Celtic Pathways – Wagons and Carts

In this episode we’re looking at words for wagons, carts and related vehicles.

Chariot

One Proto-Celtic word for wagon was *karros, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sós (vehicle), from *ḱers- (to run) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • *karros = wagon in Gaulish
  • carr [kɑːɾˠ / kæːɾˠ] = car in Irish
  • càr [kar] = car, cart, raft in Scottish Gaulish
  • carr = car, cab, van in Manx
  • car [kar] = vehicle, car, sled, dray; rack, stand in Welsh
  • karr [karː / kær] = car in Cornish
  • karr = car, coach, carriage, trailer, vehicle in Breton

The Gaulish word *karros was borrowed into Latin as carrus (wagon, cart, cartload), which became carro (wagon, cart, van, lorry, truck) in Italian; carro (cart, car, bus) in Spanish; car (bus, coach) in French, car, carriage and chariot in English, and related words in most other Indo-European languages [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include currus (chariot, car, wagon) in Latin, horse in English, hors (mare, female foal, frivolous woman) in Norwegian (Nynorsk), and hross (horse) in Icelandic [source].

The Proto-Celtic word *karbantos means (war) chariot or wagon and is possibly related to the Proto-Celtic word *korbos (wagon, basket). [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • carbad [ˈkaɾˠəbˠəd̪ˠ] = chariot in Irish
  • carbad [karabad] = chariot, coach, carriage, wagon, vehicle, bier, jaw(bone) in Scottish Gaulish
  • carbyd = bus, coach, vehicle, bier, hearse in Manx
  • cerbyd [ˈkɛrbɨ̞d / ˈkɛrbɪd] = car, carriage, chariot, wagon, coach; clumsy fellow, bungler in Welsh
  • cerpit = chariot, wagon in Old Cornish
  • karbed = vehicle in Breton

The French word charpente (framework, structure) comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Gaulish carbantos and the Latin carpentum (carriage, chariot, wagon, cart) [source].

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Languages and Tongues

Celtic Pathways is a new series on Radio Omniglot that will be exploring connections between Celtic languages, and looking for Celtic roots in other languages.

The Six Celtic languages currently spoken are all members of the insular branch of the Celtic language family, which is part of the Indo-European language family. They can be divided into two groups: the Goidelic or Q-Celtic languages: Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic, and the Brythonic or P-Celtic languages: Welsh, Cornish and Breton. They are spoken mainly in the British Isles, Ireland, and Brittany in the northwest of France. There are also Welsh speakers in Patagonia in Argentina, and Scottish Gaelic speakers in Nova Scotia in Canada.

Other Celtic languages were spoken in the past in parts of Continental Europe, particularly in what is now France, Spain, Portugual, northern Italy and across central Europe perhaps as far as Turkey. They are all extinct, although there is a little written material in some of them, such as Gaulish, Celtiberian and Leptonic.

I’ve been collecting words that are cognate (related) in some or all of the modern Celtic languages since 2009 and putting them together in the Celtic cognates section of Omniglot. In 2018 I started exploring these words in more depth on the Celtiadur blog. I look for related words in the modern Celtic languages, in earlier versions of the Celtic languages, such as Middle Welsh and Old Irish, and in their extinct and reconstructed relatives, right back to Proto-Celtic. I also look for words from the same roots in other languages, such as English, French and Spanish.

Words of Celtic origin in other languages
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_English_words_of_Celtic_origin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_words_of_Gaulish_origin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Galician_words_of_Celtic_origin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Spanish_words_of_Celtic_origin
https://www.uni-trier.de/en/forschung/zat/celtic-studies/celtic-cultures/celtic-words

By the way, I speak Welsh and Irish more or less fluently, can get by in Scottish Gaelic and Manx, and have a smattering of Breton and Cornish. I’ve been interested in Welsh for a long time as my mother’s family is mostly Welsh, although she doesn’t speak it. I got into Irish and Scottish Gaelic through a love of tradition music and songs from Ireland and Scotland, and I learnt the others out of interest. While doing an MA in Linguistics at Bangor University, I wrote a dissertation on the Death and Revival of Manx. Find out more in my Language Learning Adventures.

Let’s start this first episode of Celtic Pathways by looking at words for language and tongue.

The Proto-Celtic word for language was *yaxtī, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *yek- (to utter) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • iaith [jai̯θ] = language, tongue; people, nation, race, tribe in Welsh
  • yeth [eːθ / jeːθ] = tongue, language in Cornish
  • yezh [ˈjeːs] = language in Breton

The Middle Irish word icht (race, people, tribe; province, district) possibly comes from the same Proto-Celtic root.

Words from the same PIE root include: joke and Yule in English, jul (Yule, Christmas) in Danish and Norwegian, juego (play, game, sport) in Spanish, and joc (game, play, dance) in Romanian [source].

The Proto-Celtic word for tongue was *tangʷāss, tangʷāt, from the Proto-Indo-European *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s (tongue). Descendents in the modern Celtic langauges include:

  • teanga [ˈtʲaŋə / ˈtʲaŋɡə] = tongue, language in Irish
  • teanga [tʲɛŋgə] = tongue speech, spit (of land) in Scottish Gaelic
  • çhengey [ˈtʃɛnʲə] = bell-clapper, clasp, feather, strap-hinge; catch (of buckle); tongue; language, speech; utterance in Manx
  • tafod [ˈtavɔd / ˈtaːvɔd] = tongue, faculty of speech, power of expression; language, speech, dialect, accent in Welsh
  • taves = language, tongue in Cornish
  • teod [ˈtɛwt] = language, tongue in Breton

Words from the same PIE root include: tongue and language in English, lingua (tongue, language) in Italian, язик [jɐˈzɪk] (tongue) in Ukrainian, and jazyk (tongue, language) in Czech and Slovak [source].

An Old Irish word for language and speech was bélrae [ˈbʲeːl͈re], from the Old Irish bél (mouth). This became Béarla [ˈbʲeːɾˠl̪ˠə] in modern Irish, Beurla [bjɤːr̪ˠl̪ˠə] in Scottish Gaelic and Baarle [bɛːᵈl], all of which mean English (language) [source].

More details about these words on the Celtiadur.

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Quiet 🤫

Today we’re looking into the origins of the word quiet.

Quietness

Quiet [ˈkwaɪ.ɪt / ˈkwaɪ.ət] means:

  • making little or no noise or sound
  • free or comparatively free of noise
  • silent
  • restrained in speech or manner
  • free from disturbance or tumult; peaceful

It comes from the Middle English quiete (peace, rest, gentleness), from the Old French quiet(e) (tranquil, calm), from the Latin quiētus (at rest, quiet, peaceful), from quiēscō (I rest, sleep, repose), from quiēs (rest, repose, quiet) from the PIE *kʷyeh₁- (to rest; peace) [source].

English words from the same Latin root include acquiesce (to rest satisfied, to assent to), coy (bashful, shy, retiring), quit (to abandon, leave), requiem (a mass or piece of music to honour a dead person) and tranquil (calm, peaceful) [source].

The English word while comes from the same PIE root, via the Old English hwīl (while, period of time), the Proto-West Germanic *hwīlu (period of rest, pause, time, while), and the Proto-Germanic *hwīlō (time, while, pause) [source].

Other words from the same PIE root include wijl [ˈʋɛi̯l] (when, while), in Dutch, Weile [ˈvaɪ̯lə] (while), in German, hvile [ˈviːlə] (rest, repose, to rest) in Danish and Norwegian, chwila [ˈxfi.la] (moment, instant) in Polish and хвилина [xʋeˈɫɪnɐ] (minute) in Ukrainian [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

By the way, I wrote a new song this week called Quiet Please

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Wood

Today we’re trying to see the wood for the trees by looking at the origins of the word wood.

Here be trees!

Wood [wʊd] is:

  • The substance making up the central part of the trunk and branches of a tree. Used as a material for construction, to manufacture various items, etc. or as fuel.
  • A forested or wooded area.

It comes from the Middle English wode [ˈwoːd(ə)] (wood), from the Old English wudu [ˈwu.du] (wood, forest, woods, tree), from the Proto-West-Germanic *widu (forest, tree, wood), from the Proto-Germanic *widuz [ˈwi.ðuz] (wood), from the PIE *h₁weydʰh₁ (wood, wilderness) [source].

Words from the same PIE root include ved (wood, firewood) in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, gwŷdd [ɡwɨːð] (trees) in Welsh, fiodh [fʲɪ] (wood, timber) in Irish, and vidus (middle, centre) in Latvian [source].

How did a word meaning wood come to mean middle or centre in Latvian? Well, apparently the areas between villages were mainly forested in the past, and the meaning shifted from forest to area (between villages) to middle [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Runes (ᚱᚢᚾᛟ)

Today we’re delving into the secret and mysterious origins of the word rune.

Runic stone - National Museum, Copenhagen

Rune [ɹuːn] means:

  • any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets of Germanic languages, esp. of Scandinavia and Britain, from about the 3rd to 13th centuries.
  • something written or inscribed in such characters.
  • something secret or mysterious.

It comes from Old Norse rún (secret, rune), from Proto-Norse ᚱᚢᚾᛟ [ˈruː.noː] (runo – secret, mystery, rune, inscription, message), from Proto-Germanic *rūnō [ˈruː.nɔː] (secret, mystery, rune), possibly from Proto-Celtic *rūnā (secret, mystery) [source].

Words for runes in Germanic languages come from the same Proto-Germanic root, including rune [ˈrynə] in Dutch, rune [rʉːnə] Norwegian, and runa in Swedish [source].

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include rún (mystery, secret, intention, purpose, love, affection) in Irish, and rhin (secret, mystery, enchantment, virute, occult) in Welsh [source].

In Irish a rún is used as a term of affection meaning “my dear/darling”. It appears in the traditional song Siúil a Rún:

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about words, etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Gates & Streets

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we’re find out when a gate is not a gate.

A gate [ɡeɪt] is:

  • A doorlike structure outside a house.
  • A doorway, opening, or passage in a fence or wall.
  • A movable barrier.

It comes from the Middle English gat(e)/ȝat(e) [ɡa(ː)t/ja(ː)t] (gate), from the Old English ġe(a)t/gat [jæ͜ɑt] (gate) from the Proto-West Germanic *gat (hole, opening) from the Proto-Germaic *gatą [ˈɣɑ.tɑ̃] (hole, opening, passage), from *getaną [ˈɣe.tɑ.nɑ̃] (to attain, acquire, get, receive, hold) [source].

In parts of northern England the word gate means a way, path or street, and in Scots it means way, road, path or street. It appears mainly in street names such as Briggate (“bridge street”) and Kirkgate (“church street”). It comes from the Old Norse gata (street, road), from the Proto-Germanic *gatwǭ [ˈɣɑt.wɔ̃ː] (street, passage), which comes from the same Proto-Germanic root as the other kind of gate.

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate

Words from the same Old Norse root include gata [ˈɡɑːˌta] (street, frontage, strip) in Swedish, gate (street) in Norwegian and gade [ˈɡ̊æːðə] (street, road) in Danish, Gasse [ˈɡasə] (alley) in German, and gas [χɑs/ɣɑs] (unpaved street) in Dutch [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about words, etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 29 – Rain

As quite a bit of wet stuff has been falling out of the sky this week, and it’s raining as I write this, I thought I’d look into the the origins of the word rain [ɹeɪn].

A photo of rain taken from my house

Definition:

  • condensed water falling from a cloud
  • any matter moving or falling, usually through air

[source]

It comes from the Middle English reyn/rein [rɛi̯n/reːn] (rain), from the Old English reġn [rejn] (rain), from the Proto-West Germanic *regn [rejn] (rain), from the Proto-Germanic *regną (rain), possibly from the PIE *Hreǵ- (to flow) [source], or from *reg- (to water, moisture, wetness) [source]

Words for rain in other Germanic languages come from the same Proto-Germanic root, including regen [ˈreɣə(n)] in Dutch, Regen [ˈʁeː.ɡŋ̍] in German, and regn in Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic, with different pronunciations in each language [source].

The English word irrigate comes from the same PIE root, via the Latin irrigare (to irrigate), from irrigō (I water, irrigate, flood), from in- (after) and rigō (I wet, moisten, water) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Here’s a song I wrote about rain:

A slightly different version can be heard at:

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymolgy 24 – Ado

Today we are looking at the word ado [əˈduː], so without further ado, let’s go.

Much Ado About Nothing

Definition:

  • bustle, fuss, flurry, confusion, turmoil, commotion, trouble, bother, bustling activity

[source]

It tends used in set expressions, such as “without further ado” and “with much ado” and is sometimes replaced with to-do, which means the same thing.

It comes from a Northern Middle English expression at do – the at comes from Old Norse, where it’s an infinitive marker, and such infinitive markers are still used in Danish (at), Swedish (att) and Norwegian (att). The do comes from the Middle English do(n) (to do) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 15 – Sky

Today we are looking at the word sky [skaɪ].

Clouds

Definition:
– the region of the clouds or the upper air; the upper atmosphere of the earth
– the heavens or firmament, appearing as a great arch or vault
– the supernal or celestial heaven

It comes from the Middle English word sky [skiː] (sky, cloud, mist), from the Old Norse ský [ˈskyː] (cloud), from the Proto-Germanic *skiwją [ˈskiw.jɑ̃] (cloud, sky), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewH- (to cover, hide, cloud) [source].

In Old English the word for sky (and heaven) was heofon [ˈhe͜o.von], from the Proto-West Germanic *hebn (sky, heaven), which became heaven in modern English [source].

Related words in other languages include sky [ˈskyˀ] (cloud) in Danish, sky [ʂyː] (cloud) in Norwegian, sky [ɧyː] (sky, cloud) in Swedish, ský [sciː] (cloud) in Icelandic,and skýggj [skʊt͡ʃː] (cloud) in Faroese. A more common word for sky in Swedish is himmel, and cloud is moln [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog. There are more details about words for sky in the post When is the sky not the sky?.

Adventures in Etymology 9 – Window

Today we are looking at the word window [ˈwɪndəʊ / ˈwɪndoʊ].

Definition: an opening in the wall of a building, the side of a vehicle, etc., for the admission of air or light, or both, commonly fitted with a frame in which are set movable sashes containing panes of glass [source].

Windows

Window comes from the Middle English windowe/windohe/windoge, from the Old Norse vindauga (window) or literally “wind-eye/wind-hole”, as windows were originally unglazed holes in walls or roofs that allowed the wind to pass through [source].

Another word for window in Middle English was fenestre/fenester, which was used in parallel with windowe/windohe/windoge until the mid 16th century. It comes from the Old French fenestre (window), from the Latin fenestra (window, breach, loophole, orifice, inlet), which possibly came from Etruscan.

In Old English a window was known as an eagþyrel [ˈæ͜ɑːɣˌθyː.rel] (“eye-hole”) or ēagduru [ˈæ͜ɑːɣˌdu.ru] (“eye-door”). This fell out of use by about 1200 AD [source].

Words for window in some other Germanic languages are similar to window, including vindue [ˈvend̥u] in Danish, vindu in Norwegian, vindeyga [ˈvɪntˌɛiːja] in Faroese, and vindöga in Swedish, although that is no longer used, and fönster is used instead.

Words for window in the Goidelic languages were borrowed from Old Norse: fuinneog [ˈfˠɪn̠ʲoːɡ] in Irish, uinneag [ɯn̪ʲag] in Scottish Gaelic and uinnag [onˈjaɡ] in Manx [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.