MAX BOYCE has hit out at the stereotypical way Welsh men are dismissed as "boyo".
The slang term has been bandied about with abandon in the London press to describe popular Big Brother contestant Glyn Wise. He has been labelled "wonder-boyo" and "boyo-Glyn" and shown support with "let's hear it for the boyo!"
But Boyce said the phrase is outdated, irritating and demeaning and he disputes the idea that Welsh people use the term.
Boyce's comments come in the week when council bosses in Newcastle banned workers from using "pet" as a term of endearment.
Boyce said, "The use of the word 'pet' in Newcastle is entirely different. 'Pet' is an endearment. 'Boyo' I've always thought of as demeaning.
"I've never heard Welsh people say it. It's an English affectation. I absolutely detest the word. I hate it.
"The only reference I've seen to it is in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, where there's a character called Nogood Boyo.
"I always found it to be irritating. It's worse than Taffy.
"I don't think the English are trying to wind us up when they use it. It's used by newspapers more than anybody else, to describe sportsmen or anybody else from Wales.
"It's been applied to me by the papers. With 'Boyce', you get the 'bs'. It lends itself to alliteration.
"It was out of context. Even if I had done something really well, they would use it."
Literary expert Peter Finch said "boyo" was once in common use, probably more in Swansea and Carmarthenshire than elsewhere.
Dylan Thomas had picked up on the word in Under Milk Wood, but the word had now fallen out of use in Wales.
"I think it's Irish," said Mr Finch, a poet, critic and chief executive of literature-promotion body Academi.
"I think it drifted over into Wales. It's gone out of favour.
"It's something that now tends to be used by people from outside Wales. If you're Welsh you would use 'boy' or 'butty'."
He said words sometimes fell out of use and returned to common use with different meanings.
"It's possible we will use 'boyo' again, if it's on the front of the papers."
He said the word "paddy" had become an insulting term for an Irish person, but he knew Irishmen who referred to themselves as paddies.
"Taffy seems to have fallen out of use, although Welsh people abroad sometimes refer to themselves habitually as the Taffs."
He said "mate" had replaced "boyo" and other words in Wales, as in other places. The influence of broadcast media could prevent a word like "boyo" returning to common parlance, although it had not brought about the uniformity of English predicted 40 or 50 years ago.
Do you think Max Boyce is right and the term boyo is outdated and demeaning? Email Rhodri Clark on firstname.lastname@example.org
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