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Opinion

Y Crafwr: the faux outrage around Y Bannau rebrand has reached new heights of idiocy

14 May 2023 3 minute read
Bannau Brycheiniog National Park by ukskies is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Y Crafwr

In the wilds of this increasingly rebellious colony that is Wales the faux outrage around Bannau Brycheiniog National Park using ‘Bannau Brycheiniog’ as its given name reached new heights of idiocy this month with a group of local businesses deciding to ponder legal action to stop the national park using its own name.

With a gutsy determination to make themselves look utterly ludicrous they base their opposition to the challenge of pronouncing Y Bannau (Ban-eye) on a supposed damaging impact on tourism and the local economy.

Let us be charitable and assume a blindness to the vast global coverage that this beautiful region of Wales has captured over the past few weeks, with an estimated 750 million to one billion people globally having seen panoramic views and majestic drone footage of the park (at its best in the sunshine too as an added bonus).

Of course, all of that coverage will have used the English name, the Brecon Beacons as well as highlighting the restoration of the Welsh name front and centre for the park authority.

Some of the coverage no doubt drew on the rich history of King Brycheiniog entwined with the proper Welsh name. All of it will have added to the magic and mystery, to the appeal which draws the tourists to this beauty spot.

A marketing coup to which even the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ably contributed.

Tongue twisters

Perhaps the concern for these businesses is narrower. It’s possible that an inveterate dislike of the Welsh and their language drives their campaign, maybe there is a certain kind of tourist to whom they wish to appeal?

God forbid that the kind of visitor who will enjoy the game of pronouncing Welsh names, learning about the local history, culture and traditions and for whom these very things will enrich their experience as a visitor, should start to darken the doors of these businesses.

What will they do when asked to tell the tale of Brycheiniog and teach such tourists to say the Welsh name (Ban-eye Bruh-ch-ane-yog – the ch as in loch or the composer Bach, what a tongue twister!)?

Talking of Welsh tongue twisters, in the meantime over on English media the demise of local Indy politician Adam Price as leader of Plaid Cymru led to the challenge of naming the interim leader Llyr Gruffudd, of pronouncing Cymru properly and of mentioning the Senedd – potentially all in one sentence!

Experienced and polished presenters crumbled in the face of such a daunting task as actually making the effort to ask and learn how to say things in the oldest language of Britain.

Kay Burley managed to mangle all three in under thirty seconds on behalf of Sky News – unforgivable when the new Sky Welsh correspondent is a fluent Welsh speaker.

The dragon

Still, here in Wales we take it all in our stride, the centuries of oppression, second class treatment and constant belittling have toughened us up, inoculated and inured us to these constant micro aggressions – we will smile and laugh and sing Yma o Hyd loudly in the hillsides.

Then again, perhaps there’s something more in the fresh mountain Bannau air? The serfs are stirring, the ranks of YesCymru are swelling, the progressive English in Wales are learning to be Welsh.

Underneath the skies and rolling mountains of Y Bannau, the dragon is stirring.


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David Harking
David Harking
11 months ago

Erthygl wych!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago

It’s true! Every English speaking person knows how to pronounce ‘ch’ in the composers’ name Bach and in Loch Ness and furthermore, how to pronounce ‘f’ and ‘ff’ in the words ‘of’ and ‘off’ which apply the Welsh principle of the soft and hard ‘f’. It’s all about the longevity of education and dispatching of ignorance. Tourists will be denied and short changed if they come to our nation and are denied, as we have been, the real names, spellings and pronunciations within it. We must respect and embrace the names of Türkiye and Czechia. They are the true names… Read more »

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
11 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

The Welsh language actually starts before the current border. There are numerous Welsh only village names in Shropshire (and one or two in Herefordshire) there are also a few Welsh only street names. I don’t agree that Wales and England should hit up against a hard line; there are people around Oswestry making a determined effort to keep Welsh alive with minimal external support. The language belongs as much to those in that part of England who want to keep it as anyone in Wales; it is after all their native tongue too. Which rather reminds me of an English… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Thomas

Indeed. Due to westward border nudging, many Welsh villages now find themselves on the east side of the current line but if names, signs and the language are seen and heard by visitors before they actually get here then all well and good. The tourist searching for Cymru must be able to find it and will do when they see our proper place names and language up in front of them. Your point is acknowledged though. Cymraeg is alive and and well in Croesoswallt.

Roderich Heier
Roderich Heier
11 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

I have to disagree with you that every English speaker knows how to pronounce the ‘ch’ in the name of the composer Bach. In my experience English speakers tend to pronounce Bach as Bark, woof, woof!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago
Reply to  Roderich Heier

Batch is another one. They could tune in to Radio 3 or Classic FM for confirmation.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
11 months ago
Reply to  Roderich Heier

I live in London and I mostly hear people saying Bark when referring to the composer Bach, I also hear it on TV very often. I have also noticed that on many TV programmes dealing with the history of the Second World War people are unable to pronunce Third Reich when referring to the Nazi state. I feel that many people here are unaware that they are pronuncing names wrongly and assume they are correct. I have even been corrected by English people in Wales on my correct pronunciation of Welsh placenames with them insisting that their English pronunciation is… Read more »

Rhian Davies
Rhian Davies
11 months ago

There are double-standards operating as usual. Many people find English words difficult to pronounce off a page, because the language has so many hidden letters, syllables etc. it’s not phonetic like Cymraeg. It’s English that’s hard to pronounce from reading, not cymreig!

Barrie
Barrie
10 months ago
Reply to  Rhian Davies

I live in Switzerland. Have you ever heard an non-English speaker trying to pronounce Leicester, Worcester or Cirencester for example? Even the majority of English people have problems pronouncing English words properly.

Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
11 months ago

It’s only a matter of time the weak Welsh will give in, like they always do, and change the name back. There was some guy on Radio Cymru this week, who was a Welsh speaker, and was against the change. There are many Welsh people who are also against it so don’t turn it into a racist and anti-English issue. If they reverse the name change then no Welsh name will be safe!

Andy Williams
11 months ago
Reply to  Iago Prydderch

I’m expecting the U turn

Barrie
Barrie
10 months ago
Reply to  Iago Prydderch

The name hasn’t been changed. The signage has always been bilingual. All that has happened is that preference is being given to the local language, as it should be.

Riki
Riki
11 months ago

Yeah, and supposedly there are tens of millions of people who refuse to visit France because there is French everywhere. The idea that a native language is somehow damaging to your prospects as a person or people is highly racist and xenophobic. The language used and view taken by these people is akin to the Powers that be who commissioned the Blue Books. This is clearly about one thing, at that is the complete eradication of the British language m, so much so that people will never know there was one.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
11 months ago

I can’t help feeling that no matter what the haters of the Welsh language or even Wales itself do – they are now pushing us closer and closer to independence. There is a growing core of people, many of them very young, who are fed up with the constant attacks and BS and are looking to a different future for themselves and their country.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

fair play to you Steve, you are always the optimist.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
11 months ago

To be honest I’m surprised to still be reading new articles on this. I thought we’d moved on.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
11 months ago

Looking at the thousands queuing up Pen y Fan recently the publicity certainly is working. We might have to tarmac over half the mountain to provide parking for selfie taking twerps.
“This is me up Pen y Fan with three thousand other morons.”

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
11 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Drove past there last weekend, there was literally a line of people from almost the car park to the peak, I guess they’re soaking in the isolation and solitude of the hills??

Barrie
Barrie
10 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

I suppose the next thing is that some idiot, not wanting to offend the English, will want Pen y Fan to be called “The top spot” or something.

Bethan
Bethan
11 months ago

It’s insulting on a global scale. The whole argument for the name change serving as some sort of tourist repellent is predicated on some absurd colonial-esque assumption that all tourists want locals to speak English wherever they go in the world. I’m envisioning men decked head to toe in safari gear and women in enormous sun-hats drinking tea while being fanned by ‘one of the local boys’. Every year people from all over the world flock to popular tourist hotspots such as Lencois Maranhenses, Yokohama Minatomirai, Lakshadweep, Bahnhofstrasse and Kanchanaburi. Based on the popularity of these locations, I would hazard… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
11 months ago

The main instigator of the campaign to get the name reversed, has only lived in the area a few years and has already stopped using the original farm name, yet if you read the gumpff on their website she hopes to “impart something of the Welsh culture” etc just as long as it’s the english version I guess.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 months ago

It’s always rather pitiful when colonials pretend to play the victim.

Gary H
Gary H
11 months ago

I am appalled at all this xenophobic complaining about our lovely andmuch-better-than-us English neighbours because they all apparently have deformed mouths and vocal chords. They are all really lovely people who just struggle to understand that there may be other languages in the world in that lovely warm British way . Let us all be considerate to them and change our placenames so that they can say them. I would start with Flanverpwfflgwingithgoggeruwindrobwflclantisillyoh gogogock. Please don’t say twll dy din to them because they can’t say it back.

Last edited 11 months ago by Gary H
Blinedig
Blinedig
11 months ago

Just the start of the name reclamation I hope. Shouldn’t we by now be refusing to use the offensive words Wales and Welsh, and use only Cymru and Cymraeg/Cymreig?

John Williams
John Williams
11 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

I work with businesses across Europe and because I use the term in conversations and correspondence they have now started to refer to our nation as Cymru. It really is that simple.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

Yes, and whilst we’re at it say that we speak British!

Riki
Riki
11 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Indeed, As it’s highly incorrect to call it “Welsh”, as the term means foreign, yet the language is native to the island. So in reality it’s an oxymoronic term.

Bethan
Bethan
11 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

This I have to agree with. I’m going to as a matter of fact.

Riki
Riki
11 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

Yes! It’s an insult, but worse still…implies the term British was never used by the Britons of Wales prior to England use of such a term. When in reality the Cymric people of Wales was known as Britons by the Romans and Greeks. The use of the term for the Brythonic royalty of Wales is also never used by historians, why do think this is? So they can claim the term British only existed when England and Scotland unified. It’s designed to do two things, firstly to deny access to the heritage that the people of Wales are entitled to,… Read more »

Bethan
Bethan
11 months ago
Reply to  Riki

I don’t like to say I’m British anymore. It’s used selectively in parliament and media. I believe it’s used to create deliberate confusion. They switch between English and British whenever it’s convenient and I don’t like being lumped in with the awful things that Westminster have done or are trying to do ‘on my behalf’. I want people to know that I’m Welsh, I represent Wales and not all of the UK agrees with current British politics. It’s sad because it disregards native history so I have learned to distinguish between Briton and British. I have native Briton ancestry but… Read more »

Riki
Riki
11 months ago
Reply to  Bethan

I fully understand that position, however, I must say that to do so, is to play directly into their hands… as they’ve coveted what it means to be British for centuries. You can easily call yourself British while highlighting the distinction between native British (Cymric) people and the converted English who now see themselves as British.

Bethan
Bethan
11 months ago
Reply to  Riki

You have a point…

Prydain I’m happy with.

Ann
Ann
11 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

I agree and have begun to use them as often as possible, putting the English version in brackets or after a / where I think I may not be understood. I am in my 70s, apparently my first words were in Cymraeg with my grandparents, but my mother was English speaking and sadly although I always understood pretty much everything in Cymraeg I wasn’t really pushed to use it so didn’t have confidence to do so. I did however insist on doing Cymraeg Ail Iaith to A level. After 35 years over the border I came home and I have… Read more »

Barrie
Barrie
10 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

Yes, you don’t normally hear Germans referring to their country as Germany, unless they are speaking English. It’s Deutschland. Und sie sprechen Deutsch.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago

I just read a great joke comment re. ‘Ten Pound Poms’…

“How can you tell that a plane is full of Pommies? When they shut down the engines the whining doesn’t stop”…

Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
11 months ago

This subject is beginning to drag on a bit. The King or Prince was Irish as I understand it and his name in Welsh was Brychein. The -iog suffix names his territorial possessions. Maybe the afanc can be persuaded to emerge from Llyn Syfaddon and eat up all the noisome complainers.

Ben Heneghan
Ben Heneghan
11 months ago

Why “faux”? Have you forgotten the word “false”? Or fake? Is your English really that poor?

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben Heneghan

False is originally from Latin and fake originally from German, so I don’t know how English the words are. English must have been a very limited language hence it needed to borrow so many words from other languages especially Latin and French but many others too

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
11 months ago

Erthygl ardderchog

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