Incorrectly Translated Station Names

Nick Ashwell

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As someone that used to live there Caldicot Station is incorrectly named in Welsh. Caldicot isn't the Welsh translation, with it being Cil-y-Coed in Welsh!(Literally Under the Wood).

How common is this? Are there any other notable examples?
 
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D6975

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In the Republic of Ireland, many station names are in English and Gaelic. At some stations I have been to, the Gaelic name is spelt differently on the various signs.
 

unlevel42

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It is not unusual for a settlement to be called, spelt, pronounced etc. differently by different groups of users including nationalities.
Caldicot would have been surrounded by Welsh speakers and populated by Norman French many years before English was spoken.

Welsh and Gaelic have evolved and are still standardizing/correcting some the (mis-)spellings of the past) for numerous reasons. Thinking of Caernarfon, Conwy, Llangygai in my former patch. Some ancestors were from Cil/Keel and would have arrived at Oughty Bridge station when arriving in Oughtibridge village near Sheffield.

'Cil' means a hidden corner or quiet corner.
 
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Clansman

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The Gaelic translation for Kilwinning on the ScotRail signs often ruffles a few feathers when people mispronounce it deliberatley in order to highlight an innopropriate connotation to the Celtic vs Rangers rivalry.

Not sure if it counts, but it certainly is incorrectly pronounced/translated by those reading the sign.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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At the risk of going off topic, Caldicot /Cil-y-coed is actually one of the most interesting pairings of place-names in Wales as it's a result of what's known as folk etymology. That's where members of a language group come up with a similar-sounding word or name to an existing word or name in another language rather than translating it.

It normally occurs along linguistic borders or in areas where two languages have waxed and wained in respect to each other over the centuries. It's probably the case that historially Welsh speakers used both Caldicot and Cil-y-coed when referring to the town.

Particularly in the days when most signage was monolingual English, Welsh speakers would often refer to places by their English names. Ammanford, for example was always referred to by my relatives as as "Amanffwrd" rather than Rhydaman.
 

PHILIPE

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Caerffili (Caerphilly) has no English translation from the Welsh and if there is, it remains a mystery. If it was to be named now from scratch, it would probably be "Traefgaws" (Cheesetown) :lol::lol:
 

CaldicotHalt

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At the risk of going off topic, Caldicot /Cil-y-coed is actually one of the most interesting pairings of place-names in Wales as it's a result of what's known as folk etymology. That's where members of a language group come up with a similar-sounding word or name to an existing word or name in another language rather than translating it.

It normally occurs along linguistic borders or in areas where two languages have waxed and wained in respect to each other over the centuries. It's probably the case that historially Welsh speakers used both Caldicot and Cil-y-coed when referring to the town.

Particularly in the days when most signage was monolingual English, Welsh speakers would often refer to places by their English names. Ammanford, for example was always referred to by my relatives as as "Amanffwrd" rather than Rhydaman.
Let me get this off my chest.
Cil-y-Coed is a made up name. Caldicot has NEVER, until recently, had a Welsh name. The only ones promoting this name are the town council.
The derivation of Caldicot is a translation of the Saxon word for cold cottage, that is a traveler's resting place.
There are a number of Caldicots around the country but ours is the only one that I know of with one t and no e.
As you can see I live there and have been a resident for over 40 years.
 

Dr_Paul

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Cil-y-Coed is a made up name. Caldicot has NEVER, until recently, had a Welsh name. The only ones promoting this name are the town council. The derivation of Caldicot is a translation of the Saxon word for cold cottage, that is a traveler's resting place.
If they felt that it had to be done, would it not have been better to have had a Welsh rendering of Cold Cottage, either a direct translation or a word or words in Welsh meaning the same?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Oer Bwthyn then? (unless there's a mutation taking the B to an F!).
Bwthyn probably being related to the Scots bothy.
The Horseshoe Pass in North Wales is called Bwlch Oernant (pass of the cold stream) in Welsh.
 

6Gman

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Oer Bwthyn then? (unless there's a mutation taking the B to an F!).
Bwthyn probably being related to the Scots bothy.
The Horseshoe Pass in North Wales is called Bwlch Oernant (pass of the cold stream) in Welsh.
Bwthyn Oer (adjective - normally - follows the noun in Welsh).
 

Richard Scott

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Can anyone please explain Abergavenny becoming y Fenni? Why? Isn't Abergavenny Welsh enough? Thought Aber meant estuary? Happy to be proved wrong on any of these.
 

Dr_Paul

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Can anyone please explain Abergavenny becoming y Fenni? Why? Isn't Abergavenny Welsh enough? Thought Aber meant estuary? Happy to be proved wrong on any of these.
Wikipedia says: 'The town derives its name from a Brythonic word Gobannia meaning "river of the blacksmiths", and relates to the town's pre-Roman importance in iron smelting. The name is related to the modern Welsh word gof (blacksmith), and so is also associated with the Welsh smith Gofannon from folklore. The river later became, in Welsh, Gafenni, and the town's name became Abergafenni, meaning "mouth of (Welsh: Aber) the Gavenny (Gafenni)". In Welsh, the shortened form Y Fenni may have come into use after about the 15th century, and is now used as the Welsh name. Abergavenny, the English spelling, is in general use.

I think that Abergavenny is an anglicisation as -- I'm sure one of Welsh speakers will confirm one way or the other -- there is no letter V in the Welsh alphabet, a single F is used.
 

PHILIPE

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Can anyone please explain Abergavenny becoming y Fenni? Why? Isn't Abergavenny Welsh enough? Thought Aber meant estuary? Happy to be proved wrong on any of these.
The mouth of the River Gavenny is the English meaning This is a tributary of the River Usk into which it flow and which runs through Abergavenny known, as a result, as "Y Fenni". Similarly Brecon is "Aberhonddu"in Welsh, again the mouth of the River Honddu, a tributary which flows into the Usk at Brecon.
 

Vespa

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Welsh has a lot of Latin loan words in it due the Roman occupation.
So what you think is "pure Welsh" is actually a mongrel language.

For example fish
Latin- Piscis
Welsh-Pysgod

It would be well to bear that in mind regarding place names, they may have Latin origin as much as Brythonic roots.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Can anyone please explain Abergavenny becoming y Fenni? Why? Isn't Abergavenny Welsh enough? Thought Aber meant estuary? Happy to be proved wrong on any of these.
People get very worked up about these these things for no real reason. Abergavenny hasn't 'become' Y Fenni. The two languages use similar but different names. There are plenty of examples of both Y Fenni and Abergefeni being used in Welsh.


Myself, as a Welsh speaker, I'd use Abergafeni, others chose otherwise. It's really not a big deal. Some people call Birmingham 'Brum'. Others call Salop, Shrewsbury. It's Yr Amwythig and sometimes Pengwern in Welsh!

The signs have to say something. Those kind of decisions are made all the time in all languages.
 
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Llanigraham

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Can anyone please explain Abergavenny becoming y Fenni? Why? Isn't Abergavenny Welsh enough? Thought Aber meant estuary? Happy to be proved wrong on any of these.
No, Aber means the mouth of a river, and that can be where one river joins another. There are plenty of Aber's not on the coast.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Welsh has a lot of Latin loan words in it due the Roman occupation.
So what you think is "pure Welsh" is actually a mongrel language.

For example fish
Latin- Piscis
Welsh-Pysgod

It would be well to bear that in mind regarding place names, they may have Latin origin as much as Brythonic roots.

Says the man who uses a Germanic language with a Latin vocabulary. English is the ultimate mongrel language. That's why English is so succesful, and rightly so. In terms of language, mongrel is good! The ability to absorb words from other languages is a strength not a weakness.

Is English a 'mongrel' language because it uses words like bungalow, beef and croissant?

I suspect you won't understand that. Taking ten percent of your words from Latin = 'mongrel'. Taking seventy per cent of your words from Norman French = 'pure-bred British Bulldog!'
 
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61653 HTAFC

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Says the man who uses a Germanic language with a Latin vocabulary. English is the ultimate mongrel language. That's why English is so succesful, and rightly so. In terms of language, mongrel is good!

I suspect you won't understand that. Taking ten percent of your words from Latin = 'mongrel'. Taking seventy per cent of your words from Norman French = pure-bred British Bulldog!
Not taking sides here, but to be fair "Norman French" is really "Norse-man French"... so the dialect of French that Billy and his mates brought over in 1066 was subject to much the same Nordic influence that early-middle English had had!

Most European languages turn out to be "mongrel" as soon as you scratch beneath the surface... apart from maybe Basque!
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Not taking sides here, but to be fair "Norman French" is really "Norse-man French"... so the dialect of French that Billy and his mates brought over in 1066 was subject to much the same Nordic influence that early-middle English had had!

Most European languages turn out to be "mongrel" as soon as you scratch beneath the surface... apart from maybe Basque!
That's exactly the point I'm trying to make, perhaps badly!
 

unlevel42

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The etymology of place names can be a fun and interesting pastime as well as evidence of historic change and should not be taken so seriously by those who have come up with "the answer".

Nobody should need angry or need to ridicule a particular place name, characteristic, history, group or language

Enjoy the oddities of the languages like:
Pont Ruffydd Bridge
Swallow Falls
Dublin
Snowdon and:
The answer to the question "What is the Welsh for telephone?"
and the special powers that enable people to hear through walls, windows and doors and recognise the language spoken before they went into pub/shop changes when they go in.

These oddities and arguments about languages take place all over Europe. Here the are mostly light hearted in other places they become one of the tools of division.
 

61653 HTAFC

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That's exactly the point I'm trying to make, perhaps badly!
Your point was well made... Hope I didn't come over as confrontational, that wasn't my intent!

The etymology of place names can be a fun and interesting pastime as well as evidence of historic change and should not be taken so seriously by those who have come up with "the answer".

Nobody should need angry or need to ridicule a particular place name, characteristic, history, group or language

Enjoy the oddities of the languages like:
Pont Ruffydd Bridge
Swallow Falls
Dublin
Snowdon and:
The answer to the question "What is the Welsh for telephone?"
and the special powers that enable people to hear through walls, windows and doors and recognise the language spoken before they went into pub/shop changes when they go in.

These oddities and arguments about languages take place all over Europe. Here the are mostly light hearted in other places they become one of the tools of division.
Agreed. An amusing literal translation of a Welsh town (which I got from these fora some time ago) is Porthcawl = Gate soup! These peculiarities/absurdities/surreal images amuse me no end. Keep 'em coming!
 

Vespa

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Not taking sides here, but to be fair "Norman French" is really "Norse-man French"... so the dialect of French that Billy and his mates brought over in 1066 was subject to much the same Nordic influence that early-middle English had had!

Most European languages turn out to be "mongrel" as soon as you scratch beneath the surface... apart from maybe Basque!
Language fascinates me, in currently studying Old English, that is English without Norman French or Latin influences, I used to live in Wales and as a consequence picked Welsh while I was there. Wales came from the Anglesic word Wealas -foreigners.
English nearest linguistic relative is Frisian in Northern Holland. There is limited mutul intelligibility with Modern English, but read with Anglesic knowledge fairly understandable to about 50%.

Modern English is roughly 29% French, 29% Latin, the rest of Anglesic roots with some words adopted from the British Empire cultures.
 

AM9

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... Modern English is roughly 29% French, 29% Latin, the rest of Anglesic roots with some words adopted from the British Empire cultures.
and isn't much (most) of the French language derived from vulgar Latin by way of the Roman occupation anyway.
 

geoffk

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Welsh has a lot of Latin loan words in it due the Roman occupation.
So what you think is "pure Welsh" is actually a mongrel language.

For example fish
Latin- Piscis
Welsh-Pysgod

It would be well to bear that in mind regarding place names, they may have Latin origin as much as Brythonic roots.
I often wondered about that when visiting Wales. Also pont = bridge, eglwys = church, perygl = danger and I suppose llyfr = book, from liber. Probably a lot more.
 

Llanigraham

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Not on the railway, but one of the most glorious mis-translations/pronunciation is a small hamlet near Truro, called Come to Good. We stayed there once and did a bit of digging about the name and found that in Cornish it was called (and I'm using the Welsh translation as I can't spell in Cornish) Cwm Ty Coed, the valley of the house in the wood.
And the hamlet has the most beautifully restored, thatched Friends Meeting House.
 

hexagon789

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Not so much incorrect but there are many ScotRail stations where the Gaelic version seems lazy, Bàgh Wemyss for Wemyss Bay for one.

Or the hilarious Shotts for Shotts listed in the timetables!

Are there simply no reasonable equivalents or could someone just not be bothered?
 

Vespa

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I often wondered about that when visiting Wales. Also pont = bridge, eglwys = church, perygl = danger and I suppose llyfr = book, from liber. Probably a lot more.
You are correct.
Yes they are Latin root words similar words are used in French and Spanish.
Welsh French Spanish
Pont Pont Puente
Perygl Danger (Norman French) Peligro.
Eglwys. Église. Iglesia

After 400 years of Roman rule, many Latin words would take root in local languages.

Theres is a lot of cross influence.
Spanish is considered closest to Latin in grammar and vocabulary, Italian is close too yet it had a lot of foreign influences due to being invaded several times and words have changed their meaning.

Sign Language is also very interesting as I've noticed many deaf people from different countries are able to communicate quite well after some adjustments, I had a great conversation with some Chinese deaf people, but that's another topic for another day.
I could talk about this all day.


So yes Welsh Station names are Latin/Welsh constructs
 

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