This article surveys two types of Modern Irish presentative constructions. These constructions open with a presentative element and introduce an NP (entity) or a nexus (a situation or an event involving an entity) into the discourse. I describe the constructions’ poetic functions in literary narratives by Pádraic Ó Conaire (1882-1928). The first type of presentative construction opens with one of the deictic-presentative elements seo ‘here’, sin ‘there’ or siúd ‘yonder’. The second type of presentative construction features as a presentative element of various forms of perception and cognition verbs, such as d’fheicfeá ‘you’d see’ and shílfeá ‘you’d think’. Presentative constructions in literary narrative are used in several functions: expression of a point of view, either the narrator’s or that of a character, scene-setting, explication, and signalling boundaries in the text in varying degrees of cohesion and delimitation. The latter is also used to ‘sudden effect’, adding drama and speeding up story time.
A recent discussion of Arthur and Wales prompts a reply, using up-to-date research. It offers these surprising conclusions. Arthur really existed: he is not a myth or a legend, but historical. He will not have been Welsh, but a North Briton, and perhaps a Strathclyder. His battles, fought against other Britons and not the English, can all be located in southern Scotland and the Borders. Camlan, where Arthur fell, can be securely dated to 537 (after the Welsh annals) and situated north of Carlisle on Hadrian’s Wall (as proposed in 1935 by O. S. G. Crawford). The battle of Mount Badon in 493 will, however, have nothing to do with Arthur or North Britain. It was a British victory over the English, fought near Swindon and perhaps at the hillfort of Ringsbury overlooking Braydon Forest. Proponents of a Northern Arthur, like Rachel Bromwich (1915-2010) and Charles Thomas (1928-2016) can thus be vindicated against those rejecting a Northern Arthur, like Professor Kenneth Jackson (1909-91) of Edinburgh.
This article examines the character of Efnisien in the Second Branch of the medieval Welsh collection of stories known as the Mabinogi. From the mid-nineteenth century until the present day, Efnisien has proved a troubling character for critical analysis. A preliminary examination shows that typologically, due to his antagonistic irrationality, he shares traits with both trickster and psychopathic figures. After highlighting these aspects of his characterisation, the article moves on to an analysis of Efnisien’s function in the text. It is observed that Efnisien’s irrationality is incongruous with the contingency and social relevance of the other characters’ actions. He is shown to be the erratic, motivational force within catastrophe, and as such, to personify the inexplicable nature of such life-altering events and lend meaning to uncertain circumstances. From a Žižekian analytic perspective, he functions as a repository figure of ideological excess enabling the rationalization of incomprehensible trauma and securing the fictive narrative in which meaning is produced. Efnisien – trickster, psychopath, figure of excess – is thus shown to be vital to the production of meaning in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi.
For some years now, Welsh has been taught as a foreign language outside Wales, most especially in other Celtic countries, central Europe – and Poland. The first courses were established in the Catholic University of Lublin in the 1980s, and this provision has expanded over the years to include a Celtic language specialisation within the Faculty of English at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Relying at first on teachers from Wales to provide instruction in Welsh, the Centre for Celtic Studies is increasingly producing new, competent speakers/users of Welsh among the Poles. An obvious question to be asked concerns motivational issues – why, on the eastern edges of the European Union, are there people willing to put the effort into learning a language from the far west of Europe, when they have, in some cases, little contact with regular users of Welsh? Through the use of focus group interviews, the present study attempts to discover what motivates Polish students to study Welsh in a context of limited direct contact with the speakers of the language and limited, indirect access to Welsh language and culture.
This papers looks at the societal and cultural impact of the post-2004 Polish migration to Wales. The history of Polish migration to the UK is introduced together with the relevant statistics and their rationale behind choosing cosmopolitan Wales as their new country of residence. Even though the focus of the paper is rather on the UK as a whole, it is Wales that is central to the investigation. Wales was particularly neglected in the study of migration in the aftermath of the 2004 European Union (EU) enlargement and surprisingly little attention was given to it. Focusing on Polish diaspora is important as it is the most numerous external migration wave to Wales (ONS 2011). The case study of Aberystwyth is introduced as a good example of a semi-urban area to which Poles migrated after 2004. Moreover, the paper elaborates on the characteristics of the Polish newcomers by analysing their distinctive features, migration patterns as well as adaptation processes. Mutual relations between post-1945 and post-2004 immigration waves are investigated, together with Poles’ own image and perception. This paper gives a deeper understanding and provides an insight into the nature of the Polish migrants’ impact on the cultural and societal life of Wales.
The majority of translations from Polish into Welsh published so far are the works of John Elwyn Jones (1921-2008), who learned Polish in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. His translations include Storiâu Byr o’r Bwyleg, a collection of short stories by two of the classic authors of the Polish Positivist period, Bolesław Prus and Henryk Sienkiewicz. This paper analyses two stories from the collection, Ianco’r Cerddor “Janko Muzykant” and Y Wasgod “Kamizelka”, within a comparative functional model of translation criticism. The texts are analysed in the light of lexical-semantic, cultural and aesthetic codes. A great number of modifications to the source texts introduced in the Welsh translation places them on the border between free translations and adaptations. While some of the alterations are tokens of a specific translation strategy, others can be regarded as translation errors. Although the Welsh version retains the primary message of the original stories, much of their culture-specific dimension, historical context and artistic value is not conveyed in the translation.