Connect to share and comment

Llansanffraid or Llansantffraid? Spelling spat leads to vote in Welsh village (AUDIO)

Look closely and you'll see it — the problematic letter "t."

WelschEnlarge
Welcome Host Gwen Ellis walks past the Llanfairpwllgwyngllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch sign on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, on November 18, 2010 in Llanfairpwllgwyngllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, United Kingdom. Prince William and Kate Middleton, who have been in a relationship for the past 8 years, will marry in the spring or summer of 2011 and live near RAF Valley where the Prince is stationed as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Dotting the "i" is no problem, but crossing the "t" is awfully controversial in one Welsh village, according to BBC News.

So controversial, in fact, that locals are putting the town's name to a vote after decades of disagreement.

To be clear, this is no trivial "t" — including the letter would reportedly render Saint Brigit, for whom the town was named, male instead of female.

At least, that was the reason given by a local council for their 2008 decision to rename then-Llansantffraid to Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain. 

This, however, reportedly lead to much defacing of roadsigns. Local residents were not pleased. 

After all, the original name goes back to the 1800s and translates to the surprisingly long: "The church of Saint Bride in the land of the river Cain," according to the local county website. Bride is presumably an alternate spelling for Brigit. 

But this is a village whose very existence was questioned from the start, as the local council tells it

"Originally the inhabitants chose Foel Hill as they thought it was closer to God because of its height. However as soon as building began they found that the stones had been moved to a hill on the other side of the road. They moved them back to Feol Hill, but again overnight they were moved. The villagers saw this as ‘the will of god’ and built the church on the second site." 

The location was settled, but dispute has lingered over the name. Villagers even participated in a 2010 poll, which found that more than 70 want the "t" back, while only three want to keep the name as-is, the BBC reported

"There is talk of a poll but we are in the process of gathering all the information necessary so villagers can make a judgment — why it was changed, what are the origins of the spellings and what the advantages are for the village?" village official Gwynfor Thomas told the BBC. It was not immediately clear when the vote would be held. 

Welsh is a notoriously difficult language, and some fear it is being lost as fewer and fewer children master the tongue. But all the fuss over a small village's name may end up boosting a shared — if sometimes divisive — linguistic heritage. 

How different do the two spellings sound? GlobalPost's Corinne Purtill recorded this comparison:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/130619/llansanffraid-or-llansantffraid-spelling-welsh-town