Rivers & Stars

Words for rivers & stars in Celtic languages.

Proto-Celtic *abonā / *abū = river
Gaulish ambe = river
Old Irish (Goídelc) aub [au̯v] = river
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) abann = river
Irish (Gaeilge) abhainn [əunʲ / əun̠ʲ / oːn̠ʲ] = river
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) abhainn [a.ɪn̪ʲ] = river, stream
Manx (Gaelg) awin [aunʲ / ˈawənʲ] = river
Proto-Brythonic *aβon [aˈβoːn] = river
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) afon = river
Welsh (Cymraeg) afon [ˈaːvɔn / ˈavɔn] = river, stream, brook
Cornish (Kernewek) avon / awon [ˈavɔn] = river
Middle Breton auon = river
Breton (Brezhoneg) aven [ˈɑː.ven] = river

Cwm Idwal

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂ep-h₃ōn-, from *h₂ep- (water, body of water) [source].

Proto-Celtic *sterā = star
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) ser = star
Proto-Brythonic *ster = stars
Welsh (Cymraeg) sêr [seːr] = stars
Cornish (Kernewek) ster = stars
Breton (Brezhoneg) ster [ˈsteːr] = stars, river

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂stḗr (star), from **h₂eh₁s- (to burn) [source]. It’s possible that the Breton word for ster comes from two different roots, and the river one is not cognate with words for star in other Celtic languages.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, teanglann.ie, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

One thought on “Rivers & Stars

  1. If I’m not mistaken, the reconstructed Pictish word for river is “*aber” (like in *Aber*deen)

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