Y wyddfa

Helo bawb!

Cyngor Gwynedd have proposed a motion to know Yr Wyddfa only by it’s Welsh name.

Call for Snowdon to only be known by Welsh name Yr Wyddfa https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-56913993


There’s also a petition if anyone wishes to support the idea - there’s a link to it at Nation.Cymru:https://nation.cymru/news/petition-launched-for-national-park-authority-to-ditch-snowdon-name-for-yr-wyddfa/

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There’s been a lot of misinformation and some silliness about this.

The proposal was for the national park authority to drop the official English names in its own name and in its official literature. I think the idea that a national park in a predominately Welsh-speaking region should only have a Welsh name is a reasonable one, I also think Snowdonia, as a very recent concoction is an unnecessary word. But the name Snowdon is very old, and is a very established part of the English language. If you’re going to take that out of all official literature, why not take out valley and replace it with dyffryn, take out path and replace it with llwybr?

Are names of places such a different concept from names of other things that they can’t be different in different languages? And if that’s the case, what of Manceinion and Lloegr and Ffrainc and Rhufain? Do we have to ditch them for Manchester and England and La France and Roma? Or does this only work one way?


I’ve seen this around the web in the last couple of days, and I admit being a bit puzzled.

In Italy all mountains in bilingual areas or on the borders have two names, or even three when there’s a minority language as well, and we do just fine!

Nobody seems to see it as a problem but rather a way to be inclusive of more cultures, differences and a long history.

Also I have to admit that from a touristic point of view, I think that for sound, ease of pronunciation and meaning…Snowdon seems to have , I would say, a few more advantages! :sweat_smile:

P.s.Anyway, I think every country should do what they prefer with their names, :grin: these are just random reflections from a 1000 miles away, no judgement on whatever decision Wales takes. And of course for the park authority specifically I think it makes sense - but it wasn’t what I had understood before!

I would say, in defence of the Welsh-only proposal, that the relative cultural (and economic) powers of the two languages are massively, off-the-scale different. From that point of view, you could argue that in that circumstance, Welsh is entitled to special pleading.


Yes, I can understand that.

It’s just that I have the impression that sometimes in order to make a point on one level, people end up becoming blind to a lot of other aspects that might be worth considering (not referring only to this issue or Wales by the way).

Again, it’s totally fair and reasonable for the park authority to do what they’re doing, and
I don’t mean to question that.

P.s. I admit I just can’t help finding a bit hilarious new tourist leaflets offering a charming vacation on the grave! :rofl:

It’s an interesting debate when limitations aren’t set from the outset. Do we change the name Cnicht? Because that comes from the original English pronunciation of Knight and is, therefore, a loan word. I agree that Snowdonia is far too modern a construct to hold the same cultural position, and, therefore, would back the Welsh only Eryri.

The problem is that it’s a debate that is susceptible to getting derailed from the very outset. Over the past day or so, I’ve seen people confidently asserting that there has to be an English version because English is the official Language of the UK (it isn’t and even if it was…), that yr Wyddfa is the mountain’s real name (not even sure what that even means) and it should be called what it was originally called (except we don’t know what it was called 8000 years ago, and we never will).

Maybe I’m expecting too much from social media discussion. :wink:


I can see the point of the Gwynedd councillor in wishing to replace “Snowdon” with its Welsh name Yr Wyddfa, and I agree on principle. At the same time, it seems to me that it’s a case of choosing one’s battles, and I’m not sure if this is one I’d choose. It’s just likely to confuse many of the tourists who will - hopefully soon - be returning to Eryri (look it up if you don’t recognise it :slight_smile: ) and who contribute so much to the local economy.



I enjoyed this. Yeah I completely agree.

This is a sign of growing confidence like a normal nation.
Ive worked around Europe and always respected the community name. Its the Welsh, Scots Gaels, Irish and Bretons which are the exceptions…

Considering we are just emerging from the proverbial dark ages where Welsh names were being wholesale erased or deliberately mispelt… literally until the 1980s and 1990s in my part of Northern Wales, we are on a more respectful path
(Welsh was visibly non-existent and many Welsh names being removed or replaced as late as the early 80s.)

There is not a long history of English in Eryri (Snowdonia) - barely 70 years ago there were Welsh only speakers there and outside of the aristocracy, English was not a community language - therefore a Welsh only name officially has merit. :kissing_cat::+1:

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This is probably a subject for an entirely different thread, but this is controversial. Tourism, particularly low quality and over-tourism is acknowledged to be damaging to local communities and economies across the globe. I think the assumption that importing temporary consumers must be beneficial is one that is changing. See, for example, https://www.responsibletravel.com/copy/overtourism .


Interesting point.

For us in Italy the idea of overtourism is very easy to get - even though I hadn’t heard the word before and I think a lot of administrations still want this, especially after a year like this!

Can Eryri be considered one of these? And which other places in Wales?

(Sorry if OT, but isn’t it linked after all?)

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It’s a complex and nuanced subject, but at the moment all I have time for is to give a sample (ironic) link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47997270

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It is indeed a difficult question (tourism/over-tourism) and in this part of Gwynedd, especially with the upcoming elections next week, a bit of a hot topic right now and it needs a really careful debate, I think, to set things right for the future and avoid the laws of unintended consequence.

For example, Council Tax premiums on second homes set to go up to 100% next year (despite a less than rousing endorsement in the Council’s own consultation) and 300% if I understand Plaid Cymru’s plans if they attain control in the Seneddd, with moves to close “loopholes” that allow second home owners to register them as businesses and let them for a few weeks of the year to avoid Council Tax altogether.

That might sound like a good idea for all sorts of reasons (keeping housing affordable, protecting the language and culture and so on) and I have no personal skin in that fight (I’ve always felt slightly uncomfortable about the whole idea of 2nd, 3rd etc homes when so many people are homeless - the last dying embers of my long-lost teenage flirtation with socialism, maybe?). But is it, really?

If it happens, I know at least four of my friends and near neighbours here (local, first language Welsh speaking, born and bred for generations) who will be hit very hard by losing a big boost to their income from holiday rentals. Is that really how to do things - how we ensure we provide all the great jobs for Wales that the politicians keep promising us? By hitting a part of the economy that brings £1.35 billion a year to Gwynedd, and employs over 18,000 people?

This is officially described as an “over-reliance on tourism”, but what is the alternative? I don’t know, and thank goodness I’m not charged with finding one…

Sorry, gone on a bit here (shouldn’t have watched that leaders’ debate last night!)

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Oh and on the original topic - I’ve never really understood why we don’t all call a city/place/mountain etc by the same name as it’s indigenously know. Works OK for Mumbai, Ulurhu etc so why not Y Wyddfa?

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Well, don’t worry I didn’t mean to ask you to write an essay on the forum on the topic! :smiley: The link is fine to get an idea, thanks!

Sounds like a good idea, but it’s tricky in practice. One reason is simply that the sound laws of different languages often don’t allow for exact representations of the local language: try as you might, as an English speaker you will struggle to pronounce Göteborg (Gothenburg) or København (Copenhagen) the way the locals say them…
In some cases there are also historical reasons: Vienna is actually closer to the original name, and Wien is a “corruption” following local usage (in the same way London / Llundain are “corruptions” of Londinium.
Rivers and mountains are particularly difficult as they might “belong” to several different language areas anyway.
And then there are political complications, as in Wales / Cymru …
Basically, I don’t think it’s a big problem that well-known places (towns, mountains, rivers etc) have different names in different languages - it’s nice if we can use the local names, and maybe that’s what we should aim for, but in practice it’s not that simple.

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Bombay and Mumbai are actually the same name, just pronounced/transcribed slightly differently. Same with Beijing and Peking. If I lived close to either of those cities, I’d absolutely make the effort to pronounce them like the locals, but if I’m only saying the names only once in a while, then I’m probably not going to get the practice that would allow me to get them ‘right’. However, I do appreciate that in recent years an effort has been made to inform generally that Mumbai, for example, even pronounced badly, is closer to the local pronunciation than Bombay.

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