nicdafis 9:34am, 22 September 2006
It's just occurred to me that there's no explanation in English as to what this group is about, and since I've just gone off on a rant on the latest picture, I thought it might be a good idea to repost here.

Also, I would really like to hear what "non-Welsh speaking Welsh people" think about this issue. I don't believe the Labour Party/Western-Mail-letters-page myth that things like this only matter to the 20% or so of us who speak the language. In fact, I think that's an appalling slander on the 80% who don't, assuming as it does that you don't know the value of your own language/culture/heritage/history/selves.

Because this language is yours, even if you've got out of the habit of using it in the last generation, or two, or thirty. (That should cover everyone ;-)


For anyone coming across this group, but not understanding Welsh, this is a perfect example of the kind of thing that happens with boring regularity here in Cymru Fach.

Supermarket finally decides to do something about their lack of bi-lingual signage, after 30 years of ignoring protests.

Supermarket (if you're lucky) gets a professional to translate the signs - usually only the obvious ones. No point in wasting *too* much money, is there?

Supermarket's signmaking department then copies and pastes the translation from the Word doc the translator provides, into whatever programme sign makers use to composite signs, without noticing that the word dŵr - which has a circumflex over the middle vowel - has now become d_r.

Nobody notices, or thinks to check the signs before hanging them up where everyone can see.

I worked in a shop where this happened, and we had to send the sign back, not once but twice, to the firm in England that had been given the business of making it. It was obvious from their response that they didn't see why we were making such a fuss. It was a less obvious mistake than this, but one that any literate Welsh speaker would spot - and this was in a bookshop.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and don't for a moment believe that anyone, at any level, in Tesco or any other company in Wales, does things like this because they are "anti-Welsh". But because their "commitment to the Welsh language" is nothing more than a currently fashionable sentence or two in their mission statements, and because not enough of us bring this to their attention, this shit keeps hppening.

Here's 186 other examples, all collected in the last year or so, and surely only a small proportion of what's out there.

To paraphrase Utah Phillips:

The Welsh language isn't dying, it's being killed. And those who are killing it have names and addresses.

And shareholders...
nicdafis 9 years ago
Update, three years later: here's 442 other examples.
Alasdair MacCaluim 8 years ago
A chairdean,

You've inspired me to set up a similar group for Scottish Gaelic: Droch Ghaidhlig. I've only just started it but there is so much bad Gaelic out there on signage etc that I'm sure there will be no lack of material!

le deagh dhurachd,

euphydryasuk 8 years ago
Well we have now gone over 500 with the addition of another howler from the Environment Agency's website. The standard of Welsh on signs is dreadful!
. Take the Civic Centre in Swansea for example. This is an area where Welsh is still widely used there are thousands and thousands of Welsh speakers still speaking the local dialect living within the city boundary. It is Wales' second city with probably more Welsh speakers than any other city. Around the car park and grounds of the Civic Centre there are at least a dozen very obvious errors on the signs. The sign for the registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages looks as if it is talking about dead bears or something!
(Marwolarthau in place of Marwolaethau.) This is should be just plain embarrassing for them .
tridral PRO 6 years ago
Hi Nic,

It's helpful to have an explanation of what the group is about.

I'm learning Welsh and bilingual signs (if correct) are always helpful in that they are a grammar and vocabulary lesson that's just hanging around waiting to be used.

It would be useful to me if people posting photographs could also say what's wrong, what the sign should say, and what bizarre statement the sign is actually making.

many thanks,

nicdafis 6 years ago
Syniad ardderchog / excellent idea!

Usually, of course, the sign isn't particularly bizarre, it's just a typo that slipped through the net.

If there was a net.
nicdafis 6 years ago
I'll start working my way through explaing the most recent ones. If someone wants to join in, pick a spot and go for it.
nicdafis 6 years ago
I've done a few, but it's depressing work. Much worse than marking Welsh learners' homework; at least I get paid for that, and thanked by the learners (usually). This is just making me feel uneasy, sorry.
tridral PRO 6 years ago
Thanks Nic. That's a great help to me, fel dysgwr.

Having grown up in Cardiff and not seen any Welsh at all, I tend to see bad Welsh as a positive step. I'm optimistically assuming that there will be a useful trend from No Welsh -> Bad Welsh -> Good Welsh

People producing Bad Welsh signs could get half a pat on the back 'Thank you for producing a sign in Welsh, it has these errors ... If they could be corrected it would be greatly appreciated' (or something like that).

With your notes as to what's wrong with the sign, we can now direct the various shops to Scymraeg so that they can see what they need to do. Lots of praise for anyone who then fixes their signs.
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