Welsh spelling query

A question about Welsh spelling. I do a bit of proof-reading for the parallel.cymru site, confidently when it comes to the English, rather less confidently when it comes to the Welsh. One thing I am aware of is that Welsh dictionaries recognise a much greater number of spelling variations than is the case with English, and that means that I am sometimes unsure whether a spelling in the Welsh is definitely wrong and should be corrected or is an acceptable variant. For example, in the piece I am currently checking I encounter ‘hydorgen’ (for hydrogen) and ‘gwergys’ (for gwregys), which I feel I can safely assume are definite typos, but I also encounter ‘elefen’ (for elfen) and ‘daerol’ (for daearol), which GPC tells me are possible variants. I would like the opinion of those more informed than I as to whether such variant spellings are to be discouraged in the interests of standardisation or respected (perhaps, indeed, lovingly preserved) as part of the rich tapestry of the Welsh language.

There is also the case of spellings which are not sanctioned by GPC but might be part of the colloquial language, especially where an English influence is involved. Thus, again in the current piece, would you say that ‘passio’ (for pasio) is definitely wrong? It certainly goes against Gareth’s stern prescription (section 1.2): ‘Consonants cannot be doubled except for nn and rr’. And is ‘naturial’ (for naturiol) definitely wrong? GPC does not give it, but it does give ‘annaturial’ as a variant of ‘annaturiol’, so that’s a bit odd.

Any help you can give to this poor traveller across the minefield of Welsh orthography will be much appreciated!


The trouble with the GPC is that it’s SO comprehensive that it includes outdated spellings. Passio is definitely wrong, for example, though in former times it may well have been OK. And if naturial or annaturial are acceptable, then we may safely throw all our modern dictionaries and grammars into Bae Ceredigion.

My remarks about doubling of consonants are certainly cast-iron safe for the modern standard language in all its forms. :slight_smile:


Yes! That’s my vote! :wink: :heart: :joy:


Just my uninformed opinion -

I notice that Beca uses italics in her transcripts to show us when an unchanged English word is used in speech.

Back to Welsh. I notice that some words, especially place names can be 'mirrored" . I’m thinking of words such as Llynfi/Llyfni.

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