Faute de anything mieux with which to celebrate April Fool’s Day, here is an example of … er, cack-handed misspelling of Welsh. It shows a street name erected by the local council in Conwy borough in north Wales, and is taken from a blog entry whose Welsh title translates as ‘A nasty smell at the Junction” (that is, Llandudno Junction).The first line, GWEL YR AFON, is the name of the road, “River View”. The second ought to be FFORDD BREIFAT, “private road”, i.e. a road for the maintenance of which the local council does not accept responsibility.
To simplify the sociolinguistic demographics somewhat, we can say that Conwy borough combines an English-speaking urban centre with Welsh-speaking outlying villages. There had been complaints about the number of English-only street signs and road names. The Welsh word preifat ‘private’ shows by its form that it is the English word ˈpraɪvət respelt in accordance with Welsh spelling conventions (f = v). In the sign, the initial consonant is correctly mutated to b-, to agree with the feminine noun ffordd fɔrð ‘road’.
If this word had been borrowed into Welsh direct from Latin prīvātus 1800 years ago when the Romans were in Britain, as were such words as pont ‘bridge’, llafur ‘labour’ and ffenest ‘window’, I think it would probably have come out as something like prywod. (Compare parātus → parod ‘ready’.) But obviously it wasn’t. It came via English.
The person who created the road sign knew sufficient Welsh to do the correct mutation. But he or she was English enough to confuse the digraphs ei and ie and to produce a fine example of non-rhotic hypercorrection. As it stands, the sign regrettably suggests that the road is characterized by flatulent cheese-eaters.