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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Bilingual Welsh sign stumps Scots
A passer-by reading the sign
Welsh-English signs are common in Wales - but rare in Aberdeenshire
A sign on a Aberdeenshire building site left local people mystified because it was written in Welsh as well as English.

Building company David McLean, whose HQ is on Deeside, north Wales, put up the notice apologising for inconvenience during the work in the Bridge of Don.

But local MSP Brian Adam said that if bilingual, it should at least have been in the local dialect of Doric.

The firm apologised and said a new sign would be put up as soon as possible.

It doesn't matter how wonderful the Welsh language is, it's not appropriate
MSP Brian Adam

The top half of the sign read: "Ymddirheurwn am unrhyw anghyfleustra a achosir yn ystod gwaith adnewyddu" - although to the benefit of non-Welsh speakers, it also included the English translation: "We apologise for any inconvenience caused during refurbishment works".

"I'm not against the Welsh language, and this is not an anti-Welsh sentiment," said Mr Adam.

The Welsh-English sign
That sign in full - albeit lost in translation for some
"It doesn't matter how wonderful the Welsh language is, it's not appropriate for this part of Scotland."

Doric is a distinctive dialect of the north-east of Scotland, and has a rich history of poetry and songs, as well as being spoken across the region.

Dr Don Carney, a lecturer at Robert Gordon University and an authority on Doric, claims to be the first academic to get a PhD after recording Doric speakers on video.


Since 1987 he has been recording elderly people in the region, and has more than 500 hours of conversations on video.

"When the project started, not much had been written about the dialect and there wasn't a lot written in the dialect itself," he explained.

"I just wanted everybody to talk to their grandparents before they disappear... and I wanted to celebrate who my ancestors were."

A spokesman for David McLean said: "We understand that local people would prefer Gaelic signs, and we will be putting up a new sign as soon as possible."

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