This morning I heard them discussing wellgylchu on Radio Cymru in reference to making jewellery from buttons and other things that would be normally thrown away.

The usual Welsh word of recycling is ailgylchu, which is made up of the words ail (second, re-) and cylchu (to circle), while wellgylchu begins with gwell (enhanced, better, preferable), so could be translated as something like “bettercycling”.

Have you come across a similar word in other languages?

This entry was posted in Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

8 Responses to Wellgylchu

  1. N says:

    I know that as upcycling in English – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling

  2. Sathyarthi says:

    In Tamil, the term in use appears to be: “மறு-சுழற்சி” – maṛu-suḻarci – (‘re-spinning’), comparable to “மறுபயன்” – maṛu-payan – (‘re-use’). The Tamil equivalent to the English prefix “re-” in such compound terms is thus “மறு” – maṛu -, sometimes used interchangeably with the Sanskrit-derived “punar-” (cf maṛuvāḻvu vs punarvāḻvu for ‘rehabilitation’). Terms like this tend to be neologisms modelled on modern-day English terminology. Perhaps something along the lines of “உயர்த்தர மறு-சுழற்சி” – uyarttara maṛu-suḻarci – (‘high-quality recycling’) would have to be employed to express “upcycling” as above…?

  3. Rauli says:

    A similar concept is known in Finnish with the verb “tuunata” (from the English “tune”). Most often it is used of buying clothes from flea markets and the like and modifying or decorating them.

  4. Petréa Mitchell says:

    There’s freecycling in English, which is the process of finding someone to give an unwanted thing to (usually via an online forum or directory) rather than have it wind up in a landfill.

  5. Yenlit says:

    I imagine the first element of this word ‘gwell’ is in its soft mutation form ‘(g)well’ as an intentional pun on the English word and its meaning ‘well’ making this a kind of Wenglish hybrid portmanteau word with the sense of ‘well (re)cycle’.

  6. prase says:

    Why is “gwell” mutated? I thought that the soft mutation affects the latter word in a compound, and on the beginning of the word it is used in some grammatical environments like after feminine noun (for an attribute) or after some prepositions. In the basic form it is surprising for me.

  7. Yenlit says:

    Seeing as the word’s been heard from the radio by Simon he could’ve heard in context: ‘(ei) wellgylchu’ in the passive construction ‘ei’ triggering the soft mutation translated in English as ‘better-cycled’.

  8. Cefin gwlad says:

    prase: Yes, the base form of this Welsh neologism IS gwellgylchu. As Yenlit says, there are lots of contexts in which it could be soft-mutated to “wellgylchu”, as for example in “siarad am wellgylchu” (talking about “bettercycling”).

    Simon: One suggestion that has recently been made for an Irish-language equivalent of gwellgylchu is “fearrchúrsáil”.

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