A good rant about the state of the Welsh language is always on the tip of my tongue and recently my thoughts have turned even closer to home than simply the whole nation with regards to letting off some lingo steam.
A few weeks ago the following picture did the rounds on various social media sites attracting a lot more interest than ordinary, correct Welsh ever would.
Plastigs a chaniaus
It’s with good reason too – the Welsh here is appalling! At first glance a Welsh speaker would commend both the aspirate mutation following the ‘a’ (and) and the pluralisation of the second noun using the suffix ‘-au.’ No one, myself included, can fathom why the English, French, German (et al) pluralising suffix ‘-s’ is chucked on the end here. Makes for a good chuckle though, right?
But there are countless examples out there hashtagging Sgymraeg across our country. Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebooker, Snappers and Instapeeps everywhere jump on the high-horse bandwagon and flag up all the funny impurities of attempts at the wonders of Welsh syntax. So why this time am I making more of a fuss? Well, because this one was spotted in very own birthplace…. Wrecsam. Even so, I’m sure this isn’t the first time the Welsh language has been hanged, drawn and quartered in my local town. In fact, I can guarantee it’s not!
Unfortunately for this particular sign, a language rant is well overdue and this sign, as it were, represents the straw that broke the donkey’s back.
I went for a run this morning – please don’t be alarmed, the apocalypse is not yet upon us! I was tempted by a jog around my local football pitches which, I’ve worked out, are 500m around. I’m working towards 10 laps so I can run a 5k. Anyhow, this morning as I approached the hill on which the pitches are situated I saw someone else running around.
Mr Unfit here, yours truly, didn’t fancy making even more of an idiot of himself in front of others as he was about to all by himself. *Reverts back to first person* So, I had a sit until said runner left. As I sat I spotted the following sign:
It translates as ‘You are not allowed to bring your to this area. Go from this playing place to exercise your dog.’ One may have to have a second look at this to realise there’s a noun missing…. I’m hoping the missing word is ‘ci’ (dog). It hurt more this time because I’d found this clanger in my own village. I’m under illusions – I know a mere 15% of this village’s residents have any knowledge of Welsh and that we’re only 12 miles from the border with our previously-plundering neighbours but I still didn’t like to see such a mistake in the village I’ve called home all my life. Instead of informing my local councillor etc, I posted my local travesty to various social media sites. It helped me to get over it…. I think!
The second run on which I went brought me across this sign:
Search all you like, there’s nothing wrong with this sign. It did, however, get me thinking. How many people, Welsh speakers included, actually understand the Welsh here? It’s not heard on an everyday level in any occasions at all. Granted, it’s correct in terms of literary Welsh but hardly anyone speaks like this. My question is would it be possible to have an unwritten ‘law’ that states we use simple Welsh on signs in bigger and clearer fonts with smaller italicised English translation. Something like this, perhaps:
No, it isn’t great Welsh but in my opinion it would be eyecatching in the first instance, and confidence-building in the second. Let’s presume that the 85% of Leeswood’s population that have no knowledge of Welsh will not understand (or possibly even notice) the Welsh on the current sign. Would it also be fair to say that most members of the remaining 15% will most likely ignore the Welsh after the word ‘chaniateir?’ Who uses that word on a daily basis?
I’d challene any young person who has had their education in Wales in the last 20 years to tell me they don’t know what DIM means. Dim siarad. Dim problem. Dwi ddim yn hoffi….
I reckon 99% at least would know what CHWARAE means with an even higher number possessing the ability to guess what GOLFF translates as.
Welsh would be prioritised, seen more regularly, understood more readily AND…. people are more likely to read the bloody sign!