You may have come here just to hear this Welsh word being pronounced, or out of sheer curiosity as to where it is located. However, to those who are working to maintain the Welsh culture and language in today’s modern world Liam Dutton’s actions were so much more!
Originally named Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, the township was renamed Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in the 1860’s in order to earn the Guinness World Record for the longest railway station name in the UK. It continues to hold that title, undefeated, today!
The deeper meaning to Dutton’s efforts was felt by those who are fighting to keep the Welsh language alive. By the early 1900’s it was reported that less than a quarter of the residents of Wales was speaking the Celtic language, as can be seen in this 1911 census chart. After fighting to keep the language from dying out entirely, like most rare indigenous and minority languages, the Welsh Language Act 1993 was passed by the UK, calling for the Welsh language to be on an equal footing with the English language in Wales.
The first-ever dedicated meteorologist working for Britain’s Channel 4 News, Dutton was born in the Welsh city of Cardiff and attended the University of Wales. Aware of the long battle that Welsh speaking citizens had been fighting, he not only made the effort to try but he NAILED the pronunciation!
When asked about the day’s forecast and the incredible show of support he has seen, Dutton told Wales Online: “I know people like to watch unique place names being pronounced, but I didn’t think it would go quite this viral.
There’s always a chance that you can stumble, but that’s the nature doing the job. I’ve been doing the weather on TV and radio for 13 years now, so I’m at a point where I’m really comfortable on-air and don’t get nervous.
It is definitely the most challenging place name in the UK to pronounce. The only other place names that tend to catch me out are places that are said nothing like they are written. But you soon learn from your mistakes quickly, when people let you know you’ve said it wrong!”
Supporters took to social media, praising Dutton on Twitter for his efforts and flooding the comments on a video clip shared by the Channel 4 News Facebook page with compliments.
One woman wrote: “Da lawn wir Liam Dutton… well done to you sir, perfect! I was born and bred in north Wales and speak fluent Welsh, I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
While another added, “I got an A+ in Welsh and I can’t even say that. Hats off to him.”
Unfortunately, it appears that YouTube’s closed captioning service struggled to keep up with Dutton’s level of mastery…
Dutton isn’t the first person to capture the attention world wide for his ability to pronounce this 58-letter long name correctly. While appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel show in March actress Naomi Watts made reference to the town where she had once lived with her grandparents for 3 years. The name flowed off the tip of her tongue like a true natural!
Interested in mastering the pronunciation yourself? So many have struggled to learn that the people of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch created an online guide to help you!