Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ABC Wednesday - J

One of the surnames you'll hear most often in Wales is Jones, Tom Jones for example. Duncan Jones, Wales and Ospreys rugby player, is another. We spotted him bowling and I asked him to pose with Younger Son (right).
The particularly interesting thing about this is that the traditional Welsh alphabet doesn't include the letter J. It has 28 letters and, yes, the double letters count as one in crosswords for example:
a, b, c, ch, d, dd, e, f, ff, g, ng, h, i, l, ll, m, n, o, p, ph, r, rh, s, t, th, u, w, y

J is sometimes included in Welsh dictionaries now because it's used in words that we have 'borrowed' from English, such as jam or jar or garej.

So if there's no J in the alphabet how come there are so many Joneses in Wales?

Jones isn't of Welsh origin so to solve this mystery we have to go back through the centuries.

In 1536 England and Wales were united politically and the Acts of Union prohibited the use of the Welsh language and required all official documents to be written in English. Common Welsh names like Ioan or Ieuan or Sion were sometimes written down as John or Jones, those being the English names that sounded most similar.

So that's why we have so many Joneses without a J.

But, tell me, now are you surprised that there is some antipathy between the Welsh and their English invaders?

To take part in ABC Wednesday go here.



9 comments:

Carver said...

Great shot of your son and Duncan Jones. Interesting post. I didn't know that about the Welsh alphabet. Interesting.

To answer your question about the dancing, the only people dancing were on the stage in costumes. The rest of us were eating so much I think dancing would have been a stretch although it would have done us some good.

helenmac said...

Thank you for a very interesting photo and discussion of J and Jones and the Welsh alphabet and feelings about the English. As a descendant of Irish immigrants to the US, I recognize that feeling, but do work to contain it!
HelenMac
ABC Team

Jo Bryant said...

great photo of your son :)

mrsnesbitt said...

ABC Wednesday - we learn so much. Nesbitt is scottish I believe!
Dxxx ABC Team

Roger Owen Green said...

You've been really keeping up with the Joneses!
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Leslie: said...

And I'm a Jones girl born! My paternal grandmother was a Davies who married Joseph Jones from Liverpool. However, my maternal grandfather was a Scot born in Aire, Scotland! So I guess I'm a mixed breed - for whom should I root during the football? lol

omg...even word verification begins with a j today!

chubskulit said...

So ironic and interesting. Thanks for the info!

My ABC entry, please come and see. Thanks!

Rose said...

Very interesting! I didn't realize that Welsh had its own alphabet.

Furtheron said...

Son-of-Furtheron's-girlfriend... (Need a short hand for that!) is a Jones and told us the other day there was no J in Welsh... I was confused to say the least!

Later she was texting a friend, in Welsh, and S-o-F said "Looks like you've just sat on the keyboard" :-)