Saturday, 13 June 2009

Long Words

Never use a long word when a short one will do.
Hey, this is good advice, even if not exactly original. It keeps people turning the pages. So what were they thinking of when they came up with the name for this village on Anglesey?

This is the original sign on the railway station platform.

Arriva have been helpful on this, their sign offers some guidance on the pronunciation.
I could have done with this half an hour earlier, on the train. You see, it's a request stop. You have to ask the guard to stop at this station or you'll be hauled off to Holyhead.
So how do you ask?
"Excuse me, we'd like to alight at Llanfairthingy."...Nah.
So I went with: "could you put us off at the first stop after Bangor please?"
The guard smiled. He's heard every angle, of course he has. He's probably even taken a few of the extreme linguistic failures all the way to Holyhead.
So how did it happen? Years ago the local council had a meeting to decide what to call the town, and maybe some bright spark councillor stood up and said "let's call it: The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the red cave," because then we can build a massive visitor centre and sell all kinds of stuff to the coach loads of tourists who come to have their photo taken standing under the sign. Only he said it in Welsh.
And perhaps the mayor stood up and said, "ie." Which means "yes".
Because a short word is always best.

No comments: