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Wales and the Welsh Language

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Introduction | History of Wales | Historical Reading List | Learning the Welsh Language | Welsh Language Reading List
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starWELSH LANGUGE READING LIST


  • Mabinogion or The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, unknown, tr. Jeffrey Gantz, 1976, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. Collection of eleven prose tales from the Welsh oral tradition; the earliest manuscript dates from about 1325.
  • The Mabinogion, By Jones, Gwyn, and Jones, Thomas. Dent, 1984. This is invaluable for attempting to read the original manuscripts, as it's a very literal translation of the material. It's drawback is the same as it's feature - if you aren't translating, I would not choose this as my first exposure to Welsh, as it's written in very stilted, formal, almost Victorian English.
  • A Grammar of Middle Welsh by D. Simon Evans. If you're interested in reading the original, this is your essential companion. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1976. Be warned that this is what the title says: grammar. It's not a Middle Welsh tutorial. Trying to learn Welsh from this would be like learning C from K & R, Appendix A.
  • The dictionary is: Evans and Thomas, Y Geiriadur Mawr; Gwasg Gomer, Llandysul, 1986. (Welsh - English and English - Welsh sections.) I also suggest the introduction from: Thomson, R. L., Pwyll Pendeuic Dyuet; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1980. Try reading through some of the Welsh from the Jones and Jones Mabinogion open to the same page. Pwyll (all of the Dublin Institute series, actually) has a fairly complete vocabulary. Be warned, though, that one of the fundamental parts of a Celtic language is initial mutation. Consonants at the beginning of a word are not reliable. For example, the word for Wales is Cymru. But 'to Wales' is 'i Gymru,' and 'in Wales' is 'yng Nghymru.' All of these would be in the dictionary only under Cymru; you just have to know which mutation is taking place. (It's not like Irish, where you keep the original letter and just add to it.)


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