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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kdb119

Does anyone know the derivation of the word 'heddlu'?

  • 1875

I'm just curious how this came about. Since in most European languages a variation of the word 'police' is used it suggests 'heddlu' may have an interesting derivation and/or perhaps a longer history and adopted/adapted to suit. A bit like 'Town Sergeant' or 'Constable', perhaps, in England.

December 6, 2016

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang

According to the Wiktionary:

hedd (“peace”) + [soft-mutated] llu (“host, force”)

And for heddwas:

hedd (“peace”) + [soft-mutated] gwas (“servant”)

I really like that formation. And it’s refreshingly different from the omnipresent variations on “police”.

What I’d like to ask native speakers though: In the Cwrs Mynediad they use the word plismon (< policeman, I presume) instead of heddwas. Are the two completely interchangable? Is there a difference in terms of style/dialect between the two?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kdb119
  • 1875

Yes, that's quite pleasing. Although, they'd have saved a lot of money on sign-painting if they'd have gone along with 'police'. :-)

I think I remember seeing somewhere that heddwas meant '(police) officer' instead of what could be considered the gender-specific 'plismon'. Perhaps a native speaker could confirm that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang

Well “police” would sound quite different if pronounced in Welsh. If the original pronunciation is to be preserved one would have to spell it “polîs”, so signs would have to be painted anyways ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kdb119
  • 1875

Oh yes, good point.

How would 'police' sound in Welsh pronunciation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang

If pronounced according to normal Welsh pronunciation rules, the “ce” part should sound like “Kendra”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kdb119
  • 1875

That would take a bit of getting used to. :-)

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