Lilian Min
September 10, 2015 6:50 am

One of the toughest spelling words you can give out to a kid (and even most adults) is “onomatopoeia.” It doesn’t make any sense — the consonants and vowels don’t suggest the sounds you’re supposed to make while pronouncing the word at all. Now, imagine an entire language that behaves in that way; congrats, that’s Welsh, the native language of Wales in the United Kingdom.

For those of you who didn’t read How Green Is My Valley in high school: Welsh is a very, shall we say, tricky language. For whatever reason, it favors long strings of consonants and “y”s in sticky word concoctions. One such example is the Welsh town Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch — 58 letters of pure tongue-twisting challenge. Fantastical name aside, it’s very much a real town; so, when weatherman Liam Dutton was charged with the task of reporting its unusually hot weather, he took his time to make sure he got each twist and turn of the town’s name right.

Now, the town also goes by the 20-letter moniker Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, but we suspect that Dutton’s colleagues, having received the directive to report on the town’s weather, pulled a Bruce Almighty and decided to make Dutton’s on-air experience as challenging as possible. (All in good fun, of course.)

But Dutton rose to the occasion magnificently; he didn’t just begrudgingly take on the task of pronouncing every strange syllable combination in the town’s seemingly never-ending name. No, he nailed its pronunciation and became a tongue-twisting icon.

However you think Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch should be pronounced — you’re wrong, definitely wrong. First off: How do you parse “pwll”? How do you pronounce “llll” vs. “l” or even “ll”? How many syllables are actually in that monster of a word? Let Dutton take it away:

The man didn’t even break a sweat in the run-up to the big event! Sure, Dutton has the upper hand with that kind of pronunciation (after all, being Welsh must mean being familiar with the language’s intricacies). That said, we’re still bowing down to him and his dazzling pronunciation skills; Welsh or not, “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” is a truly intimidating word. Thank you Dutton and the team at Channel 4 for bringing this amazing town, its amazing name, and his amazing rendition of it into our lives.

Related reading:

Pregnant meteorologist turns body-shaming bullying from viewers into a teachable moment

Happy National Weatherman’s Day!

[H/T Laughing Squid. Image via here.]

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