''Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch(Welsh pronunciation: [ˌɬanvairˌpuɬɡwɨ̞ŋˌɡɨ̞ɬɡoˌɡɛrəˌχwərnˌdrobuɬˌɬantɨ̞ˌsiljoˌɡoɡoˈɡoːχ] ( listen)) is a large village and community on the island of Anglesey in Wales, situated on the Menai Strait next to the Britannia Bridge and across the strait from Bangor. This village has the longest place name in Europe and one of the longest place names in the world. The short form of the village's name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, also spelled Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll. It is commonly known as Llanfair PG orLlanfairpwlll.
According to the 2001 census, the population of the community is 3,040, 76% of whom speak Welsh fluently; the highest percentage of speakers is in the 10–14 age group, where 97.1% are able to speak Welsh. It is the fifth largest settlement on the island by population.
Visitors stop at the railway station to be photographed with the sign. Also, they visit the nearby Marquess of Anglesey's Column, which at a height of 27 metres (89 ft) offers views over Anglesey and the Menai Strait. Designed by Thomas Harrison, the monument celebrates the heroism of Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey at the Battle of Waterloo.
The long form of the name is the longest officially recognised place name in the United Kingdom and one of the longest in the world, being 58 letters in length (51 letters in the Welsh alphabet, where "ch", "ng" and "ll" count as single letters).
The name means: [St.] Mary's Church (Llanfair) [in] the hollow (pwll) of the white hazel (gwyngyll) near (goger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrndrobwll) [and] the church of [St.] Tysilio (llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo goch).
This village was originally known as Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll (and is sometimes still referred to as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll) and was given its long name in the 19th century in an attempt to develop the village as a commercial and tourist centre (see Significance of the namebelow). Today the village is still signposted as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, marked on Ordnance Survey maps as Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll and is known to locals as Llanfairpwll or simply Llanfair.
The name is also seen shortened to Llanfair PG, which is sufficient to distinguish it from the many other Welsh villages with Llanfair in their names. Other variant forms use the full name but with tysilio mutated to dysilio, and/or with a hyphen between drobwll and llan. InWelsh, the initial Ll may be mutated to a single L in some contexts.Illustration of a sign showing the name and English translation of the town
The village's long name cannot be considered an authentic Welsh-language toponym. It was artificially contrived in the 1860s to bestow upon the station the honour of having the longest name of any railway station in Britain; an early example of a publicity stunt. The village's own web site credits the name to a cobbler from the local village of Menai Bridge. According to Sir John Morris-Jones the name was created by a local tailor, whose name he did not confide, letting the secret die with him. The current postmark shows the name Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, However, there are contemporary examples of the full name seen below.
The eponymous St. Mary's Church.
The village was originally known as 'Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll' "St Mary's church in [the townshipnamed] hollow of the white hazel." 'Pwllgwyngyll' was the original mediaeval township where the village is today. Old variants (with the Welsh spelling normalized) were Llanfair y Pwllgwyngyll ("y" = '(of) the'), and Llanfair Ymhwll Gwyngyll ('mh' is a sandhi change from 'n p', and "yn" = 'in').
The village is split into two smaller villages, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-uchaf (Upper Llanfairpwllgwyngyll) the original part of the village and Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-isaf (Lower Llanfairpwllgwyngyll) the newer area nearer the railway station. These are occasionally referred to as Pentre Uchaf and Pentre Isaf (Upper Village and Lower Village) respectively.The sign at the railway station gives an approximation of the correct pronunciation for English speakersJames Pringle Weavers shop with English translation of the name.
The full name of the village is [ˌɬanvairˌpuɬɡwɨ̞ŋˌɡɨ̞ɬɡoˌɡɛrəˌχwərənˌdrobuɬˌɬantɨ̞ˌsiljoˌɡoɡoˈɡoːχ], or with [ɪ] for [ɨ̞], [pʊɬ, bʊɬ] for [puɬ, buɬ], depending on the speaker's accent.
|Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch pronunciationMale Welsh speaker pronouncing Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.----|
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
The approximate pronunciation in English orthography is given at the station as: Llan-vire-pooll-guin-gill-go-ger-u-chwurn-drob-ooll-llantus-ilio-gogo-goch. The ch is a voiceless uvular fricative [χ] or voiceless velar fricative as in "Bach" ([bax]: see ach-Laut) in most varieties ofGerman. The ll is a voiceless lateral fricative [ɬ], a sound that does not occur in English and is sometimes approximated as [θl] (thl as in athlete) or even [xl] by English speakers. There is even a song on iTunes with a lesson on how to pronounce the name.
There have been several attempts to steal the village's record:
- The Carmarthenshirevillage of Llanfynyddunofficially adopted the nameLlanhyfryddawelllehynafolybarcudprindanfygythiadtrienusyrhafnauole in 2004 in protest of plans to erect a wind farm nearby (the name means "a quiet beautiful village; a historic place with rare kite under threat from wretched blades" in English).
- A station on the Fairbourne Railway was namedGorsafawddacha'idraigodanheddogleddollônpenrhynareurdraethceredigion (translated as "theMawddach station and its dragon under the northern peace of the Penrhyn Road on the golden beach of Cardigan Bay") for promotional purposes.
No such attempts have gained widespread recognition amongst official bodies or transport authorities.The Marquess of Anglesey's Column
A settlement has existed on the site of the village since the Neolithic era, with subsistence agriculture and fishing the most common occupations for much of the village's early history. The island of Anglesey was at that point only reachable by boat across the Menai Strait. The area was briefly invaded and captured by the Romans under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, temporarily abandoned in order to consolidate forces against Boudicca, then held until the end of Roman Britain.
With the withdrawal of the Roman forces, the area fell under the control of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, an early Medieval kingdom. Under this feudal system, the residents worked small farms for the king. The rural nature of the settlement meant that the village had a population of only around 80.
However, with the introduction of estates in the 16th century, much of the land was absorbed into the Earldom of Uxbridge, currently under the Marquess of Anglesey; the inhabitants became tenant farmers on enclosures. The population of the village boomed, with a population of 385 in the 1801 census.
In 1826, Anglesey was connected to the rest of Wales by the construction of the Menai Suspension Bridge by Thomas Telford, and connected with London in 1850 with the building of the Britannia Bridge and the busy North Wales Coast railway line, which connectedLondon to the ferry port of Holyhead. The village decentralised, splitting into Upper Village (Pentre Uchaf), which was made up mainly of the older houses and farms, and the new Lower Village (Pentre Isaf), built around the railway station and consisting mostly of shops and workshops. The village became a hub of commerce, as the railways and road network brought traders and customers from across north Wales.
The first ever meeting of the Women's Institute took place in Llanfairpwll in 1915 and the movement (which began in Canada) then spread through the rest of the British Isles.
The name is celebrated in the song "Red Cave" by the band Yeasayer, which features the band repeating the lines "Mary's house in the hollow of the white hazel rapid whirlpool and the church of the red cave."
In a reference to the village, the Welsh band Super Furry Animals called their debut E.P. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgoger-ychwyndrobwllantysil-iogogogochynygofod (in space)
The name was also used in the movie Barbarella as the password for the headquarters of Dildano, the comical revolutionary and byPeter Sellers in the film The Road to Hong Kong where he plays a quack doctor who asks Bob Hope to say it instead of the more usual 'Ahh' when examining his teeth.
The name was used as a solution in a crossword compiled by Roger Squires for The Telford and Wrekin News when royalty visited Ironbridge in 1979 on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the first ever bridge made of iron. The Telford & Wrekin asked for it so it would be accepted by Guinness Records as the longest word to appear in a published crossword. It was deemed necessary to make it an anagram: “Giggling troll follows Clancy, Larry, Billy and Peggy who howl, wrongly disturbing a place in Wales (58)”.
The 2012 expansion pack to Civilization V, Gods and Kings, adds a Steam Achievement called "Longest. Name. Ever." The image that accompanies this contains the letters "...pwllgwyngyll", the last 12 letters of the short version.
- ^ Neighbourhood Statistics
- ^ Melville Richards, 'Place Names', in An Atlas of Anglesey (Anglesey Community Council. Llangefni, 1972). The late Professor Melville was one of Wales' leading authorities on place names.
- ^ http://fifteensquared.net/2010/08/30/guardian-25102-rufus/#comments
- Village website, listed in the 2002 Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest valid Internet domain name
- BBC Article at H2G2
- Flickr photos
- photos of Llanfair PG and surrounding area on geograph
- Musical "How To" lesson on the correct pronunciation
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- This page was last modified on 3 September 2012 at 07:39.