By: Blonde Two
Blonde One has gone to the Brecon Beacons, not the “Brecons” (I have been told off for calling them that recently) without me. Work commitments mean that sadly, we can’t always go walking together. I have to admit being torn this time though, I would love the adventure but I imagine it will be very cold. I have another, rather odd reason for being relieved at my enforced stay in Devon – they are going with a Welsh guy.
Please don’t get me wrong, Mr Welsh is a lovely chap and a good friend. The problem is not with him exactly, it is with the fact that, try as I might, I can’t pronounce Welsh place names. Mr B2 and I went to stay in the Beacons (you are allowed to call them that) a couple of years ago and I proudly came back with some accurate Welsh pronunciations slipping off my tongue. Or so I thought! When I came back and tried to tell Mr Welsh where I had been, I got it completely wrong and gave him a jolly good laugh at my expense. Well what do you expect? How many of us can say “Sgwd yr Eira” without looking foolish?
Wales is not the only place that has tricky place names. Scotland is another example – I have only been once and I didn’t get to explore far from the car as I was recovering from a broken ankle. Once again though, I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone where I had been unless it was Glasgow, Edinburgh or Fort William! I did look at Buachaille Etive Mòr but how on earth are you supposed to pronounce that?
I grew up in the land of Hornyold Road, Wyre Piddle and Bell End which are funny but not exactly tricky to say (click here for some even funnier ones http://bit.ly/9A5jEV). We have a few oddities up on Dartmoor, for example I am ashamed to admit that I am not sure how to pronounce High Willhayes (highest point on the North moor). Six Foot Blonde (son two) always used to ring me and say he was on High Willies but he was so good at playing with words (not willies) that to this day, I am not sure if he was jesting.
I like to visit my family in New Zealand and pride myself in actually being able to pronounce some of their weirder place names (this article explains http://bit.ly/4jmVb). For example, I bet you would get Papatoetoe and Whakapapa wrong. There are some though that even the Kiwis argue over and you have to be careful which ones you attempt. You would imagine that I could use this superior knowledge to win a name pronunciation contest with Mr Welsh but he used to live in New Zealand and is even better at it than I am!
The Kiwis beat the Welsh with place name length: