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Travel guide slammed for ‘dreadful’ listicle of ‘Unpronounceable Welsh Town Names’

26 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Bwlchgwyn sign by Les Barker

A travel guide website has been slammed for its “utterly dreadful” listicle of “Unpronounceable Welsh Town Names”.

In Your Pocket, which produces city guides, suggested that the Welsh language town names “might give you some problems”.

It also claimed that the “Celtic tongue is known for its absolute disregard for vowels”, despite it having more of them than the English language.

The listicle received a fierce backlash on social media and was panned as “ignorant”, as well as “utterly dreadful” and “disgraceful”.

The 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.”

‘Respect’ 

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.”

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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Toby Griffen
Toby Griffen
17 days ago

As a linguist with many articles on Welsh phonology, I would like those Anglophones to pronounce THROUGH, individual letter by individual letter. It’s that level of ignorance.

Tim
Tim
17 days ago
Reply to  Toby Griffen

In English the letters “ough” sound completely different when prefaced by a B or a C or a D

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
17 days ago
Reply to  Toby Griffen

I would try but feeling a bit rough, luckily no cough though!

defaid
defaid
17 days ago
Reply to  Toby Griffen

There once was a woman from Slough
Who developed a terrible cough.
She wasn’t to know
It would last until now-
I do hope she finally pulls through.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
17 days ago
Reply to  Toby Griffen

Indeed, english has far harder words to pronounce or try and spell. Hypocrites

Barrie Lloyd
Barrie Lloyd
17 days ago
Reply to  Toby Griffen

You would have to be thorough though and give it thought. Not just plough through.

stuart stanton
stuart stanton
17 days ago

Trefil, north of Tredegar is the highest, in altitude village in Wales, with the highest rugby pitch in the UK

CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago

It’s hard to ascertain whether the increase in soft cymrophobia in publications, online and in journalism is a real and measurable increase or simply more eyes being peeled due to increased online presence, thus more noticing (similar to 24 hour news adding to increased coverage of violent crime, resulting in the perception that violent crime is worse today – it isn’t). Regardless, we have one more example, this time without the plausible deniability of humour, of a part of our culture being seen as a hindrance. Rhyddid nawr.

Wiĺiam Eynon
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

What do you expect grom a people who speak the languages of their ancesters listed as WESTERN GERMANie Angle .Saxon ,Jute and Norman French.Krauts by descent but now called english.Dont choose to know their own backgrouds.Start with presant royalty.Saxcoburg!!!!

CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago
Reply to  Wiĺiam Eynon

Meh. Wi ‘mond yn gymraeg ar un ochr o nheulu am fwy na 4 cenhedlaeth ond wi’n siwr na newch ngweld i’n llai o Gymro na neb arall – wi’n nabod lot o bobl da cymry ar ddwy ochr eu teulu’n myn’ nol sbo dydd y farn heb jock o ots am ei diwylliant na’i hiaith. Diw e ddim am gwaed a tir, fwy am diwylliant. Mae’n wir fod gwreiddiau’n cymdogion ar groes y clawdd i’w ffeindio ar y cyfandir, ond cer yn nol digon pell a ffeindi di ein gwreiddiau ni yno ‘fyd. I agree that England’s lack of… Read more »

Vaughan
Vaughan
17 days ago

Apart from the obvious disrespect there is another matter rearing its head here, namely the general ignorance of the population in general about the mechanics of language and phonetics.
Some people actually believe that there are only five vowel sounds in the English language and only seven in Welsh!

Megan canning
Megan canning
17 days ago

As so many people go abroad now do they struggle and complain o Spanish or Italian names , what about Greek, Polish Russian etc.

Bincs
Bincs
17 days ago

What is really telling about this article is that it had over a hundred thousand likes!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
17 days ago

Cymrophobia – the acceptable face of bigotry, arrogance and ignorance.

Andrew Teilo
Andrew Teilo
17 days ago

I’m in two minds as to the net effect of nonsensical sleights like this one. I used to become affronted and angry every time such drivel appeared, regarding it as a Death of a Thousand Cuts campaign by the ignorant and/or wilfully malicious. I’m now of a mind that it could well be working to the opposite end; Galvanization by a Thousand Cuts, as it were. All the same, it’s bloody tedious. It feels like the boring uncle at a wedding who tells the same unfunny ‘joke’ to every guest there. We’ve. Heard. It. BEFORE!

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
17 days ago

Of course, these fools rather spoil their mockery by linking to a video of English weatherman Liam Dutton giving an excellent rendition of LlanfairPG! Mockers and Mickey Bliss takers. I wonder if these travel ‘experts’ even know how to say Mockba like a native?
And why, if too many consonants is such a problem, did they Anglicise Llanelli and Aberaeron to Llanelly and Aberayron by getting rid of a vowel? Why do people assume every language use letters the same way English does and why doesn’t any travel guide worth its salt know the difference?

arthur owen
arthur owen
16 days ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Don’t be too quick to assume at it is ‘them’ that anglicised those place names.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

It has been so long since I looked out over the Cheshire Plain…those fools in London have cost me precious time, but my prison has been the garden of eden. Quiz question; what film does the highest petrol station in Wales feature? clue Polanski washed his soldiers a short way down stream…nos da!

Erisian
Erisian
16 days ago

Well, what do you expect from speakers of a mongrel tongue with inconsitent spelling?

arthur owen
arthur owen
16 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

As opposed to us speakers of ‘bratiaith’.

David Peters
David Peters
16 days ago

Why, rhythms. thy shy myth, try, fry, shyly, cysts, sylph, glyph, lynx, crypt… etc etc etc
And Y is NOT considered a vowel in engerlish.

Jay from Wales
Jay from Wales
16 days ago

Lmao those translations are nonsense. Is the website satire and they missed it?

Welsh African
Welsh African
16 days ago

Being Anglo African, with Welsh grandparents, and speaking five languages, I found Welsh a fun language to start learning. This seeks to target the Welsh language and therefore the culture of the Welsh. This is a Xenophobic article.

David Woolley
David Woolley
16 days ago

Eglwyswrw is another to annoy them!

eleanor burnham
eleanor burnham
16 days ago

Shameful ignorance and racism

Marc Evans (dysgwr bondigrybwyll)
Marc Evans (dysgwr bondigrybwyll)
15 days ago

Travel broadens the mind? I’m not as well travelled as I would like to be – but some of my best memories are of encounters with languages other than my own. On my first visit to Portugal, having made my first foray into their lingo via a phrase book on the way out, I was so pleased that by the end of the week I could ask ‘do you have a table for five?’ and be given the menu in Portuguese at a restaurant where you could order in any of six or seven languages! A waiter over hearing us… Read more »

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