continued. . .
GOMERD. Geraint Lewis (1994) Geiriadur Gomer ir Ifanc [a.k.a. Gomers Dictionary for Young People]. Llandysul: Gwasg Gomer, ISBN 1-85902-161-1, £10.99 h/b (previously £25.00, then a more reasonable £15.95, now a bargain!).
Not principally a bilingual dictionary, and not specifically for learners, but it does have English translations as well as Welsh definitions, and an EnglishWelsh index. Grown-ups should not be put off by the young bit in the title people of all ages find it useful. For some time there have been rumours of a CD-ROM version, so far not fulfilled.
CYNRADDD. Geraint Lewis (1999) Geiriadur Cynradd Gomer [The Gomer Primary Dictionary]. Llandysul: Gwasg Gomer, ISBN 1-85902-758-X, £12.95 h/b (ISBN 1-85902-763-6, £9.95 p/b).
LLIWGARAmery, Heather (1996, 2001) Y Geiriadur Lliwgar [The Colourful Dictionary]. Cardiff: Gwasg y Dref Wen, ISBN 1-85596-275-6, £7.99 h/b.
GEIRIAU BOB DYDDBoore, Roger (1999) Geiriau Bob Dydd: Childrens Picture Dictionary of Everyday Welsh Words. Cardiff: Gwasg y Dref Wen, ISBN 1-85596-350-7, £7.99 h/b.
WHATS THE WORD FOR . . .?Williams, Carol (2002) Whats the Word For . . .?: Beth ywr Gair Am . . .?. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 1-7083-1736-7, £4.99 p/b.
A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council:
TERMIADUR YSGOLPrys, Delyth and J. P. M. Jones (1998) Y Termiadur Ysgol: Termau wediu safoni ar gyfer ysgolion Cymru. [The Schools Terminological Dictionary: standardised terms for use in schools in Wales]. Cardiff: ACCAC, ISBN 1-86112-180-6, £12.00 p/b.
Not a general language dictionary but a specialised glossary of terms. Now available on CD-ROM.
GEIRIADUR YR ACADEMI (GYA)Griffiths, Bruce (ed.) and Dafydd Glyn Jones (assoc. ed.) (1995) Geiriadur yr Academi: The Welsh Academy EnglishWelsh Dictionary. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-1186-5, £45.00 h/b. Fourth impression with minor emendations (i.e. errata and a few additions), July 2000.
CLAIM: The most comprehensive EnglishWelsh dictionary ever compiled, including synonyms, illustrative quotations, idioms, specialist and technical terms etc. together with a concise morphology of the Welsh language.
BACKGROUND: The Academy Dictionary began many years ago under the direction of Dr Bruce Griffiths, Lecturer in French at the University College of North Wales (Bangor). The aim was to gather together and coordinate all the small technical vocabularies that had been published, especially since 1950, filling the gaps as well as possible; [ . . . ] at the same time the wish was to cover the whole range of registers of both languages [ . . . ] the colloquial, everyday, vulgar register as well as the technical and literary. We would include idioms, similes, proverbs, even quotations from Shakespeare and the Bible, and names of people and places. Where possible, the richness of Welsh dialects would be demonstrated [Bruce Griffiths, Llais Llyfrau Winter 1998, my translation]. An ambitious project indeed! The editors took as their starting-point the EnglishFrench side of Harraps Shorter French and English Dictionary (the 1975 edition) and added Welsh translations. While the Academy dictionary goes only from English to Welsh and not vice versa, its remit was somewhat wider than the Harraps text and the teams lexicographical connections seemingly tenuous; one wonders if they had any idea what they were taking on. (Dr Griffiths has come to the sad conclusion that life is too short to spend on something like this, or so he claims in an article from the Independent newspaper but perhaps hes just putting himself down.) However, the editors have now finished chewing what they bit off: the results of this Herculean labour were published in 1995. An online version will supposedly be available one day, but has never progressed beyond letter A.
ASSESSMENT: Enormous, ambitious, arcane, unwieldy, largely archaic in both form and content, almost excessively comprehensive in some areas and definitely inadequate in others. The scale of the work is impressive: truly a magnum opus. To them both the Welsh Academy owes a debt which can scarcely be imagined, much less measured, says its President of the Dictionarys editors in his prefatory remarks, and perhaps that debt is owed by the entire Welsh-speaking community, if David Lloyd George is correct in his estimation of the value of a dictionary to a language. As noted above, Dr Griffiths himself seems less convinced of the value of his own achievement but lets not underestimate the dedication and sheer grinding toil involved in producing a work of this size. Its an impressive achievement in terms of scope alone: 16 types of bitter-cress and 39 species of vetch are listed, not to mention the 23 milk-vetches! The total number of words in the entire text (i.e. not just headwords) is around two million. This is the definitive large EnglishWelsh dictionary: it will be a very long time before another is produced on such a scale. However, the breadth impresses more than the depth. The translations are multifarious, approximate and largely undiscriminated; useful everyday idiom takes second place to obscure terminological detail; genuine translations are not distinguished from coinages (which are useful things, but not the same as translations); entries adhere to an arcane, counter-intuitive set of conventions not fully or clearly explained in the front matter; and the haphazard, thoughtless presentation of the material makes it painfully hard to negociate just try finding your way around the solid columns of dense text at the larger entries. As for the target language, how are we supposed to choose between 16 translations of puffball? Is there really an established Welsh term for puff-adder (an exotic poisonous snake, though, uncharacteristically, its not made clear exactly which sort), or is GYAs term chwydd-wiber just a suggestion? The tone is set from the start; with a mammoth list of some four hundred abbreviations and subject fields, including such out-of-the-way areas of vocabulary as Cavalry, Conchology and Ropemaking, and with terminology as archaic as Domestic Economy, Mohammedan and, believe it or not, Automobilism, we see that this is going to be a determinedly traditionalist dictionary. The typography too is many years behind its time, which does nothing to make the text more accessible, and high-quality printing and paper are marred by a cheap, flashy binding unlikely to withstand serious use for long [the latest printing, July 2000, has a more serviceable-looking cover]. Contrary to what you may have seen opined elsewhere, this is not really something youre likely to buy for yourself, unless youre extremely keen. The University of Wales Press website describes it as "indispensable for learners", which is ludicrous, like saying that an MRI scanner is an indispensible part of a first aid kit. But the scope being so vast, you will find things here that you will not find in any other dictionary, especially if you have a good level of Welsh and are prepared to work hard to find what you want. Its well worth asking a university library to buy it, or perhaps shopping around for for a second-hand copy. But use it with caution and common sense.
ONLINE VERSION: http://www.swan.ac.uk/uwp/wa_index.htm (letter A only, so far)
SECOND OPINIONS: A perceptive review of GYA can be found on the NAACLT (North American Association for Celtic Language Teachers) website: http://www.naaclt.org/JCLL/vol3.html#re
FOOTNOTE: I feel I should point out that several people disagree strongly with my assessment, and insist that GYA is in fact essential for the serious learner. Of course I have absolutely no wish to discourage anyone from buying this book if they feel like it, and know what theyre getting. My point is that, while the breadth of its terminological coverage is certainly impressive, the presentation is disorganised and unhelpful, the translations often unserviceable, and the treatment of the core language, which is what really matters for the learner at any level, very disappointing for a book of this scope and this price, since after all £45 ($75 or so) is still quite a lot of money for a book. A serious bilingual dictionary should give just as much emphasis to idiom and style (formal versus slangy, dated versus trendy, and so on) as to endless lists of obscure technical vocabulary. To illustrate what I mean, I have added some detailed analysis of the coverage of GYA (i.e. the range of headwords and compounds listed), as well as some comments on presentation and layout. As ever, Gwybodiadur relishes constructive criticism and informed debate, so comments are welcome at .
GEIRIADUR PRIFYSGOL CYMRU (GPC)Thomas, R. J., Gareth E. Bevan et al., eds. (19502003): Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru [The University of Wales Dictionary; a.k.a. A Dictionary of the Welsh Language]. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 4 vols, 195×272mm: Vol. 1 (affysur) xx/1366pp, ISBN 0-7083-0504-0, £55.00 h/b; Vol. 2 (gllys) xxxii/925pp, ISBN 0-7083-0981-X, £45.00 h/b; Vol. 3 (mrhywyr) xxxvi/859pp, ISBN 0-7083-1530-5, £45.00 h/b; Vol. 4 (sZwinglïaidd) xvi/748pp, ISBN 0-7083-1804-5, £45.00 h/b. WELSHENGLISH ONLY.
This is more or less the Welsh equivalent of the 20-volume OED (Oxford English Dictionary): a huge, scholarly endeavour to map the language in its historical entirety. The work began some eighty years ago, the results being published periodically in uncut fascicles, but now at last (2003) the end of the alphabet has been reached. And yes, there is a letter Z: in case youre wondering, the last word in the dictionary is Zwinglïaidd (Zwinglian), the adjective relating to the doctrine of the Swiss theologian Zwingli. Now the editors have gone back to expand A and B, which were less thoroughly treated the first time around, a task which will take five years. You can see the early proofs at their website in the form of downloadable PDF files. The finished work has around 85,000 entries illustrated by nearly half a million citations, with 340,000 Welsh definitions and 300,000 English synonyms. A Web-based version of the whole dictionary, minus citations, is planned, along with a spelling dictionary.
GPC is not principally a bilingual dictionary, but as with Geiriadur Mawr, Geiriadur Gomer etc, brief English translations follow the Welsh definitions. You can see sample pages at http://www.aber.ac.uk/~gpcwww/gpc_exam.htm. This is a book for the academic or serious enthusiast, not one that learners would normally consider buying, but you can always try persuading a university library to acquire it. The GPC website (below) is well worth a visit.
ADDRESS: Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth SY23 3HH (tel: +44 (0)1970 627513, fax: +44 (0)1970 627066)
CAA SMALL WELSHFRENCHRusson, Linda (1996) Y Geiriadur Bach: Le Petit Dico [The Little Dictionary]. Aberystwyth: Y Ganolfan Astudiaethau Addysg. ISBN 1-85644-970-X. £4.99 p/b.
Y Geiriadur Bach is perhaps a confusing choice of title, given that it has been in use for another dictionary for over forty years.
CAA LARGE WELSHFRENCHDavies, Meirion et al. (2000) Geiriadur FfrangegCymraeg CymraegFfrangeg: Dictionnaire FrançaisGallois GalloisFrançais [FrenchWelsh WelshFrench Dictionary]. Aberystwyth: Y Ganolfan Astudiaethau Addysg, ISBN 1-85644-418-X, £19.95 h/b.
CAA SMALL WELSHGERMANGreller, Wolfgang (1996) Geiriadur Almaeneg [German Dictionary]. Aberystwyth: Y Ganolfan Astudiaethau Addysg, ISBN 1-85644-969-6, £4.99 p/b.
CAA LARGE WELSHGERMANGreller, Wolfgang et al. (1999) Geiriadur AlmaenegCymraeg CymraegAlmaeneg: Wörterbuch DeutschWalisisch WalisischDeutsch [GermanWelsh WelshGerman Dictionary]. Aberystwyth: Y Ganolfan Astudiaethau Addysg, ISBN 1-85644-417-1, £14.95 h/b.
GomerLewis, D. Geraint (forthcoming) Geiriadur Gomer ir Ifanc [on CD-ROM]. Cardiff: MEU Cymru, ISBN 0000873608, £50.00.
No publication date available.
Termiadur YsgolPrys, Delyth and J. P. M. Jones (2000) Y Termiadur Ysgol [on CD-ROM]. Bangor: Canolfan Bedwyr, ISBN 0000873667, £25.00 + VAT + postage.
FEATURES: Contains several revisions and additions to the original book. The Termiadur Ysgol is suitable for school children, students, teachers, translators and anyone else who requires a technical vocabulary whilst working (on the computer) in Welsh and English. You will be able to add to your vocabulary by downloading updates and new terms via the internet. To locate a term in Welsh or English type it in one language and the term will appear in the other language. It is possible to toggle between the two languages at the click of the mouse button.
CysGairMEU Cymru and Canolfan Bedwyr have an electronic dictionary called CysGair. It contains some 45,000 headwords and phrases and costs about £20. A 30-day demo of CysGair accompanied by samples of other Canolfan Bedwyr products can be downloaded free (9Mb) from http://www.bangor.ac.uk/ar/cb/english/demo.htm.
See also SOFTWARE for spellcheckers and downloadable minidictionaries/vocabulary tools.
Nodines Searching Lexicon http://www.cs.cf.ac.uk/fun/welsh/LexiconForms.html.
Mark Nodines famous Searching Lexicon, sometimes known as GMN (Geiriadur Mark Nodine), is the first and the best-known EnglishWelsh dictionary on the Web. Currently the figures are as follows: EnglishWelsh: 15,034 references (including 1,452 phrases); WelshEnglish: 22,192 references (647 phrases, 919 cross-references, and 41 obsolete words). Only 15,239 of the words on the WelshEnglish side have definitions or cross-references so far. Speed of lookup is excellent, at around two seconds quicker than any printed dictionary. You can do quite sophisticated partial word searches too: for example, the query string ^[cg]*i$ will find all the words that begin with c or g and end with i.
From the lexicographical point of view, it is designed to avoid many of the classic faults and inadequacies of Welsh bilingual dictionaries; you might like to test it out against the various criteria on my What you Need in a Welsh Dictionary page. For example, it has helpful little notes to help you avoid choosing the wrong translation:
Accennod is the kind of accent that appears above a letter.There are also handy hints on usage:
You cannot use a person as the direct object of maddau; a person is always an indirect object and is introduced with i. Thus, you would maddau pechod (forgive a sin), but say maddewch i mi (forgive me).The Welsh side of the dictionary can cope with both mutated words and conjugated verbs. When you translate from Welsh to English using Whole word mode, the lookup engine attempts to undo any mutations before looking up the word. It also recognizes and explains most conjugated verb forms.
The Searching Lexicon comes as part of Marks online Welsh course, and includes a Spellchecker, a Metadictionary (tracing inflected and mutated words back to the citation form), a Glossary of Grammatical Terms, and a section on Stress in Welsh Pronunciation by Briony Williams, the author of a PhD on the subject.
Finally, the Lexicon has taken on another useful application with its link to Llyfrgell Owen, the Welsh Gutenberg project. You can click straight through from citations in the Llyfrgell to look up the relevant word in the Lexicon.
[*] If youre using a browser so ancient that it cant handle forms (pretty unlikely in this day and age), and so cant be used for searching the dictionary, you can view the entire text in ASCII at the following URLs (bear in mind that this naturally gives you a gigantic page which takes ages to load).
Camu Online Dictionary (Lampeter) http://www.geiriadur.net
A searchable online dictionary from the Welsh Department of the University of Wales at Lampeter, the people behind the online Welsh course Camu. It apparently contains over 250,000 headwords and is regularly updated. Theres a form to add your suggestions for additions.
BBC Learn Welsh Online Dictionary http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/wales/learnwelsh/welsh_dictionary.pl.
A new 60,000-word EnglishWelsh and WelshEnglish searchable online dictionary, with RealAudio clips of 1,200 often-used words, part of the exciting new Learn Welsh area of the BBC website. Try looking up show. The dictionary knows this can be both a noun (sioe) and verb (dangos and arddangos). When you click on CONJ (conjugate) for either verb, youll see the 20-or-so verb forms as youd hear them in both north and south Wales.
Linguru Interactive Dictionary Project http://www.linguru.com
A completely new interactive online Welsh dictionary from David Houghton and his cousin Paul. You download their stylish purpose-built browser, and use it to view the data as accumulated so far. Furthermore, you can upload your own contribution to the dictionary whenever you connect. It has tools to generate word tables, parse words, and find entries that interest you. Theres also a built-in web-browser which links the dictionary to the BBCs Welsh news pages (though it can be used to browse any page). Clicking on a word in the browser takes you to its entry in Linguru, an ideal way to build vocabulary-learning into your online routine. If the word isn’t there, suggest it! I urge you to join and contribute to the dictionary, if only as a means of improving your vocabulary.
Y Geiriadur Gweol http://www.theuniversityofjoandeserrallonga.com/kimro/amryw/1_vortaroy/geiriadur_cymraeg_saesneg_BAEDD_mynegai_1818e.htm
A WelshEnglish web dictionary, in page format, from the WalesCatalonia website: an adaption of a rudimentary WelshCatalan dictionary which we are expanding bit by bit . . . 10,000 headwords, 65% as yet in skeletal form, but with 35% explained in full. Contains some interesting definitions and etymologies as well as translations, and specialises in items which are not to be found in existing dictionaries, and which may be of limited usage . . . Some of the entries, definitions or comments are not found in any other existing Welsh dictionary – online or print versions. If you cant find it in your own dictionary, it might be here!. Not searchable (i.e., you read through the wordlist). WelshCatalan also available, as well as samll texts in other language combinations.
Welsh Academy Dictionary http://www.swan.ac.uk/uwp/wa_index.htm
The Academy Dictionary (GYA) is supposed to be going online (and has been for some years now). It should be useful, as long as they put some thought into the design of the site. So far theres only letter A, with the wordlist for the entire letter down the side in one enormous frame that takes ages to load, and no key to the abbreviations and conventions used. Don’t hold your breath.
Other online Welsh dictionaries and glossaries. . .are a mixed bunch, and include the following:
See also SOFTWARE for downloadable minidictionaries/vocabulary tools.
© 19992005 Harry Campbell
Last updated: May 2006