Happy St. David’s Day: Cymru am byth!

Like many Americans whose families have been around for generations I am of mixed national ancestry.  But my surname, Floyd, is Welsh. It is the same name as Lloyd, which is a variation of the Welsh word llwyd or clwyd, which means “grey.” The double-L represents “the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative of Welsh,” and was sometimes also represented as fl, yielding the name Floyd. It is not a sound you can make in English.  It sounds something like a soft cough or gently clearing your throat.

Did you know that?  Now you do, and since we are talking about Wales let me wish you a happy St. David’s Day with one of St. David’s graceful admonitions:

“Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.”

St. David was a sixth century Welsh bishop who became the patron saint of Wales.  I have been to the charming cathedral named for him in St. David’s, Pembrokeshire.  It was built in a hollow near the sea so the Vikings couldn’t see its spire from their ships.

Tonight I will raise a glass to St. David and that estimable Welshman Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and one of our best contemporary theologians.  The Welsh do make a single malt, Penderyn, but since I have none I will be raising Scotch.

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