0931e Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia. A 30-page booklet in English published in 1901 showing the chief characteristics of Gwentian (Y Wenhwyseg), the dialect of south-east Wales, as an aid to teachers of Welsh in the schools. Written by John Griffiths (Pentrevor), and produced by the printer and publisher J. E. Southall in the town of Casnewydd, a pioneer in Welsh-language issues at the time

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Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia
La Web de Gal
·les i Catalunya

Y Wenhwyseg
A KEY TO THE PHONOLOGY OF THE GWENTIAN DIALECT
John Griffiths, 1902

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This is an online version of a  30-page booklet which sought to explain the main characteristics of the dialect of south-east Wales by John Griffith (pen name: Pentrevor). Although slightly confused or eccentric in places, and with a few disputable statements, it is an interesting booklet in that it recognised the importance of the Gwentian dialect in teaching, as well as being the first booklet to attempt to explain its most common features.
 
(1) Mentioned in the text are:
(a) Dafydd Benwyn - a poet from Tir Iarll, c1550-1600
(b) Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826) - poet, anitquarian (and forger of antiquarian manuscripts! But all in a good cause.)
(2)  Our comments are in orange italic text in braces {like this}

_____________________________________________________

Y WENHWYSEG
______

A KEY TO THE PHONOLOGY OF THE GWENTIAN DIALECT
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FOR THE USE OF TEACHERS OF WELSH IN GLAMORGAN AND MONMOUTH SCHOOLS
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BY JOHN GRIFFITH .
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NEWPORT, MON.:
J. E. SOUTHALL, PRINTER AND PUBLISHER.

LONDON:
W.H. ROBERTS, CECIL COURT, CHARING CROSS ROAD.

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1902



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INTRODUCTION
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I have put together a few notes on the phonology of the speech of some half a million of Welshmen, and a dialect which influences largely the speech of another half million. Scrappy and incomplete as I know the notes are, I have been moved to print them as a small measure of relief to some teachers in our schools, who, when they undertake to teach what is passing as literary Welsh, are confronted in the schools of Gwent and Morgannwg with a dialect of over-whelming strength, which presents regular features like any civilised speech, but which, to the novice, appears to differ as much from common Welsh, as, say, the Breton language. Knowledge of the local dialect is indispensable to the proper teaching of Welsh. The Gwentian dialect, moreover, deserves study on its own account. Of the three leading dialects of Wales, it has now the largest sphere of influence.

A large portion of ancient Welsh literature is in Y Wenhwyseg or Gwentian. Its influence in forming the literary Welsh of the future will doubtless br very great. While, at present, all the dialects of Wales, and possibly of England too, contribute their share towards forming a new, or modifying an old speech in Gwent and Morgannwg, the product eventually will be overwhelmingly Gwentian. The children of English or Irish settlers acquire a Gwentian accent, even when they have not learnt much of Gwentian. In the Monmouthshire valleys, the linguist finds no difficulty in recognising, in an English guise, the sounds which struck terror into the hearts of the Roman soldiers, when for years they sought a place in the land of the Silures to plant their eagles.

All the peculiarties of Gwentian I have noted may not be found in one locality, and all Gwentians may not be prepared to recognise them all. Many of them may be found outside Gwent and Morgannwg. Neither is it strictly proper to regard the speech of that large dialect as one dialect. There are commot {NOTE: Englished form of the Welsh word “cwmwd” – a medieval territorial division} and parochial peculiarities of speech forming, if not distinct dialects, useful linguistic boundaries. No small object will be attained by publishing these notes if a more general interest will be created in dialect studies, if teachers of Welsh will be induced to record any peculiarities of spech that may come under their notice, and if the materials and the demand for a more elaborate and scholarly work on the subject by abler hands will be forthcoming.

JOHN GRIFFITH.


Y WENHWYSEG.
______
(The examples from the Gwentian are printed in italics. In a few cases, examples from printed works only, chiefly those of Iolo Morganwg, are known to the writer.)
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1. â > eâ.
In words of one syllable, long â is pronounced as if an e preceded it, though the e is not pronounced as fully as in deall, ‘understanding’.
Tâd - teâd, ‘father’.
Bâch - beâch, ‘little’.

2. a > o.
(a) Final. Gwrando - grondo, ‘to listen’
(b) Final. Angladd - anglodd, ‘funeral’
Arnaf fi -
arno i, ‘on me’
(c) Prep. A llaw - o law, (No. 61), ‘with, or by hand’. (This o is the efo of
North Cardiganshire and other parts).
(d) Adv. and conj. Na, nag - no, nog, (Iolo M), ‘nor, than’.

3. ae > â.
(a) Monosyllables. Aeth - âth, ‘he went’
(b) Words of two syllables contracted into one.
Daear - dâr, (through an intermediate daer) ‘earth’
Dâr is used in the
Rhondda Valley in the restricted sense of ‘earth-hole’, the hiding-place of the fox. The plural is daerau, and the custom of watching the haunts of foxes is called gwylied daerau, ‘watching the earth-holes’. The same use of dâr is retained in an English part of Pembrokeshire, in the expression, when a fox eludes the hounds, ‘he is gone to the dâr’. Compare the expression ‘run to earth’. (See No. 0 [d]).
For further remarks on dâr, see Appendix at the end of the book.
Baraen (old form) - Brân, name of brook.
Cair (old form), caer - câr, ‘an encampment’.

4. ae > a
Haearn - harn, (through an intermediate haern) ‘iron’

5. ae > a final.
Athrawiaeth - athrawiath, ‘doctrine’

6. ae > ai initial.
Traethawd - traithawd, ‘an essay’

7. ae > i.
Gwaeddu - gwîddu, (through the Dimetian gweiddu) ‘to shout’
Ffaelu - ffîli, (through the Dimetian ffeilu) ‘to fail’

8. ai > a final.
Boneddigaidd - boneddicadd, ‘gentlemanly’
Ugain - ucan, ‘twenty’

9. ai > i.
(a) Initial. ae, ai (No. 6), i.
Traethodau - trithota, ‘essays’
(b) Final. Cywain - cŵin, (No. 97 [a]) and cwîn, ‘to gather crops’
Tonyrefail - Tonyrefil,
Tamaid - tamid, and tamad (No. 31 [b]), ‘a morsel’.
(c) The plural form - aid, from the singular -ad, is id
Llygaid - llycid, and llicid, (No. 92) ‘eyes’.
Defaid - defid, ‘sheep’.
(d) The spelling daiar for daear, through the Demetian deair, becomes dîar, ‘earth; and haiarn for haearn, through the Dimetian heiarn becomes hîarn, ‘iron’ (Nos. 3, 4, 32 [b]). The latter form hîarn,
is hardly ever used, though dîar is common.

10. au > a plural.
Tadau (Dimetian tadeu = tade) - tada, ‘fathers’

11. au > ach plural.
Pethau (Dimetian petheu = pethe) - pethach, ‘things’

12. au > ou in monosyllables.
Dau - dou, ‘two’
Cnau - cnou, ‘nuts’

13. aw > o
Awdurdod - odirdod, ‘authority’.

14. aw > ow
Awdwr - owdwr, ‘an author’
Awdl - owdwl, ‘an ode’

15. b > f
Hyd byth - Hyd fyth (Iolo M.), ‘for ever’.

16. b > p
Accented b is always p. Y bobl - y bopol, ‘the people’.
abl - apal, ‘able’.

17. b > th
O bobtu - o bothtu, ‘on every side, about’.

18. c > g
Ac - ag, ‘and’. ‘Anghof ag anneall’ (Iolo M.)

19. c > ci initial.
Cant - ciant, ‘hundred’.
This peculiarity is not so marked as No. 1, and it occurs with a short a/.

20. ch > hw or wh, ch > w.
Chwiban - hwipan, and wipan, ‘to whistle’.
Chwech - hwech, and wech, ‘six’.

21. cr > cyr
Crynhoi - cyrnhoi, ‘to gather together’.
Crychell, a brook near Cwm Hir, Radnorshire, is written Cyrchell in the Gwentian code of Howel Dda’s Laws.

22. d dropped.
Tadcu - tacű, (or î) ‘grandfather’.

23. d > dd final.
Gormod - gormodd, ‘too much’.
Gorfod - gorfodd, ‘to be compelled’.

24. d > dz or j, when followed by i.
Diofal - dziofal, jďofal, jimofal, and dimofal, ‘careless, jocular’.
Gorfod - gorfodd, ‘to be compelled’.

25. d > t
Accented d is always t
Cadw - catw, ‘to keep’.
Cawodydd - cawotydd, ‘showers’.
Adgof - atgof, ‘remembrance’.

26. dchr > drch
Dychrynllyd - drychynllyd, ‘fearful’.
This epithet is often applied, as da drychynllyd, ‘fearfully or horribly good’, like da ofnatw, ‘awfully good’
Dechreuoddf - drychďws, ‘he began’.
“Pwy ôdd y bachan iefangc ‘na ddrychďws y cwrdd?”

27. dd
(a) Final, retained in -
Rhoi fyny - rhoi fynydd, ‘to give up’.
I fyny - i fynydd, ‘up’.
(b) Inserted.
Ydyw, y mae hi - otii, maedd (h)i, ‘yes, she is’.

28. dd hardened into th
Ganddynt - genthyn, ‘with or by them’.

29. dn > ndd
Cadno - canddo, also catno, ‘a fox’.
There seems to be the plural cendi also in use.
“Chwareu’r ieir a’r cendi” (A triban quoted by “Cadrawd”).

30. ddn > ndd.
‘Rotheni’ (1202, ‘Rodne’ (RED BOOK OF HERGEST), representing Rhoddni, Rhoddnei, or Rhoddne, has become
Rhondda, (No. 31 [b]).

31. e > a.
(a) Initial. Erioed - ariôd, (No. 67), ‘ever, from the beginning’.
(b) Final. Teisen - tishan, (No. 32 [b]), ‘cake’.
Chweugen - whîgan, (No. 20), ‘ten shillings’.
(c) Fel - fal, ‘as, like’.
Fal and mal are common in Welsh literature, especially poetry.

32. (a) ei > ai.
Dei, Deio (Dafydd) - Dai, ‘David’.
(b) ei > î.
Gweithio - gwîtho, ‘to work’.
Ei - î, ‘his’.

33. eu > a.
The plural form -eu, as well as -au, is a in Gwentian.
Esgidieu - scitsha, (No. 90), ‘shoes’.
Eisiau - îsha, (No. 74), ‘want, need’.

34. eu > î.
Gwneuthur - gnîthur, ‘to make’.
Creulon - crîlon, ‘cruel’.

35. ew > w and iw.
Mewn - mwn, ‘in’, and, as in Dimetian, miwn, ‘into, within’.

36. f final dropped.
Cynhwrf - cynnwr, ‘commotion’.

37. fe > ef.
Fe a - ef. “Ef a ddigwyddws coll ar lawer o wybodaeth” (Iolo M.)

38. fe > fa.
Onide fe? - ontefa? ‘is it not?’
Do fe? - dofa? ‘did it? was it?’
“Enclitic fe becomes fa in the
Eastern Gwentian dialects” (Dr. Max Nettlau).

39. f > m.
Mi a wnaf - fi’ na ‘I will do or make’
A fi âf i a fe i fyw i Fro Fiscin
(and he and I will go to live to Bro Fiscin = Miskin).

40. f > w.
Fel yna - wel’na, ‘in that way’.
(Wel for fel is very common. No. 31 [c]).

41. fh > ff.
Cryfhâu - crýffa, (No. 48 [b] 2), ‘to become strong’.

42. fn > nf. (See No. 29).
Trefnu - trenfu, ‘to arrange’.
Cefnu - cenfu, ‘to turn one’s back to’.
Llyfni - Llynfi and Llwyni,a tributary of the Ogwr river.

43. fy > ym.
Poss. pron., ‘my’ (No. 48 [a])
Fy
hunan - ym (h) unan, ‘myself’.
Fy stori - ym stori, ‘my story’.

44. g dropped..
Arglwydd - arlwydd, ‘lord’.
But the g is always pronounced in the Scriptural Arglwydd, LORD.
Bachgen - bachan, ‘boy’.

45. g > c
Accented g is always c.
Magu - macu, ‘to nurse’.
“Cas gwr na charo’r wlad a’i maco.’

46. gl > cl
Casglu - clascu, ‘to collect’.

47. gyf > godd
Gyferbyn - godderbyn, and godderab, (goddereb in N. Pemb), from gwydderbyn, ‘over against’

48. h
Use very uncertain and capricious.
Anhap - anap ‘an accident’
Anrhaith - anraith (Iolo M.), ‘pillage’
Hysbysywydd - ysbysrwydd (Iolo M.), ‘information’
The liberty taken with the aspirate in Gwent and Morgannwg may be due to the long prevalence in the district of the English of Tennyson’s ‘Churchwarden’,
‘An’ saw by the Graäce o’ the Lord, Mr. Harry, I ham wot I ham’.
The line quoted supplies the key to one pretty regular use of the aspirate in Gwentian. It is inserted as a welcome relief between two weak vocables. How otherwise could the ‘churchwarden’ express emphatically his intense satisfaction with himself, by the weak vocables, I am?
(a) h is inserted between the poss. pron. ym, ‘my’, and a noun beginning with a vowel
Fy eglwys - ym (h) eglwys ‘my church’.
Fy arian - ym (h) arian ‘my money’.
Fy achos - ym (h) achos ‘my cause’.
(b) There are two ways of disposing of the aspirate in the -hau verbs.
1. Mwynhau - mwynäu ‘to enjoy’.
“Islwyn”, the great Gwentian bard, adopted this way.
2. With some -hau verbs, that syllable is shortened, and the preceding syllable is strengthened or hardened, to which the accent also is transferred.
Cwblhau - cwpla ‘to finish’.
Cryfhau - crýffa ‘to become strong’.
(c) There is a hybrid verb in which the aspirate is retained.
Ffreshâu ‘freshening’, usually applied to the weather.
(d) h > g.
Ar eu hôl - ar i gôl, ‘after them’.

49. i
1st, 2nd and 3rd pers. plur. pres. tense, indic. mood of the verb bod, ‘to be’.
Yr ydym ni - i ni, ‘we are’.
Ydych chwi? - i chi? ‘are you?’
Ydynt hwy? - i nhw? ‘are they?’

50. i final dropped in -
Geiriau - gîra, ‘words’.

51. i > idd, prep ‘to’.
I’w (i) (ei) dâd - idd i dâd, ‘to his father’.

52. i > ie.
Ifan - Iefan, also Ifan, ‘Evan’.
Ieuanc - iefangc, also ifangc, ‘young’.

53. i > io.
(a) Verbs.
Peidio - pîdo or pîto, ‘to refuse, cease’.
(b) Adjectives.
Boliog - bolog, ‘protruberant’.
(c) Nouns.
Bywoliaeth - bywoliath, ‘livelihood’.
Exception: - digio - dicio, ‘to give offence’.

54. ldd > ddl.
Gilydd - giddyl, ‘together’.
Cywilydd - cwiddyl, ‘shame’.

55. ll > cl.
Llethrddu - Cledrddu, now the name of a cemetery in the
Rhondda Valley.

56. ll > l.
‘Fe gafwyd lonyddwch’ (llonyddwch) [Iolo M.]

57. llall > nâll.
Llall, ‘the other’, is hardly ever used, but nâll for naill, ‘the one’, is used for llall.
Instead of saying y naill neu y llall, ‘the one or the other’, the expression is nace (for nid) hwn (hwna or hwnw), y nâll, ‘not this (or that one), the one’ (for ‘the other’)
‘Mae i’n och, un am y naill (llall)’ [Dafydd Benwyn]

58. ll > th final.
Arall - arath, ‘other, another’.
Eraill or ereill - erith, ‘others’.
Cyllell - cillath, ‘knife’.

59. llt > tll
Cawsellti (au) - cawstelli, ‘cheese-vats’.

59a. n > m final.
Morwyn - morwm, ‘maid-servant’.
Morgan, Morgan (old forms) - Margam.
?Glan Torfaen - Llantarnam. {NOTE: In fact, “Glan Torfaen” is not a correct explanation of this place name}

60. ng > ngt.
Rhwng y ddau - r(h)wngt and r(h)ingt y ddou, ‘between the two’.

61. o
‘Is used in the dialect of Glamorgan to denote the instrument’ (Prof. T. Powel). It is the o of efo,
‘Codi glo o’r rhaw (â’r rhaw)’, ‘throwing up coal with a shovel’.

62. o, prep. ‘of’, dropped.
‘Cymaint son’ (“Cadrawd”) for cymaint o son, ‘so much talk about’.


63. o initial dropped.
Offeiriad - ffirad, ‘a priest’.
Offeiriaid - ffiraton, (from another plural form offeiriadon), ‘priests’.

64. o > a.
(a) Initial. Ofnadwy - afnatw, ‘fearful’.
(b) Final. Briwo - briwa, ‘to crumble, to wound’

65. o > w final.
Cadog or Catog - Catwg.

66. oe > i.
Boed (bydded) - bid, ‘let it be’.

67. oe > ô.
oes - ôs, ‘age; there is’.

68. oe > oi.
Coesau - coisa, ‘legs’.
When a Gwentian native reads Welsh in public, he is very apt to say ois for oes.

69. oe > w final.
Eisoes - îsws, ‘already’.
“Isws a chynt”,
‘already and before’, is a common expression.

70. o’i > oddi, prep. ‘from his’.
O’i gartref - odd i gartra, ‘from his home’.

71. ow > ŵ.
Dowlais - Dŵlish.
Howel - Hŵal.

72. par > pyr initial.
Paratoi - pyrtói, ‘to prepare’.

73. pr > pyr initial.
Prynu - pyrnu, ‘to buy’.
Pregethu - pyrgethu, ‘to preach’.

74. s > sh
S before i becomes sh, the i becoming more or less indistinct.
(a) Initial. Siaradwr - sharatwr, ‘a speaker’.
Prisio - prisho, ‘to value, to prize, also to heed’.
Eisieu - îsha, ‘to want’.
(b) Medial. Isaf - isha, ‘lowest’.
(c) Final. Mis - mish, ‘month’.

75. sg > shc
(a) Medial. Gwisgo - gwishco, ‘to dress’.
Disgwyl - dishcwl, ‘to look at’, but not in the sense of ‘to expect’, which is erfyn in Gwentian, a word which in common Welsh, means ‘to pray or beg’.
(b) Final. Y Pasg - Y Pashc, ‘Easter’.
Y Wasg - Y Washc, ‘the Press’

76. t, followed by u becomes tsh, initial.
Tua thref - tsha thre, ‘homewards’.

77. t, final, dropped in verb endings.
Ydynt - otyn, ‘they are’.

78. thg > cd
Ateb - apad, ‘to answer’. (N. Pemb. aped)

79. thg > cd
Benthyg, menthyg - bengcyd, mengcyd, also mentyc, ‘a loan’.

80. tl > cl
Tlawd - clawd, ‘poor’.

81. u > i, long as in Engl. deep, short as in thin..
The Venedotian u can only be acquired by a Gwentian with hard practice.

82. w initial dropped.
(a) Between g and n.
Gwneuthur - gnithur, ‘to do or make’.
(b) Between g and l.
Gwlad - glâd, ‘country’.
Gwlan - glân, ‘wool’.
(c) Between g and r.
Gwrando - grondo, ‘to listen’.
Gwraig - graig, ‘wife’. Merch ne’ raig.

83. w > o final.
Yn enw dyn - neno dyn! ‘in the name of man’.

84. wy
This vocable is fully pronounced only in words of one syllable like Gwy, ‘Wye’, mwy, ‘more’. It is true we have such spellings as Ebwy and Ogwy, but the one is always pronounced Ebbw, and the other Ogwr. The word wy, ‘an egg’, is wî, like the English wee, and the French oui. Gwyr, ‘men’, is pronounced like gwir, ‘true, truth’.

85. (a) wy > â
Awyr - âr, ‘air’.
(a) wy > a {NOTE: in the original, with a breve over the vowel to indicate that it is short}, final
Mynwy - Mynwa, ‘Monmouth’.

86. wy > o final
Magor, Mon., is supposed to be the Welsh magwyr, ‘an enclosure or wall’.
In ancient charters of the district, the final w in -wg, as in Morgannwg, is ok, Morgannok. But no instance of this peculiarity, in present Gwentian speech, is known to the writer.

87. wy > w
(a) Initial. Gwybod - gwpod, ‘to know’.
Wyddest ti? - gwddot ti?, ‘knowest thou?’.
Hwynthwy - Hwntw(?), ‘they themselves’. {NOTE: hwntw is a nickname for a southerner}
(b) Final. Eglwys - eclws, ‘church’.
Wyr - wrs, a plural form as in gweithwyr - gwithwrs, ‘workmen’.
The verb ending -wys, of old Gwentian literature, is now > ws, viz: ennillwys - ennillws, ‘he, she, it earned or gained’.

88. wy >
wi
Wy
- , ‘an egg’.

89. y
This letter is used throughout
Wales for both i and a sound akin to u in Eng. puff. The latter sound is, like h, uncertain in Gwentian. Like the aspirate, itis heard where least expected, as when a syllable that rhymes with Eng. her is formed by separating intial cr, gr, pr, br, as illustrated already (Nos. 21, 72, 73).

is fully pronounced only in words of one syllable like Gwy, ‘Wye’, mwy, ‘more’. It is true we have such spellings as Ebwy and Ogwy, but the one is always pronounced Ebbw, and the other Ogwr. The word wy, ‘an egg’, is wî, like the English wee, and the French oui. Gwyr, ‘men’, is pronounced like gwir, ‘true, truth’.

90. y initial dropped.
Y fi - fi, ‘I’
Dyna i chwi - náchi, ‘there you’,
Wedi hynny - wetyn, wetni, ‘after that’,
It should be noted that while Welshmen generally use y before initial double consonants beginning with s, as in ysgol, ‘school’, as the French use e in the same connection, e.g. école, ‘school’; Gwentians, by pushing the accent on from the initial syllable, and shortening words, dispense with that aid, as in,-
Ysgwyd - scwto, ‘shake’.
Ysgolhaig - sclaig, ‘scholar’.
Ysgolheigion - scligon, ‘scholars’.
In the following instances, a compromise has been effected, and the first of two initial y’s is allowed.
Y dyn yna - y dyn’na, ‘that man’.
Y lle yna - y lle’na, ‘that place’.

91. y > a initial.
Ymrafaelion - amrafaelion (Iolo M.).

92. y > i initial.
Llythyr - llithir, ‘letter’.
Gyda - gita, ‘with’.

92. y > i initial.
(a) Initial. Mynwes - monwes,’bosom’.
‘Mae monwes gynes genym’ (Islwyn)
Mynwent - monwent, (Glanffrwd) ‘graveyard’.
These, however, are literary instances. Commonly, one hears mynwant and mynwas, though monachlog for mynachlog, ‘monastery’, is both literary and colloquial.
Ydw - otw,’I am’.
(b) Medial. Maylaf - manola,’most exact’.
‘Manola un, mwyn ail oedd’ (Dafydd Benwyn)

94. y > w initial.
Ymladd - wmladd, ‘to fight’
Cymraeg - Cwmrâg, ‘Welsh’
Dygid (dwyn) - dwcid, ‘to take away, to steal’

95. yr > ydd.
‘Ydd ennillwys genedl y Cymry eu braint a’u coron’ (Iolo M.)

96. yw > i final.
Ydyw - oti, ‘he, she or it is’

97. yw > w.
(a) Initial. Cywilydd - cwiddyl, ‘shame’
(b) Medial. Tragywydd - tragwydd, ‘everlasting’
(c) Final. Benyw, menyw - menw, ‘woman’


APPENDIX
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DÂR (No. 3)

_____

The intermediate form daer for daear is given in a quotation from an ancient MS., in Ysten Sioned, p. 80, where it is said of the lion - “A phan fo yn marw, cnoi y ddaer a wna, a gollwng dagrau o’i lygaid.” The MS. quoted shows several Gwentian peculiarities. “Glanffrwd” explains the place-name Darwyno, near the
church of Llanwonno, as Daear Wyno, “Gwynno’s Land” (Plwyf Llanwynno, p. 6). The place names Aberdâr and Cwm Dâr are frequently written Aberdaer and Cwm-daer in documents in the 17th century, and the name of the place called Rhiwddar, near Taff’s Well, appeared the other day, in a list of the appointments of the Ystrad Hounds, as Rhiwddaer. The place called Blaen Dar, near Pontypool is written on a map Blaen-daer.

Compare:-
“Gnawd nyth Eryr yn mlaen dâr”. Blaen, in Gwent and Morgannwg, is used for “upland”. Bro a Blaena, “the Vale and the Uplands”; Blaenau Gwent, “the uplands of Gwent”. Dafydd Benwyn, a Glamorgan bard, uses the expression - sy’ mlaen gwlad, “which is at the head or in the upland of a district.” The line quited (Myv. Arch., 102. 1) may, therefore, be translated - “It is usual for the Eagle to build her nest at the very head of the land, the highest crag in the highest part of a district.”
In Celtic Folklore, p. 259, there is a Llanfabon folktale contributed by Mr. CraigfrynHughes, in which occurs the expression - mesen cyn derwen, a derwen mewn dâr. Mr. Hughes also says that clâr survˇves in the district for claear, “lukewarm”. See further, a note by Prof. Rhys on these Gwentian survivals, Celtic Folk, p. 691.

But “several literary natives of Glamorgan” have assured Prof. Rhys that they do not know dâr for daear, but Prof. Rhys says, “such negative evidence, though proving the literary form daear to prevail now, is not to be opposed to the positive statement, sent by Mr. Hughes (p. 173) to me, as to the persistence in his neighbourhood of Dâr”, etc. As to dâr for derwen, “oak”, my references are confusing. In a poem (Myv. Arch. p. 98), the three expressions blaen derw, “top of the oaks”, blaen dâr, and dail deri, “leaves of oaks”, are used. Again, Brân a gant chwedyl o vrig dâr Man ai clywai yr holl adar. (Ibid, p. 810) (The crow sang a tale on the top of the oak-tree, where all the birds could hear it). Again, gorwlychyd kafod
kan dar (Rep, on Welsh MSS:, II, 106), which, I suppose, may be translated - “a shower wets a hundred oaks”.

To conclude, dâr for daear is a Gwentian survival. I have no evidence that dâr for derwen is used anywhere now.

JOHN GRIFFITH
 
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