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Re: Notes and queries about Welsh
On Fri, 22 Jan 1999, John Cowan wrote:
> Does anybody know anything specific about Patagonian Welsh?
> According to the Ethnologue, the 1971 census showed some 30,000
> monolingual Welsh-speakers, a surprisingly high number (to me, anyway),
> and some 3000 bilingual Welsh-speakers in Canada. (Where?) Bilingual
> Welsh-speakers in the U.K. amounted to almost 600,000.
One of my Spanish profs was Argentinian and knew of their existence, but
no details. I do have the following post which appeared I believe on
sci.lang many years ago. There're also a couple of book that may help:
"La pasion segun Trelew"
Tomas Eloy Martinez
Bs. As.: Planeta, 1997
"Crisis in Chubut: a Chapter in the History of the Welsh Colony in
Gereint Dyfnallt Owen
Swansea: C. Davies, 1977
>>I remember learning about a Welsh speaking community in Patagonia when I
>>was in school. I always wondered whether it still existed.
>It surely does exist. If you know Welsh in Trelew you could get along
>quite well, if you know no Spanish, that is. English is unlikely to get
>you very far.
Trelew is a town in Argentina on the Chubut R., just inland from the coast
(nearest airport: Comodoro Rivadavia).
>"Erys dur oes y dewrion, erys eu her i'r oes hon."
> The Patagonian colony is, of course, the source of the rich seam of
> Gaucho-culture in Welsh literature.
> It can be most disconcerting for the Welsh-speaking Welsh to meet
> others with whom their only common language is Welsh. Welsh is very
> rarely spoken with any accent that has roots from further away than
> (say) Germany, and the combined effect of the absence of English, the
> latin-American Spanish accent, and the exotic customs are most
> refreshing (as is the maté). It would be a tempting place to emigrate
> to were it not in Argentina.
> The majority of Welsh-speakers are in the rural hinterland around
> the Gaiman in the lowlands of the Camwy valley, and way up in Cwm
> Hyfryd at Esquel and Trevelin on the Rio Corintos. Being rural types
> they are more attractive characters anyway, but it is difficult not to
> fall for Welsh spoken with an accent that is both rural and exotic.
> Their language is a bit quaint, full of preserved forms that are
> archaisms like those of American English, and enriched with a
> vocabulary borrowed from the Andean cultures and the Spanish.
> The Welsh is not as strong in the urban centres as it once was, the
> population that speaks Welsh is ageing; and the urban centres of Chubut
> province are pretty dismal places, especially down towards the coast in
> Puerto Madryn and Trelew and Rawson. Welsh and shantytowns are a
> singularly disconcerting combination, even if there is not that much
> Welsh in the shantytowns themselves.
Kindly forgive the 'plus signs' interpolated in the text; my mail program
was unable to handle whatever letter ought to be in there. Someone more
knowledgeable in Welsh ought to be able sort out what should go where.
(And then perhaps let me know, so I can change this in my records?)
> Mwyned yng nghysgod menni ddiwedd dydd
> oedd y diddan gwmni
> a'r ymgomio'n ymdonni
> dan y lloer i diwn y lli.
> Isel drydar gitarau yn fiwsig
> dan fysedd y llanciau
> a holl dir y pellterau
> i wyll hwyr yn llyfn bellhau.
> Digymar had, Gymru hen,
> a yrraist dros ddaearen;
> Dethol o'th wrol werin
> wy+r a+'u ffydd yn herio ffin;
> Hwythau yn ein diffeithwch
> yn medi'r grawn yn llawn o'r llwch.
> O'u haberth daeth ein gobaith,
> eu poen a roes inni'r paith;
> A'n codi yn wy+r cedyrn
> a+ chwip y Pampero chwyrn;
> Erys dur oes y dewrion,
> erys eu her i'r oes hon.
> pytiau o "Patagonia", Bryn (R. Bryn Williams)
> John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan email@example.com