About GwybodiadurGwybodiadur (pronounced gwib-odd-ee-ADD-ir, an invented Welsh word equivalent to informationary) came into being in the autumn of 1999, in response to the fact that there was then almost no up-to-date, accurate information on the Web about publications for Welsh learners. Hundreds of Welsh-language books are published every year, and a visit to any good Welsh-language bookshop shows that there is a vast range of dictionaries, grammars, courses, tapes, videos etc on the market these days, but they didnt seem to be systematically documented, catalogued or reviewed on the Web or indeed anywhere else. The aim of Gwybodiadur was to provide reliable factual details of what is available and where to get hold of it, along with reviews and advice on what to choose. Plus a few other odd things.
More specifically, the level of factual information and informed comment on the subject of Welsh dictionaries was, and in fact still is, practically zero. They are rarely reviewed or discussed in serious publications, which to my mind is a reflection of the poor quality of the Welsh dictionaries available until very recently. Dictionaries, at least the bilingual sort, have just not been taken seriously in Wales. Part of the mission of Gwybodiadur was to give a basic idea of what makes a good dictionary, as well as to campaign for better ones.
The situation has improved slightly in both respects, although more good new Welsh dictionaries are still needed. And the Web is still full of feeble Welsh-interest sites drifting aimlessly in cyberspace, containing information that is way out of date, misleading or simply wrong. Some of them include earnest appeals to write in with comments or suggestions, even though the site may not have been updated for several years. I wish people would at least take the trouble to add a note to the effect that their site is no longer maintained. Gwybodiadur is updated and expanded regularly. Recent additions to the site (which are not necessarily new products) are flagged with the flash.
Gwybodiadur claims to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date directory of Welsh-learning resources you can find anywhere. It lists and reviews almost all the Welsh dictionaries currently available (a couple of dozen, plus about the same number of electronic and online versions), and you should be able to find details of more or less any relevant Welsh-learning item. Of course simply listing a publication does not constitute an endorsement. Far from it in certain cases!
But its not just listings, reviews and links. There is more and more original content too: articles on how, and why, to learn Welsh, FAQ about Welsh, information about the Eisteddfod and several pages on the thorny subject of Welsh pronunciation.
The site has been well received, and many people have been kind enough to link to it or contribute positive comments. Favourable reviews have come from the BBC, the Guardian newspaper (considerable verve and enthusiasm), and Suite 101, who gave it five stars. According to Julie Brake, writing in the handbook for Welsh tutors Cyflwynor Gymraeg, un or gwefannnau gorau ar gyfer cael hyd i adnoddau dysgu Cymraeg yw gwybodiadur.tripod.com. The level of worldwide interest in Welsh is really quite something, with visitors coming from not only Britain, Ireland, America, Canada, Germany and Japan, but countries as unexpected as Slovenia, Iceland, Bolivia, Mexico, India, Latvia, Mongolia and even the Vatican. Here are some comments from visitors and from other websites:
News, and any kind of constructive feedback, is always welcome at . Review copies of new publications are also very welcome, since unfortunately Gwybodiadur has no money to spend on them. Of course that does not guarantee a favourable review, but it should get a mention at least.
Finally, if youre wondering about the red pattern down the left of the page, its based on a traditional Welsh quilt pattern; I copied it from a jacket that belonged to my grandmother. If you like this design you can find some photos of Welsh quilts belonging to my family here.
No dragons, red or otherwise, were harmed in the making of this website.
© 19992002 Harry Campbell
Last updated: September 2003