CHARACTERS in the latest adventures of historical comic book hero Asterix the Gaul have been given a Rhos accent.
Today sees the publication in Welsh of the latest edition of the popular Asterix and Obilix adventure – called Asterix a Gwyr y Gogledd (Asterix and the Men of the North).
It is a translation of Asterix and his rotund sidekick Obelix’s first new adventure in eight years, reviving a global comic phenomenon that has sold millions of copies around the world.
The Welsh version is one of 23 different language editions of the French Astérix chez les Pictes edition, also being published today.
When Welsh Asterix publisher Dalen Books started working on the Welsh adaptation, it become apparent that the adventure — which takes Asterix on a journey to the land the Picts in Scotland — would have Welsh connections.
Centuries ago, when all of Britain spoke ancient Welsh, the Old North of early Welsh history was part of what is now southern Scotland – and not North Wales.
Its inhabitants, Gwyr y Gogledd – or the Men of the North – lived in that area.
Alun Ceri Jones, the Welsh translator of Asterix, said: “Remembering the historical link to Wales opened so many doors.
“It enabled me to expand the circle of the story a little in order to bring the Picts and the people of the Old North together, creating a Welsh flavour and context.
“If the story is set in the Old North, then the characters are the ‘Hen Ogs’, or the Old North Walians and had to speak in the broad North Wales accents.”
Alun was very keen for the different characters to sound different to each other, so he decided that one of the clans would speak in the unique voice of Rhosllannerchrugog, while others will speak with more of a Gwynedd accent.
Alun said it was fun researching Rhos vocabulary and dialect, before the challenge of presenting it in the narrative and dialogue of the Asterix book.
Thus, Asterix a Gwyr y Gogledd is full of idioms characteristic of the Rhos area like ‘nene ene’, ‘ynai’, and vocabulary such as ‘Cyc’, ‘hws go iawn’, and ‘iychymwrdwr’.
Alun said; “Of course, you have to take care using dialects and local words when writing for a broader audience.
“Sometimes just writing words from a particular dialect can look like a mistake to people who are not familiar with the dialect.
“But with Asterix a Gwyr y Gogledd, I really hope that readers will appreciate the humour of the clever and amusing dialogue, which is a thousand times better with the addition of the Rhos dialect.”