"Y Fenni"


April 15, 2016

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Using a map on these sections is a good idea...it will make it more meaningful. I am going to take your suggestion. I have an atlas, but, you're right, it would be really cool if they could add maps onto the page when discussing places.


It seems strange that the English name Abergavenny, which looks like a thoroughly Welsh name (albeit phonetically rendered), should not exactly correspond to the actual Welsh name. Was there ever a time when the town was called in Welsh Abergafenni or something of the sort?


Almost certainly! In fact, we sometimes have to explain that we had a recent Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Abergafenni to people from outside the area who are not familar with the shortened form. The theory seems to be that Y Fenni was used as a shorthand by some local 15th century scribe and has somehow stuck as the 'official' name. There are probably many other places in Wales where the local short form is used locally, but where it has not become the official form, for example:

  • Mach - Machynlleth
  • Llani - Llanidloes
  • Aber - many places beginning with Aber- (as well as those actually called just Aber)
  • Y Bermo - Abermaw (Barmouth)
  • Y Nant - Nant Gwrtheyrn
  • Llandod - Llandrindod (Llandrindod Wells) - The English 'Wells' was probably added in past times, as happened with a number of other places in Britain, to attract tourists
  • Llambed - Llanbedr San Steffan (Lampeter)

Official names are sometimes imposed on places that do not want them. For example, Crug Hywel (Crickhowell, in Powys) is the locally preferred traditional name, taken from the name of a fortified hill overlooking the town. More recently it had the phonetic Crucywel allocated to it 'officially', but the local councils seem to stick with their voters' preferred form and have generally ignored the attempted change.


Thanks for the interesting lesson!


I live in Abergavenny and just learnt a lot from reading some of these comments haha


Does the 'y' need to be capitalised if it's not at the start of the sentence?


Can we get a map of these places?


And it includes recordings of place-name pronunciations.


Thank you so much for this. I lived in Swansea until I was 21 but both my geography and Welsh pronunciations are shocking! :)


Also a nice cheese :-)


Starting this course in middle age, one of the things I've realised is how most of the Welsh words I already knew were based entirely on 1970s/80s childhood holidays (Caerdydd, Ynys Môn, Ysgol, Heddwas, Toiledau) and reading the regional variations in TV guides (Pobol y Cwm, anyone?)


One of the few, alongside Cardiff, London, Manchester and Newport, that I actually instantly know from road signs!


I had a Satnav that got very confused around there, and was telling me to follow signs to "Abergavenny Wye FFenni".

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