If you....I would

I was making the point that smaller Welsh dictionaries don’t show any dialect, up, down,clockwise or anti clockwise, so that people often assume that it is biased towards a particular dialect rather than biased towards standard. Your experience of dictionaries, and what native speakers people from all parts of Wales say about them, is very different to mine. :blush:
You might like the online geiriadur yr academi, that’s about as comprehensive and understandable so they get.

Well, you wouldn’t really expect normal dictionaries to cover small differences in pronunciation like that - which occur in every language under the sun. You would have to carry them about in a wheelbarrow!

I dont expect them to cover that, but I do expect a dictionary claiming to cover ‘welsh’ to have both north & south wales versions of words & state which is which - or is that just me being unreasonable?! Bangor university do the best online dictionary I can find, but a book would be very nice for all those signal black spot areas I seem to be surrounded by.

I’ve found the smaller dictionaries cover Welsh - the words that are thought of and used as standard Welsh (which yes, does exist though it is thankfully far less pervasive than standard English!) Some of these words are more common in some areas, some are more common in others. For in depth usage of dialects, whatever part of the country they come from, you will (in my view not surprisingly, so no, I don’t think they are being unreasonable :blush:) need a larger dictionary - as I say, the geiriadur yr academi is a good one for that. Just Google it, it’s online and free.

I don’t know the answer to this question. However I believe that grammar varies far less than vocabulary from area to area. The best way to differentiate the vocabulary is probably to live and speak in the area and cultivate friendships with Welsh speakers in and from the area. I read in class some fairly advanced literature and even the tutor, with her Sir Bemfro background, doesn’t understand and can’t find out, every NW word she come across.

I suspect that the ‘non-standardisation’ of Welsh comes about for historical reasons. Why write grammars and dictionaries for “small”, “inferior”, “home and hearth” languages? However, if you really want separate dictionaries you need to cut the country in half and politics will dictate a standard language based on the relative capitals. Hence American English and British English and Indian English.

Quantum Cymraeg !, i like your style sir.

Cheers J.P.


I remember being into my 3rd year of Welsh and being very frustrated at my inability to use a dictionary at all. All those mutations changing the first letter of a word! Not fair!!

As you become more “efficient” at recognising what the root of a word is, as you are with dach/dech and dan/den it will become easier. Perhaps, in time you could become the author of a guide to your local tongue.

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I live in Cardiff and have learned ‘southern’ Welsh. And at the moment I am reading ‘Un Nos Ola Leuad’, which is set in Bethesda in Gwynedd in the early part of the C20th. And it is all written in Bethesda Welsh, so things like ‘Amsar i fynd Rysgol’ (I made that up) for ‘Mae’n amser i fynd i’r ysgol’. Took me a little getting used to, but once I had tuned in (and could ‘hear’ it in that lovely accent) I was fine. It helps that I have a Bethesda native on hand to ask for the really tricky words (which, nevertheless, are all the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru on line).

But it’s sort of like reading something in English that’s set in Bristol where everyone’s saying "Orroight, moi luvver, tha’s gert lush’. You won’t find many of those words in the dictionary either!

I think my point (and I am getting there…) is that the word is ‘lover’, and if you show that to a Bristolian they will pronounce it ‘luvver’. Just as if you show my brother-in-law the word ‘amser’ he will pronounce it ‘amsar’. So it’s mainly about pronunciation, not spelling. Yes, some people will write it how they say it, but that happens in English too.

(ETA: Which is what you were saying also, Margaret, I realise!)


The OUP Pocket Modern Welsh Dictionary (edited by Gareth King) is quite good for covering north-south variations, and it’s a very good general learner’s dictionary, I would suggest.

However, the word “Pocket” should not be taken too literally. OTOH, if you have to carry a bag around for other reasons, it shouldn’t take up much additional room in it. I have an oldish edition which I bought 2nd hand. I think more modern editions are a bit slimmed down (although I think partly by using what looks like cheaper paper, so it’s swings and roundabouts).

(BTW the phone app version of the Bangor dictionary (Ap Geiriaduron) can be used offline - one of the things that convinced this Luddite to get a modern phone… :slight_smile: )


Heini Gruffudd’s Welsh learner’s dictionary is another good basic dictionary giving, where appropriate, different words in general use in the South and North of the country. It is considerably more portable (with more basic entries ) (and, I would hazard a guess, cheaper as well!).
It is also one of the few (only?) Welsh dictionary I know of which gives a pronunciation guide for each word.

“Blas yr iaith Cwmderi” is a very good book going into different words used in the north and south in that way - it’s all in Welsh though, so only if you think you can cope with that! :blush:

Yes, I find Ap Geiriaduron to be very useful as well!

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Highly recommended in class today was “Dweud eich Dweud” by Ceri Jones which is

“This is a unique book that provides guidance to Welsh spoken and idiomatic as it is spoken today. Here, idioms, idioms, slang, swear words, dialect words and grammatical variations, with extensive examples to illustrate modern Welsh writing whole. Update Your Say (Gomer, 2001).”

and my colleagues assure me differentiates between north and south. It is, of course, out of print!

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No results for it at all, even on Ebay, when I looked about half an hour ago!

Thank you all for your help & recommendations - you have all been brilliant, thanks. I’ll have to check out the websites & books. I might give that out of print one a miss looking at those prices - ouch!?! Mezx

Oh that’s interesting: last time I looked at that Amazon.co.uk link, there were 2 at reasonable prices. At the time of writing, there are 3 at very unreasonable prices! (I have heard that this can happen when sellers’ “robots” go into action, and perhaps get into some kind of crazy “bidding war”

(Actually, there seems to be one on Ebay at a reasonable price at the time of writing…)

It seems to be available new from Gomer.


Edit - Oh, no it’s not! It’s out of stock! But listed as published in 2013, anyway.

Woohoo!, I’ve just checked my library who have 14 copies! Have requested one. Mezx

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14 across the whole borough - I’m going to have to wait a couple of weeks before the nearest one gets here - ha ha - there good but not that good :grin: Mezx

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