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Recommendations for (paper) Welsh textbooks and dictionaries?

For those who want to supplement their Duolingo Welsh lessons with textbooks, grammar references, and/or dictionaries, what (paper) books can you recommend?

Are there ones that specifically go into North / South differences? (Personally I'd be looking for a North-ish one.)

Are there ones that specifically prepare you for exams such as the WJEC ones?

I know that Simon Ager, the chap behind the Omniglot web site, recommends Colloquial Welsh and the Oxford Pocket Modern Welsh Dictionary.

What have been your experiences with textbooks and dictionaries?

Thanks in advance!

February 21, 2016



Two brilliant grammar books are Basic Welsh and Intermediate Welsh, both by Gareth King (just noted, that's already been recommended). They fill in a lot of the things the courses can miss and have exercises with a key in the back. There's a handy little pocket dictionary called The Welsh Learner's Dictionary, but what I like best is the many short, simple novels that have some vocabulary given to help. A whole series of books have been written by Bob Eynon, I've recently read "Bywyd Blodwen Jones" by Bethan Gwanas, and you can even get the Peanuts cartoons (I love Snoopy, or Snwpi as he is in Welsh). http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bob-Eynon/e/B001K84YEY?tag=duckduckgo-ffab-uk-21 http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2/276-3669355-8721354?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooksfield-keywords=bywyd+blodwen+jones . You might have to hunt around for the Snoopy books.


'Welsh Rules' (Heini Gruffudd) is pretty good - I think that schools use it for up to A level in some areas either in English or in Welsh (published as 'Cymraeg Da') - and it has a good index. The 'Teach Yourself Welsh Grammar' book is also well-pitched and cheap but it lacks an index. "Modern Welsh' (Gareth King) is good and pitched at learners but the newest edition is daftly expensive at £45-50. His 'Basic Welsh' and 'Intermediate Welsh' books give a series of progressive explanations and exercises.

Really, the grammatical differences between the various dialects are pretty small, ('Welsh Rules' covers some of them in about 3 pages of examples) so go for a good book, not a dialect-specific one. The good ones will give examples using a variety of common constructions since you will come across them all no matter where you go, and especially on TV and radio. If you are living or working in a particular area then get along to the local Cymraeg i Oedolion sessions.

The 'Modern Welsh Dictionary' by Gareth King is good for learners as it gives lots of examples and constructions, but at the cost of having fewer words. It gives pointers as to where to look for mutated words. If it doesn't have the word you are looking for then you can probably wait until you can get on-line and use something like gweiadur.com - this on-line dictionary is excellent as it gives examples of usage, full conjugations of verbs, and lets you look up mutated words and conjugated verbs.

Other handy books include 'Pa Arddodiad?' (D Geraint Lewis) which is a small book listing which prepositions are used with which verbs (mynd i, mynd â, cwrdd â, dod o hyd i, sôn wrth, sôn am, cuddio rhag, etc etc) and their joint meanings. Also, if you can find a used copy, 'Y Geiriau Bach' (Cennard Davies) is very, very good on the uses of prepositions in Welsh, with examples of many common phrases which use them. The bilingual 'Y Treigladur' (D Geraint Lewis) lists which words cause which mutations (or not) in which situations, and the more common grammatical mutations (mutations not caused by contact with a preceding word, but by being an adverb, or being the object of a conjugated verb, following a break in normal word flow, etc etc)


The best grammar book by far is "Y Cyfeiriadur" by Tony Ellis (IMO). It details a lot of the intricacies of Welsh that stump even natives and both me and my mum swear by it. The only issue I have with it is it is a little informal for my tastes (e.g it teaches hyna (older) instead of hynaf (traditional version of older) but really that's just me being picky.
I personally use "The Welsh learners dictionary" during school time because of how handy and small it is but it does lack certain higher level words that I need. At home to get around this I use "Ap geiriaduron" by bangor university which is an IOS only app that is a life saver as it offers multiple variations, the plural form and grammatical gender and works offline.
My personal dictionary (in book form) that I use at home is "Geiriadur Gomer i'r ifanc" but this isn't really suitable for beginners since it is only Welsh to english and before it offers the english translation there is a Welsh definition.
As for if there are dialect specific versions of book, there are books that teach one dialect over another. The contributors who are actual tutors can help you more on this front though since they will recommend certain books to their classes.
Simon Ager's website says that he lives in Bangor, so I assume that the books he has recommended are north walian.


I have loads of books and audio files to go with them. add me on facebook and i can share them with you. If not email me at welsxjock@hotmail.co.uk


Thanks! I've added you there (Philip Newton)

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