Travel guide defends listicle of ‘Unpronounceable Welsh Town Names’
A travel guide has defended a listicle of ‘Unpronounceable Welsh Town Names’.
In Your Pocket, which produces city guides, came under heavy fire for suggesting Welsh language town names “might give you some problems”.
The listicle was panned as “ignorant”, as well as “utterly dreadful” and “disgraceful”.
Following the backlash the company insisted that the article was “lighthearted”, and that it was “sincerely not meant to be offensive or derogatory”. It added that it was written by a Welshman.
The “disclaimer” also included a “big thanks” to people who had “sent us angry, vitriolic and/or profanity-laced emails telling us how terrible we are”.
In its defence, In Your Pocket, said: “Editor’s Note: We recommend checking the additional editorial note at the end of this article before sending us any angry, vitriolic, profanity-laced emails telling us how terrible we are, but thanks in advance for your feedback if you still feel obligated to send it.
“Due to the high volume of feedback we’ve received about this article, we’d like to kindly clarify that:
“The title is meant to be taken as , tongue in cheek humour, an exaggeration, not a literal statement.
“The article is not meant to be educational or even about the Welsh language per se, its aim is simply to point out that a handful of places have names that would likely be difficult to pronounce for anyone who doesn’t speak Welsh.
It added: “It’s sincerely not meant to be offensive or derogatory about Wales in general or the Welsh language in particular, and we apologise if it comes across as such; we love Wales, which is why we’ve included so much about it on our site, despite not having a local office;
“The author of the article is in fact a Welshman, and a proud one at that (rumour has it that he also has a decent sense of humour);
“For anyone who is interested in learning more about the Welsh language, we recommend checking out the official site of the National Centre for Learning Welsh;
“If you’d still like to voice you opinion, please feel free to leave a comment below or share on your preferred social media platform (alternatively you can of course just keep sending us angry, vitriolic, profanity-laced emails telling us how terrible we are, but at this point you’ll really need to put some effort and creativity into your insults if you’d like them to stand out).
“While our company was founded and remains headquartered in Vilnius, our core staff is quite international, so there’s really no need to say mean things about Lithuania or the Lithuanian language, as it just makes you seem petty, silly and, quite frankly, a bit hypocritical; and, last but not least
“A big thanks to everyone who already has sent us angry, vitriolic and/or profanity-laced emails telling us how terrible we are, as this further explanatory text would not have been added without your initiative, and we will gladly admit that the article is all the better for it.”
The original article said: “The Welsh language is a struggle, to say the least. The Celtic tongue is known for its absolute disregard for vowels, meaning some words can look completely unintelligible to the uninformed.
“We’ve collected a handful of town names that might give you some problems, to say the least.”
On Bwlchgwyn it said: “We’ll start with the little village of Bwlchgwyn, a little bit northeast of Wrexham. Pronounced ‘Bull-ch-gwin’, the name means ‘White Pass’ but the original is believed to have been ‘Windy Pass’.”
On Ysbyty Ystwyth it added: “Two words, 13 letters, not a single vowel in sight. ‘Uss-butty Uss-bith’ isn’t too tough to pronounce, but it does look a bit daunting, right? The town is 13 miles south of Aberystwyth.”
For Ynysybwl it has this to say: “‘Un-niss-uh-bull’, to be clear. This town in the south of the country was home to Leighton Rees, the first darts world champion in history.”
Social media expert Owen Williams said: “Whatever happened to editorial merit, @inyourpocket? This is an utterly dreadful listicle, and you should *strongly* consider taking it down. It lacks any kind of respect for our indigenous British language.”
Whatever happened to editorial merit, @inyourpocket?
This is an utterly dreadful listicle, and you should *strongly* consider taking it down. It lacks any kind of respect for our indigenous British language. https://t.co/uoPYfto4KF pic.twitter.com/LbIPVqrWei
— Owen Williams 🏴 (@OwsWills) May 26, 2021
The writer Cris Dafis said: “Absolute travesty of an article.”
Brian Moran said: “Here we go again, having to defend the very existence of our language. Peak ignorance!”
Mark Watkins said: “This is a disgraceful article which needs to be removed. It is nothing more than a targeted attack upon a nation, its language and its culture. Awful that this happens in 2021.”
Trudi-Rose Edwards said: “Celtic languages – or Welsh in this case – are not known for disregarding vowels, in fact there are more vowels in Welsh than English, so basic research has been disregarded by @inyourpocket to say the least.”
Alyson Jenkins said: “So ignorant. We love vowels so much we have 7”.
Matthew Yeomans said: “Don’t you just love travel publishers @inyourpocket that make money from travellers discovering and celebrating new cultures yet have no problem taking the piss out of a nation’s language and culture.”
Julie Owen Moylan said: “Dreadful ignorance from @inyourpocket Welsh has more vowels than English – 7 in total AEIOUWY”.
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