Mark Nodine has put online the beginning of A Welsh Course; since the page was last updated over a year ago, he may have given up on it, but what’s there is still useful:

This course is one suitable for beginners. The main emphasis of the course is in developing conversational skills in Welsh as it is currently spoken (as contrasted with teaching the forms needed for understanding literary Welsh). The material is an indirect descendent of the Cymraeg Byw movement of the 1960s and 1970s. This course does not assume a general proficiency in learning languages, nor any previous background in Welsh. The course is also developed in such a way that it can be distributed either through an ASCII medium wrapped as a setext, or made available in HTML on the World Wide Web.

There’s a good section on “How To Look Words Up in the Dictionary,” among other things. (Via plep.)


  1. With regard to dealing with mutations when looking up Welsh words: another approach is to use the online dictionary at:
    You can set the “Term entered is” dropdown box to “the end of the word,” and chop off the mutation. I’ve found this trick quite helpful.

  2. Thanks, that’s very useful!

  3. The BBC also has a terrific set of Welsh language learners’ resources at http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/learnwelsh/ – including a dictionary (which can deal with mutated words!), spell checker, mutation checker and grammar guide (although some of this seems slightly more formal than the way I was taught in Wlpan classes).

  4. TheloniousZen says

    Oh, the lenition!

  5. The sound seems to work better on the BBC site. At the Nodine site, the words come over as if broken into three and shot out of a gun. Is there anything I can do to get better sound quality? (I have no problem listening to radio online).

  6. It should be noted, by the way, that “Cymraeg Byw” is a pretty controversial thing — it has been accused of being an idealistic mixture of the northern and southern dialects of Welsh that no one actually speaks.
    The BBC site (wisely, in my opinion) promotes a more realistic approach: where variants between N & S appear, they simply note them and move on.
    The whole story of Cymraeg Byw is an interesting cautionary tale of the sometimes thorny path of language revival…

  7. it has been accused of being an idealistic mixture of the northern and southern dialects of Welsh that no one actually speaks
    That’s a very interesting dilemma. On the face of it, it’s silly to promote such a mixture, and yet if you simply accept existing dialects you’re never going to have a true national language. And a true national literature more or less demands such a dialect; cf Homeric Greek, Troubadour Provencal, Classical Arabic, and High German. But such dialects aren’t created by committees but by poets and writers.

  8. Well, in practice, certainly when you live in Ceredigion (slap-bang in the middle of the north-south dialects), you tend to learn a bit of a mixture anyway. There is no great divide: native Welsh-speakers know the variants, but simply tend to stick to their own ‘local’ version when speaking. (Written Welsh is a different beastie again anyway, especially formal ‘literary’ Welsh…) It’s only us learners who get caught out.
    From what I’ve read and teachers have told me, the general view on Cymraeg Byw seems to be that it didn’t really work and has been largely superseded, but it was extremely important in the development of Welsh language learning for adults; previously it had been extremely difficult to learn the everyday spoken form of the language. There weren’t courses or printed resources; only formal grammars and the like – which set out the literary forms.

  9. Here’s another online Welsh course. Cwrs Wlpan is taught throughout Wales, in different regional variations.
    There are several learners’ dictionaries which take some of the pain out of looking up words. Gareth King’s Oxford Welsh Dictionary is especially good, and is a good, solid dictionary for the general reader, learner or not.
    You may know about this, but the BBC has introduced a new toy on its Welsh language webpages – Vocab/Geirfa. Turn it on to access mouseoverable translations of individual words. Handi iawn for the more experienced learner. In theory, this could work with any Welsh language site, but the Beeb is understandably wary of making it available to any Twm, Dic and Harri with a Welsh website.

  10. Meic Gilby (BBC Wales) produces an extremely helpful newsletter that I read every week:
    If you have any news you’d like to circulate to other Learn Welsh subscribers, just drop me a line at michael.gilby@bbc.co.uk …. hwyl i chi gyda’r dysgu!
    Meic Gilby
    P.S. Please feel free to forward this email newsletter to anyone you know who’s learning Welsh. They can subscribe here: bbc.co.uk/wales/learnwelsh/community/

  11. Mae geiriadur geirdarddiadol Cymraeg yn y wefan hon / there’s an etymologial dictionary of Welsh on this website http://www.estelnet.com/catalunyacymru

  12. Sounds great, but when I tried the URL I got:
    la pàgina http://estelnet.com/catalunyacymr no es troba en aquest servidor ;(
    Could you double-check the URL? I’d love to add the dictionary to my list of language resources.

  13. Judging by your error message, Hat, that’s because you missed out the last letter of “cymru”. Ianto’s URL works fine for me.

  14. D’oh! Thanks for providing the direct link. Must proofread URLs better…

  15. I used to consult the superb dictionary on http://www.estelnet.com/catalunyacymru/catala/gbs_mynegai.htm
    but the URL no longer works for me.
    I’ve tried every conceivable link in Google and on the Estelnet sites but I always get a “page unavailable” notice.
    Any ideas?

  16. Are you looking for the Welsh-English Dictionary? I just went to the Estelnet site and clicked on the dictionary box.

  17. Many thanks for responding.
    For some reason, I seem to be denied access to Estelnet sites, getting “page cannot be displayed” every time. I’ve even tried the Gaelic sites, but with same outcome.
    I recently switched to broadband with Metronet. Could it be a problem with my ISP?
    It seems strange that I used to be able to get the Welsh-English dictionary site.

  18. Just tried the new S4C site at http://www.learnons4c.co.uk It includes videos with linked scripts. VERY useful and good fun. Five levels of learner too.

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