Tag Archives: nation

Discover the Welsh language

Closely related to Cornish, the native language of the English county Cornwall, and to Breton, the native language of Brittany, north western France, Welsh – or Cymraeg to its speakers – dates back to the 6th century, making it one of Europe’s oldest living languages. It evolved from the Celtic language spoken by the ancient Britons and was handed down through the generations until the 19th century, when the industrial revolution brought about an alarming erosion of the Welsh language.

Since then the battle to save Cymraeg has been inextricably linked with Wales’s national identity, and much has been done to promote its usage. At the uppermost level, political parties have been founded (Plaid Cymru began in 1925 with a primary mandate of promoting the language) and acts of parliament have been passed, but the future of the Welsh language has also been embraced by its people. A passion for keeping it alive has led to everything from adopting bilingual road signs to the Welsh television channel S4C.

Today Welsh is not the dead language many would have you believe (and indeed many feared it would become). Welsh is now growing again and, according to a survey by the Welsh Language Board, is spoken by 21% of the Welsh population, 62% of whom speak it on a daily basis.

Although many places in Wales now have English names, the Welsh language still appears in numerous village and town names and, although all the locals speak English, understanding a smattering of Welsh will help visitors understand the heritage of where they are visiting. Undoubtedly the most famous place name is the tongue-twistingLlanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which in English is translated as the fantastically descriptive “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave”.

Even the most basic knowledge of Welsh will inform a visit to this proud and heritage-rich country, so why not make a start with these simple phrases:

Hello Shw mae (“shoo my”)
Goodbye Hwyl (“hooil”)
Welcome Croeso (“croy so”)
Thank you Diolch (“dee-olck”)

 

Source: Discover Wales: The Living Language

 

Also, read about the 641 castles in Wales.

 

 

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Ai WeiWei reviews London’s opening ceremony for 2012 Olympics – criticizes Beijing’s

Brilliant. It was very, very well done. This was about Great Britain; it didn’t pretend it was trying to have global appeal. Because Great Britain has self-confidence, it doesn’t need a monumental Olympics. But for China that was the only imaginable kind of international event. Beijing’s Olympics were very grand – they were trying to throw a party for the world, but the hosts didn’t enjoy it. The government didn’t care about people’s feelings because it was trying to create an image.

In London, they really turned the ceremony into a party – they are proud of themselves and respect where they come from, from the industrial revolution to now. I never saw an event before that had such a density of information about events and stories and literature and music; about folktales and movies.

At the beginning it dealt with historical events – about the land and machinery and women’s rights – epically and poetically. The director really did a superb job in moving between those periods of history and today, and between reality and the movies. The section on the welfare state showed an achievement to be truly proud of. It clearly told you what the nation is about: children, nurses and a dream. A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.

 

Keep reading: The Guardian - Olympic opening ceremony: Ai Weiwei’s review

 

 

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UNESCO World Heritage Map

This large format full-color map features the World Heritage sites and brief explanations of the World Heritage Convention and the World Heritage conservation programmes, as well as superb photos of World Heritages sites with explanatory captions.

 

Learn more and view past mapsWorld Heritage Maps

Bike sharing comes to Los Angeles with Bike Nation

A couple of years ago bike sharing came to Washington D.C. when I was living there. At first the concept confused me until someone explained that it’s like a taxi, designed to get you from one point to another. With enough stations it can be a convenient, healthy, and cheaper method to get around town.

I ended up using them everyday for about a month and loving it. Now, that same service is coming to Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will unveil a $16-million bike-share program Sunday that aims to put thousands of bicycles at hundreds of rental kiosks across the city.

Initial plans are to add 400 stations and 4,000 bicycles over the next 18 to 24 months in areas around downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Playa del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach.

The private investment from Bike Nation will not need any city money, according to the mayor’s office and the company. Bike Nation has agreed to a minimum contract of 10 years.

“This is exactly what L.A. needs,” CicLAvia organizer Aaron Paley said. “If you take the bus, or you take the train, or you’re walking out of your house and you need to get somewhere, how do you accomplish that short trip in between? Bike share is definitely the way to do it.”

more atLA Times Local

The service becomes one more crucial link for those living a car-free life.

The rates are much cheaper than a taxi at $1.50/hour or $6/day, with trips shorter than 30 minutes being free. But you can expect most folks to one-year pass for $75 (students/seniors, $60).

Bike Nation also has plans to create a smaller program in Anaheim in June.