Transplanted Traditions: An Assessment of Welsh Lore and Language in Argentina
Maria Teresa Agozzino, University of California, Berkeley
For more than a hundred years, Welsh language and culture have survived in the Chubut province of Patagonia, Argentina. While the various stages of Welsh settlement have been well recorded in English, Welsh and Spanish, little or no research has been published concerning the folklore of the pioneers' descendants who have clung to their Welsh heritage while unreservedly accepting an Argentine identity. During May and June of 1999, I spent five weeks immersed in the Welsh communities in order to test my hypothesis of survivals and/or marginal survivals of Welsh folklore. However, traditional Welsh elements are waning as active-bearers age and the Welsh language becomes a standardized optional second language. Exclusively Welsh texts have largely expired as their social function becomes redundant, an indication of acculturation and a predominantly Argentine worldview. Thus, although I had gone in search of survivals of nineteenth-century transplanted Welsh traditions, I found instead Welsh culture in an advanced stage of disintegration, superseded by the culture of a synthesized Patagonian society. Drawing on examples in this initial collection, in this paper I shall demonstrate the nature and function of survivals and the multiformity and fluidity of folklore by means of an assessment and analysis of the current state of transplanted traditions in Y Wladfa Gymreig (The Welsh Colony).
Welsh in Patagonia, Marginal Survivals, Folk Customs, Calennig, Folk Speech
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