The Welsh Learner’s Dictionary by Heini Gruffudd. c. 1998. 256 pp. $14.95. Welsh Phrases for Learners by Leonard Hayles. c. 1997. p. 171. $14.95. Available from International Specialized Book Services, Inc., 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street, Portland, OR 97213-3644.

The Welsh Learners Dictionary begins with an indispensable 14 page guide and grammar. It talks about the Welsh alphabet and where to place the double letters in sequence so you can even find them in the dictionary. There is a helpful pronunciation guide, where to place accents and a good mutation table with guide. The introduction demonstrates some of the differences between popular and literary Welsh, pointing out that the dictionary uses primarily popular Welsh. The modifications created by verbs, past, present and future tense, plus what happens with irregular verbs is clear. The dictionary itself begins with a list of names and places in both English and Welsh. This is followed by the Welsh-English and then the English-Welsh sections of the dictionary. Many of the words have pronunciation guides and give key phrases.

The Welsh Phrases for Learners lists thousands of handy little phrases with their meanings. You can easily browse this book and improve your Welsh. The book however provides no guide to what happens if something in the sentence changes.

Neither book will help you much with your ancestral research, but for those with Welsh ancestors they are delight to use, to help understand the language and the idioms. The dictionary provides the necessary mutation and grammar guides needed to get started.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.1, 1999