Mostly, what comes from the mouth of Janet Street-Porter is total bum gravy. This is no exception.
“We had a Welsh-speaking budgie. My mother missed Wales very much. I don’t feel Welsh at all. There’s no Welsh words for anything modern.”
Street-Porter is one of those people who enjoys a level of media coverage disproportionate to her level of ability or insight. (Incidentally people like this are certainly not worth protesting against, don’t waste your time. Maybe a quick throwaway blog post though…)
It did make me think how someone can really struggle if they attempt to pass comment on things they know very little about. And I figured, it’s at least a good chance for me to learn more Welsh words.
So if you have any good modern words, feel free to comment. And together let’s make a page on the INTERNET!
Modern means anything of, relating to, or characteristic of the present or the immediate past. But no use being ultra-strict about it.
Here are some modern Welsh words, each with an English translation.
amser real (real time)
chwyddo mewn (zoom in)
cludadwyedd data (data portability)
cronfa ddata (database)
cyfalaf menter (venture capital)
cyfieithu peirianyddol (machine translation)
cywasgu data (data compression)
diagram Venn (Venn diagram)
gallu i ryngweithredu (interoperability)
porthiant RSS (RSS feed)
rhesymeg Boole (Boolean logic)
sebon dogfennol (docusoap)
system weithredu (operating system)
troseddwr rhyfel (war criminal)
unben ffasgaidd (fascist dictator)
weldiad bôn (butt weld)
You might sometimes notice the Latin root of some words. Welsh has incorporated words from Latin for many, many centuries, just as English has done with Latin, Greek and French. Seemingly “civilised” Welsh words, particularly certain legal concepts which might be assumed to derive from Latin, can often date from pre-Roman times. Read John Davies A History Of Wales!
Globalisation can sometimes result in many different languages all adopting the same, or a similar, word for something. I’m thinking of “chocolate” in different languages, as well as “blog”, “wiki” and so on.
I heard that teledu was the result of a magazine competition to find a suitable word when it was a new technology (is this true?). It’s based on darlledu (broadcast). Of course, the English word “television” was mocked when it emerged for being half-Greek and half-Latin. And I now mock modern attempts to coin English words like “staycation“, which just catch on anyway.
New Welsh words are frequently invented of course, just as English ones are.
Language is, in the words of George Orwell, “an instrument which we shape for our own purposes”.
Sources: Geiriadur BBC, Geiriadur Llanbedr, Termiadur