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Complaint about the National Park Service

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First, take a look at this, the Wales Washington Monument Stone (or just skip on down this one for the main point). sThis is a stone given by Wales to the nation for adorning the Washington Monument. The National Park Service has put this web site up so we can see the stones, since no one can get near the Monument now (terrorists, doncha know):

A unique feature of the Washington Monument is the 193 memorial stones that adorn the east and west interior walls of the monument. Starting in July 1848 the Washington National Monument Society invited states, cities and patriotic societies to contribute Memorial Stones. The Society listed some requirements to be followed. They asked that the stone be durable, a product of the state's soil, and meet the following dimensions: four feet long, two feet high and 18 inches thick. These stones pay tribute to the character and achievements of George Washington. These traits are not only admired by Americans but by people the world over as exemplified by the number of stones donated by foreign countries.
Well, this is the stone which came from Wales (yes, Virginia, there is a Wales, it didn't get subsumed into England, it's part of the UK, like Scotland only not quite so much so.) George Washington was of Welsh blood, and this stone honors that part of the great man.

There's only one problem.

The translation on the web page is wrong.
Website Says:

Inscriptions: Fy Iaith. Fy Ngwlad, Fy Nghenedl. Wales. Cymey am byth.
Translation: One Language; one Country, our Birthplace, Wales forever

Please note: they haven't even transcribed it correctly. That's a comma after Iaith (right-click the image to see it full size, it's obvious), and it's Cmyry, not Cymey.

What the stone really says is:

My Language, My Country, My People
The Welsh Forever
Point by point:
  1. Fy: this word means "my". It doesn't mean "One" and it doesn't mean "Our". (One is "un" and our is "ein".)
  2. Iaith and Gwlad: they got these right.
  3. Cenedl: this word doesn't mean "birthplace". It means "people, nation, race". It's true that words that begin with "Gen-" usually mean "birth-" but
    1. there is no word "genedl", and
    2. this word is clearly (to anyone who knows Welsh) "cenedl" because
  4. The possessive "Fy" causes what's called the Nasal Mutation to the words which follow it. G- becomes Ng-, as in "Gwlad - Fy Ngwlad", and C- becomes Ngh- as in, you guessed it, "Cenedl - Fy Nghenedl".
  5. Cymry: Finally, this word means "Welsh people". It's the plural of "Cymro, Welshman" and "Cymraes, Welshwoman". The country's name is "Cymru". There is a difference.
Now, don't think the NPS hasn't been told. They have - repeatedly, and for more than a year. Welsh Americans (like me) and Welsh Britons, too, have emailed them repeatedly, and been ignored.

Please - whether you're Welsh, Welsh-American, or not: take a minute and email the NPS at national_mall@nps.gov and ask them to change their website. Give 'em the url (it's http://www.nps.gov/wamo/memstone_678.htm), tell 'em the right translation.

For crying out loud: it's one web page. They don't have to go out and recarve a stone. It's embarrassing that they can't get this right.


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