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Yr Iaith Gymreg yn Aber-dr (1902)
The Welsh language in Aber-dr

English translation of an article by Jenkin Howell which appeared in 1902 in the magazine Y Geninen


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Adolygiad diweddaraf / Darrera actualitzaci 2002-05-05, 2009-01-21

 

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Red letters: ORIGINAL ORTHOGRAPHY: Dyffryn Cynon: (6) Neillduon Ieithyddol Aberdar
Purple letters: UPDATED ORTHOGRAPHY WITH THE USE OF NONSTANDARD TO REPRESENT [i ]: Dyffrn Cynon: (6) Neilltuon Ieithyddol Aber-dr
Blue letters: ENGLISH TRANSLATION: The Cynon Valley (6) Characteristics of the language of Aber-dr / Aberdare

Y Geninen 1902 t270 - O gyfres o erthyglau gan Jenkin Howell
(= Y Genhinen) 1902 tudalen 270 - O gyfres o erthyglau gan Jenkin Howell
"The Leek" (name of a Welsh-language magazine) 1902 page 270 - from a series of articles by Jenkin Howell


Y mae rhai pethau rhyfedd yn perthyn i dafodiaith trigolion gwreiddiol Aberdr ag ydynt, fel y tybiaf, yn werth sylw. Rhoddant sain lled anhawdd ei darlunio i'r a. Rhywbeth rhwng y sain arferol ag ea ydyw; ond rhaid eu clywed hwy eu hunain yn ei seinio cyn y gellir ffurfio meddylddrych cywir amdani.

Y mae rhai pethau rhyfedd yn perthn i dafodiaith trigolion gwreiddiol Aber-dr ag ydnt, fel y tybiaf, yn werth slw. Rhoddant sain lled anodd ei darlunio i'r a. Rhwbeth rhwng y sain arferol ag ea ydw; ond rhaid eu clywed hw eu hunain yn ei seinio cn y gellir ffurfio meddylddrch cywir amdani.

There are some odd features in the dialect of the original inhabitants of Aber-dr which I believe are worth commenting on. They have a pronunciation which is quite hard to describe for the a. It is something midway between the usual pronunciation and ea; but you have to hear them themselves pronouncing it before you can get a correct idea of it / to know exactly what the sound is.

(COMMENT: this 'a fain' is typical of the Welsh of south-east Wales, from the English border by Cas-gwent / Chepstow, before the eradication of the Welsh language here in the 1800s, to Castell-nedd / Neath. It is a long aa in south-west Wales, and in Sir Frycheiniog / Breconshire, but in the south-east it sounds like the vowel in English care / fair / bear)

Ni seinir y llythyren hono bob amser felly, chwaith. Clywir hi mewn geiriau unsill, megys tn, mam, tad, cn, &c.; ac yn sill ddiweddaf rhai geiriau lluossill yn unig, megys Aberdr, santeiddhd, mwynhd, &c. Rhoddir ei sain arferol i'r a gyntaf yn Aberdr; ond seinir yr ail fel y nodais.

Ni seinir y llythyren honno bob amser fell, chwaith. Clywir hi mewn geiriau unsill, megs tn, mam, tad, cn, &c.; ac yn sill diwethaf rhai geiriau lluosill yn unig, megs Aberdr, sancteiddhd, mwnhd, &c. Rhoddir ei sain arferol i'r a gyntaf yn Aberdr; ond seinir yr ail fel y nodais.

They do not pronounce that letter in that way every time, however. You hear it in words of one syllable, like tn = fire, mam = mother, tad = father, cn = song, etc. and in the final syllable of only a few polysyllabic words, like Aberdr (= Aber-dr / Aberdare), santeiddhd (= sanctification), mwnhd (= enjoyment), &c. The first a in Aberdr has its usual sound, but the second is sounded as I have noted

(COMMENT: the 'a' in mam is not long, so it is not sounded as in 'care / bear, etc'. But it is unlikely that Jenkin Howell would have made a mistake with such a basic word, and so maybe this was a characteristic of the Cynon Valley)

Terfynir agos yr holl eiriau a derfynir g e yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, g a yn Aberdr; gan yr hen drigolion, fel y nodais yn barod, wrth gwrs. Ceir y terfyniad ws yn ei holl ogoniant yma; a dywedir mai i wraig o Aberdr a gurasai ei gŵr y cyfansoddwyd yr englyn adnabyddus-

Terfynir agos yr holl eiriau a derfynir ag e yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, ag a yn Aberdr; gan yr hen drigolion, fel y nodais yn barod, wrth gwrs. Ceir y terfyniad ws yn ei holl ogoniant yma; a dywedir mai i wraig o Aberdr a gurasai ei gŵr y cyfansoddwd yr engln adnabyddus-

Nearly all the words which end in e in Sir Gaerfyrddin / Carmarthenshire end in a in Aber-dr; in the case of the older inhabitants, as I've already noted, of course. The ending -ws is to be heard in all its glory here; and it is said that the (following) well-known engln (verse) was composed for a woman from Aber-dr who beat her husband-

(COMMENT: The sound 'e' in a final syllable i the south-west has become 'a' in the dialects of the south-east. Because of immigration from other parts of Wales, the Welsh of the younger generation may not have included this feature in 1902. However, when I was doing research in nearby Rhymni in 1981-1984, it was very much in evidence among people born before the First World War (later generations had been brought up as monoglot English, and those educated in Welsh after the establishment of a Welsh-language school after the Second World War spoke a mishmash - basically a southern-type Welsh, with interference from and confusion with literary Welsh and northern Welsh, and English, with very little input from the local form of the language). The third-person past tense form is -odd; in medieval Welsh it was -ws, which survives in South Wales, though it is rapidly giving way to the standard -odd, which is also the usual form in spoken Welsh over most of Wales. Example - canodd / canws = (he/she) sung.)


"Yn awr y cwnws i'r nen - ei phastwn
A ffustws ei gefen;
Cnocws, tolcws ei dalcen, -
Pan waeddws, baeddws ei ben."

"Yn awr y cwnws i'r nen - ei phastwn
A ffustws ei gefen;
Cnocws, tolcws ei dalcen, -
Pan waeddws, baeddws ei ben."

Now (she) raised to the ceiling - her stick, and beat his back; (she) knocked (and) banged his forehead, and when (he) shouted, (she) struck his head

Nid yw yr englyn wedi cael ei fwriadau i ddynwared dim ond yr olddodyn ws, gan y seinir cefen yn "gefan", a thalcen yn "dalcan," yma. Seinir y cydseiniaid yn galed iawn: "tepig," "atarn bach," "catw," "pwtu," "cyscu," "doti," "tryplu," &c. Seinir y terfyniad ion yn on, fynychaf: - "dynon," "llwyton," "polon," "gwynon."

Nid w yr engln wedi cael ei fwriadau i ddynwared dim ond yr olddodn ws, gan y seinir cefen yn "gefan", a thalcen yn "dalcan," yma. Seinir y cydseiniaid yn galed iawn: "tepig," "atarn bach," "catw," "pwtu," "cyscu," "doti," "tryplu," &c. Seinir y terfyniad ion yn on, fynychaf: - "dynon," "llwton," "polon," "gwynon."

The engln was intended only to imitate the (use of) the ending ws, since cefn is in fact pronounced cefan, and talcen is talcan here. The consonants are sounded very hard - tepig (tebg = alike), atarn bach (adar bach = litle birds), catw (cadw = keep), pwtu (pwdu = sulk), cyscu (cysgu = sleep), doti (dodi = put), tryplu (tryblu = take the trouble), etc. The ending -ion is pronounced -on usually - dynon (dynion = men), llwton (llwdion - plural form of the adjective llwd = grey; also means sparrows), polon (polion = poles), gwynon (gwynion - plural form of the adjective gwn = white)

(COMMENT: g / b / d at the beginning of the final syllable typically become k / p / t in the Welsh of the south-east. And the semi-consonant at the beginning on a final syllable is usually lost - more examples is the name Einion > Einon. and cig edion (= beef) > cig eidion), and bryniau (= hills) > brynna)

Ni seinir yr dd yn cerdda, cerdded: "cera" (imperative, go, - dos), "cerad" (to walk). Ni seinir yr w ar l yr ch yn y geiriau chwi, chwithau; "chi," "chithau," ydynt bob amser. Yn anaml iawn y seinir ch ar ddechrau geiriau, megys chwant, chwerthin, chwareu (= chwarae), chwerw, chwaer, &c. Troir y chw yn wh; a "wherthin," "whara," "wherw," "whant," "whr," fyddant felly. "Mari'n whr" fydd Mari fy chwaer. "Wheigen" yw chweigen (=chweugain).

Ni seinir yr dd yn cerdda, cerdded: "cera" (imperative, go, - dos), "cerad" (to walk). Ni seinir yr w ar l yr ch yn y geiriau chwi, chwithau; "chi," "chithau," ydnt bob amser. Yn anaml iawn y seinir ch ar ddechrau geiriau, megs chwant, chwerthin, chwareu (= chwarae), chwerw, chwaer, &c. Troir y chw yn wh; a "wherthin," "whara," "wherw," "whant," "whr," fyddant fell. "Mari'n whr" fdd Mari fy chwaer. "Wheigen" w chweigen (=chweugain).

The dd in cerdda (= go!), cerdded (= walk) is not pronounced: cera (imperative - go, {equivalent to northern} dos!), cerad (to walk). The w is not pronounced after ch in chwi (= you), chwithau (= you too). They are always chi, chithau. The sound ch at the beginning of a word is very rarely pronounced, as in chwant (= desire), chwerthin (= laugh), chwarae (= play). chwerw (= bitter), chwaer (= sister), etc. Chw bcomes wh; and so they will be wherthin, whara, wherw, whant, whr. Mari'n whr will be Mari fy chwaer (Mary my sister, my sister Mary). "Wheigen" is chweugain (chwe ugain - six twenties, or one hundred and twenty. Until the decimalisation of the currency of England in 1971, there were two hundred and forty pennies in a pound, or twenty shillings. "Chweugain" was used to mean 'ten shillings').

COMMENT: Chithau would be in fact chitha, which the author omits to explain, since it would be generally understood - the ending -au is literary, not spoken. Fy (= my) is yn generally in spoken Welsh - Mari yn chwaer > Mari'n chwaer / chwr. Although Jenkin Howell says that chw > hw, in the south-east the 'h' is generally lost, so you'd expect want (= desire), werthin (= laugh), wara (= play). werw (= bitter). Why he says it is hw is unclear.

Maent yn hoff o arfer w ar derfyn eu brawddegau: "Own i'n cretu dy fod ti yn well bachan, w!". Tua chymdogaeth Brynaman a Chwmtwrch, "ŵr" fydd; ond "w" yn Aberdr. Yma hefyd y ceir y gair "shaw" gyntaf yn rhanau uchaf y sir. Ei ystyr yma yw llawer. Yr wyf wedi sylwi fod llawer o wyr ieuainc y lle yn troi i yn y mewn rhai geiriau, megis minau yn "myna," tithau yn "tytha!" Yn ddiweddar y daeth y clefyd hwn i'r lle; a genedigol yw o rannau gorllewinol y sir, ac o Sir Gaerfyrddin. Un o berthynasau "I'n y wir yne" Dyffryn Tawy ydyw.

Maent yn hoff o arfer w ar derfn eu brawddegau: "Own i'n cretu dy fod ti yn well bachan, w!". Tua chymdogaeth Brnaman a Chwm-twrch, "ŵr" fdd; ond "w" yn Aberdr. Yma hefd y ceir y gair "shaw" gyntaf yn rhannau uchaf y sir. Ei ystr yma w llawer. Yr wf wedi sylwi fod llawer o wr ieuainc y lle yn troi i yn y mewn rhai geiriau, megis minnau yn "mynna," tithau yn "tytha!" Yn ddiweddar y daeth y clefd hwn i'r lle; a genedigol w o rannau gorllewinol y sir, ac o Sir Gaerfyrddin. Un o berthynasau "I'n y wir yne" Dyffrn Taw ydw.

They are fond of using w at the end of their sentences: "I thought you were a better fellow (than that), mun!" In the neighbourhood of Brnaman and Cwm-twrch, it is usually "ŵr"; but (it's) "w" in Aber-dr. Here also the word "shaw" is first found, in the upper parts of the county. Its meaning here is "many". I've noticed many young men of the place change i into y {the schwa, the obscure vowel} in some words, like "minnau" {I myself} as "mynna", "tithau" {you yourself} as "tytha". This bad habit ("disease") has come to the place recently, and its origins are in the western parts of the county {of Morgannwg}, and Sir Gaerfyrddin / Carmarthenshire. Its one of the relatives of "I'n y wir yne" {form of Ie fy ngwirionedd i = yes indeed, yes "my truth" literally}

(COMMENT: Anglo-Welsh 'mun' (man) is a carryover into English of the practice of using w at the end of the word, from wr, vocative form of gwr (many words used as vocatives are used in the soft-mutated form pawb > bawb = everybody, plant > blant = children, bechgn > fechgn = boys, merched > ferched = girls, etc). In the south-east of Wales there is a tendency to make a vowel before the stressed vowel obscure - Caer-ddd > Cyr-ddd, ceffylau> cyffyla; and sometimes a stressed vowel - Merthr > Myrthr)

Try "bachgen" Dyffryn Tawy, "bachgan" Glynnedd, yn "bachan" yn Aberdr. Mae yr Aberdriaid yn hoff o arfer yr h mewn lleoedd na ddylent yn aml. Dyma frawddeg glywais yn yn dylifo dros wefusau un o'r gwreiddiolion, dro yn ol: - "Mae'n hanawdd iawn pido hufad y petha meddwol yma, os byddwch wedi harfar llawar a fa!" Seiniant "ar ucha" yn "acha": - "Fi welas i ddyn yn myn'd i lan sha Byrdr acha ceffyl y bora 'ma!" "Ma'n nhr'od i'n dost; w' i wedi damshal acha h'arn po'th!"

Tr "bachgen" Dyffrn Taw, "bachgan" Gln-nedd, yn "bachan" yn Aber-dr. Mae yr Aberdriaid yn hoff o arfer yr h mewn lleoedd na ddylent yn aml. Dyma frawddeg glywais yn yn dylifo dros wefusau un o'r gwreiddiolion, dro yn ol: - "Mae'n hanawdd iawn pido hufad y petha meddwol yma, os byddwch wedi harfar llawar a fa!" Seiniant "ar ucha" yn "acha": - "Fi welas i ddn yn mn'd i lan sha Byrdr acha ceffl y bora 'ma!" "Ma'n nhr'od i'n dost; w' i wedi damshal acha h'arn po'th!"

The word "bachgen" of the Tawe valley ("Swansea valley") {and} the "bachgan" of the Nedd valley ("Neath valley") into "bachan" in Aber-dr. Very often the Aber-dr people are fond of using the h in places where they shouldn't. This is a sentence I heard from the lips of ("flowing from the lips of") one of the original inhabitants, some time back - "It's very difficult to stop drinking alcohol if you've got really used to it". They pronounce "ar ucha" /ar uchaf) as "acha" - "I saw a man going down towards Aber-dr on horseback this morning". "My foot hurts - I stepped on a hot iron".

(COMMENT: "Mae hi'n anodd iawn peidio yfed y pethau meddwol yma, os byddwch chi wedi arfer llawer ag e"
Pethau meddwol - literally, intoxicating things, arfer llawer = "use a lot with". The speaker has used mistakenly used h before anhawdd (anodd) and ufad (yfed) and arfar (arfer). In general in the south-east the tendency is to not use the h at all, except in emphasising a word. This is characterisitc of the English spoken here after the eradication of Welsh in this part of Wales and its replacement by Engish in the 1900s. The use of acha (= on) is typical of the south-east. Haearn = iron is typically monosyllabic haern in the south, colloquially harn, and 'arn is the usual south-eastern form. In monosyllables, the diphthong oe [oi] typically becomes [o:] in the south - troed > trood, poeth > pooth)

Mae gan ieuenctyd y lle ffordd ryfedd iawn i ofyn cwestiynau yn naill i'r llall. Pan ddysgwyliant ateb cadarnhaol, gofynant - "Nace fa chi nath hwna, Dafydd?" "Ia, a;" ond pan ddysgwyliant ateb nacaol, gofynant, "Nace fa chi gnath a, ond nace fa, Dafydd?" "Nce." Dywedir fod ffordd gyffelyb i ofyn cwestiynau o'r fath gan yr hen Roegiaid. Ant "i mwn i'r ty;" "i'r lan i'r mynydd;" "catw shop a chatw mwstwr;" "rhs gyffyla a rhs mwlsod." "Shwd y'ch chi heddu?" yw y cyfarchiad yma. "Stwro a mwstro" (to stir and to muster) sydd ddau air a arferir yn aml yma.

Mae gan ieuenctid y lle ffordd ryfedd iawn i ofn cwestiynau y naill i'r llall. Pan ddysgwliant ateb cadarnhaol, gofynant - "Nace fa chi nath hwnna, Dafdd?" "Ia, a;" ond pan ddysgwliant ateb nacaol, gofynant, "Nace fa chi gnath a, ond nace fa, Dafdd?" "Nce." Dywedir fod ffordd gyffelb i ofn cwestiynau o'r fath gan yr hen Roegiaid. nt "i miwn i'r t;" "i'r lan i'r myndd;" "catw shop a chatw mwstwr;" "rhs gyffyla a rhs mwlsod." "Shwd 'ch chi heddi?" w y cyfarchiad yma. "Stwro a mwstro" (to stir and to muster) sdd ddau air a arferir yn aml yma.

The young people of the place have an odd way of askin each other questions. When they expect an affirmative answer, they ask - "It isn't YOU that did that, David?" "Yes, yes." But when the expect a negative answer, the ask "IT ISN'T you that did it, isn't it, David?" "No." It is said that the ancient Greeks had a similar way of asking questions of the sort. They go "into the house" {using "miwn"instead of standard "mewn"}, "up the mountain / hill" {using "i'r lan" instead of standard "i fyn"}, they "keep a shop" {but also} "keep a sound / racket " {in Welsh, "make a sound / noise / racket " translates literally as "keep a sound"}. "horse race and donkey race" {mutation of ceffylau, but not of mwlsod; the standard form is "mulod" mules, "ras fulod" mule race. "How are you today?" {using "shwd" instead of standard "sut"} is the greeting around here. To stir and to muster ("stwro a mwstro") are two words commonly used here.

(COMMENT: Why "rhas" rather than "ras" is unclear - the absence of h (rh > r) is general in the south-east).

Arferant yr sh Seisnig, megys ag y gwneir bob amser yn y Deheubarth, mewn geiriau megys shilling. "Shon a Shani Shincyn," a chwarddant wrth glywed rhai Gogleddwyr yn methu ei seinio. "Dishgyn," "plyshgyn," "dishgloff," "dewishwn," &c. Ond un o'r llygriadau geiriol rhyfeddaf wn i am dano yw jofadd (dyoddef), a glywir yn Aberdr a rhanau ereill o Forganwg.

Arferant yr sh Saesneg, megs ag y gwneir bob amser yn y Deheubarth, mewn geiriau megis shilling. "Shn a Shani Shincn," a chwarddant wrth glywed rhai Gogleddwr yn methu ei seinio. "Dishgn," "plyshgn," "dishgloff," "dewishwn," &c. Ond un o'r llygriadau geiriol rhyfeddaf wn i am dano w jofadd (dioddef), a glywir yn Aber-dr a rhannau eraill o Forganwg.

They use the English 'sh', as is usual ("as is done always") in the South, in words like "shilling", "Shn a Shani Shincn" (in English, John and Jane Jenkins), and they laugh when they hear some Northmen who can't pronounce it. "Dishgn" (= disgn - to descend), "dishgloff" (= disgloff = lame), "dewishwn" (= dewiswn - we would choose), etc. But one of the strangest distortions of words I know is "jofadd" (dioddef = to suffer), which is heard in Aber-dr and other parts of Morgannwg / Glamorgan)

(COMMENT: In the south, the sounds [sh], [z] and [j] have been incorporated into the phonolgy of Welsh, though they are importations from English (though j is also a development within souther Welsh of a palatalised 'd'). A century ago, northerners, who had not been exposed to English influence to the sam extent as southerners, were unable to produced these sounds)

Nid yw trigolion y lle hwn yn alluog ond yn anfynych i wahanaiethu rhwng oll ac holl. Ceir ganddynt "y dynion holl," a'r "oll wlad!" Gair sathredig a glywir yn aml iawn yn Aberdr, a rhanau ereill o Forganwg, yw "shimpil" (simple), ond a olyga yma gwael (mean). "Dyn shimpil iawn yw a" - (he is a very mean man). "'Does gen i gynnyg i ddyn shimpil, bachan: mae yn well gen' i drafod clawd o'r hannar." Dyna air rhyfedd arall - "clawd," am tlawd!

Nid w trigolion y lle hwn yn alluog ond yn anfynch i wahanaiethu rhwng oll ac holl. Ceir ganddnt "y dynion holl," a'r "oll wlad!" Gair sathredig a glywir yn aml iawn yn Aber-dr, a rhannau eraill o Forgannwg, w "shimpil" (simple), ond a olyga yma gwael (mean). "Dn shimpil iawn w a" - (he is a very mean man). "'Does gen i gynnig i ddn shimpil, bachan: mae yn well gen' i drafod clawd o'r hannar." Dyna air rhyfedd arall - "clawd," am tlawd!

The inhabitants of this place are not able, except occasionally, to distinguish between oll and holl (both meaning all - oll after a noun, holl before a noun) - all the men, all the country. A colloquial word which is often heard un Aber-dr, and other parts of Morgannwg / Glamorgan, is "shimpil", which has the meaning 'mean'. {literally - simple}. "He is a (very) mean man". "I can't stand a mena man; I'd far rather deal with a poor person". That's another odd word - "clawd", instead of "tlawd"!

(COMMENT: The use of clawd for tlawd is typical of the south-east)

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