0948e Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia. John Williams, 1902. A hundred years from now not only Glamorgan but South Wales also will be overwhelmingly Gwentian in speech. Every Welsh dialect is now spoken here, but the children of the immigrants talk and play in Y Wenhwseg, the Gwentian dialect. The speech of the English settlers in Welsh communities becomes also Gwentian in pronunciation.

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Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia
La Web de Gal
les i Catalunya


Y Wenhwyseg (tafodiaith y de-ddwyrain)
Gwentian (the dialect of the south-east)


THE GWENTIAN OF THE FUTURE
John Griffiths, 1902


(delw 0420)

 

(Y Parch. John Griffiths, Nant-y-moel)

From "Edward II in Glamorgan", John Griffith 1902
Tudalennau 177-179

When the Gwentian speech re-invaded the Vale the people, both Welsh and English, had become one. The Normans did their very best, and succeeded to a large extent, more by diplomacy than by force, in pulling down the wall of partition. But there was no real peace and goodwill until the Gwentian was once more spoken along the long coast-line, by people flourishing Norman and English surnames. The earlier charters of Glamorgan, which concerned the people are addressed to three classes, French, English and Welsh. Both Latin and French were used officially. The Welsh language, as has been noticed, was recognised in the Welsh commote courts. Hence a number of dual names for districts where there were both English and Welsh communities, such as Coity Anglicana and Coity Wallicana; Avan Anglicana and Avan Wallicana; Kidwelly Anglicana and Kidwelly Wallicana, just as there were in Breconshire a Welsh and an English Talgarth, Hay and Pencelli. There are noble Norman precedents for the establishment of Welsh courts throughout Wales.

A hundred years from now not only Glamorgan but South Wales also will be overwhelmingly Gwentian in speech. Every Welsh dialect is now spoken here, but the children of the immigrants talk and play in Y Wenhwseg, the Gwentian dialect. The speech of the English settlers in Welsh communities becomes also Gwentian in pronunciation. No other dialect survives one generation here. The ruined conditions of former hives of industry in some parts of Glamorgan and Monmouth remind us that the limit of our industrial development will be reached sooner or later. With the inevitable ebbing of the tide of immigration, and with any stand-still-ness in our communal life, the Gwentian will re-assert itself. You can put any insurance both on the people and the speech of Siluria. The latter has a remarkable power for borrowing and giving a classic touch to English words. The Gwentian of the future will be something like the following specimen spoken at a certain meeting a short time ago. "I ni weti grondo acha speech dda iawn. Fe exposws y sharatwr ffalasi argiwment yr ochor arath, a fe explodws i bubble hi." {Note: The quote shows very prominent Gwentian syntactical / phonological forms, along with heavy borrowing from English. 'We've heard a very good speech. The speaker exposed the fallacy of the argument of the other side, and he exploded its bubble'}. Whether such a dialect deserves to live is a question which is nobody's business to decide. The Gwentian lives, and will live, for one thing as a protest against every political meddling with a people's speech. Even hole-and-corner dialect will survive dynasties of Bismarcks. Little Malta on such a question makes her voice heard at Westminster. The flowing tide of scholarship is strongly in favour of such survivals.

For some generations, the hillmen looked upon the English settlements in the Vale as their fair game whenever they chose to go on the war-path. But a force even stronger than even the Gwentian dialect gradually united them. The hills became represented in the Norman castles and English towns of the Vales by the fair daughters of Welsh freemen.

An old "triban" records the chief commodities which were exchanged between Bro and Blaenau, the Vale and the Uplands.

"Dywedir er's peth oesa'
Taw buwch o'r Fro w'r gora',
Ond cn boddloni'r cyflawn serch
Rhaid w cael merch o'r Blaena'."

For ages it has been said
That a cow from the Vale is the best,
But for the full satisfaction of love,
You must go to the Uplands for a wife.

The bard was either a Blaenau man or a love-sick Bro bachelor. "Gwartheg Morgannwg," Glamorgan cattle, were once famous. Equally historical is the fact that the Blaenau, where the natives enjoyed a continuity of tenure for a fabulous time, have yielded an inexhaustible supply of fair women to grace the goodlier homesteads of the Bro. It is one of a few commodities which can be supplied without impoverishing the Hills.


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Adolygiad diweddaraf - latest update 21 06 2000

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