We had not realised that The Guardian was a bilingual newspaper so we were surprised, as others may have been, that in response to Jim Perrin’s Country Diary entry for 28/03/2014 two comments were posted in Welsh. As there was no English translation this might have been seen as discrimination. Apart from the failure by The Guardian moderator to edit comments not in English (Jim Perrin’s Friends in High Places?) was it a ‘first’ to have comments in a language unlikely to be spoken by the majority of The Guardian’s readers?
And then there is the on-going question of Jim Perrin’s deceitful invention of multiple aliases: in any event, we believe — and have print-outs not yet shown on our site — that, by using pseudonyms, he has previously planted comments as double bluffs. Could this be another example? Who is ‘Welshbarbarian’? Who is ‘DrudwyBranwen’?
We are certain that the latter is yet another alias devised by Jim Perrin — see Pearls before swine? — and we suppose the use of these comments to be a piece of cleverness (can he really speak Welsh? He certainly did not when he lived in our family — he had not the basic courtesy to engage with a couple of aged first-language Welsh speakers — the grandparents of our niece’s boyfriend who were visiting Jac’s house for the evening, and he spoke not one word of Welsh to them. We found it not only impolite but suspicious.) The first comment, on the 29/03/2014, we believe to be the cue for next, by ‘DrudwyBranwen’ (JP?), 30/03/2014. We think he was responsible for both; as we said earlier — a double bluff.
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Generally English is the second language of the Welsh and they are as fluent in its use as are the English themselves — many, too, have a phenomenal knowledge of their literary heritage. This being so we were intrigued to receive the message which we are now including; it was sent to us by a Welsh well-wisher who, as a life-long nature lover and a regular reader of The Guardian Country Diaries, had also seen the comments by ‘DrudwyBranwen’. They felt so strongly on reading them that they were impelled to contact us and we are showing their message in full as self-evidently it was written by One Who Knows: it is apparent that they were intensely irritated.
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Dear Jac’s Sisters,
Re. two comments which followed Jim Perrin’s Country Diary of 28th March 2014.
Cymry. Fy ngwlad. Fy cartref. Maer llaisiau hanesrwydd yn siarad gyda fi dros y cymylau llwyd ar gwair gwyrdd.
- Cymry—Welsh people, Cymru—Wales
- fy cartref, ‘c’ mutates to ‘ngh’ after ‘fy’ (my) fy nghartref
- maer—mayor, should be mae’r
- ‘llaisiau’—no such word in the Welsh language
- llais—voice, the plural of which is lleisiau
- ‘hanesrwydd’—no such word in the Welsh language
- gyda fi is accepted orally in South Wales but should be written gyda mi
- ar—on, maybe should be a’r meaning ‘and the’
Perhaps he/she meant to say:
Wales. My country. My home. The ancient voices speak to me over the grey clouds and green grass ?
In my mind there is doubt that this person is Welsh considering all the linguistic aberrations
Should this writer be a Welsh learner, I suggest that he/she should seek advice before putting pen to paper for the public to read, at least until he/she has mastered the rudiments of Welsh grammar.
A little knowledge, as they say.
“Yn wir! Lleisiau a drychiolaethau ar hyd y lle.”
I am sorry Jac’s sisters if I sound annoyed while I write this, it is because “DrudwyBranwen” has well and truly made my hackles rise. No self-respecting Welsh man or woman would have the temerity to use lines from T H Parry-Williams, of all people, without acknowledging the fact. The audacity of this person is beyond the pale — that they could not be bothered even to include quotation marks is a form of theft.
Sir T H Parry-Williams was, during his lifetime, one of our most loved Welsh poets and his work to this day is still much revered. The poem that “DrudwyBranwen” has so boldly used is a poem about Wales called “Hon”, and the couplet that these words come from is as follows:
“Dacw’r tŷ lle’m ganed. Ond wele, rhwng llawr a ne’
Mae lleisiau a drychiolaethau ar hyd y lle”
A translation might be:
“There is the house where I was born. But between earth and sky there are voices and apparitions everywhere”
I doubt also if this person is Welsh as he/she has shown no respect towards such an eminent Welsh poet. Is it not sacrilege to quote T H Parry-Williams’ wonderful words in response to Jim Perrin’s “Country Diary”?
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We were fascinated to receive this particular contribution, as coming from one who is Welsh it seems to reveal a further insight into the behaviour of someone—calling themselves ‘DrudwyBranwen’ — whom we are quite sure is actually Jim Perrin. That he should think himself to be so above the usual guidelines of The Guardian or should behave in so high-handed a manner as to comment in such a way, is surely rather bizarre.
But it is good to have the translation because, like ourselves, there will be many other Guardian readers who had no idea at all what it was that ‘DrudwyBranwen’ (JP?) had actually said…