A3, A4, the A-list, A number 1, A-road, A-side, A to Z, AA, A and E, ABS, ABTA, Abu Dhabi, academic freedom, academic year, ACAS, AC/DC, acid rain, acoustic guitar, action replay, active ingredient, acupressure, AD, ad break, ADC, Addis Ababa, Advent calendar, advertising campaign, affirmative action, African-American, African National Congress (ANC), age limit, age range, aid agency, AIDS-related, AIDS patient/victim, to air [broadcasting sense], air ambulance, air freshener, air-sea missile, air time, air-traffic control(ler).
It might be unreasonable, in a dictionary compiled over a period of some twenty years, to expect reliable coverage of all the latest up-to-the-minute terminology though to its credit GYA does boast a handful of useful computer terms (for example, e-mail was quite a far-sighted inclusion in the early nineties, when e-mail was not nearly as widespread as it is now). But the items listed above are hardly brand-new. Most of them should have been in any large dictionary years ago. And dont forget, GYA certainly is a large dictionary, twice the size of most single-volume bilingual dictionaries, since they usually translate in both directions and thus contain two books in one, while GYA goes only from English to Welsh.
Perhaps it seems unfair to pick holes in this one dictionary without reference to others after all, nothing is perfect. Would any other dictionary be much better? To show how much better things could have been, lets compare a short stretch of the GYA wordlist with that of the Collins-Robert FrenchEnglish EnglishFrench Dictionary [CR], a popular and respected one-volume bilingual dictionary of similar vintage (first edition 1978, last revised 1998) but lesser size, given that it contains both a FrenchEnglish and an EnglishFrench dictionary while GYA doesnt have a Welsh-to-English half.
Baal, Baalism, Baalist, baba, babacoote, babassu, Babbitt, Babbittry, babblement, babesia, babesiasis, babies breath, babiroussa, Babism, Babist, Babu, babul, babying, babyishly, babyishness, Babylonia, Babylonish, baccate, Bacchant, Bacchante, Bacchantic, bacciferous, bacciform, bacciverous, bacillariophyta, bacilliform, [ . . . ] bone-lace, bone-seeking, bone-setter, bone-spavin, bone-yard, boneheadedness, boneset, bonism, bonist, bonne bouche, bonnetted, bonnily, bonniness, Bonvilston, bonxie, bonze, bonzer, book of hours, book bin, book box, book-card, book-cloth, book collector, book conveyor, book-craft, book-design, book festival, book-flat, book-form, book-hunter, book-hunting, book lift, book-muslin, book-number, book-plate, book-pocket, book-quiz, book-rack, book-rest, book-satchel, book shrine, book stack, book stamp, book stock, book talk, book trade, book tray, book trolley, book-trough, book value, book van, bookland, booklist, booklore, booklouse, bookman, bookmarker, bookmobile, booksy, bookwork, boom town.
In terms of headwords and compounds alone, GYA is enormously comprehensive: in this tiny sample words in GYA and not in CR outnumber those in CR and not in GYA by about three to one, though CR may still have more in the way of phrases within the entry. But are we missing much? Notice how obscure most of this extra material is, and by contrast how important and relevant to the real world some of GYAs omissions are:
B-road, B side, babble on, babe [= attractive girl], baby carrots/sweetcorn, baby blues, baby boom, baby food(s), baby-doll pyjamas, baby talk, baby tooth, baccy, [ . . . ] bone-chilling, bone structure, bone up on, boned [fish, meat], boner [vulgar sense], bong, bonk, bonking, Bonn, bonus point, boob job, boob tube, booger, book review, book up, Booker Prize, booking fee, boom box.
What sort of things do you get in GYA and not in CR? Notice, even in this small sample, GYAs bias towards the rarefied and academic, at the expense of basic, everyday terms from the real world. Its big on specialist and technical terms (bacillariophyta, bone-spavin, book-muslin), which you might expect to find in a specialist glossary rather than a general dictionary, particularly obscure flora and fauna (babassu, babies breath, babiroussa, bonxie); academic, theological and historical vocabulary (Baalism, Bacchantic); and derived forms (boneheadedness, bonnily) which are sometimes rather improbable (is there really such a word as teachably or teachableness, and how would you use it?) and which tend to have predictable, mechanical translations that often dont work in context.
Conversely, despite its best intentions, its weak on: colloquial and vulgar language (babe, boner, bonking), although the quaint slang of yesteryear is certainly well represented (I was gonged by the police, cripes, ripping, congratters); the practicalities of everyday life (B-road, baby food, booking fee); and of course anything to do with youth or fashion (boob tube, boom box not exactly brand-new terms).
Griffiths, Bruce (ed.) and Dafydd Glyn Jones (assoc. ed.) (1995) Geiriadur yr Academi: The Welsh Academy EnglishWelsh Dictionary. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-1186-5, £40.00 h/b.
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