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Pronounce our town's name - or stay away, English told.

Byline: TOM BEDFORD

A COUNCIL clerk wants English people to be able to pronounce his town's name before being allowed to move into Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Alan Jones says English incomers must say the 58-letter tongue-twisting name fluently before being given permission to set up home.

And anyone who cannot get their tongue around the name - the longest placename in Britain - will be told to stay away.

Mr Jones said, "My idea is that anybody can move to this town if they can pronounce the name first.

"It would show they are willing to learn the language and integrate into the community."

It is the latest twist in the controversy over English speakers being accused of damaging Welsh communities.

Mr Jones made his comments in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper in a feature article about the Welsh language and tourism in Wales.

Mr Jones's scheme means that potential settlers would turn up at the town hall to be asked, "What's the password?"

People who say the place name without stumbling will be welcomed into the Anglesey town.

Mr Jones, who runs a cycle-hire business in Caernarfon, said, "The English are nice people and they bring a lot to our community. But they aren't doing much for the Welsh language.

"I feel that even if they are prepared to learn the name of our village parrot fashion, they may be prepared to go on and learn Welsh properly.

"Those English settlers who have taken the trouble to learn Welsh get so much more out of living here.

"They can take part in eisteddfodau and watch Welsh language TV. It is for their own benefit."

Mr Jones is not a member of any political party, but says he shares some of the views of those who claim Welsh communities are in danger from immigration.

"The language is under threat from people moving into Wales who are not prepared to integrate.

"I do not hate the English, but I have no respect for those who do not try to become part of our communities.

"If we allowed too many of them in, the language would die."

The town - commonly known as Llanfair PG for short - attracts more than half-a-million visitors a year, with many posing for a photograph by the 15ft sign on the railway platform.

Mr Jones claims 80 per cent of the town's 3,400 residents are able to say the place name in full.

He said, "There was a time when very few local people could pronounce the name of the village."

The name means, The Church of St Mary in the hollow of white hazel near the rapid whirlpool by the church of St Tysilio of the red cave.

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TONGUE-TWISTER: The train station whose name may become a barrier to newcomers
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 3, 2001
Words:464
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