Social networking 'giving Welsh a new lease of life', according to language expert

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Adam Burman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Very interesting Jul 8, 2011

It's interesting to see how social media can be useful for minority languages. The television programme you refer to, Ar Lafar, can be watched online via S4C's web site.

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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 18:17
Member (2010)
Greek to English
I'll watch (if I remember to!) Jul 8, 2011

Last year I discovered (via Facebook) that another native English-speaking Greek translator lives just 2 minutes walk away from me here in Athens. We arranged to meet for a drink locally and, during the course of the conversation, found out that we can both speak Welsh (I went to school there, he went to university there). To confuse all our friends we sometimes exchange messages on Facebook using the Greek alphabet to transliterate Welsh dialogue!

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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Just wondering Jul 8, 2011

To Dave: Just wondering, how would you write LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHYWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH in the Greek alphabet? I always surprise people by pronouncing it correctly (thanks to my Welsh mother, born in Pontypridd).
I guess "Cymru am byth" would be "Γυμρι αμ βιθ"!


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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 18:17
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Ha ha! Jul 10, 2011

Paul Dixon wrote:

To Dave: Just wondering, how would you write LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHYWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH in the Greek alphabet? I always surprise people by pronouncing it correctly (thanks to my Welsh mother, born in Pontypridd).
I guess "Cymru am byth" would be "Γυμρι αμ βιθ"!


I don't think even I'm mad enough to attempt to write Llanfair P. G. in the Greek alphabet!!

My attempts at writing Welsh in Greek are, thankfully, purely for fun and directed solely at someone who is fully aware of the impossibilty of using Greek to transliterate Welsh correctly. The Greek version just needs to be similar enough to Welsh for us to work it out, and doesn't have to be so close to the original that a Greek could read it out and sound like a Welsh person.

As for "Cymru am byth", and your version "Γυμρι αμ βιθ"... Excuse me while I take a joke too seriously!!!

Γ (γ - gamma) is a guttural GH sound (or a palatalized Y before I or E sounds). K (κ - kappa) would be used for a "hard C".

Y (υ - upsilon) is, in modern Greek, one of the many vowels and digraphs which are pronounced somewhat like the I in "pin"...or, come to think of it, more like the U in "Cymru" in a South Wales accent. Greek lacks any vowel which corresponds to the Y in "Cymru"(which is very similar to the U in the English word "fun"). To the majority of Greeks this vowel sounds pretty much the same as an A (which leads to lots of Greeks making errors in English such as "a fanny joke" and "drag addiction"). With this in mind, I transliterate the Welsh Y sound as an A (α - alpha). In this case it needs to have an accent on it to show that it's the stressed syllable.

ΜΡΙ ΑΜ - μρι αμ ... Spot on! There used to be a tendency, where there is a choice of phonetically identical letters in Greek, to transliterate using a letter that is also visually similar wherever possible (sometimes to the extent that visual similarity was more important than phonetic similarity). In this case, the U of "Cymru" looks and sounds like the Greek υ (Y in upper case), and this would once have been the preferred spelling. However, modern style guides tell us to transliterate using the 'basic' vowels: α, ε, ι, ο, ου [the first 4 are short a, e, i, o as found in most European languages, and ου is like the English 'oo', or the 'u' in many other languages].

B (β - beta). This is pronounced like the English letter V. "Beta" (βήτα) is pronounced 'veeta'. ΜΠ (μπ) is the nearest Greek equivalent to English B. Most Greeks who speak English think they're identical. Most textbooks for learners say that they're identical at the beginning of a word, but that μπ is pronounced MB when preceded by a vowel. The truth lies somewhere in between...

ιθ - spot on again.

Κάμρι αμ μπιθ!


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Social networking 'giving Welsh a new lease of life', according to language expert

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