Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Times, Kate Middleton and nasal mutation

It's a brave editorial writer in England who ventures into the choppy waters of Welsh. Many have floundered and the latest victim is none other than The Times.

In a broadly positive editorial, although a touch patronising in parts, the Thunderer wrote of Kate Middleton's first official engagement at Prince William's side in Wales.

"The skill that eluded John Redwood when he was Welsh Secretary, that of singing fluently in the Welsh language, has already been mastered by Kate Middleton," gushed the leader writer.

"This Thursday, on her first official engagement at Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, the fiancee of the next-but-one heir to the throne did not put a word out of place as she sang Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nadau, the Welsh national anthem, known to those of us who do not speak the language as well, as Land Of My Fathers."

Well, up to a point, Nadau, you see, means cry, or clamour. What had foxed the Times writer was the nasal mutation that turns Tadau, fathers, to Nhadau. So the correct title is Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

A minor point perhaps, but they wouldn't misspell the words to God Save The Queen, would they?