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Re: CHAT: silly (Welsh place) names

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, March 22, 2001, 21:14
At last I've got the correct form of that station with an even longer name
than LlanfairPG.

The station is on the 'Fairbourne & Barmouth Steam Railway'.  It is a
12.25" (about 31 cm) gauge railway/railroad and extends 2.5 miles (4 km)
from Fairbourne Village to Penrhyn Point where it connects with a ferry
which takes passengers across the mouth of the River Mawddach to Barmouth.

Somewhere along the track is a halt once known as Golf Halt; the station
there has been given a name which puts it into the Guinness Book of Records
as the 'station with the longest name'.  It is:


I hope there are no typos!  You will see that I was wrong about
'Penrhyndeudraeth'; in fact it's 'Penrhyn ar eurdraeth'.  But I'm glad to
find I was right abouth the dragon's teeth.

So, what does it all mean?  According to the 'Fairbourne & Barmouth Steam
Railway' web-site, it means:
"The Mawddach station with its dragon's teeth on the northerly Penrhyn
drive on the golden beach of Cardigan Bay".

There are, however, on or two oddities.  I will attempt to analyze:

_Gorsaf_ or, colloquially, _gorsa_ = station
Mawddach - name of the river.  Initial m- undergoes soft mutation to f- [v]
when compounded with _gorsa_, so:
GORSAFAWDDACH = Mawddach station.

â = with
ei = its/her (_gorsa_ is feminine)
â'i = with its
draigodanhedd - this is first problem.  "dragon's teeth" should be _dannedd
draig_ (or "the dragon's teeth" = dannedd y ddraig).  The two words are the
wrong way round!  I can only assume we have a (dialect) compound
_draigodant_ "dragon's tooth" (sounds as tho it could be a plant name, but
I don't know it).  But even then one would expect the plural to be
*draigodannedd.  _danhedd_ is archaic.  However, that's what we must have:
draigodanhedd - dragon's teeth.
A'I DRAIGODANHEDD - with its dragons-teeth

The next bit is -ogleddollonpenrhyn:

Gogleddol (adj) = northern. The soft mutation gives _ogleddol and I assume
the mutation occurs because we have two names (gorsafawddachaidraigodanhedd
+ gogleddollonpenrhynareurdraethceredigion) joined to form one long
compound name!

Lôn - lane, road, drive.  One of the few words - nearly all borrowings from
English at some period or other - that begins with a single {l}!
Notice that the double-l in -ogleddollon- is NOT the voiceless lateral
fricative!  It is just plain ol' /ll/, i.e. ogleddol lôn = northerly drive
(with the adjective unusually placed before the noun).

Penrhyn (Promontory) is a place-name here and used as an epithet noun,
qualifying _lôn_, i.e. lôn Penrhyn = the Penrhyn drive; Welsh does not use
the definite article here as the proper name, Penrhyn, makes it definite.
ogleddol lôn Penrhyn = the northerly Penrhyn drive.

ar = on
eurdraeth = golden-beach (golden sands); a compound noun, correctly formed,
from _aur_ (gold) + traeth (beach)
Ceredigion - the county of Ceredigion (formerly called Cardigan in
English); here used as an epithet noun, qualifying _eurdraeth_, i.e. the
Ceredigion golden-beach.  So:
ar eurdraeth Ceredigion = on Ceredigion's golden-beach.

So there you have it, and I won't be surprised to find that *there* there
also exists a 12.25" gauge steam railway running 2.5 miles along the coast
of Keredigia (or is Ceredigia?) to connect with a ferry across whatever the
River Mawddach is called *there*; and that on this railway is an obscure
little halt with a massive great long name ;)


A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                   [J.G. Hamann 1760]


andrew <hobbit@...>