I have assembled some citations showing appreciation of my published research from published reviews. They have been selected for inclusion because I consider them informative. Generally, the reviews have been positive. Quibbles concerning detail in the reviews have largely been avoided here, but readers are invited to access the full actual reviews on the website page Publications (in some cases accompanied by responses). In those responses I try to limit myself to substantive issues raised by the reviews.

1. General Linguistic Theory and Principles


2015. Dr. Doug Trick, associate professor of Linguistics at the Canada Institute of Linguistics, Winnipeg.

“Wmffre has a refreshing “continua” approach to language and linguistics (as opposed to an approach which attempts to focus on supposed discrete categories).”

“… if we understand ‘language’ to be a form-meaning composite, it appears that Wmffre and the many scholars he surveys have amassed a great deal of evidence on the ‘form’ side of language about the ‘leakiness’ of linguistic structures, inexplicable variants, lack of uniformity among native speakers, etc.”

“Iwan Wmffre has made a significant contribution to our understanding of developments in linguistics (in Europe and North America), and of the nature of language.”

2014. Deli Lara Peña, then doctorand in linguistics at the Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV).

“this book will surely make readers acknowledge that the dynamic nature of language is an important and interesting issue which descriptive linguists ought to address empirically as well as theoretically”

2. Language Description / Dialectology

2000 THE WELSH DIALECT SURVEY (ed. Alan R. Thomas)

2000. †Dr. H. G. Alun Hughes, specialist of South Pacific languages.

“This pioneering volume is a triumph of collective scholarship, evidence of ‘enthusiasm and industry’ on the part of field-workers and editorial assistants, and of ‘mutual generosity of spirit’ on the part of the five distinguished academic editors, led by Professor Alan R. Thomas. … The outcome is a work, long-awaited in Welsh language research, providing a sound basis for identifying and comparing the “local colour” of spoken Welsh.” [23]

“Sturdy, exceptionally well and clearly laid-out and printed, this is a volume handsome in form and content. It is a magnificent contribution to linguistic science, presented professionally and in strict conformity with the very highest standards of scholarship. It is unlikely to be bettered as the main guide to variants of spoken Welsh. Warm congratulations to all who have had a hand in this seminal work, which demands a place of honour in all academic and reference libraries with an interest in Wales, linguistics, phonetics and dialectology.” [24]

3. Phonetics / Phonology


2015. Dr. Linus Band, then doctorand at the University of Aberystwyth. (translated from the Dutch)

“Apart from featuring original analysis, the work assembles disparate information dispersed between separate subdisciplines of dialectology, phonetics, language typology and language history, as well as data from a wide assortment of relevant dialects and languages, to give a stimulating and a wide-ranging treatment to this rather singular vowel.” [17]

4. Orthographic Prescriptivism


2008. Dr. Kevin J. Rottet, associate professor of French and Italian and adjunct associate professor of Linguistics at Indiana University, Bloomington.

“His new monumental two-volume work on Breton orthography at first glance seems impossibly long and arcane. In fact it is a fascinating study containing such a wealth of information that the reader is left wanting to reread it in order to fully absorb the material covered.” [19]

“Wmffre has done Breton and Celtic scholars a great service in bringing together so much data in a single place and presenting such dense material in a highly readable format. … Overall, this is a marvelous piece of scholarship and an invaluable contribution to Breton studies.” [20–21]

2007. Dr. Graeme Davis, germanist, professorial research fellow at the University of Buckingham, associate lecturer at the Open University and co-editor of the two monograph series 'Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics' and 'Studies in Historical Linguistics' of the academic publishing house Peter Lang.

“Iwan Wmffre's book describes the arguments for orthographic forms in the Breton language. … The academic case for a book such as that proposed by Wmffre is sound. Scholars will read it. … [The] British Isles, French and international linguistics market constitutes the bread and butter market for the book. In view of the Third Reich political interference in Breton orthography there is the potential for wider readership of enthusiasts of the impact of the Third Reich, particularly in the concept of a quasi-independent Breton state. The author's readable style suggests that this alternative market would find the book accessible.” [02.04.2007 reader’s report for Peter Lang publishers]

2012. Dr. Bohumil Vykypĕl, Slavic philologist at the Masaryk University of Brno, Czechia. (rough translation from the Czech)

“Readers of this journal may remember our review of the book, subtitled Czech Spelling War (Vykypěl 2008). But, as Iwan Wmffre’s book shows the Breton orthographical disputes in the twentieth century, or the ‘warfare’ concerning spelling is much more ferocious than what we know from the Czech environment.” [291–92]

“The second volume contains an analysis of individual problems linking Breton orthography and phonology, which also shows their solutions in different orthographic systems, all very instructive in general terms.” [292]

“… some of the lessons of this book may be relevant to specialists of Czech studies (or Slovak Studies) … [and] reminds us that the earlier restrictive approaches … with regard to [other languages] is not to be linked with [national] character, but far more with the nature of the modern centralised state.” [293]

2015. Dr. Malo Morvan, sociolinguist of Breton, then a doctorand at the Université Paris Descartes. (translated from the French)

“The relationship between the peurunvan [orthography of Breton] and collaboration [with the Nazi authorities of occupied France] has been treated with rigour and attention to detail by Wmffre.” [Malo Morvan ‘Le Skrivadeg, une communion en paradoxes’ in 2015 Glottopol 26.11–47 (44)]

5. Onomastics / Etymology


2006. Dr. Richard Suggett, senior investigator of Historic Buildings at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

“This is the toponymic equivalent of manna from heaven: a rich diet of place-names that will sustain those traversing the sparse historic terrain of medieval and early-modern Ceredigion.” [123]

“Undoubtedly this book will become the first port of call for those working on farm and parish histories. This is to be expected because of Wmffre’s meticulous recording of sources. For the archaeologist and landscape historian there is much information on antiquities, settlements and boundaries,” [125]

“interest in place-names has never been greater – as the increasingly dilapidated library copies of Iwan Wmffre’s magnum opus already demonstrate.” [126]

2006. Dr. Simon Taylor, toponymist, reader at the Celtic and Gaelic department of Glasgow University.

“This is a monumental work, the largest single publication on Welsh place-names to date.” [163]

“The Introduction includes a detailed exposition on the Welsh spelling system, especially as it relates to place-names, and is a valuable contribution to the on-going debate on the correct representation of place-names of both Welsh and English origin in Welsh orthography. I had not realised just how contentious a hyphen could be!” [163]

“Iwan Wmffre has carefully collected and systematically presented the raw data for in-depth studies and analyses of manifold aspects of the language, landscape and history of Cardiganshire and beyond, and for this scholars, both amateurs and professional, from many disciplines, and for generations to come, have much reason to be grateful.” [163]

2005. †Terry James, archaeologist of the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, subsequently Head of Information at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and originator of the Carmarthenshire Place-Name Survey set up under the aegis of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society.

“This immense three-volume work is the largest corpus of any county to be published in Wales eclipsing B. G. Charles Place-names of Pembrokeshire, which itself runs to 857 pages. Professor (sic) Wmffre’s study of Ceredigion runs to over 1,400 pages. … His emphasis on pronunciation derives from extensive fieldwork over many years where he interviewed some 200 people for oral evidence and pronunciation. These appear in the sources and are listed in the bibliography. His consumption of tea over a decade must have been prodigious!” [182]

“Having used the work extensively on a parish where I am doing in-depth research (Llanddewibrefi) I can only congratulate the author for the thoroughness of his research which I found exemplary. If all the parishes in the volume are as good, which I do not doubt, then the work will be recognised as a quarry for its vast use of sources. … This tremendous work complements that on Pembrokeshire and will become an essential companion to anyone doing historical or archaeological research in west Wales let alone place-name studies. We can only hope that at some time in the not too distant future a scholar will take on Carmarthenshire, using the society’s computerised place-name database as a starting point, and develop it into a scholarly thorough-going work in the mode of Iwan Wmffre’s Cardiganshire.” [183]

2005. Richard Morgan, then archivist at the Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff.

“… this is a formidable publication which cannot be ignored. It is a pity, however, that Wmffre wastes so much space in his long-winded descriptive presentation and in unfavourably criticizing the work of others who have contributed so much to place-name study.” [778–79]

“… there is no doubting the meticulous nature of his research reflected in the historical forms which he has placed chronologically under each entry … and in his remarkable use of local oral evidence.” [779]

2011. Jen Mathias (an review by local amateur historian of Cardiganshire).

“A Cardiganshire Cultural Jewel. / Anyone with an interest in or who is researching house or house names (and the evolution of these names), family history, cultural landscape, local history, or the topographical anatomy of Cardiganshire should look at these volumes which are far more than just a dictionary of place-names. The wealth of information is amazing, and Mr Wmffre's research is clearly meticulous. Apart from being a useful tool when researching a particular local interest/house or place-name, it is also a very enjoyable browsing experience as well. Source texts are cited, together with dates for the properties, and there is an interesting and wide-ranging introduction and explanation, and an extensive bibliography. / Iwan Wmffre's linguistic interests are apparent (see his other book ‘Language and Place-names in Wales’ - also available from Amazon) and as he appears to be an expert in ‘historical dialectology’ I have every confidence that his linguistic interpretations and translations are totally accurate. Part of Mr Wmffre's research methodology was to use the linguistic and historical knowledge or experience of local people and this method accentuates the links between the people, the place-names and the landscape of Cardiganshire culture.”

2009. *Meaty, pseudonymous contributor to a genealogical website forum.

“well just a little update on this and this might help others searching for housenames in ceredigion. a chap called iwan wmffre wrote a series of books not that long ago about all the housenames in ceredigion. its a colossal bit of work that surley deserves an award. anyway i found waun listed as being part of helyg fach, the present day name for a property neighbouring waun. it is listed as being present on an 1811 os map which i have to go to the national library to see.”

6. Historical Phonology


2004. Dr. Graham Isaac, lecturer in Welsh and Celtic at the Irish department of National University of Ireland, Galway.

“This book is an important contribution to the study of the history of Welsh phonology. The author’s approach is quite new in comparison with previous work, and entirely justified …” [163]

“The strengths of the book are its extensive and well-documented database and the clarity of the arguments the author derives from it, illustrated and supported throughout by clear and apposite maps of the distribution of features discussed.” [166]

“The author’s results from the analysis of these features [in succeeding chapters] represent a significant addition to our knowledge and understanding of the history of Welsh phonology, and the way there are different ‘histories of Welsh phonology’ in different dialectal areas, and different registers of the language.” [167]

“The book proposes much that may be found to be controversial, when subjected to the necessary scrutiny. Some may not stand up: much surely will. … it is a very important book, representing a step forward of fundamental importance in our researches into the history of Welsh and its dialects. The difference in aim and evidential basis will mean that it is not guaranteed to be useful to all the same people as those to whom Jackson’s Language and History in Early Britain is useful. But equally, many who will find Wmffre’s book useful and interesting may not have found Jackson’s classic so appealing. There is a relationship of complementation between the two books, explicitly reflected in the title of the new one, Language and Place-Names in Wales.” [169]

7. Studies with Historical Linguistic components

2007b ‘Post-Roman Irish settlement in Wales’

2009. Prof. Seán Duffy, Irish medievalist, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin.

“In a very impressive contribution, Iwan Wmffre presents a corrective to oft-repeated claims that Welsh toponymy can attest to Irish colonisation of Wales in the fifth and sixth centuries.” [review of Jankulak & Wooding 2007 in 2009 Irish Historical Studies 36.429–30 (430)]