Archive for the Category: Breton

Da mad math

In Welsh and Cornish the usual word for good is da [daː], while in the other Celtic languages words for good are: Breton – mat [maːt˺], Irish – maith [mˠa(ɪ)(h)], Manx – mie [maɪ], and Scottish Gaelic – math [ma]. I’ve wondered for a while whether there were cognates in Welsh and Cornish for these […]

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Also posted in Cornish, English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Churches and Cells

Today I discovered that the Welsh word llan (church, parish), which is used mainly in place names, such as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, has cognates in the other Celtic languages: lann in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish and Manx, and lan in Breton. These words all come from the Proto-Indo-European root *lendʰ- (land, heath) [source]. Another word church-related word […]

Also posted in Cornish, English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments

High Stones

I spent yesterday in Harlech [ˈharlɛx] with a friend looking round the castle, exploring the village and wandering along the beach. We wondered where the name Harlech comes from, so I thought I’d find out. According to Wikipedia, there are two possible sources: from the Welsh ardd (high; hill) llech (stone) or from hardd (beautiful) […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Cruite, cláirseacha a chrythau

I discovered last week in Ireland that one word for the harp in Irish is cruit [krutʲ], which sounds similar to the Welsh word crwth [kruːθ], a type of bowed lyre that was once popular in Wales and in other parts of Europe, but which was largely displayed by the fiddle during the 18th century. […]

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Berlin

I’m having a wonderful time at the Polyglot Gathering. My luggage arrived, finally, and I’ve been speaking even more languages, including Cantonese, Taiwanese, Irish, Japanese, Czech, Russian and Turkish (a few words only). I haven’t found any speakers of Breton, Manx or Scottish Gaelic yet though. I have been to some very interesting lectures and […]

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Cuckoo bells

I discovered this week that in Welsh bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are known as Clychau’r Gog (“cuckoo bells”), which I really like the sound of. They are also known as Bwtias y Gog (“cuckoo’s boots”), Croeso Haf (“welcome summer”), Cennin y Brain (“crows’ leeks”), Clychau’r Eos (“nightingale’s bells”), Glas y Llwyn (“green blue of the grove”), […]

Also posted in English, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments

Brezhoneg

This month I will focusing mainly on Breton (Brezhoneg). I’ve been learning it, on and off, for a year now and can make some sense of written and spoken Breton, though my speaking and writing lag behind quite a bit. I have been using Le Breton sans Peine, which I’ve nearly finished, though I can’t […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 1 Comment

Archerien

An interesting word that came up in my Breton lesson today is archerien, which means police. It caught my attention because it has no obvious connection to the word police, and because it is completely different to the equivalent words in other Celtic languages: – Welsh: heddlu (“peace force”) – Cornish: kreslu (“peace host”) – […]

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Korriganed

Korriganed are apparently small creatures that live under standing stones (dolmen/menhirs) in Brittany. They feature in one of the lessons in my Breton course and are explained thus: “Les korrigans doivent être des êtres particulièrement petits, puisque ce mot est formé de korr, “nain”, puis du diminutif -ig puis du’un autre diminutif – obsolète aujourd’hui […]

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Bouder

I learnt a new word in French today: bouder, which means to sulk; to pout; to avoid; to turn one’s nose up at (sth); to refuse to have anything to do with (sb). Related expressions include: – boudant = sulking; pouting – bouder son plaisir = to deny oneself a good thing; to sulk one’s […]

Also posted in English, French, Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments