tempus fugit

By ceridwen

"Willow Grove"

Oh yeah, I thought, I bet not.

 Welsh house names wrought into  English are an increasingly common sight. Sometimes it's  a completely new name, sometimes a translation,  as in this case: this farm must have originally been called Llwynhelyg. But no, the OS map reveals that its actual name is Llwyn-yr-ysgaw, Elder Grove. Why change even the species of tree? (Perhaps because it sounded it sounded like a retirement home.)

Usually the reason for the change is that a place has been bought by incomers who cannot, or cannot be bothered to, pronounce the Welsh words. Or they think that it would put off potential holiday makers who would  baulk at the challenge, or they're running a business and customers might shy away. Too complicated to get your tongue around.

For many patriotic people, whether Welsh-speaking or not, this tendency smacks of entitlement, just like the colonial habit of Anglicizing names  overseas. Many have reverted: Mumbai (Bombay), eSwatini (Swaziland) and Uluru (Ayer's Rock) for example,  and the debate continues among indigenous people across the world. Language loss is a global tragedy, we are all poorer for it.

Should we be concerned about losing Llwyn-yr-ysgaw, which may drop off the next map? I think so. But then I made Welsh cakes with sour cherries instead of currants (extra) and that's not exactly traditional either. How  purist can one be?

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