I remember well the winter spent in my parents' loft in the big house on Ynys y Barri,1 listening to the endless rain pounding the roof, and straining in the dim light as I systematically ploughed my way through my mother's entire paperback-book collection. Among the classics I found a set of novels that particularly piqued my interest and inadvertently prompted a life goal. In his sentimental sequels to How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn introduced me to the Welsh settlements of Patagonia, Argentina (Llewellyn 1976a, 1976b), instilling a passion and determination to see this enigmatic place for myself. For twenty years I fostered a romanticized notion of a Welsh culture in stasis; a notion dashed by the reality of cultural synthesis and the diminished social functions of transplanted Welsh traditions therein. I soon realized that my stereotypical image of idealized Welsh culture, based on my own life and experiences in the Vale of Glamorgan, had little in common with the culture in which I found myself immersed.

Figure 1.  Plaque outside the Museo Regional Pueblo de Luis, Trelew:  28 July 1865: The first settlers landed in this valley, yearning to create a new home. 25 May 1910: Commemorating the children of the survivors and those who followed, happy in the labor the great day of the Argentine nation.
Figure 1. Plaque outside the Museo Regional Pueblo de Luis, Trelew: 28 July 1865: The first settlers landed in this valley, yearning to create a new home. 25 May 1910: Commemorating the children of the survivors and those who followed, happy in the labor the great day of the Argentine nation.


On July 28, 1865, the Mimosa arrived at Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, having sailed from Liverpool, England two months earlier with the first Welsh pioneers on board. An initial group of 162 left their homeland to create Y Wladfa Gymreig (the Welsh colony);2 a peaceful settlement undertaken to retain their language, religion, identity, and political autonomy. Despite Argentine Government promises, the Welsh settlements were never recognized as a state, and the utopian dream was never realized.3 The Welsh persevered and by 1914 some three thousand had settled in the Patagonian colony. By the 1990s, Y Wladfa Gymreig was in its fifth generation.

Figure 2.  The Chubut Province of Patagonia. Map kindly provided by and reprinted with the permission of Gwyn Jones, Hostería Gwesty Tywi, Gaiman.
Figure 2. The Chubut Province of Patagonia. Map kindly provided by and reprinted with the permission of Gwyn Jones, Hostería Gwesty Tywi, Gaiman.

For more than a hundred years, Welsh language and culture has survived in the Chubut province of Patagonia. Here, immigrants settled and their descendants prospered; Welsh society and institutions once dominated the region. Geographically and socially removed from mainland Welsh influence, the Patagonian-Welsh honored their heritage, observing traditions and customs according to the recollections of earlier colonists. The adaptations that evolved affected their Welsh language also, so that a peculiar dialect emerged. While an increase in the migration of non-Welsh ethnic groups to Chubut, and the acculturation of the younger generations of Welsh descendants into the Argentine mainstream has contributed to a diluting of Welsh blood, the tide of national pride and political identity in Wales has stimulated renewed investment and involvement in the communities carved out by the Welsh pioneers and their descendants. Thus, as the number of Patagonian-Welsh speakers dwindles, due to both external and internal forces, so passes the oikotypal folklore of this unique culture and lifestyle.

The various stages of Welsh settlement are well recorded in English, Welsh and Spanish, particularly by Glyn Williams who has documented and discussed social and economic conditions and changes at length (Williams 1975, 1976, 1978, 1991, 1992). Welsh historians proudly allude to this grandest of Welsh emigration schemes.4 However, 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.

It had long been my belief that an assessment of Welsh folklore throughout the Chubut province would reveal not only remnants (survivals) of transplanted Welsh traditions but also traditions no longer current in Wales (marginal survivals). During May and June of 1999, I became immersed in Patagonian-Welsh culture, familiarizing myself with the iaith y wladfa (colonial dialect),5 participating, observing, interviewing, and recording. The goal of the project was to collect data to test my hypothesis of survivals and/or marginal survivals of Welsh folklore present in the folklore of the descendants of the Welsh pioneers, and with this modus operandi in mind I set about questioning my informants about their traditional oral, customary and material culture, their beliefs and disbeliefs, and their life and calendar customs: folk songs, prayers, blessings, recipes, superstitions, animal lore, architecture and legends.

According to 19th century and early 20th century evolutionary theories of society, the concept of survival referred to customs and traits regarded as left over from an earlier stage of development or civilization. However, as first proposed by Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917), and later taken up by Andrew Lang (1844-1912) and Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941), in folkloristics survival generally refers to the endurance of customs and traditions when their context no longer exists or their function has become obsolete (Carvalho-Neto 1971: 32-9).6 Furthermore, the principle of marginal survivals, as explained by Ralph Linton in The Study of Man, depends upon the time it takes for a trait, development or invention to diffuse to the outer extremities of a society or neighboring societies, and requires that the trait, development or invention continues uninterrupted in the fringes while it has fallen out of usage or undergone refinement at the source (1936: 329-30). Similarly, members of transnationally-dispersed communities may engage in deliberate or subconscious efforts to preserve cultural practices more rigidly than the same practices are observed in the homeland, where the practices are subject to 'normal' cultural forces (Myers 1998: 360).

I also had to consider the effect and extent of revivals that could complicate my investigation. Recent reintroductions have contributed to the emergence of a more complex picture. I was working under the premise that a survival can be identified by either its uninterrupted and preserved context and/or continuous fulfillment of function and that a marginal survival depends also upon comparison with the source. Analysis of texts collected is essential, therefore, in order to ascertain the changing social function and context over time and assess the current status of transplanted Welsh traditions in Patagonia.

My fieldwork was conducted in the two principal areas of Welsh settlement in the Chubut province: the Chubut River Valley, which includes Gaiman, Trelew and Dolavon, and the Andean Cwm Hyfryd,7 with Esquel and Trevelin (see Figure 2). In Trelew, my first port of call, I headed directly for the Saint David's Association and was soon adopted by Elena Arnold.8 I called Elena "my angel" due to her sweet temperament and her organizational skills. She arranged my first contacts, taking me on the rounds to her friends in and around Trelew, and reserved my accommodation in Gaiman.

Figure 3.  The Saint David's Association meeting house, Trelew.
Figure 3. The Saint David's Association meeting house, Trelew.

There is ample evidence of Welshness in Gaiman; Welsh flags and red dragons adorn the streets and houses. Here, in the self-proclaimed Patagonian-Welsh capital of Chubut, I found that once my pedigree and purpose had been established, people were friendly and open, often arranging the next interview for me. I collected the names and addresses of relatives and friends as I went and was able to secure my accommodation and contacts in Cwm Hyfryd in advance. Because of the role transparency within the communities, everyone seemed to be expecting me. However, this very inter-relatedness sometimes caused collecting problems as a number of people from one family, and ultimately one source, can skew the data, and often several family members would expect to be interviewed at once. Whether they considered my endeavors peculiar or appreciated my enterprise, people were anxious to understand my project and help in the best way they could. Although I was most comfortable communicating in Spanish, interviews were conducted in Spanish, Welsh, and occasionally English, depending on the language skills and preference of each interviewee. Of note was the interview with Leticia Rowlands, for although I questioned her in Spanish, she always answered in Welsh!9 I always asked permission before using a tape-recorder and was able to record samples of Patagonian-Welsh dialect with its unique Spanish-influenced rhythm. The Welsh language spoken in Patagonia sounds noticeably different from the Welsh language of Wales, lacking the often-guttural predilection. Although I had carefully prepared questions in advance, I found it necessary to alter my plan of attack several times, depending on the place and person. I had an opportunity for lengthier conversations with several individuals and was able to glean a better understanding of the context in which the Patagonian-Welsh have lived.

Known as the galesas in Spanish,10 they did not always enjoy the tide of popularity they do now, when it is politic to point out their contribution to the pro-Argentine settling of the Argentine-Chilean border, and the opening up of Patagonia for settlement. Joyce Powell, my neighbor in Esquel, related stories from her childhood during the Peronist years.11 As a five year old during her first few days at school, her teacher mysteriously disappeared, having been accused of thievery. Incidentally, another informant, Shirley Freeman stepped in as teacher.12 Joyce also has painful memories of being teased by her classmates on account of her ethnicity, being taunted with the ultimate insult, "gales son pan y manteca,"13 an example of Blason Populaire14 and a play on the irreversible binomial "bara menyn,"15 with which the Welsh are so readily associated. For a time, she even dropped her first name Joyce, preferring her inconspicuous Latin middle name Margarita.

While the majority of the people I met now live in modern town houses, most were born and raised on the small independent farms, colloquially called chacras,16 and experienced the hardships and hard work associated with an agricultural lifestyle. Roads, cars, telephones, televisions and computers were late innovations and mask the fact that almost everybody traveled by horse or horse and cart until relatively recently. Elena Arnold remembers riding a horse from her family chacra to Trelew on Friday mornings in her youth, to sell the butter she had made. The family rode to chapel on Sundays, enjoying the society as much as the service. Mary Green explained that people did not visit each other's homes in the larger chacras around Trevelin as the distances were great and the passage difficult.17 Thus, apart from chapel and choir meetings, families remained isolated for long periods of time. Moreover, Mary recalls family accounts of being cut off from the rest of the community for three months in winter, as they lived on the other side of the River Percy, which divided the valley until the first bridge across was built in 1951. With no other means of communication, their nearest neighbors raised a banner to let them know that an elderly relative had passed away. Mary rode to school on horseback until she was ten years old; she was born in 1954.

As a result of the distances, lifestyle and family finances, the majority of the older chacra-raised women received but a rudimentary education. Many of the townspeople are qualified teachers and professors. All are well versed, and often self-taught, not only in Argentinian, but also in Welsh poetry, history and literature. Almost all are serious members of at least one choir and many contribute high-quality compositions to their version of the characteristically Welsh institution eisteddfodau.18 Competition is strong, particularly between residents from the two distinct regions. However, all agree on the celebration of the most important holiday each July 28, Gwyl y Glaniad (Arrival Day) (see Figure 1).19 Every winter, the communities gather for a commemorative service, followed by tea or dinner and an evening of singing; a noson lawen.20

In spite of the rural and rustic nature of life in the Patagonian-Welsh communities, a strong, almost superior, intellectual pride prevails, which has contributed to the high level of sophistication achieved.21 I was surprised by the extent and tenacity of Protestant overtones dominating the community mentality, which has suppressed many expected stereotypically Celtic traits, such as unreserved singing and dancing accompanied by the unrestrained partaking of alcoholic beverages, in favor of sobriety and austerity. While a talent for music and poetry appears inherent, singing is conventional (choral) and dancing not entertained. This can be attributed to the fact that early colonists were representative of a particular section of Welsh culture. Although emigration to Patagonia was undertaken for several reasons, the driving and binding force of the colony was religious freedom and so attracted those with a philosophy characteristic of a Protestant mentality. While the world around them is changing, the Patagonian-Welsh have been anxious to preserve and promote this predisposition.

The rate of change has been accelerated by the arrival of technology, which has contributed to a dichotomy within the Welsh community. As a result, my collection can be divided into two parts: the remnants of fixed-phrase folklore from Wales, which has disintegrated a little more with the passing of each generation and may soon pass out of circulation altogether, and the dynamic folk-speech of the younger generations, who have embraced all the accessible cultural influences often shunned by their stricter ancestors.

In the limited time available for fieldwork, I barely scratched the surface, but I feel it is imperative to document these materials before they are swept away by the propensity of the Welsh descendants to "correct" their Welsh in accordance with language development in the Motherland, and as taught by the Welsh teachers funded by the Welsh Office in Cardiff, Wales. Many of my informants expressed a feeling of inferiority about their dialect and clearly welcomed the changes. This, in part, is due to the fact that their Welsh was learned orally and rurally. Many Welsh speakers are illiterate in the language, which explains the often irregular grammar and spelling of texts. Combined with the natural tendency to communicate in the dominant Castellano,22 Welsh has definitely become an optional second language (according to official government statistics in both Argentina and the United Kingdom there are no monoglot Welsh speakers in either country). As a result, most of the surviving fixed-phrase texts were collected from people aged more than seventy - a reflection of the language erosion, and the loss of language market value. The Patagonian-Welsh have prospered, but their language has ceased to be a working language (Williams 1991: 239-57). This is evidenced by the fact that many chapels have closed due to the unavailability of Welsh-speaking ministers and those that remain open offer almost entirely Spanish-language services. While the general decline in Welshness and the passing of an era may be noted with regret, it should not be viewed negatively but rather accepted as a natural phenomenon and as an ethnological opportunity.

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.

Figure 4.  The disused Bethel Chapel, Trevelin.
Figure 4. The disused Bethel Chapel, Trevelin.

A Morsel of Magic

My data collection begins with orally and customarily transmitted variations of a New Year's Eve begging custom, indisputably brought from Wales. The Welsh New Year's custom, known as calennig (a New Year's gift) in the vernacular, involves groups or individuals (traditionally male) visiting the homes in the community, either on New Year's Eve (Nos Calan) or New Year's Day (Dydd Calen), offering a New Year's greeting in the form of a begging rhyme in exchange for a gift, usually of fruit, cakes, sweets and/or pennies. Dozens of verses in both Welsh and English have been recorded, and are documented in the extensive collection housed at the Museum of Welsh Life, St. Fagans, Cardiff, Wales, and in publications such as William Jenkin Davies' Hanes Plwyf Llandyssul (1896), Jonathan Ceredig Davies' Folk-lore of West and Mid-Wales (1911), Trefor M. Owen's Welsh Folk Customs (1959), Daniel Parry-Jones' Welsh Children's Games and Pastimes (1964), Rhiannon Ifans' Sers a Rybana: Astudiaeth o'r Canu Gwasael (1983), and Ronald Hutton's The Stations of the Sun. A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (1996). I shall include one relatively elaborate calennig collected in Wales in Welsh as a tentative 'control'. It was collected by Mrs. Menna Evans in 1973, from Mrs. Margaret Jones, Llanfachreth around 1920, and from D. J. Evans, Llanfachreth around 1930 [Dinas Mawddwy district. From the Museum of Welsh Life. See: llwg. t. 32 for collecting notes. Llsg. A.W.C. 2186/6 t. 33].23 It should be noted that there is no record of any musical accompaniment available.

Calennig i mi, calennig I'r llan
Calennig I'w fwyta'r noson hon
Calennig i nhad am drwsio fy sgidie
Calennig i mam am weu fy sane
Calennig I'r meistr, calennig I'r gwas
Calennig I'r forwyn sy'n byw yn y plas
Calennig i'r gwr, calennig i'r wraig
Calennig o arian i bob ysgol haig
A New Year gift for me, a new year gift to the parish
A New Year gift to eat this evening
A New Year gift for my father for mending my shoes
A New Year gift for mother for knitting my stocking
A New Year gift for the master, a new year gift for the lads
A New Year gift for the maiden who lives in the palace
A New Year gift for the husband, a new year gift for the wife
A New Year gift of money/silver to all scholars/clerics

The Patagonian-Welsh texts are meager in contrast. None of the texts collected are sung to a fixed tune, but rather rhythmically chanted. I have paraphrased the informants' own words throughout.

1   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig i fi
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift for me

This text was collected from Elena Arnold (70) and confirmed by her older sister Howys, both in Trelew. As children growing up on the chacra, they sang the verse over and over on New Year's Eve, to parents and other grown-ups for cake and fruit. Elena explained that the custom stopped years ago as there were fewer Welsh people and more of other nationalities. Identical texts were collected from May Williams de Hughes (76) Trelew,24 Lizzie Jones de Lloyd (71), Esquel25 and the five Freeman sisters, Esquel (73-85).26

Lizzie Jones de Lloyd explained that while distances between the Cwm Hyfryd chacras prohibited practicing calennig, she suspects that it did happen in town (Esquel). She heard her parents speak about New Years' Eves, when youths would sing outside the door for food, cake, coffee or tea. Lizzie suggested that the boys would visit the houses of girls they liked.

Shirley, Lizzie, Lena, Lottie and Lillie May Freeman recall young men on horseback visiting the houses, singing Welsh folk songs, playing accordion, finishing with the rhyme, which was repeated a number of times. Their father would open the window and give the youths gifts such as cake or cigarettes. It happened so late at night that they were in bed. Lizzie and Lottie can remember this fun event happening until they were fifteen years old.

The following two versions, as well as the proceeding text, were collected from May Williams de Hughes. During the night of New Year's Eve, youths would ride their horses, coming to the windows to wish them a happy New Year, and asking for calennig. She recalled an occasion at her aunt's house in the chacra, when her sisters and she went to the windows at 2 a.m. to give sweets and cigarettes to the well-dressed youths. May commented that her father was not there, implying that he would not approve. At other times, when she was very young, her family would go to the plaza by coach early in the morning to see the youngsters waiting for calennig. Her sisters would lift her in their arms to reach her own calennig. Although the custom is not prohibited, it just doesn't happen any more, she said.

2   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig os gwelwch yn dda
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift please
3   C'lennig i fi, c'lennig i fi
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig i fi
A New Year's gift for me, a New Year's gift for me
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift for me

Version 4 was collected from Eileen James (77), Trelew. Eileen related how the youngsters would go from house to house on horseback, singing and generally making a lot of noise, earning a cake or some other little thing, until 4 or 5 a.m.27

4   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig i ni
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift for us

Alwina Thomas in Gaiman (79) supplied verse 5. Alwina remembers milking the cows on New Year's Eve then waiting until after 10 p.m. for the boys to come around singing, with the one not singing carrying a torch. They would sing two or three songs and say the following begging rhyme. The boys were not invited in but were given money, champagne or a bottle of something. Apparently, according to rumours, the boys could get pretty rowdy on the chacras, but they had a nice group here (Gaiman), who would perform their well-practiced art, traveling between the houses on foot.28

5   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig os gwelwch yn dda
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift if you please

Verses 6 and 7 were collected from Margareta Evans (72) in Gaiman. Up to the age of fifteen, Margareta remembers youngsters (boys and girls) going out in groups at midnight on New Year's Eve, visiting the houses by horse and wagon, singing traditional Welsh songs and Spanish samba songs and playing guitars. They were not invited into the house but would offer New Year's wishes in Welsh and Spanish and receive cigarettes, a cake or tart from the household. Although she was considered too young to participate, and stayed indoors, her older brother and sister went out with the group.29

6   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig i fi, os gwelwch yn dda
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift for me, if you please
7   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig i fi, os gwelwch i fod yn dda
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift for me, if you are to please

Delith Pugh de Jones, also in Gaiman (68) gave me verse 8. Delith fondly remembers New Year's Eve when she was six and seven years old. Groups of men would come into the house on the chacra at 1 or 2 a.m., either on foot or on horseback, always singing in Welsh, playing accordion and then saying the begging rhyme, more than once. They would always receive something from the house, such as beer, cider or cake, and then proceed to the next house.30

8   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
C'lennig i fi, os gosloch31 yn dda
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift for me, if you would please

Text 9 was collected from Aldwyn Brunt (60's). He recalls groups of youths coming to the chacra houses by horse and by wagon at midnight on New Year's Eve.32

9   Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Happy New Year
A New Year's gift!

Joyce Powell in Esquel offered an enlightening piece of information when she related a family New Year scene from the late 1950s (when she was about ten or twelve years old), a time when active calennig were recorded by both Owen and Hutton in Wales. A cousin came to the house in Esquel and jokingly chanted "Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, C'lennig i fi," and was answered with amused laughter rather than a gift. Indeed, Fabio Gonzalez in Gaiman only knows of calennig because he asked his family what the word meant.33

This trend is further facilitated by the fact that the calennig custom adapted to the Spanish-speaking world, revealing its continued functionality and essentiality. Gradually, the begging rhymes and greetings were adopted and translated into Spanish, and non-Welsh Argentines participated in the rounds. Margareta Evans remembers hearing Spanish songs as well as Welsh, and Dewi Jones recalls men riding to his family house on the chacra, singing and greeting in Spanish only.34 Therefore, the function outlived the ritual – again reinforced by the recollections of May Williams de Hughes that in the town, where traditions adapted to increasing urbanization, the children would meet in the plaza to receive calennig.

The calennig custom can be seen as a particular culture's ritual to overcome the calendric crisis and the feared consequences of that crisis (Agozzino 2003: 172-73). If we interpret the first day of a new year as a microcosm of the following 364 days, then the pattern set by the act of gift-giving is a means of ensuring health, happiness, prosperity and fecundity. However, regardless of the reason and source, no doubt the children were happy to frolic, and the youths exhilarated by the late night singing, receiving treats and attention for their efforts.

As calennig mainly exists in Patagonia today as a fond memory held by the elderly and a joke among the young, it seems it will continue to wane as celebrations focus on the family and feasting. The calennig customs transplanted from Wales may not have survived intact but certain elements have been adopted and absorbed into the modern synthesis of rural Patagonian New Year traditions.

Figure 5.  Old friends May Williams de Hughes and Elena Arnold chat in their first language - Cymraeg.
Figure 5. Old friends May Williams de Hughes and Elena Arnold chat in their first language - Cymraeg.

Reinventing the Spiel

In contrast to the waning tradition hitherto documented, I shall address the diverse folk items arising out of a younger dynamic society. Folklore is always present; evolving and adapting to prevailing conditions and new contexts. While diluting the purity of the Welsh language, the development of folk-speech items are indicative of a thriving culture and a reflection of a changing worldview. Folk speech consists of words and phrases peculiar to a community or region. The Patagonia-Welsh communities enjoy a Welsh dialect, spoken to a Spanish rhythm, rich in unique folk-speech texts due in part to the isolation and orality of their Welsh, so that misheard and misremembered words were reinvented, and the development of Spanish, indigenous and English hybrids facilitated.

The indigenous South American word che has flourished, being adopted into mainstream Spanish and Welsh. Che is an all-encompassing word signifying the collective people/community, as in the final syllable of tribal names, such as Tehuelche and Mapuche, with whom the Patagonian-Welsh had considerable contact. Hector MacDonald (32), Gaiman, takes credit for introducing it to his friends in Wales.35 He explained that "che is very common" and means "more than people," although it can be used to address one, two or a group of people. Examples of usage were collected from nine informants (Penal Griffiths,36 Ariel Hughes,37 Marta Hughes de Hughes,38 Gwyn Jones,39 Monica Jones,40 Lizzie Jones de Lloyd, Hector Macdonald, Joyce Powell and Alwina Thomas, aged 32 to 90).

Sut mae che?
How are you doing friend? or How goes it friend?
Sut wyt ti che?
How are you friend?

Both are interchangeable with the Spanish:

Como estas che?
How are you friend?

Che seems to correspond to the English 'mate' or American 'pal.' Gwyn Jones likened "sut mae che?" to "sut mae was?" (how are you lad)41 used informally in Wales. Dr. Martha Blache, an Argentine professor of folklore at the University of Buenos Aires, confirmed the prevalence of che among Spanish speakers also.

The relationship between the Patagonian-Welsh and indigenous tribes has yet to be thoroughly investigated. However, both written regional histories and personal accounts corroborate an amicable association between them. During the early days of the colony, the Welsh pioneers were saved by Tehuelche assistance, for the natives taught the strangers how to harness the harsh environment (Williams 1975: 113-14). Trade between the two groups flourished, and by 1873, it is reported that the Tehuelche had developed a taste for the Patagonian-Welsh bread, butter and cheese. During the 1879 Conquista del Desierto (Conquest of the Desert), a brutal extermination of the indigenes by the Argentine Government in order to open up land for cattle and sheep grazing, the Patagonia-Welsh did what they could to protect their neighbors, often concealing them on their property. There are no pure Tehuelche left today, although the Mapuche fared slightly better in the north-west of the province. While preservation movements are in place, both cultures have suffered immensely under years of Spanish domination (Williams 1976: 56 and 1992: 113-14).

Not surprisingly, Spanish influence on the Patagonia-Welsh dialect is widespread. While the Welsh language in Argentina is at a critical stage, as it is in Wales, the Welsh descendants in Patagonia do not express anti-Spanish language sentiment in line with the anti-English language sentiment of the Welsh speakers in Wales. Although in decline, the Welsh language was never banned in Argentina as it was in Wales and Patagonian-Welsh culture was never officially denounced.

Spanish-Welsh hybrids include the idiosyncratic expression "mynd i paseando." A combination of the Welsh phrase "mynd am dro" (to go for a walk)42 and the gerundial form of the Spanish reflexive verb "pasarse" (to take [literally oneself for] a walk, parade), colloquially it means 'to take a walk' or 'go for a spin.' Note that "paseando" does not lenite following a preposition according to grammatical mutation rules as it would in Wales, nor does it retain the reflexive suffix -se as in the Spanish infinitive.

Perhaps the most famous Patagonian-Welsh expression is "tan tro nesaf," also written "tan tro nesa," which has even merited a book title.43

Tan tro nesaf ("Till turn most next" -af is a superlative ending)
Until we meet again

This fixed phrase folk-speech item is unique among the Welsh communities in Patagonia and has become the accepted and expected leave-taking idiom. The traditional farewells of Wales may be known from literary sources and the Welsh language teachers, but are not favored. Likewise, "tan tro nesaf" is not used in Wales.

Another unique idiom shared by Monica Jones, and validated by Ariel Hughes "tot o faté," an amalgam of English, Welsh, Spanish language and Patagonian tradition. Although the origin of the word "tot," signifying a small amount, is unknown, it is widely used throughout English speaking communities, especially in reference to alcoholic beverages such as whiskey. The "o" is simply the standard Welsh preposition for 'of, from.' However, the word "faté" follows Welsh mutation rules with its correct lenition of the radical "m" following a preposition. The root word, therefore, is "maté," a distinct South American herbal tea with a whole cycle of social ritual and tradition.

However, Patagonian-Welsh has not only borrowed parts of foreign words and customs. As in any multilingual society, whole words and phrases from any of the contact languages may be used interchangeably. For example, Beryl Morgan44 incorporates both Spanish and English vocabulary when she nonchalantly refers to a "siesta" and "Spanish" during a Welsh conversation, when one would expect "cysgu" (sleep) and "sbaeneg" (Spanish). A further measure of the linguistic fluidity is illustrated by the borrowing of Spanish folk metaphors and folk similes into Welsh. Eulalia Lewis45 often translates Spanish idioms into Welsh, including "fumar como un murciélago" (to smoke like a bat) and jokingly applied it to her fifteen year old son in Welsh form, "smocio fel slumyn."

Clearly, "smocio" is one of several Welshified verbs borrowed from English, a phenomenon also common in Wales and achieved by adding a Welsh verbal-noun suffix to an English verb or noun. Other examples contributed by Osian Hughes, and some of which do occur in Wales, include "cookio" (to cook), "corralio" (to put in a corral), "beicio" (to cycle), "jocio" (to joke), "jumpio" (to jump), "licio" (to like) and "mynd i gampio" (to camp).46 Likewise, "byw yn y camp"47 refers to living in the wilds/in the back country, and is an obvious calque on the Spanish "campo" (field, countryside).48

As well as creating its own peculiar hybrids, the Welsh language of Patagonia uses several words and phrases that are not in vogue in Wales. For example, widower Osian Hughes considers himself "bachio" (to live alone), a word he claims is not understood in Wales. In a biography of her famous grandfather, John Daniel Evans, Clery Evans of Trevelin uses the term cadw batsh49 (to live alone), a term no doubt related to the English 'bachelor' and Spanish bachiller (bachelor) (1994: 17). However, in Wales, the English word bachelor is expressed by the compounds hen lanc50 or at times dyn di-briod.51

Possibly the ultimate bilingual mixture is "paswch," which has superseded the Welsh "dewch i mewn" (come in). The Spanish verb pasar (to pass [by], happen, cross, spend [time], transfer) has retained its regular stem while accreting the Welsh second person plural interrogative inflection. This is an example of "relexification," the process of replacement in which original or source-language stems are replaced by interloping or target-language forms (Muysken 1996: 365-426). In the Patagonia-Welsh context, although Spanish is the majority language throughout Argentina, Welsh is the source language within the Welsh community, with Spanish targeting.

In Trelew, Elena Arnold and May Williams de Hughes explained that the preposition 'opposite' is expressed by the term "yn frwnt," an obvious calque on the Spanish preposition enfrente de. In Welsh, the word for opposite is cyferbyn, but my informants had not heard this before the recent contact with Welsh-language teachers from Wales. In Esquel, Lizzie Jones de Lloyd and Joyce Powell shared numerous examples of misheard and misremembered words common in their community:

diwedda, although this word diwedd (end, termination) exists, in this instance it is a mispronunciation of diwetha (last).
frin-pan (frying pan) for padell (pan) ffrio (to fry).
goriad (key) from agoriad (opening), never allwedd (key).
nisha poca (handkerchief) from neisied (handkerchief) poced (pocket).
wyell (axe) from bwyell.
yndw for ydw (I am), and yndy for ydy (he, she, it is).

Other idiosyncratic words include variations on the nouns for stairs and step. Here, a distinction had to be made between the Spanish escalera (staircase, stair) and escalón (step, stair, rung). In Wales, stairs can be expressed by both gris, grisiau (singular, plural), favored in the North (as used by Gwyn Jones), and, staer, staeren (singular, plural), more common in the South. A step can be gris and a doorstep carreg y drws,52 hiniog (from rhiniog) or trothwy, the latter two both meaning threshold.

However, although grisiau is used by educated Gaiman informants Irma Hughes de Jones53 and Tegai Roberts,54 the variation staeriau is preferred by Trevelin residents Mary Green, and Ann (82) and Penal Griffiths.55 This appears to be a standard form of staer but with an alternative, though common, Welsh pluralization. While the English word 'steps' is used by Elena Arnold and May Williams de Hughes, the most common word offered by Lizzie Jones de Lloyd, Beryl Morgan de Pugh, Joyce Powell and Leticia Rowlands is ystôl, with the contracted 'stôl of Ariel and Marta Hughes, which means 'stool' in the Welsh of Wales. Further adaptations manifest as Delith Pugh de Jones's ystôd and the Freeman sisters' ysgôl, which must be isolated mishearings of the dialectal ystôl.

Interestingly, ystôl has been transferred to mean 'steps' also, by Leticia Rowlands and, somewhat surprisingly, Irma Hughes de Jones offered ystôd. However, the most common words for 'step/steps' are (y)step, (y)steppiau, used by five out of the seven people asked (Ariel Hughes, Marta Hughes de Hughes, Lizzie Jones de Lloyd, Joyce Powell and Delith Pugh de Jones), which look like a Welshized-English 'step,' perhaps reinforced by the Freeman sisters' use of steps/steppes.

These orally transmitted vocabulary variations are presently undergoing a process of elimination by extinction and correction. As the "new" Welsh speakers learn standard modern Welsh, the Patagonian peculiarities will lose their place; May Williams de Hughes has already replaced her steps with the more conventional grisiau.

Although the use of certain Patagonian-Welsh vocabulary items may be in decline and lexical borrowings criticized in communities facing potential language death, new phraseology is evolving (Jones 1998: 254-55). My inquiries into heavy-rain expressions brought forth a deluge of metaphors. The most common expressions include, "mae'n tywell (y) glaw" (Freeman sisters, Penal Giffiths, Irma Hughes de Jones, Eileen James, Dewi Jones, Tegai Roberts and May Williams de Hughes), conforming to the regular Welsh for downpour, and "glaw(io)/glawio trwm/drwm" (Elizabeth Green, Ann Griffiths, Penal Griffiths, Lizzie Jones de Lloyd, Joyce Powell and May Williams de Hughes).56 The "glaw yn pistyllio"57 common in Wales is not known, but many are familiar with the folk metaphor "mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn" (it's pouring old women and sticks),58 but not, incidentally, "mae hi'n bwrw cyllyll a ffyrc" (it's pouring knives and forks). Both are current in Wales.59 Alternatives offered include "mae'n bwrw trwm" (May Williams de Hughes),60 "mae'n piso i lawer"61 (Gwyn Jones); the onomatopoeic "mae'n glawio rhidyll"62 (Monica Jones); "mae'n cachu brics,"63 an expression Hector MacDonald says is also used when one is busy and under stress, and "mae'n glawio infernal,"64 which incorporates the Spanish and/or English word 'infernal' (both from Hector MacDonald). While not traditional or standard Welsh, the numerous versions of folk speech items are indicative of the fluidity and multiformity of folklore and are hallmarks of a healthy and vibrant culture.

My final comments on folk speech concern onomastics and the reflection of cultural contact between the different ethnic groups. A common family naming tradition practiced among the Welsh descendents suggests a direct, and possibly deliberate, link to Welsh heritage. Examples of the Patagonian-Welsh women's propensity to combine two surnames include Marta Luisa Hughes de Hughes, Irma Hughes de Jones, Lizzie Jane Jones de Lloyd, Beryl Morgan de Pugh, and May Williams de Hughes. While it is not unusual for Spanish (and other Mediterranean) women to retain their maiden name along with their married name, the Patagonian-Welsh women have modified a typically male naming practice in Wales by substituting the traditional Welsh "ap" (son of) (cf. Llywelyn ap Iorwerth) with the Spanish conjoining preposition "de" (of). In all cases, the first surname signals the paternal line of descent while the second surname belongs to their husbands (the maternal line is not referenced); consider May Williams de Hughes whose father was Iorwerth Williams, husband Glyn Hughes, and mother Mary Harriet Roberts. Needless to say, further study is required to trace gender and generational changes and assess the political and social implications of current practices.

Transparent manifestations of cultural contact are evident in the dozens of Welsh place names throughout the region. While settlements such as Glan Alaw (Lily Bank), Bryn Crwn (Round Hill), Bryn Gwyn (White Hill), Dolavon (River Meadow) and Trelew (Lewis' Town) can be easily translated, one name in particular stands out. Although we are told that Drofa Dulog means Armadillo Crossing (drofa is a lenited form of trofa, which means turn, bend and turning), armadillos, of the family Dasypodidae, are not native to Wales and dulog (pronounced "dilog") is not listed in any Welsh/English dictionary, not even in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, the most comprehensive to date.65 Neither is dulog a Spanish word or derivative, for armadillo is formed from the Spanish word armado (armored) with a diminutive suffix. My suggestion for the source of dulog is that it is either related to an indigenous word or derived from an aural transmission of the final two syllables of the Spanish word armadillo followed by a word beginning with a hard 'g'. However, regardless of the etymon, a distinctive Patagonian-Welsh word emerged.

Although I was able to collect many examples of Patagonian-Welsh folk-speech, as with the traditional calennig custom presented here, linguistic evidence confirms a once-prevalent Welsh language and culture gradually overwhelmed by and subsumed by the popularity and pervasiveness of mainstream Argentine culture.


The Patagonian-Welsh community is simply one subset of a larger Argentine society. While the descendants of pioneers from Wales take pride in their ancestry, language, and history, they positively self-identify with the larger community in which they live. Integration over time has led to a synthesis of cultures, resulting in a distinct Patagonian lifestyle that retains elements of all the cultural contributors. However, the traditional Welsh elements are waning as active tradition-bearers age and the Welsh language becomes standardized. Exclusively Welsh texts have largely expired as their social function becomes redundant, an indication of acculturation and a predominantly Argentine worldview. Consequently, my original hypothesis of finding survivals of transplanted Welsh traditions throughout the Chubut province evolved into an assessment and analysis of remnants of Welsh folklore and an overview of linguistic developments.

Figure 6.  Coleg Camwy (Ysgol Camwy), Gaiman, where Luned Roberts de Gonzalez is Headmistress. Figure 7.  Close up of inscription: Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth (a world without knowledge is no world at all); La educacion es el pan del alma (Education is the bread of the soul) (E.J. Evans).
Figure 6. Coleg Camwy (Ysgol Camwy), Gaiman, where Luned Roberts de Gonzalez is Headmistress. Figure 7. Close up of inscription: Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth (a world without knowledge is no world at all); La educacion es el pan del alma (Education is the bread of the soul) (E.J. Evans).


This article was adapted from, "Transplanted Traditions: An Assessment and Analysis of Welsh Folklore in Patagonia," a Bachelor of Arts honors thesis submitted to the Celtic Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley in December 1999, which earned the Jean P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore. My sincere gratitude goes to everyone who made my original fieldwork and thesis possible, in particular Professor Alan Dundes, my mentor and advisor at UC Berkeley; and Dr. Pawl W. Birt, Head of Modern Languages at the University of Ottawa, who unreservedly shared his vast "Patas" knowledge. My particular appreciation is due to the St. David's Society of the State of New York Scholarship, 1999 and the President's Undergraduate Fellowship, University of California Berkeley, 1999-2000. I wholeheartedly acknowledge a debt of gratitude to both institutions. Most of all, my appreciation goes to my patient and cooperative informants in Patagonia, who took me under their collective wing, and to whom this (their) work is dedicated. I have given their ages at the time of interviews parenthetically and provided detailed endnotes. Translations and photographs, unless noted otherwise are mine.66


1 Barry (Y Barri) Island (Ynys), Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

2 The (Y) Welsh (Gymreig) Colony (Wladfa).

3 It was never ratified because of the Argentine fear of giving the British an opportunity to seize Patagonia as they had the Falkland Islands in 1833 (see Baur 1954: 470-71). However, Argentina continued to promote European immigration, giving settlers approximately 106 acres plus grants of animals and grain (compared to small-holding in Wales of approximately 40 acres).

4 A bibliography on "The Welsh settlement in Patagonia" is available at Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/National Library of Wales, Department of Printed Books ( (accessed January 25, 2006).

5 Language (iaith) of the (y) colony or settlement (wladfa).

6 A thorough overview of the history and theory of survivals is offered by Margaret T. Hodgen (1936) The Doctrine of Survivals: A Chapter in the History of Scientific Method in the Study of Man.

7 Pleasant (Hyfryd) Valley (Cwm).

8 Arnold, Elena, female, seventy. Christened Juana Elena Davies. Born and raised on the family chacra, tending cows and horses, making butter to sell in town. Mother: Grace Roberts, born in Rawson, Chubut, to Welsh parents. Father: John Finch Davies, born in Aberteifi (Cardiganshire, Wales); his family arrived when he was five years old, probably in 1885 (twenty years after the first contingent). They had six children (eldest to youngest): Evy-Grace, Ieuan, Dafydd, Huw, Rachel-Howys and Elena. Elena's husband, Ieuan Arnold, died in 1985 aged sixty-seven years old. Interviewed in Spanish and Welsh, May 21, 1999 at her home, Leandro N. Alem 389, Trelew, where she has lived for fifty years.

9 Rowlands, Leticia, female, eighty-three. Born on a chacra, close to the Green's chacra, about three kilometers out of Trevelin. Father: Tom Nichols. Mother: Elizabeth Evans was born there but died when Leticia was eight years old. She lived and worked with her father and six siblings until she married Arion Rowlands (now deceased) and became a housewife where they lived in the camp "Los Matas" and is a mother of three. She has lived in the town for six years. Interviewed in Spanish and Welsh, at her home at Calle Holdich 460, Trevelin, on June 10, 1999.

10 Welshman, Welsh-woman and Welsh language.

11 Powell, Joyce Margarita, female, fifty-two. Born in Esquel and has lived there her whole life. Father: Nesiah Powell was from Glyncorrwg, Wales and came as a three year old. Mother: Margarita "Maggie" Roberts, ninety-three, was born in Esquel. Joyce is a retired teacher, has never married and cares for her elderly mother. Interviewed in English, Spanish and Welsh, in the kitchen of her home at Rivadavia 336, Esquel, on June 6, 1999. Juan Domingo Perón was President of Argentina 1946-55 and 1973-74.

12 Freeman, Shirley, female, seventy-three. Youngest of the Freeman siblings. Interviewed in Spanish at her sisters' home, San Martin 1382, Esquel, on June 11, 1999.

13 Spanish: Welsh (gales) are (son) bread (pan) and (y) butter (manteca).

14 The targeting of specific groups falls under the rubric of Blason populaire (lit. folk heraldry), which often manifests as derogatory remarks about members of another group, ethnicity, region, or country. Although a characteristic rather than a genre, Blason populaire is a feature commonly associated with ethnic slurs and jokes. The term first appeared in print in Blason Populaire de la France, by Henri Gaidoz and Paul Sébillot. Paris: Librarie Léopold Cerf, 1884.

15 Welsh: Bread (bara) and butter (menyn).

16 A word of indigenous origin adopted into Spanish.

17 Green, Elizabeth Mary, female, forty-five. Born and raised on a chacra with two brothers, but now lives at "Ty Ni," Fontana 149, Trevelin. Father: Fred Green, grandson of Berwyn, the first teacher in the colonies - his mother was Berwyn's youngest daughter. Mother: Vera Griffiths. Mary speaks Welsh, Spanish and English. She attended Swansea University in Wales and has taught English. Her two children attend Welsh lessons at the Trevelin school where we spoke in English on June 10, 1999.

18 Poetry/literary competitions/gatherings.

19 Holiday (Gwyl) the (y) Landing (Glaniad).

20 Joyous (lawen) evening (noson).

21 The status attached to education and language may be supported by the fact that the South-Wales folk speech oikotype "to mitch/be on the mitch" (to play truant) is completely unknown among the Patagonian-Welsh, both literally and conceptually. Neither did a Spanish equivalent come readily to mind.

22 The dialect of Spanish spoken in Argentina.

23 I am indebted to Robin Gwyndaf, Curator of Folklore, for his invaluable and generous assistance in the Folklore Archives at the Museum of Welsh Life (Amgueddfa Werin Cymru), St. Fagans, Cardiff. Note "t" is for tudalen (page).

24 Williams de Hughes, May, female, seventy-six. Raised in Trelew. Father: Iorwerth Williams; his family were from Dinas Mawddwy, Wales. Mother: Mary Harriet Roberts. Both parents were from Trelew. May is a retired school-teacher, plays the organ at the chapel and gives Sunday School instruction. She is the widow of Glyn Hughes, former president of the St. David's Society in Trelew. She has two sisters: one in Trelew and one in Buenos Aires. One of her two daughters teaches English in Buenos Aires. Interviewed in Spanish and some Welsh, at her home Abraham Matthews 76, Trelew, on May 22, 1999.

25 Jones de Lloyd, Lizzie Jane, female, seventy-one. Born in Trevelin. Father: Matthew Jones was from Llanrhos, Wales. Mother: Jane Roberts was born in Esquel; her father from near Bala, Wales. Still a practicing nurse, Lizzie is a widow, and is related to Luned and Tegai Roberts through her husband, whose grandfather was Llwyd ap Iwan, son of Michael Daniel Jones, Tad y Wladfa (Father of the Colony). Interviewed in English, in the kitchen of her home at Rivadaria 343, Esquel, on June 6, 1999.

26 Freeman, Lillie May, female, eighty-five; Freeman, Lottie, female, eighty-three; Freeman, Lena, female, eighty-one; Freeman, Lizzie, female, seventy-nine; Freeman, Shirley, female, seventy-three. Born and raised on a chacra outside Esquel called "Bellavista" (now in the hands of the family of their deceased brother Cecile Gwyn). The five sisters never married and have lived together their whole lives – each has a specific role to perform. Lizzie used to play piano for the chapel and attends Welsh classes. Both Shirley and Glenys were teachers. Father: John Freeman. Mother: Elizabeth Ann Edwards. Both parents were born near Trelew and raised eleven siblings (seven girls; four boys: Lillie May, Lottie, Lena, Lizzie, Aled David, Ernest Caledfryn, Thomas John, Glenys, Muriel, Cecile Gwyn, Shirley). Their grandfather emigrated from near Barry, Wales, to Pennsylvania, when he was twenty-three years old. Interviewed in Spanish at her home, San Martin 1382 (where they have lived since 1975), Esquel, on June 11, 1999.

27 James, Eileen, female, seventy-seven. Raised on a chacra near Dolavon. Father: Richard Morgan James. Mother: Lizzie Ellen Roberts. Her grandparents had come from Wales. Eileen is a retired English teacher, having taught in the secondary and tertiary schools of Dolavon, Trelew and Rawson. Married to Dewi Jones; their three children speak Welsh when they visit. Interviewed in Spanish and some Welsh, at her home, Don Bosco 34, Trelew, on May 26, 1999.

28 Thomas, Alwina, female, seventy-nine. Born on a chacra in Drofa Dulog. Father: David Rhys Thomas. Mother: Edith Jones de Thomas. Alwina didn't know her parents, was raised by her grandmother and moved to Gaiman when she was seven years old. However, a hip problem meant several early years spent in the British Hospital, Buenos Aires. A book-keeper for a commercial company for forty years, Alwina has never married or wanted children. Interviewed in English at her home, Michael D. Jones 368, Gaiman, on May 31, 1999.

29 Evans, Margareta, female, seventy-two. Born on a chacra near Bryn Gwyn and has lived in Gaiman for forty-five years. Father: Madryn Evans. Mother: Alice Jane Pierce came from near Betws y Coed, Wales, when she was nineteen years old. Interviewed in Spanish and some English, in her kitchen at Michael D. Jones 433, Gaiman, on June 2, 1999.

30 Pugh de Jones, Delith, female, sixty-eight. Born in Trelew, but lived on a chacra between Treocky and Trelew. Father: John Thomas Pugh. Mother: Jane Jones de Pugh, whose grandfather, William Freeman, was from one of the first families to go to the 16 de octubre colony in the Andes in 1890, and her grandmother Freeman had gone to Pennsylvania when very young. Her paternal grandparents were from Llangollen, Wales and her maternal grandparents from Dinas Mawddwy, Wales. Both came over quite a few years after the Mimosa. She is the youngest daughter of ten siblings (seven girls; three boys). She moved to Gaiman when she married Eduardo Tywi Jones when she was nineteen years old and has lived there for forty-seven years. Her daughter is Monica Jones. Interviewed in Spanish at her home, Michael D. Jones 418, Gaiman, on June 2, 1999.

31 This pronunciation was unique to this informant. While possibly from the second person plural subjunctive form gweloch, it is most likely an anomalous version of gwelwch.

32 Brunt, Aldwyn, male, in his sixties. Born and lived his whole life on a chacra near Bethesda, between Dolavon and Gaiman, raising sheep for wool and meat. His grandfather was a choir director, but Aldwyn claims he is tone-deaf so doesn't sing. His mother's surname was Griffiths. Interviewed in Spanish and Welsh during a chance encounter in the fields, June 2, 1999.

33 Gonzalez, Fabio, male, thirty. Younger son of Luned Roberts de Gonzalez, the Headmistress of Ysgol Camwy, and nephew of Tegai Roberts. Trained as a lawyer, he volunteers at the Museo Histórico Regional de Gaiman, where we spoke in English on May 27, 1999.

34 Jones, Dewi, male, eighties. Born on chacra "Rymni" outside Dolavon. Father: Aeron Jones. Mother: Hellen Jones. He showed me a black and white photograph taken in 1918 of the first car in the colony, a Henry Ford "Forte." His grandfather, mother, cousin and himself were in it, with the chacra in the background. Dewi was the Head Master of the Dolavon school and is married to Eileen James. Interviewed in Spanish and some Welsh, at his home, Don Bosco 34, Trelew, on May 26, 1999.

35 MacDonald, Hector Ariel James, male, thirty-two. Hector is an only child of Edith MacDonald and has always lived in Gaiman. From a musical family, Hector is a successful composer and musician himself, with soundtracks to Welsh television productions to his credit. Interviewed in English and Spanish, in his home studio at Michael D. Jones 353, Gaiman, on May 29, 1999.

36 Griffiths, Penal, male, ninety. Older brother of Ann Griffiths. Both are single and have lived in the house, named after the chacra, for thirty years. The chacra still belongs to the family. Interviewed in Spanish and Welsh, in the kitchen at his home "Troed y Orsedd," San Martin 132, Trevelin, on June 10, 1999.

37 Hughes, Ariel Grant, male, forty-eight. Born in his Aunt's house in Trelew and raised on a chacra 76.3 miles outside Trelew. Father: Osian Hughes. Mother: Vilma Williams. Grandson of Morris ap Hughes, a member of the Gorsedd in Wales. Ariel, an Agricultural Scientist, also helps his wife Marta Hughes de Hughes, run the Vestry Tea-House. Interviewed in the Vestry kitchen, Rivadavia 1065, Esquel, in Spanish, Welsh and English, on June 5, 1999.

38 Hughes de Hughes, Marta Luisa, female, forty-eight. Born in Trelew and moved to Esquel with her husband, Ariel Hughes in 1977. Father: William Hughes. His father: David Griffiths Hughes came on the Mimosa. Mother: Maria Luisa Videla was part Mapuche and died when Marta was one year old. Her older brother, David, lives in Puerto Madryn. Ariel and Marta have three sons: Cecile, Roy and Alan. Marta has run the Vestry Tea House for five and a half years. Interviewed in the Vestry kitchen, Rivadavia 1065, Esquel, in Spanish and Welsh on June 7, 1999.

39 Jones, Neil Gwynne (Gwyn), male, thirty-six. Born and lived in Rhuthun, Denbighshire, Wales until the age of six years, when the family moved to Talybont in Dyffryn Conwy, Wales. Father: Gwynfor Jones. Mother: Joan Ann Roberts. Educated at the Universities of London and Bangor, Gwyn moved to Chubut almost three years ago and is married to Monica Jones. Together they run Gwesty Tywi and have a son called Macsen Tywi. Interviewed in English at Gwesty Tywi, Michael D. Jones 342, Gaiman, on May 29, 1999.

40 Jones, Monica Graziella, female, thirty-eight. Born on Michael D. Jones, Gaiman. Father: Edward Tywi Jones. Mother: Delith Pugh. A poet and singer, mother and business owner. She runs Gwesty Tywi (named for her father) with husband Gwyn Jones. Interviewed in English, Spanish and Welsh at Gwesty Tywi, Michael D. Jones 342, Gaiman, on May 30, 1999.

41 How (sut) is (mae) lad (was). Was is a lenited form of gwas.

42 To go (mynd) about (am) a turn (dro).

43 Davies, Gareth Alban. Tan Tro Nesaf: Darlun o Wladfa Gymreig Patagonia. Gomer Press, 1976. (Until We Meet Again: A Picture of the Patagonian-Welsh Colony).

44 Morgan de Pugh, Beryl, female, sixty-three. Born on her grandmother's chacra near Gaiman, "Maes Rhyddyd," and raised in Bryn Crwn. Father: Ioruwerth Morgan was the choir director. His family came from Caernarfon, Wales. Mother: Olwen Jones. Maternal grandfather: Morgan Philip Jones won four Bardic chairs. Her husband Alwin Pugh passed away four years ago. Their daughter, Marli Pugh, age forty-three, is currently the choir director in Gaiman. Interviewed in Spanish at her home next door to her draper shop, Eugenio Tello 492, Gaiman, on May 31, 1999.

45 Lewis, Eulalia, female, forties. Originally from Gaiman but lives in Trelew, a cousin to Elvey Rowlands, whose Casa de Familia I stayed at in Esquel. We met at one of Catrin Morris' Welsh-language lessons and chatted in Spanish and Welsh in her car as she gave me a lift to Gaiman on May 25, 1999.

46 To go (mynd) to (i) to camp (gampio), rather than the Welsh gwersylla (to camp).

47 To live (byw) in (yn) the (y) countryside (camp).

48 Hughes, Osian, male, seventy. Born on and has spent his whole life on the chacra. Father: Morris ap Hughes, born in Trelew, was a member of the Gorsedd in Wales and the colony's bard. Mother: Wynnie Williams was born in Dolavon. Himself the eldest boy among ten siblings (seven girls; three boys), he has two sons and two daughters. Formerly the choir director, Osian has won the Trevelin Eisteddfod chair. Interviewed in Spanish and some Welsh at a chacra 76.3 miles from Trelew off road to Rawson, on May 25, 1999.

49 To keep (cadw) single (batsh).

50 Old (hen) youth (lanc).

51 Man (dyn) without (di) wife (briod).

52 The (y) door (drws) stone (carreg).

53 Hughes de Jones, Irma, female, eighty. Born and raised on the chacra "21 de agosto" and moved to Gaiman in September 1997. Father: Arturo Hughes was originally from Caernarfon, Wales. Mother: Anna Maria Olson, a school teacher, was born there. Irma is the most celebrated female bard in Chubut and is the author and director of Y Drafod, the local Welsh newspaper. She has two daughters, Laura and Anna Maria. Laura's daughter, Rebecca White, teaches English in Gaiman. Interviewed in Spanish at her home "Ael y Bryn," 25 de maggio, Gaiman, on June 1, 1999.

54 Roberts, Tegai, female, seventy-two. Father: Arthur Roberts. Mother: Mair ap Iwan. Siblings include Luned Roberts de Gonzalez, Head Mistress of Ysgol Camwy, and Arturo Roberts, who runs the Welsh newspaper, Ninnau, from New Jersey. Their mother's maternal grandfather was Lewis Jones and their mother's paternal grandfather was Llwyd ap Iwan. Although the family is from Gaiman, Tegai's father was a school inspector and his job took the family to live in the provinces when Tegai was two to six years old. Tegai founded the Museo Histórico Regional de Gaiman thirty-nine years ago, and here we spoke in English on May 28, 1999.

55 Griffiths, Ann, female, eighty-two. Born and raised on a chacra in the valley three kilometers east of Trevelin, raising sheep and cows, mostly for meat. Father: Griffith Griffiths was originally from Abertawe, Wales. Mother: Mary Elizabeth Williams was originally from Glyn Ceiriog, Wales. Both arrived as small children. One of six siblings. Interviewed in Spanish and Welsh, in the kitchen at her home "Troed y Orsedd," San Martin 132, Trevelin, on June 10, 1999.

56 To rain (glawio) heavy (trwm).

57 To rain (glaw) spouting (yn pistyllio).

58 It (hi) is (mae) pouring ('n bwrw) old (hen) women (wragedd) and (a) sticks (ffyn).

59 It (hi) is (mae) pouring ('n bwrw) knives (cyllyll) and (a) forks (ffyrc).

60 It's (mae) pouring ('n bwrw) heavy (trwm).

61 It's (mae) urinating ('n piso) a lot (i lawer).

62 It's (mae) raining ('n glawio) a sieve (rhidyll).

63 It's (mae) defecating ('n cachu) bricks (brics).

64 It's (mae) raining ('n glawio) infernally (infernal).

65 A Dictionary of the Welsh Language, Rhan 39 (Melindy-Mor).

66 Related papers have been presented at the 22nd California Celtic Studies Conference, University of California, Los Angeles, March 2000, the Wales and the Welsh 2000 conference, Aberystwyth, Wales, April 2000, and the California Folklore Society conference, University of California, Berkeley, April 2000. I also led a seminar at the National Festival of Wales, San Jose, September 1, 2001, and was invited to give a plenary lecture at the Cwrs Cymraeg, Cwrs y Cwm Canol, University of the Pacific, Stockton, July 20, 2006.


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