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marianneh



Joined: 30 May 2013
Posts: 1931

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:45 pm    Post subject: pobol wirion Reply with quote

As a sidekick to the artist Catherine Wynne-Paton, I was able to enter the Eisteddfod maes each day gratis. That was great. Once the very easy work was over, I could wander off and watch any act.

The Abergavenny Chronicle has warmly remembered a 'perfect' Eisteddfod. It was great, but my enjoyment was marred by tribalist rumour mongering by those who wouldn't lower themselves to go anywhere near the maes.

I went into a dress shop a few weeks before. You must remember Abergavenny has been anglicised since the 1840s as Raymond Williams said. The lady behind the till was regaling like minded gossips with the story that a journalist on the Abergavenny Chronicle had said that the monoglot English speakers of Abergavenny were unworthy to take part in the Eisteddfod. They were only good enough to do the washing up.

I heard them exclaim, ''What a cheek! We're not going to do their washing up!'' They expressed a determination to boycott the Eisteddfod. They said all their friends would be doing the same.

I thought it highly unlikely that any of the emollient journalists on the local rag would have been inflammatory enough to say the English speakers of Abergavenny were fit only to be hewers of wood and drawers of water.' I said, ''Do you think it can really be true? Did you read it yourselves? Don't you think someone's let their imagination run away with them?''

''Oh it must be true! A very nice lady told me!'' said the proprietress. They then began talking of how the Welsh speaking gogs from North Wales would be coming down and parking in 'our' car parks. They also complained that new tarmac had been put down just for Welsh speakers.

The shop lady moaned that she hadn't been able to learn Welsh. It wasn't taught in schools in her era and area.

I'm not saying it's a piece of cake. But I was to meet people on the maes with London and Canadian accents who spoke Welsh fluently. They had learnt as adults.

Another negative rumour was that if you wandered off the maes, you would have to pay a £5 re-entry fee to be re-admitted. This was not true. You just had to have you card stamped on going out to be re-admitted.

I was sufficiently concerned to discuss the whispering campaign with the editorial staff on the Abergavenny Chronicle. They said there had been no such comment by one of their journalists nor anything like it.

They would not publish a retraction. They didn't want to give the story the oxygen of publicity.They said they had no way of knowing how widespread it had become.

A young journalist laughed at the whinge that they were not being invited to take part in a glamorous capacity, considering they could not be bothered to learn Welsh. I thought myself it was like someone who had never had a physics lesson complaining that they hadn't been invited to Sweden to receive a Nobel prize in physics.

On the way to the maes one morning, I popped into a shop run by a quite elderly woman whose whiny manner reminded me unpleasantly of my adoptive mother. She was complaining about the Eisteddfod. Her parting shot was that ''It's all in Welsh'', her tone implying that that was totally uncalled for and inappropriate.

''Of course, it's in Welsh!'', I gasped, ''What language did you expect it to be in? Zulu? Clingon?''

Discussing it with a colleague later, I wondered if I should have said that there was an excellent translation service. It would have been more constructive, but this moronic intolerance always brought out my sarcastic side.

He sympathised, remembering his recent holiday in Turkey. He had commended the lovely Turkish breakfast of olives and feta cheese. The other British tourists had narked, ''Yes, you can't even get a decent British breakfast in this dump.''

He commented that it was hard to get a traditional Icelandic breakfast in Cambodia too.

I was in Abergavenny Library today when someone was asked if he had been to the Eisteddfod. ''No'', he said contemptuously in a marked Welsh accent,''I don't speak that dead language!''

I couldn't stop myself putting in in chilly tones, ''Apart from not being dead, there was an excellent translation service! You could have had headphones.'' I had not been part of the conversation, but I really could not allow this to pass.

People who did surveys for me sometimes expressed disapproval of people speaking Welsh on the grounds that it was a dead language! It would have been unprofessional for me to contradict people who had been kind enough to fill in my surveys.

But I have to assume they don't know the meaning of the phrase, dead language. By definition, a dead language is one that no one speaks, at least not as a first language, and Welsh isn't in that state yet.

I have to say Nansi the defensive and repellent person who does the Clwb Clonc evenings in Abergavenny doesn't come out of the Eisteddfod week smelling of roses either.

She twice put me down and rubbished me in a hostile way for being factually wrong about Welsh etymology when I wasn't. When I expressed hope that we could get into the Eisteddfod for free if we volunteered, she squashed me in a hoity toity and defensive way again. She said I would have to pay the full entry fee even if I did volunteer.

I didn't know if she was right or not until my first day at the maes. The Welsh reading teacher at the library had told us the opposite.

Behold, there was a free ticket waiting for me each day as a member of the Visual Artists coterie. It was clear that Nansi didn't think much of me. I wondered if she had been trying to put me off with malice aforethought. If so, it would be disturbingly unprofessional.

I asked a friend, ''Do you think she was lying on purpose?'' ''No'', he laughed, ''She's just stupid!''


Last edited by marianneh on Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:21 pm; edited 4 times in total
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dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2636

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The title is " pobol wirion " eh ? ... In the sense of " pure " ? ... " chaste " ? ... " truthful ? " ... " harmless " ? ... " guileless " ? ... " innocent " ? ... " unwise " ? ... " stupid " ? ... " senile " ? ...

... I immediately latched onto the idea that these might be " The Truthful People - in Their Own Way " i.e. " - in Their Own Language " because I feel that some languages can say things can not be said in others - and since Welsh belongs to a entirely different family of language to the family of languages which includes English, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish etc I feel that its structure qualifies truths not spoken of in other modern languages.

Truths which Mamgu might mutter about in Welsh and thus find herself being dismissed by others in English as just talking a load of old senile nonsense ?
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marianneh



Joined: 30 May 2013
Posts: 1931

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:33 am    Post subject: chaste Reply with quote

I suppose I meant foolish rather than chaste, pure or innocent. But etymologically, they may well come from the same root. In lamenting the fate of the princes in the Tower, Thomas More referred to them as 'sely' silly children, by which he meant innocent.

Incidentally, he also said that their murderers 'lapped' ie wrapped them up in their blankets. There is still a verb 'lapio' to wrap in Modern Welsh but which language it comes from originally, I have no idea.
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