"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Thursday 2 January 2014

Y Farteg

Many will remember this story from last year, where in the Welsh village of Varteg, which is in the Welsh county of Torfaen there had been a plan to use the Welsh form of the village name, 'Y Farteg'. This sent many anti-Welsh language bigots off on one and the plan to change the name has now been abandoned.

At the time Sioned Jones, 42, who lives in the village near Pontypool, south Wales, said: 'Just imagine how embarrassing it will be to have the word "fart" in your village's name - never mind being followed by "egg".

This is coming from a person called Sioned, which is the Welsh form of Janet and is not pronounced See-On-Ed it is pronouced SHON-ed. No doubt Sioned will have, at some point in her life had to explain to someone how to pronounce her name. Yet she is mortified at the prospect of having to explain to someone how to pronounce the name of her village.

NIMBYwch yn ofalus
Anyone who has any knowledge of Cymraeg would be able to tell you that a single F in Welsh is a V sound in English but that hasn't stopped the residents getting their knickers tied up in bunches because 'outsiders' will pronounce it 'Fart Egg', oh the humanity.

After receiving a letter with 150 signatures opposing the plans, local councillor Richard Clark agreed that the new name could bring the town and villagers into 'disrepute'.
He added: 'Whilst we in Wales understand the pronunciation, outsiders will say it Fart-egg.'

It's not clear just who these 'outsiders' are that Dick is referring to. They are clearly not Welsh, he makes that part clear. These may be 'outsiders' that do not live in Wales, in which case it makes me wonder why he would care what they think. Or he could be talking about 'outsiders' that have moved to Wales in which case he should probably do a bit more to help them integrate, an easy way to start would be to have a bilingual name on the signs coming into the village.

Residents of 'Y Farteg' should spare a thought for the people who live 26 miles away in the beautifully named Powys village of Aberllynfi, which literally translates as the mouth of the river Llynfi. Yet for some reason also has an Anglicised name that would probably make Sioned's head explode. I am of course talking about the the village of Three Cocks.

Be careful when googling this one!
Just in case there are any 'outsiders' reading this. The above is pretty much a translation of 'meanwhile, in Powys'. The 'yn' in this case mutates to an 'ym' and the 'P' mutates to an 'Mh'. And before any 'outsiders' or anti-Welsh bigots freak out about a mutation you will now be reading an English mutation. Anyway, I haven't heard of any petitions from the residents of 'Three Cocks' to have the Anglicised version of their name removed. But then I had only heard of this village fairly recently, I have never been but if I had you can bet that I would have a photograph taken next to the sign. If possible I would try and get another two people in the picture with me for extra comedic effect. I would also visit the shops and businesses of the village to see how many of them have the words 'Three Cocks' above their door.

And on this pretend visit to 'Three Cocks' I would be desperately looking for a tat shop that sells merchandise with the name of the village on it. Perhaps that makes me childish, actually it definitely makes me childish but the people of 'Y Farteg' are losing out on a potential money spinner all because they are worried about what people who don't even live in Wales think. What a pathetic bunch they are.

Shut up and take my money
In case you didn't see the warning about, be careful when googling 'Three Cocks'. Perhaps add Powys or Aberllynfi in as a key word too!

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