Bala Cynwyd??

As mentioned in the Straight Dope column here, and as a life-long resident of Bala Cynwyd, I don’t get the reference.

Is there something I’m missing here?

You can’t see the joke for the same reason someone standing in King’s Cross Station can’t see England. He’s merely lumping Bala Cynwyd in with Philadelphia (or possibly Lancaster, the capital for a day) – in this case “swells” is used in the sense of “rich folks” which (like it or not) Bala Cynwyd is full of. So, the sentence basically means “The rich folks who live just outside Philly may not think it’s much, but York’s pretty cool.”

Not sure why he’s challenging you to “top that,” however. I’ve pretty much always thought the Main Line was cooler than York.

Okay, now I’m going to be a total dork: I’m getting married over at St. Denis’ on Eagle Road in Ardmore (?) in a few weeks, and then I’m going to have relatives in Ardmore, Narberth, Wynnewood, Bala Cynwyd, and a bunch of those other little towns strung out along US-30. So, through space and time and the Magic Of The Internet, I’m going to wave and shout “howdy, neighbor.”

Howdy, neighbor! :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey, I grew up in Penn Valley—remember when the Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center was nice?

I think Cecil was just making a generic “Oh, those Main Line snobs!” joke. In which case, he really should have said “Merion” or “Wynnewood.”

For those who think the Philadelphia Main Line is all upper-crust Philadelphia Story neighborhoods, there is an equal scattering of the blue-collar. “Main Line” really just means the towns adjacent to the main line of the Philadelphia-to-Paoli commuter railroad built in the 1860s.

I’ve always wondered how Americans pronounce the welsh derived names in Pennsylvania. I would pronounce Cynwyd as Kun-oo-id (although I’m not welsh and I’m willing to be corrected). How do Pennsylvanians pronounce place names beginning with “Ll”?

We pronounce Bala Cynwyd exactly how it’s spelled. :smiley:

Seriously, around here we pronounce Bala Cynwyd as Bahlah Kinwood (kin as in relations, wood as in oak or pine).

While I’m not aware of any local towns beginning with double-L, I would expect us to simply pronounce it as if it had a single L. Quite honestly, I’ve never known how the Welsh pronounce any of this stuff - I always get stuck on the idea that the entire language seems to consist of consonants with an occasional “y” thrown in apparently at random, and throw in the towel. Beautiful to hear it spoken, but it intimidates the heck out of me!

Welsh “ll” is pronounced like the “ch” in “loch”, except that instead of the sound coming over the top of your tongue like a “k”, it comes out the sides of your tongue like an “l”. Since few languages have this sound, it’s difficult for most people to get it. That’s why some Welsh names beginning with “Ll” have mutant English forms beginning “Fl”, like “Floyd” and (in Shakespeare) “Fluellen”.

Not a town, but there is the Llanerch (“LAN-urk”) diner on US-1, a few miles southeast of the intersection with US-30.

And yeah, Merion or Wynnewood would have been much more appropriate to roast for their upper-crustery.

Sounds even phegmier than the Yiddish/Scottish ch in Channukah/loch! I think I’ll stick to single L!

It should be noted that some of the Celtic names of towns out on the Main Line were new graftings created out of whole cloth to make them seem tonier and attract richer citizens. Ardmore for example was originally Eaglesville.

I would just like to offer a recommendation to any highschool aged Dopers. Definitely try to have sex with any girl from Merion Mercy Academy. That’s how I spent my highschool years. Merion girls- ooh yeah! And those uniforms! Catholic School kilts!

Or instead of trying to have sex with them, you might consider serenading them by moonlight with guitars, writing love poems, and having a chaste but passionate exchange of love letters. So much more dignified.