Wednesday 25 April 2018

Plan to change Welsh village name ditched

Benjamin Wright

Plans for a Welsh village to change the spelling of its name - so it would sound like "errr fart egg" - have been binned.

Varteg in Torfaen faced the prospect of a new monicker over a language gaffe made hundreds of years ago.

In Welsh, there is no letter V - although the same sound is produced by the single letter F.

A consultation was launched over proposals to change the village's name to the correct spelling of "Y Farteg".

But it faced opposition from locals who feared the Welsh version would make them the butt of people's jokes.

Torfaen councillor Richard Clarke reportedly said the local authority had listened to residents' views and decided to stick with the current spelling.

He told BBC Wales: "While we in Wales understand the pronunciation, outsiders will say it "Err Fart-egg" and that will bring the area into disrepute and the residents with it.

"The overwhelming response was against and I have listened to that."

Mr Clark, who is Torfaen's cabinet member for health, social care, wellbeing and equalities, said he put the matter out to consultation in November after residents raised concerns.

Many road signs in Wales show place names in both Welsh and English - for example visitors to the country's capital will be greeted with Cardiff and Caerdydd.

However, some Welsh sounding places have had their names anglicised - before eventually reverting back to their proper and more traditional spelling.

That move has been supported by some Welsh speakers - including the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Its guidelines for standardising place names says if the difference between the Welsh and English forms is only one or two letters, then a single form should be used - with preference given to the Welsh form.

Local councillor Giles Davies, whose Abersychan ward includes Varteg, said the decision to drop the name was the right one.

"Common sense has prevailed. And I'm chuffed to bits," he added.

Press Association

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