How do you refer to a female librarian in Welsh?
July 18, 2007 8:05 PM   Subscribe

What is the proper way to refer to a female librarian in Welsh? Bonus if you can tell me (an English speaker from the Midwest) how to say it correctly.

I did a little googling and discovered a Welsh-English dictionary that suggests both llyfrgellydd and llyfrwr as translations of the word librarian. However, this dictionary and another one both tell me these are masculine nouns.

(I have asked this question of the Ask Cymru service, but they've not responded to me yet.) I use one of the above words to refer to myself (a female librarian) or is there a more appropriate term to use?

(In case you're wondering why I'm asking, I plan to use the word as part of my new domain name.)
posted by rikhei to Writing & Language (7 answers total)
Can't tell you tonight as my Welsh housemate is asleep, but I can find out for you tomorrow.
posted by Jawn at 11:37 PM on July 18, 2007

posted by Solomon at 1:31 AM on July 19, 2007

In the words of my friend Hannah:
'I suspect it's the same as the word for 'student' (myfyriwr) which would make a female librarian llyfrwraig'
and this came after some thought. On commenting that I thought this would be straightforward for a native speaker
'not really - it's one of those words where there IS a feminine form but the masculine form is generally just used for everyone'

My mother's side of my family is Welsh, so I'll see if she has any opinion on the matter too.

And thanks Hannah!
posted by edd at 1:33 AM on July 19, 2007

I've just asked my colleague, a professional translator, to check my learner's welsh on this, and he reckons the correct answer is "llyfrgellydd"... As I'm sure you already know, "llyfr" is the Welsh for "book", and "llyfrgell" is the Welsh for "library".

The pronunciation, however, is a bit harder - the "ll" sound that appears twice in the word doesn't have so much of an English equivalent. Here in Wales, we tend to make fun of people who pronounce place names that begin with "ll" in the same way as a single l in English because the two sound different. The best way to learn about this is to listen, and fortunately the BBC have provided something on this (link to MP3).
posted by unless I'm very much mistaken at 3:20 AM on July 19, 2007

Mum's chimed in:
"'llyfrgellydd' is perfectly appropriate. 'llyfrwr' is rare
but could also differentiate by saying llyfrgellwraig [[ as wr is the male and [g]wraig is female]-some letters of words are dropped in certain circumstances] but it would be highly unusual in my experience - but the purists out there might say it was ok."

So it looks like you should go with "llyfrgellydd".
posted by edd at 6:37 AM on July 19, 2007

I emailed David Snowden about the word llyfrgellydd and he says

"As far as I know it is - I checked on the University of Lampeter site (which is good) and that confirmed it as a noun."
posted by jessamyn at 9:02 AM on July 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks so much, all!!
posted by rikhei at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2007

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