Sunday, 18 January 2015

Hyphens for Welsh Place Names?

This article: Villagers dash hopes of a helpful hyphen to tackle Welsh tongue-twisters suggests the introduction of hyphens to make Welsh place names easier to pronounce. 

It makes sense, because the hyphens separate place name elements and clearly identify where the word stress has to be placed. But I think it's the letters that fox most people.

For example: 
w for 'oo'; dd for 'th'; f for 'v'; u for 'y'; y for 'u' (as in 'cup'); and ll for a voiceless 'l'.

Many of the organizations who support the change, such as the Ordnance Survey, are already using the hyphens.

Most of these names have direct equivalents in place names in Brittany. 
In case you don't know, here is what a few of the Welsh place names mentioned in the article mean (without hyphens!):
Cnwchcoch: Redhill... 'red' (coch), 'hill(ock)/mound' (cnwch)
Brynteg: Fairhill... 'fair' (teg), 'hill' (bryn)
Drefach: Small village... 'small' (bachfach), 'village/settlement' (trefdre)
Felinfach: Small mill... 'small' (bachfach), 'mill' (melinv/felin)
Felinwynt: Windmill... 'wind' ([g]wynt), 'mill' (melinv/felin)
Ffynnon Oer: Coldspring... 'spring' (ffynnon), 'cold' (oer)
Gorsgoch: Red bog...'red' (cochgoch), 'bog' (corsgors)
Tremain: Narrow village...'narrow' (main), 'village/settlement' (tre(f))

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