If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Welsh Spelling

Living in the English-speaking part of Pembrokeshire (often called 'Little England Beyond Wales') doesn't mean that we don't get the full translation of everything into Welsh, even when it's totally unnecessary. I don't have a problem with that, even though this part of Wales hasn't been Welsh-speaking since the 11th Century.

But occasionally, the insistence that absolutely everything has to be bilingual leads to some amusing moments. The illuminated signs on the tops of some taxis, for example, which have the legend TACSI. Historically, the Welsh language doesn't have a letter 'X', so TACSI it has to be.

And like all ancient languages, Welsh has not been shy about nicking lexical items wholesale where necessary. There's a garage in mid-Wales that I used to pass often, with a truck parked outside, whose sides and tailboard advertised TEIARS, SIOCS, BRECS, EGSOSTS. The area it was in is totally Welsh-speaking, so there is a kind of justification for that. Incidentally, for those unfamiliar with Welsh orthography, those spellings indicate a pronunciation exactly as you would expect from their English equivalents.

Then there was this peach from our local Tesco:

I wonder if the Welsh Tories have told Eric?

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