It would be very interesting to see a Welsh ‘Official Scrabble Words’, but to be honest I can’t see it happening. The creation of such a list, if it is to be done properly, requires a lengthy collaboration between professional lexicographers and a semi-professional committee of expert Scrabble players, and then you require a publisher willing to invest in the production of what is likely to be a sizeable book. No problem for English, where the book sells many thousands of copies worldwide, but, meaning no disrespect to the Welsh or the Welsh language, it’s not likely to be a viable proposition in Welsh simply because of the likely size of the target audience. Unless, of course, one could get some cultural subsidy for the work. After all, there are such lists not only for English but also for French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Polish…. Is it not a stain on Welsh honour that no such list exists for Europe’s most ancient and venerable language!
Note that simply nominating an existing dictionary is not an adequate solution if the game is to be played at a serious level. No dictionary is going to give precise enough guidance as to what words are and are not acceptable, and this inevitably leads to disputes. This is all very well if you are just playing domestic Scrabble, where the worst that can happen is divorce or possibly murder, but once you start having clubs and leagues and tournaments with money prizes, these disputes can get really ugly. That’s why it is imperative to have a straight word list, in alphabetical order, stripped of definitions but containing every playable combination of characters, so any dispute can be adjudicated by a simple look up: if it’s there, OK, if not take it back and lose your turn. Such a list is also indispensable for computerising the game e.g. if you want an online Scrabble app in Welsh.
Certainly one has to start by choosing a dictionary or combination of dictionaries to base the word list on, but that is only a start. With luck the publishers may be willing to supply you with a computerised list of words to get you off the ground, but then someone has to go over that eliminating elements not playable in Scrabble – words of more than fifteen letters, proper nouns, hyphenated words, abbreviations. And then it can still be a long journey to arrive at a finished word list. Some of the issues that arise:
Plurals. English dictionaries don’t normally specify plurals unless they are irregular. We have the simple rule that any singular noun can have a plural, though in a few cases, such as SHEEP and some words of Japanese origin, the plural can be the same as the singular. I am not sure if this simple rule could work with Welsh. I note that the Welsh dictionary I mainly use, the online Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, gives no plural for many nouns, particularly abstract ones. Does this mean that a form such as ARCHLODAU as a plural of ARCHLOD (shame, disgrace) is simply unthinkable?
Conparatives/superlatives. The base dictionaries we use for English (Collins and Chambers) are a bit lax about specifying these and sometimes judgment calls have to be made. Clearly a brown horse can be BROWNER or BROWNEST, but can a bay horse be BAYER or BAYEST? We judge not. I don’t know what the situation is in Welsh. Is it absolutely clearcut, and made clear in the dictionaries, what adjectives can compare using –ACH and –AF and which can’t, or is there a grey area? Again, decisions may be required.
Phrasal words. This may not be a problem in Welsh, but English dictionaries contain many foreign phrases that have become part of the language. We have the rule that a phrasal word is playable only if it can have a standalone meaning. So, we don’t allow QUO (from status quo), because QUO has no independent meaning in English, and we don’t allow JE or QUOI from JE NE SAIS QUOI.
Contractions/abbreviations. Contractions are allowed, abbreviations are not. So, ADMIN, AMMO, BRA, CROC are fine, CWT is not. But it is not always easy to decide what is an abbreviation and what is a contraction. At one point in English Scrabble we allowed PH and EMF, but these went in 2007. I don’t know whether there would be any such problems with Welsh.
Archaisms/obsolete words. Our rule is that if such words are in the dictionary we allow them, even if they haven’t been used for four hundred years. In practice our base dictionaries go back to about the sixteenth century, so the list has spellings from Spenser but not Chaucer. Some of the Spenserian words are weird enough e.g. YGLAUNST for glanced, and this is a matter of much debate with some Scrabble players wishing to purge the list of ‘ridiculous’ spellings and others (like me) regarding them as part of our linguistic heritage. I imagine this could be quite a problem with Welsh too.
Mutations. Not a problem with English, but the box rules for Welsh Scrabble apparently state that initial mutations are not permitted. So you can’t play FOD? How simple is the rule to apply e.g can you not play BETH because of its relation to PETH?
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. As a beginner in Welsh I am of course in no position to advise on particularities, but as a member of the committee that produces the English list I know a great deal about the sort of general issues A Welsh enterprise might face if anyone did wish to attempt it.
By the way, the English word list currently contains 276663 words, though only about 140000 of these have any practical application to Scrabble, since words of ten letters or more are almost never played and even nines are rare. I wonder what the comparable figure would be for Welsh. I imagine Welsh has quite a lot fewer ‘root words’, because English has an ability to hoover up and absorb vast quantities of foreign words that I suspect is not matched in Welsh. On the other hand, Welsh is a far more inflected language. My guess is that the Welsh lexicon would end up just as rich and challenging as the English one.