The Grail / Volume 4, No. 13 (1911)
Tafodieithoedd Morgannwg
Gan T. Jones, Ysgol y Cyngor, Dunraven, Treherbert

Edrychid yn bur aml gan yr anwybodus a'r anghyfarwydd gyda gradd o ddirmyg ar dafodieithoedd yn gyffredin fel rhywbeth y dylid eu hesgymuno o'r tir. Cynhwysant, meddent hwy, y fath nifer o eiriau sathredig fel mai y peth goreu i wneud ohonynt ydyw eu diarddel, a mabwysiadu iaith safonol yn eu lle. Yn ffortunus fedrwn ni y Cymry ddim gwneud hyn oblegid ein tafodieithoedd ydyw prif sylfaen ein holl ymddiddanion a'n llenyddiaeth.
Mae gennym nifer o dafodieithoedd, a mwy fyth o is-dafodieithoedd, ond hyn sydd ryfedd, fel mynn rhai gredu yn rhagoriaeth y naill dafodiaith ar y llall. Ac nis gwn am un iaith gwerin o holl dafodieithoedd Cymru ag y dirmygid cymaint arni ag iaith gwyr Morgannwg.



Peth digon cyffredin yw clywed pobl Dyfed a Gwynedd yn difro iaith Morgannwg a chyhoeddi ei hanghyfiawnderau a'i diffygion fel petae eu hiaith hwy yn safon lln y genedl.

Bu hefyd mewn bri nid yn unig lenorion ein gwlad, ond hefyd gan bregethwyr Morgannwg. Ysgwaethiroedd, maent hwy bellach yn ei gwadu ac yn ymarfer y Ddyfedaeg, neu yn dynwared y Wyndodeg gan dybio eu bod yn fwy yn y ffasiwn, ac mai sarhd ar eu dychymyg fyddai seinio yr a fain a'r cydseiniau celyd.

Da fyddai pe bae iaith y pwlpud yn fwy cydweddol 'r iaith lafaredig.
Ond, er graddol farw o'r Wenhwyseg, ni chaiff ei geiriaduriaeth na'i neulltuolion ieithyddol fynd ar ddifancoll. Yn hyd y blynyddoedd diwethaf yma bu llawer o hel ar eiriau Morgannwg, a mawr y blas a gafwyd yn y gwaith.

Heblaw cael helfa dda o eiriau, cafwyd i'r ystn bopeth sydd yn anwyl gan bobl y broydd a'r bryniau a garant swyn swn hen benhillion {sic} telyn, hen ddiarhebion, ofergoelion, ystoriau pentan, chwedlau a lln gwlad. Os am ystn lawn, ewch i'r encilion lle trig hen bobl a lle mae'r nwyd Gymreig yn bur ei naws ac yn loyw fel y grisial.


Yno, y clywch hwynt yn "wla" - nid ydynt yn "siarad" neu barablu "jargon," ond yn chwedleua yn l arfer yr hen Gymry. Ond o hir graffu, gwelir ddefnyddio ganddynt eiriau a brawddegau cyn anhybyced i ardaloedd ereill o Gymru fel yr edrychid arni fel iaith arall hollol.
Ac felly y mae mewn gwirionedd, mae treigliad amser wedi gwneud gwisg ei geiriau yn fwy syml, ac wedi dwyn i fewn gyfnewidiadau tarawiadol iawn. Hefyd, mae graddau y dirywiad yn mwyhau fel yr ewch o orllewin Morgannwg i'r dwyrain.






I'r neb sydd erioed wedi talu rhith o sylw i'r Wenhwyseg, tarewir ef ar unwaith symlrwydd a phertrwydd ei hymadroddion. Nodweddir hi gan ryw urddas cartrefol, mae iddi osgo chwimwth sydd yn cyd-fyned meddwl cyflym y deheuwr. Er amlyced yw hyn i'r rhai sydd yn gyfarwydd 'r iaith, ofnwn rhag eu cyhuddo o bartiaeth yn canu ei chlodydd a dyfynnwn farn arall.
Nid ydys yn traethu ond gwirionedd hen, a chaiff Wyndodwr ddatgan ei farn am ei symlrwydd. Meddai y Dr. Pughe, mewn llythyr o'i eiddo i Mr. Cox, a ddyfynnir yn "History of Monmouthshire," "The general character of this dialect (i.e. the Gwentian) is a majestic simplicity, the expressions being always full and free from contractions." Mae y dyb yma yn hollol gywir oddigerth y frawddeg "free from contractions." Nid yw yn rhydd o'r anffawd yma mwy nag unrhyw dafodiaith arall.


Eto, mae symudiadau ei brawddegau yn lled gyflym, mor gyflym na fedr mo'r Gogleddwr eu deall hwy, a chwyna yn enbyd weithiau. "Cwyna yr olaf (sef y Gogleddwr) eu bod yn methu deall gwyr y De, gan fuaned eu parabl; a phrin y mae gan y Deheuwr ddigon o amynedd i wrandaw ar wyr y Gogledd, gan mor hirllaes ac araf y torant eu geiriau" ("Llythyraeth yr Iaith Gymraeg," tud. 34, Silvan Evans, 1861).

Gorffwys parhad a defnyddioldeb unrhyw dafodiaith ar dri o alluoedd; sef, gallu i hwyluso seiniau geiriau, gallu i fabwysiadu a chydweddu geiriau newyddion ac estronol, a gallu i gadw geiriau oesoedd cynt yn ei meddiant. Wedi ymchwil manwl gellir dweyd fod pobl Morgannwg wedi llwyddo i wneud hyn tu hwnt i fesur.


Mae yn eu meddiant ddigon o eiriau - rhai miloedd mewn gwirionedd. Mae eu hiaith yn gyfoethog o eiriau tlysion, swynfawr; mae yn doreithiog o eiriau sarrug a thaiog; mae ganddi chwedleuon parod ac atebion parotach fyth, a str o cyffelybiaethau a geiriau deublyg; ie, mae ynddi ddigon o ynni a rhamant i fod eto o ddefnydd parhaol.


Pan gofir safle ddaearyddol Morgannwg, natur arwynebedd y fro, - cyn agosed ydoedd i ymosodiadau y gelyn ac i'r llanw Seisnig, - y syndod yw pa fodd y galluogwyd hi i wrthsefyll yn erbyn cefnllif y Sacson, y Norman, a'r Sais, heblaw sn am oresgyniad masnachol ein dyddiau ni.



Cyn dechreu o'r Goresgyniad Masnachol tua 1760-1795, cawn taw Cymraeg bur oedd i'w chlywed hyd a lld y sir. Dyma'r gwrthwynebedd a'r difrodydd mwyaf andwyol ar yr Wenhwyseg. Newidiodd y dull o fyw, cymerodd masnach lofaol le yr amaethyddol, a chafodd hyn, felly, effaith ddistrywgar ar fywyd ac iaith amaethyddol y sir. Ond hyd yn oed pe canieteid hyn, mae ynddi eto ddigon o undeb corfforol i'w gwneud yn allu nerthol yn y tir.
Hwyrach cawn fwrw golwg agosach ar ffiniau tafodieithoedd Morgannwg a'u neilltuolion ieithyddol. Byddai unrhyw ymdrech ar hyn o bryd i nodi yn gywir y ffiniau yn anfoddhaol o herwydd prinder defnyddiau at y gwaith. Ond cyn belled ag yr sylwadaeth ac ymchwiliad mae yma dair tafodiaith amlwg, sef, y Wenhwyseg Bur, neu dafodiaith Blaena a Bro Morgannwg, tafodiaith Cwm Nedd, a thafodiaith Cwm Tawe. Penderfynnir pob ffin yn l rhyw arwyddion ieithyddol, a cheisiwn eu nodi.
Mae sain y llafariad a yn penderfynnu un ffin. Cofier fod dwy a ym Morgannwg, y naill yn hir a'r llall yn fain. Ceir y cyntaf i'r gorllewin o'r Cefn Mawr a'r Foel Fynyddau, a'r a fain (nodir hi yn yr ysgrif fel ) i'r dwyrain o'r un ffin. Perthyn y cyntaf i'r Ddyfedaeg, ond mae'r a fain yn briodoledd neilltuol o'r Wenhwyseg Bur.




Mae trigiant yr a fain, fel y dywedwyd eisoes, i'r dwyrain o'r Cefn Mawr sydd rhwng Cwm Nedd a Chwm yr Afan {sic; = Cwm Afan}. Cynnwys y ffin yma sy'n rhedeg o'r Kenffig {sic: = Cynffig}, ar hyd drum u Cefn Mawr, hyd at Aberdr a Merthyr, gymoedd poblog Morgannwg, sef yr Afan, Corrwg, y Garw, Ocwr, Lai, Rhondda, Cynon, Taf, a Rhymi, a bro Morgannwg.
Adnabyddir y mynyddoedd ym mhen uchaf y sir fel y "Bleinia" (Blaenau). Bu llawer ymgyrch rhwng "Gwyr y Bleinia" a "Gwyr y Fro" nes aeth yn "wetiad" gan yr olaf, "Myswynoch rhog Gwyr y Bleinia," neu "Myswynoch rhog Gwyr y Fro," neu "Myswynoch rhog Gwyr y Gloran," - trigolion Cwm y Rhondda yr rhai {sic} oedd yn nodedig am wneud difrod ar feusydd ffrwythlon y Fro, a dwyn eu gwartheg blithion.







I'r gorllewin o'r ffin yma y mae gwyr Castell Nedd, neu fel yr adwaenid hwy ar lafar gwlad "Gwyr y Mera." Ni fynnai gwyr y Fro gael un cyfathrach hwynt, oblegid
"Yr Abbey Jacs a'r Mera breed
'Dos dim o'u bth nhw yn y byd."



Penderfynnir y ffin nesaf yn l y modd y defnyddir "a" neu "e" yn sill olaf geiriau. Mae sylwi ar ynghaniad y gair bach "ia" neu "ie" yn ddigon i'n dwyn i gasgliad lled gywir. Ac er ychwanegu y prawf sylwer ymhellach sut yr ynghaner y geiriau ac "a" yn y sill olaf - pa un ai "petha" ynte "pethe"; "llawan" ynte "llawen," ac yn y blaen. Fe'n cynhorthwyir yma gan ffeithiau ereill, sef arwynebedd y tir, a phwysigrwydd trefydd Abertawe a Chwm Nedd.


Mae cors wlyb Crymlin yn un pen o'r ffin rhwng tafodiaith Cwm Nedd a thafodiaith Cwm Tawe, ac y mae pwysigrwydd marchnataol Abertawe a Chwm Nedd yn penderfynnu i raddau, rhediad y ffin o'r gors ymlaen, rhwng Llansamlet a Sciwen. Mae yn ymrannu yn agos i Cwmdu {sic}, ac oddiyno i'r Hirfynydd, gan ddilyn Sarn Helen hyd at Bont Nedd Fechan.
I'r dwyrain o'r ffin yma yr "a" sydd gyffredin, megys "ia," "llawan," "patall" (padell), "catar" (cadair).
"Tri pheth sy'n llonni'r bachan,
Gweld gwraig y ty'n llawan," etc
I'r gorllewin o'r un ffin yma "e" sydd gyffredin.

Nodwedd neilltuol iawn o eiddo holl dafodieithoedd Morgannwg ydyw caledu'r seiniau meddal - g, b, d - i fod yn rhai celyd - c, p, t - megys "maci" (magu), "popi" (pobi), "catw" (cadw). Ceir y seiniau yn niwedd geiriau deusill. Clywir yr acen galed yma o Afon Lliw hyd Sir Fynwy

Mae d yn cael ei dilyn gan i yn troi yn "ji", megys jiofadd (dioddef); jiocal (diogel); aiff f ar goll yn lled aml, ac y mae h bron darfod a bod yn llythyren fyw os na fydd angen am bwyslais neilltuol, e.g. y nhw yn ("nhw"), dihna, a phan yn dilyn y rhagenw ym dodir h i fewn, e.g. ym harian i, ym hallwath i; ond mae wedi ei llwyr golli mewn rhai geiriau, megis ar wa'n, gwaniath (gwahaniaeth),a dno (dihuno).


Try s yn sh pan (1) yn gyfartal si, neu ji neu ja yn Seisnig; (2) mewn geiriau unsill, megys mish (mis), prish (pris), (3) ynghanol geiriau - mishol, tishan (teisen) shishwrn (scissors); ac (4) pan bo d neu t yn cael eu dilyn gan i, neu u, megys, scitsha (esgidiau), tsha (tua). Mae rhai geiriau, serch hyny, wedi arbed y dirywiad yma, megys siwr (sywr, ac nid shiwr na shwr), plsar, swgir, crs (crys), cros (croes), tros.



Gwelir, oddiwrth hyn o lith gymaint ddyddordeb sydd yn y Wenhwyseg i'r ieithyddwr, ac hyd yn oed, i'r darllennydd cyffredin.



The Grail / Volume 4, No. 13 (1911)
Tafodieithoedd Morgannwg
The dialects of Morgannwg / Glamorgan, by T. Jones,

Generally people ignorant of and unfamiliar with dialects very often look on them with a degree of contempt as something that has to be done away with ('excommunicated from the land'). They contain, they say, so many debased words that the best thing to do with them is disown them, and adopt a standard language in their place. Fortunately we the Welsh cannot do this because our dialects are the cornerstone ('main foundation') of all our conversations and our literature
We have quite a number of dialects, and even more sub-dialects, but what is odd is how some people insist in believing in the superiority of one dialect over another. And I know of no other kind of Welsh spoken by the ordinary people of all the dialects of Wales which is the target of so much contempt as the language of the inhabitants of Morgannwg
It's fairly usual to hear the people of Dyfed and Gwynedd maligning the language of Morgannwg and exposing what is unjust about it and its defects as if their language was the literary standard of the nation.

Not only the writers of our country were renowned, but also Morgannwg preachers. Unfortunately they now reject it and make use of Demetian (the dialect of south-west Wales), or imitiate the Venedotian  the dialect of North Wales) thinking themselves to be more in fashion, and it would be an insult to their intellect to use the 'narrow a' sound, or the hardened consonants.
But in spite of the gradual dying out ot Gwentian, its lexicography and its linguistic peculiarities won't be lost for ever. In the last few years there has been a great deal of collecting of Morgannwg words, and it has been a very enjoyable task.

Besides getting a good collection of words we've also put in the jug with (note: the image is collecting bilberries in a jug on the mountainside) everything held dear by the people of the uplands and the lowlands who love to hear the old verses sung to the accompaniment of the harp ('harp verses'), superstitions, fireside stories, legends and country lore. If you want a full jug go to those isolated spots where old people live and where the Welsh passion is pure in nature and as bright as crystal.

There, you'll hear them using the word "wila" (Note: this is the word in the south-east for 'to talk', in standard Welsh 'chwedleua', to relate accounts. In modern Welsh the standard words is "siarad", from French "charade" from Occitan "xarrada" = conversation) - they don't used the word 'siarad' or speak 'jargon' - they use a form of the word 'chwedleua', the word used by the Welsh people in olden times. But if you observe over a period, you'll see they use words and sentences so unlike other areas of Wales that they were regarded as a completely different language
And so it is really, the passage of time has made the outward appearance ('the dress') of the words simpler, and has brought in very striking changes. Also, the extent ('degrees') of the decline increases as you go from western Morgannwg to the east
Anyone who has ever paid the least bit of attention to the Gwentian is at once struck with the simplicity and attractiveness of its expressions. It is characterised by a certain homely dignity, it has a rapid gait which suits the quick mind of the southerner. Although this is so evident to those familiar with the language, I'd be afraid of accusing them of bias singing its praises and I'd quote another opinion.
One is only expressing an old truth, and someone from Gwynedd shall state his opinion on its simplicity. Dr. Pughe [a noted lexicographer and grammarian], in a letter to Mr. Cox quoted in the "History of Monmouthshire," "The general character of this dialect (i.e. the Gwentian) is a majestic simplicity, the expressions being always full and free from contractions." This supposition is completely correct except for the phrase "free from contractions." It is not free of that unhappy trait any more than any other dialect.
Yet the movements of its sentences are fairly rapid, so rapid that the northerner can't understand them, and sometimes complains greatly. "The latter (that is, the northerner) complains he is unable to understand the southerners, since they speak so fast; and the southerner is hardly likely to have enough patience to listen to the northerners, since they are so drawling and slow in saying their words. (Grammar of the Welsh Language, page 34, Silvan Evans, 1861.

The continuance and usefulness of any dialect depends on three abilities, namely, the ability to make the sounds of words easier, the ability to adopt and assimilate new words and foreign words, and the ability to keep words from past ages in its possession. After detailed research it can be said that the people of Morgannwg have managed to do this beyond measure.

It has in its possession enough words - many thousands in fact. Its language is rich with splendid and attractive words; it has an abundance of sour and churlish words; it has a stock of tales and repartee ('ready tales / legends and even readier answers'), and a store of similes and words with double meanings; yes, there is enough energy and romantic features in it to still be of enduring use.

When the geographical position of Morgannwg is considered ('remembered'), the nature of the surface of the lowland - it was so close to the attacks of the enemy and the influx ('tide') of English - the surprise is how it was enabled to resist in the face of the flood of Saxons, Normans, and English, not to mention the economic conquest of our days
Before the Economic Conquest around 1760-1795, we find that pure Welsh has to be heard the length and breadth of the county. This is the most damaging adversity and destruction that has affected Gwentian ('on the Gwentian'). The style of life change, the coal trade took the place of agricultural trade, and so this had a destructive effort on the agricultural language and life of the county. But even if this is permitted, there is yet enough physical unity to make it a strong power in the land.
Later we shall take a closer look at the boundaries of the dialects of Morgannwg and its linguistic traits. Any attempt at present to note the boundaries exactly would be unsatisfactory because of the lack of materials for the work. But so far as commentaryand investigation goes there are three obvious dialects, namely, Pure Gwentian, or the dialect of the Blaenau and Bro Morgannwg (the Morgannwg uplands and lowlands), the dialect of Cwm Nedd (the valley of Nedd / Neath). Each boundary is decided by certain linguistic indications, and we'll try to note them.
The sound of the vowel a decides one boundary. Remember that there are two a's in Morgannwg, one long and the other 'narrow'. The first is found to the west of the Cefn Mawr ( big hill / big ridge) and the Foel Fynyddau ( bare mountains), and the narrow a (in this article we write it ) to the east of this boundary. The first belongs to Demetian (Note: the dialect of Dyfed, or south-west Wales), but the narrow 'a' is a special characteristic of Pure Gwentian
The location of the 'narrow "a"' as we have already said, is to the east of the Cefn Mawr which is between Cwm Nedd (the Nedd valley, the Neath valley) and Cwm Afan (the Afan valley). This boundary which runs from Cynffig ('Kenffig'), along the ridge of the Cefn Mawr, as far as Aberdr and Merthyr, includes the populous valleys of Morgannwg (Glamorgan), namely the Afan, Corrwg, Garw, Ocwr ( local form of Ogwr), Lai ('Ely'), Rhondda, Cynon, Taf, a Rhymi ( local form of Rhymni), and the lowland of Morgannwg ('the Vale of Glamorgan')
The mountains at the top end of the county are known as the "Bleinia" (standard form - Blaenau. This means 'uplands'). There was much fighting between the "Gwyr y Bleinia" (uplnad people) and the "Gwyr y Fro" (lowland people) until it became a "wetiad" (Gwentian form of "gwediad / dywediad"  saying) with the latter, "Myswynoch rhog Gwyr y Bleinia," (Ymswynwch rhag Gwyr y Blaenau  cross yourself / make the sign of the cross to protect you from the upland people), "Myswynoch rhog Gwyr y Fro," (...against the lowland people) or "Myswynoch rhog Gwyr y Gloran," (...against the Gloran people) - the inhabitants of the Rhondda who were notorious for wreaking damage fertile fields of the Lowland, and stealing their fat cattle
To the west of this boundary are the people of Castell-nedd, or as they are known colloquially "Gwyr y Mera" [the people of the 'Mera']. The inhabitants of the lowland / the Vale of Glamorgan wanted nothing to do with them, because
"The Abbey Jacks and the Mera breed
There's nothing like them in the world" [Abi-Jacs  inhabitants of Mynachlog-nedd ('Neath Abbey')
The next boundary is decided by the way that "a" or "e" is used in the last syllable of words. Observing the little word "ia" or "ie" is enough to bring us to a fairly accurate conclusion. And in order to have further proof note ('in order to add the proof observe further' how words with "a" i the final syllable - whether it is "petha" or "pethe" [things], "llawan" or "llawen" [ merry], and so on. We are aided here by other facts, that is the area of the land, and the importance of the towns of Abertawe (Swansea) and Cwm Nedd (the Nedd / Neath valley)
The wet bog of Crymlyn at one end of the boundary between the dialect of Cwm Nedd and the dialect of Cwm Tawe (the valley of the Tawe), and the economic importance of Abertawe (Swansea) and Cwm Nedd decides to an extent, the route of the boundary onwards from the bog, between Llansamlet and Sgiwen. It splits near Cwm-du, and from there it goes to the Hirfynydd ['long mountain'], following Sarn Helen [the causeway of Helen] as far as Pontneddfechan A very special trait belonging to all the dialects of Morgannwg is the hardening of the soft sounds - g, b, d - to be hard ones - c, p, t - as "maci" (magu) [= to bring up, to breed], "popi" (pobi) [to bake], "catw" (cadw) [to keep]. The sounds are found at the end of two-syllable words. This hard accent is heard here from Afon Lliw ('the Lliw river') to Sir Fynwy ('Monmouthshire').



D is followed by i changes into ji, such as jiofadd (dioddef) [suffer], jiocal (diogel) [= safe].; f is frequently lost, and h has lamost ceased to be a living letter if there is no need for special emphasis, e.g. the combiniation nhw in the word "nhw" [they], dihna [dihuna - wake up!], and when it follows the pronoun ym an h is put in, e.g. ym harian i [ my money], ym hallwath i [ my key]; but it has been completely lost in some words such as ar wa'n [ar wahn - apart, separate], gwaniath (gwahaniaeth), [ difference], and dno (dihuno) [ to wake up].
The sound s becomes sh when (1) it is equiva,ent to si, or ji or ja in English; (2) in monosyllable words, like mish (mis) [ month], prish (pris) [ price], (3) in the middle of words - mishol [ monthly], tishan (teisen)[ cakes], shishwrn (scissors); and (4) when d or t are followed by i, or u, as, scitsha (esgidiau) [shoes], tsha (tua) [towards]. In spite of that, some words have been spared this debasement, such as siwr (sywr, and not shiwr or shwr) [sure], plsar [pleasure], swgir [ sugar], crs (crys) [ shirt], cros (croes) [cross], tros [over].

There can be seen from this article how much interest there is for the linguist in Gwentian, and even for the general reader.

Graham Jenkins