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Getting a trifle too moribund to support a living language
on 3 January 2005
Although Messrs. Evans and Thomas point out that Welsh is a living language, the last update of this dictionary was in 1968, so there are one or two words which you might have trouble locating.
Nevertheless, the words and definitions are tightly packed, and for the student of the language, it is an eminently useful tome. (I write as a Scot who worked in Wales for a couple of years and made an abortive attempt to learn the language.) The dictionary's organisation is basic - the first half presents you with a Welsh to English translation, the second half, English to Welsh.
Perhaps the major failing, however, is the limited number of words listed against each definition. "Y Geiriadur Mawr" lacks the sophistication of more modern dictionaries - inevitable, really, given its 'minority' status. English, French, Spanish dictionaries, for instance, are going to sell in their thousands the world over; even Scottish or Irish Gaelic may sell to a wider market, given their North American appeal. So, perhaps, there hasn't been the investment necessary to update and expand this tome more regularly.
Welsh, meanwhile, remains a beautiful, poetic language, and deserves to be supported by a range of dictionaries and thesauri. Evans and Thomas are right - it is a living language. As a Scot I can envy the Welsh and their ability to support their language - even if there is a degree of political/cultural divide. An excellent book, but limited, and one which deserves to be thoroughly revised.