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Watch: BBC World Cup commentator criticised over ‘Welsh pronounciation’ joke during Wales v Iran match

25 Nov 2022 2 minute read
Steve Wilson handout photo

A BBC commentator has been criticised after making a joke about the perceived difficulty of pronouncing Welsh names.

Steve Wilson was commenting during the first half of the Wales v Iran game when he made the joke.

Steve Wilson said: “Speaking to a Welsh colleague this week who was struggling a bit with the Iranian Pronounciations.

“But I thought – if you can pronounce Welsh names you’re half way there.

“Iranians are a breeze compared to some of the Welsh place names.”

Some of those following the match online didn’t take kindly to the joke.

Rob Palmizi said: “Steve WIlson is better than that. Why have the pop at Welsh place names? Just unnecessary.”

“BBC commentator with a bit of ‘joking’ about the difficult pronunciation of Welsh placenames in comparison to Iranian names,” Nathen Amin said.

“Wait until I tell you about Leicester, Southwark, Bicester, Magdelen and the rest, pal.”

“Tired old stereotypes as usual,” Jamie Nelmes said.

Thomas Prosser wondered whether he “had dreamed” the comment, while Ceri Davies suggested that Gabby Logan should “have a word with him”.

“So poor. Need to change the approach to talking about other languages,” he said.

Duncan Brodie said: “Not only that but he introduced the observation by poking fun at a Welsh colleague who’d been checking out the pronunciation of Iranian names. Isn’t that what professional broadcasters are supposed to do?”

The criticism however came after praise for the use Gary Linker had made of the Welsh language in his coverage of the Welsh team.

The Llywydd of the Welsh Parliament, Elin Jones, had praised him for “great Welsh” after he said “Mae’n dod adref” (it’s coming home) during the coverage.


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Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
18 hours ago

TBH our place names are hard to pronounce for neighbours who have never taken even the slightest interest in learning even the tiniest bit of the language of their “equal” partners in the “union”, to the degree that we need to provide a babyish English “alternative” for them. It is alittle hard to take from a “profession” in a nation who have been confidently mispronouncing non English names and places for the duration of broadcasting. Case in point. Kyiv in Ukraine is pronounced EXACTLY as it is written, but every single English broadcaster have taken to pronouncing it elongated and… Read more »

Last edited 18 hours ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Paul Rosevitch
Paul Rosevitch
17 hours ago

Ви справдіірозмовляєте українською?

Київ = kyyiv

Saeson yn iawn yma

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
14 hours ago
Reply to  Paul Rosevitch

Просто хороший слух і доступ до українця

Paul Souter
Paul Souter
16 hours ago

In absolute fairness, under the Cyrillic alphabet and in most standardised pronunciations,

Київ would sound more kerr-eve therefore keeve.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
14 hours ago
Reply to  Paul Souter

And yet as I have mentioned I a) Have an ear for subtle inflections b) Double checked with my Ukranian colleague who speaks the living language and doesn’t so far as I am aware study textbooks on it. There is the possibility that it is a regional accent thing. But both Volodomyr Zelensky and Vitalii Klitchko also say Kyiv not Keeve. AND YET listening to a few YouTube vids of Ukranians saying it just now, I also heard ku-yiv and curiously kru-yiv (so correction sort of accepted). But absolutely no “keeve” despite what this week’s troll Levi claims the textbooks… Read more »

Last edited 14 hours ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
50 minutes ago

I see Levi’s gone then. Guess another will be along shortly. Perhaps there will be a bumper crop of BANTAA(TM) monkeys along on the run up to the football match

Connoisseur of Understatement
Connoisseur of Understatement
16 hours ago

Given the context, the following is very cheeky, so please take it in good humour. What’s with the definite article (“Y”) at the start of your Highness’s illustrious title? Fluent Cymraeg speakers aren’t going to worry about it — they’ll recognise it as either an honest mistake or some grammatical subtlety. But for those of us who are trying to improve, it’s most discombobulating. We have to get used to Cymraeg’s preference for genitive constructions over adjectival constructions (the opposite bias to English), but Cymraeg doesn’t inflect the genitive case, (English’s apostrophe-“s”), so we tend to misidentify Cymraeg genitive constructions… Read more »

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
18 hours ago

Some people need to get a life- Steve Wilson was actually complimenting the ability of his Welsh colleagues linguistic ability

Connoisseur of Understatement
Connoisseur of Understatement
16 hours ago

Whatever Steve Wilson’s intentions, there’s a pearl of wisdom in his words. If you live in a bilingual nation, you’re all the more able to appreciate other languages when you travel abroad. Bilingualism is good for everyone.

And the idea that Farsi is easier to pronounce than Welsh? He’s guessing that Iranians use English pronunciation rules when they write their names in the Latin alphabet, but perhaps they don’t. Other Latin alphabet languages are available!

David Harking
David Harking
17 hours ago

It’s just a joke. When a country can’t take a joke it’s a serious problem, some people need to lighten up.

Antony_JnR
Antony_JnR
16 hours ago
Reply to  David Harking

A joke based around ignorance has no merit.

Riki
Riki
11 hours ago
Reply to  Antony_JnR

Indeed, a joke constantly told and designed to belittle children so they won’t want to use it. Long drawn effort to eradicate the Native language of the Britons.

Gibbo Tarik
Gibbo Tarik
46 minutes ago
Reply to  Riki

I have no doubt that those Machiavellian aims were never the man’s intentions. 🤯

Gibbo Tarik
Gibbo Tarik
48 minutes ago
Reply to  Antony_JnR

It isn’t ignorance. Welsh IS very difficult indeed to pronounce, especially for non-Welsh speakers.
That is not ignorance, it is FACT.
No offence was intended and no offence should be taken.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
14 hours ago
Reply to  David Harking

“Just a joke”. The excuse of the offensive, everywhere. “It’s just BANTAAAA!!”

Gibbo Tarik
Gibbo Tarik
41 minutes ago

It WAS just a joke, and a mild one at that.
Welsh IS a very difficult language.
It wasn’t offensive. It’s merely FACT.
Stating that the Welsh language or any other language for that matter is difficult shouldn’t be offensive.

Cawr
Cawr
14 hours ago
Reply to  David Harking

You need a good peltan

Nia James
Nia James
2 hours ago

BBC and ITV are treating us like a bit of candy, something sweet aside from the main course of “the nation”. Apart from Wilison’s comment about pronunciation, note the obsession with the singing of Y Wal Goch, especially our anthem, or “the song” as one BBC journalist called it. We will have a few days build up now with lots of references to ‘EnglandWales’, ‘home nations’, ‘British teams’ and the like. If we lose to, or draw with, England, or if/when we are eliminated expect lots of emphasis on ‘plucky Wales’, and ‘will Bale retire?’. The broadcasters’ scripts are already… Read more »

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 hour ago
Reply to  Nia James

Yes. Slated and hated before the match.“BANTAAA!”(TM). Patronised if we lose. Edited out of their memory if we win

Last edited 1 hour ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Gibbo Tarik
Gibbo Tarik
53 minutes ago

We are ever so OVER-SENSITIVE in Wales!
The Welsh language IS difficult to pronounce, especially for non-Welsh speakers. FACT.
We need to lighten-up a little.
If the joke were about English pronunciation which is at times also baffling to non-English speakers, no one would make it political or nationalistic.
It’s a TRUE observation and merely a bit of light-hearted banter!

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