Sut mae, crafters!
Croeso’n ôl! Welcome to the Compound Factory! Today we’re getting creative. Grab your pens, scissors, glue, and mutation tables (spot the odd one out!) and be prepared to get your hands dirty.
We’re about to connect pairs of two short words to create new, longer ones (“compounds”). Compounds are an integral part of the Welsh language and I’m sure you will have seen some of the following around. Which doesn’t mean that you cannot make up your own.
Of course there are some rules to obey when you want to do this kind of thing. We cannot go into every little detail here, but the most important one is:
When you connect two words, the second one undergoes a soft mutation.
rhwyd (net) + gwaith (work) = rhwydwaith (network)
fferm (farm) + tŷ (house) = ffermdy (farmhouse)
Note: The to bach (the little roof) on tŷ is lost on merging !
tŷ is a good example, really. So many different kinds of houses, so many different words in Welsh with an element of tŷ in them!
Your turn now! What would you call an aviary or “house for birds” (adar), a house used as a store (ystor), or as an archive (archif), or a “house” for a bell (cloch) = belltower?
Here’s another rule though:
When the first word ends in a d and the second starts with a t, the end result is one t only. For example:
bwyd (food) + tŷ (house) = bwyty (restaurant)
abad (abbott) + tŷ (house) = abaty (abbey)
And there may be sound changes, like these:
golau (light) + tŷ (house) = goleudy (lighthouse)
plaid (party) + llais (voice) = pleidlais (vote)
Jobs and professions
gŵr (man) and gwraig (woman) are great elements for making compounds, too. Many terms for jobs and professions are formed like this. For example:
adeiladu (to build) + gŵr (man) = adeiladwr (builder)
Note: Once again, the to bach (the little roof on the “w”) is lost!
adeiladu (to build) + gwraig (woman) = adeiladwraig (female builder)
How would you call someone who sings (canu), who sells (gwerthu) or drives (gyrru)?
Here’s a reddish yellow:
melyn (yellow) + coch (red) = melyngoch (yellow-red)
And this is somewhere between green and blue:
gwyrdd (green) + glas (blue) = gwyrddlas (green-blue)
Now that you know how things work, do you recognize the two original words in the following compounds?
Hungry for more? Well, go and surf your dictionary!
I’m Susanne and I teach Welsh (oh, and English!) in Wolfenbüttel, Germany.