Friday, February 15, 2008

About that Impressive Sounding Name ...

I couldn't decide whether to put this entry in the dogs diary or this one as it's about dogs, but really only peripherally and nothing to do with training a dog.

It's actually about two things
  1. Find out the background of that fancy sounding name you want to make use of
  2. What do you do when you know the non-impressive details of such an appellation? Oh that's simple - you write about it here. If I knew the person I'd tell them, but I don't know them, so here I sit.
Some Welsh Corgi breeders like to give their Kennel names a Welsh name since the breed originally did come from Wales (Unlike the Australian Shepherd which did not come from Australia - guess I need a citation for that - elf was nice enough to put some in the comments section.) A common choice is a town name which is fine, people can actually research how to pronounce it and have a shot at getting at least a little close (Welsh is notoriously hard to pronounce - I think it makes Gaelic look easy - ok, not really, but you get the idea.)

Also, I've been to parts of Wales, so I have some visual images to match up with the names.

So I decide after a few years of wondering, how to pronounce a certain kennel name (I'll withhold the name to be nice, but Corgi folks will probably have a few guesses). I'm over on Wikipedia reading the part about how to pronounce the town name and I'm flipping back and forth between the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) spelling of the name and the IPA guide on how to read it. While i was doing this I would spy little bits on the rest of the text about the town. Famous Narrow Gage railway town. Ok. Old mining town. Interesting. Slate mining. Really? Sounds familiar. Known for huge piles of slate rubbish. Wait! That's too familiar. I look at Google maps/satellite and I realize that I've driven through there. It's a striking place that they're preserving the surrounding mountainous area very nicely. But there's no getting around that the Kennel with the fancy Welsh name is named after a place that features ginormous piles of slate debris eyesores that are clearly visible from planes, satellites, even the road.

I'm really glad I don't run into the kennel owner (who is very successful and on the other coast I think) at parties or other gatherings as that would be too hard to sit on.

What's really funny is that typically all dogs from a particular Kennel have that Kennel name as the start of their name. So therefore all the dogs from that Kennel could conceivably be called "Slag Heap Corgis." (A geologist noticed that I misuse "slag" here - see the comments section). My consolation (besides writing it here) is that I know someone with a dog from that Kennel (a lovely dog), but he would get a laugh out of the Rubbish Heap legacy.

So be careful when you want to learn how to pronounce something as you may end up with way more knowledge than you thought you wanted to know.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, it's a slate mine, so there are no slag heaps. Slag heaps are made up of what's left over after you smelt a metal-bearing ore. The slate mines in Wales are really just quarries. I visited one of these old mines, where they now employ some of the older former miners to explain how they used to do things. Same for the abandoned tin mines. Very interesting, and a very smart way to turn what are eyesores into tourist attractions, and provide employment for displaced workers. I've got some slate coasters with etchings of corgis and sheepherders as souvenirs from this place. --Gail

Elf said...

Aussies not from Australia:

here and here and also Coile, D. Caroline [1999]. "History of the Australian Shepherd", Australian Shepherds (in English). Barron's, 5-7. :-)