Tag Archives: Welsh language

Tynged yr Iaith – Darlith Caerdydd

Pum deg mlynedd yn ôl darlledodd y BBC ddarlith gan Saunders Lewis (cyn-aelod o staff Prifysgol Caerdydd), dan y teitl ‘Tynged yr Iaith’: ei fwriad oedd sbarduno Cymry Cymraeg i fynnu eu hawliau i ddefnyddio’r iaith Gymraeg; rhywbeth y honnodd fyddai’n gyfystyr a ‘chwyldro’ . Cyn 1962 nid oedd gan siaradwyr Cymraeg hawliau cyfreithiol i wasanaethau yn yr iaith, ac roedd y cefndir hanesyddol yn un o ragfarn a difaterwch – o’r Ddeddf Uno yn 1536 a waharddodd yr iaith mewn llywodraeth, hyd at yr ugeinfed ganrif.

Saunders Lewis

Mewn arddangosfa yn SCOLAR, yn seiliedig ar ddarlith Saunders Lewis, ac sy’n cynnwys copi o’r Ddeddf Uno 1536, o gyfnod Harri VIII, olrheinir hanes ac effaith y ddarlith ar y gymdeithas Gymraeg o 1962 hyd at 2012: gwelir dogfennau o’r 16 G. hyd at bamffledi gwleidyddol Cymdeithas yr Iaith o’r 1960au hyd at 2002. Mae’n bosibl gweld detholiad o’r arddangosfa ar-lein, ar ein gwefan yma –

http://www.cf.ac.uk/insrv/libraries/scolar/digital/images.html

[An exhibition based on the 1962 BBC lecture by Saunders Lewis – ‘Tynged yr Iaith’, on the fate of the Welsh language – and its immense effect on society in the fifty years afterwards].

The plain man’s pathway to Heaven, or, The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy?

Among the older Welsh books in the Salisbury Collection at Cardiff we have the two seventeenth century editions of “Llwybr hyffordd yn cyfarwyddo yr anghyfarwydd i’r nefoedd” by the Puritan Arthur Dent (d. 1607), originally published in English as “The plain man’s pathway to heaven” in 1601.  When I first came across this title I was struck at once by the author’s name being the same as that of the hapless main character of Douglas Adams’ “The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, and indeed, the similarity of the title. I filed the information away in the recesses of my memory, used the catalogue record whenever I wanted an example to explain the display of a uniform title for a translated work, and thought that one day I would look into it further. As is the way with such things, others got there before me, as you can read here on the h2g2 online guide (“The guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything”).

The site’s article mentions Douglas Adams’ interview of March 1987, in which he said that he had been contacted by someone with a research interest in the period. The (unnamed) researcher had jumped to the same conclusion, pushing it further by finding many parallels in the respective texts. Adams stated that he had never heard of the book or of its author Arthur Dent, so the similarity really is a pure coincidence.  Both works, as article and interview point out, are a version of the “Everyman” story, the innocent in a strange world which may or may not be a version of our own world which must be explained to him. (Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is probably the best-known later example of this popular genre).

The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” has not, as far as I am aware, been translated into Welsh, but “The plain man’s pathway to heaven” was, first appearing in 1630 and again in 1682. It is one of several translations of religious works made by Robert Llwyd, Vicar of Chirk (1565-1655), intended to improve Welsh devotional life by making suitable books available in the Welsh language. While there are a number of locations  for the 2nd edition of 1682, the 1st Welsh edition of 1630 is rarer (it is also held at the National Library of Wales, the British Library, and Bangor University Library). As was usual with Welsh books before the lapsing of the Licensing Act in 1695, it was printed in London. The printer, Nicholas Okes (d. 1645), is better known for his editions of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, including his1st Quarto of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Othello.

The copy at Cardiff formerly belonged to Victorian Bible collector James Dix of Bristol (and is inscribed many times over with the name of an earlier owner, Ellis Powell, 1740). While the title-page is worn, the book is otherwise in good condition.

Testament Newydd 1567

Ar y 7fed o Hydref 1567 cyhoeddwyd llyfr pwysig yn hanes y Beibl ac yn sgîl hynny yr iaith Gymraeg: Testament Newydd William Salesbury a’r Esgob Richard Davies. Yn 1563 y pasiwyd y Ddeddf a fynnodd gael cyfieithiadau o’r Ysgrythyrau a’r Llyfr Gweddi Gyffredin yn Gymraeg ble bynnag yr oedd yr iaith yn arferedig: heb y Beibl yn Gymraeg, byddai hanes yr iaith wedi bod yn wahanol iawn.

Un o wŷr y Dadeni a’r Diwygiad oedd William Salesbury, yn ysgolhaig gyda’i syniadau ei hun am darddiad geiriau a’r orgraff. Yn y diwedd fe ffraeodd Salesbury a Davies ar faterion ieithyddol. Cam tuag at y Beibl cyfan yn Gymraeg oedd y Testament Newydd 1567 i fod, ond yn y pen draw yr Esgob William Morgan gafodd y fraint o gyflwyno’r Beibl cyfan yn 1588.

Yr oedd rheolau llym ynghylch argraffu hyd at 1695, felly nid yng Nghymru ond yn Llundain a baratowyd y Testament Newydd i’r wasg. Argraffwyd y llyfr gan Humphrey Toy, argraffydd o dras Cymreig yn St. Paul’s Churchyard, Llundain, gyda Salesbury yn symud mewn i’w dŷ er mwyn goruchwilio’r gwaith. Yn y rhagymadrodd, y mae Davies yn tynnu sylw at y ffaith bod yr iaith Gymraeg yn iaith estron yno:

hwn yw’r Testament cyntaf a fu irioet yn Gymraeg yn, a’r printwyr eb ddyall ungair erioed or iaith, ac am hyny yn an hawdd yddynt ddeall y Copi yn iawn” (“This is the first Testament there ever was in Welsh, and the printers have never understood one word of the language, and so it is difficult for them to understand the Copy correctly”.)

Cyffrous felly yw cyhoeddi ein bod wedi darganfod copi o’r Testament Newydd 1567 ymhlith rhoddion diweddar, ac mor agos at benblwydd ei gyhoeddi ar y 7fed o Hydref!

[A recent acquisition, William Salesbury’s Welsh New Testament, a significant publication in the history of the Welsh language. It was printed in London by printers who spoke no Welsh but were supervised by Salesbury. It was published on 7th October 1567]