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Ah……The Welsh!!!

Posted by Boghound on October 27, 2011


Storm over ‘English’ term WC on roadsigns in Wales

It is a term recognized around the world offering relief for those with a very basic need – but not, it seems, in one corner of Wales.

Although the origins of the abbreviation “WC” are English, it has been adopted into everyday usage in German, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian and even French.

But now councillors in Gwynedd, north Wales, are being asked to justify the decision to include the term on roadsigns in the area.

The issue is due to be debated at the next meeting of the county council’s “language sub committee” following a complaint about the use of the non Welsh initials, short for water closet.

Officials have already been in touch with the Highways Agency amid fears that the term could become an unlikely rallying point for nationalist sentiment.

The dispute hinges on the use of the abbreviation on a sign on a roundabout on a new £35 million Porthmadog bypass advising motorists about a nearby public convenience.

There was controversy recently over a £650,000 bridge being built over the same bypass to help bats cross the road.

The agenda for the committee’s next meeting, on October 11, includes time for discussion about a complaint about the use of the phrase without the Welsh translation “toiled”.

A column setting out areas for discussion discloses that the council’s regulatory department has already been advised that WC is a “symbol” used as standard on all UK signs.

It calls for members of the committee to offer their comments.

Eric Jones, an independent member of the Plaid Cymru dominated committee said the complaint was bound to provoke discussion.

“Every complaint is discussed, they say we have got to do this, we’ve got to do that, we’ve got to write to these people,” he said

Mr Jones, who is a Welsh speaker himself, added: “There is nothing wrong with WC, we all understand what WC means and all of my family do but somebody else might have a different view … I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody does not agree with it.”

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