

Other important work looked at variations of the same name, with or without hyphens and mutations for example, as well as standardising names where colloquial versions have taken hold such as Tal y Llyn Lake in the case of Llyn Myngul.

When standardising the list, the Commissioner’s Place-names Standardisation Panel considered the history, meaning and origin of the names. In addition, there was a special emphasis paid to local use, ensuring consultation with individuals and experts with a close connection or specialised local knowledge.

National Park Wardens, too, proved to be a valuable source of evidence. Through the process, it became evident that many of the names had been incorrectly spelt on maps for many years and the project offered an opportunity to put those right.

Dr Eleri James, the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Senior Infrastructure and Research Officer said: “It has been a privilege to respond to the park’s request for guidance on how best to spell these important names, and ensure that they are able to benefit from the extensive expertise and experience of the Place-names Standardisation Panel. Prior to this pilot project the Commissioner has focused its efforts on offering advice on how to spell the names of Welsh cities, towns and villages – names that appear on signage. Not many of these lake names will ever appear on signage, so it’s even more important to record them accurately on maps to guard them for future generations.”

Dr Dylan Foster, Cardiff University’s Head of School of Welsh said: “Place names are part of everyone’s heritage and in a digital age when information is shared online in an instant, having standardised forms of names benefits everyone. Projects like this also draw attention to the richness of our local dialects and folklore, and allow us to share all kinds of stories about the names that are such an important part of the identities of our communities.”

The standardised list of Eryri’s lake names is the first of its kind to be recommended by the Welsh Language Commissioner, with important work now underway to standardise and preserve waterfall and peak names.


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Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Daily Wail, Express, Tporygraph and Conservatives implode in 3….2….1

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

I read the narrow-minded comments from the monoglots and the Dic Siôn Daffyds on the Mail website.

The ignorance on display was worrying.

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Woods

I block their web site. Don’t see a thing but as sure as the sun will come up in the morning…….

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

This is great and very important. Also, it’s Llyn Fyrnwy not Lake Vurnwee ok?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

If we don’t protect our native place names they will be changed and lost forever. And less we forget. Those place names are effectively a connection to the past where our ancestors used the landscape from the North to the South of Britain as a cavas during a time before there was writing, so it’s important , vital in fact, to save those names for posterity in the heartland and cradle of British history, Wales .

Y Cymro balch
Y Cymro balch
7 months ago

Ia da rwan arbed hael pobol lleol i fyw yn Parc Eryti??

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