Celtic Pathways – Fields and Quays

In this episode we are looking into words for field, quay and related things.

Mersey ferry

The Proto-Celtic word *kagyom means a pen or enclosure. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European *kagʰyóm (enclosure) [Source].

Related words in modern Celtic language include:

  • cai [ˈalˠə] = field, orchard or crop in Old Irish
  • cae [ˈalarχ/ˈaːlarχ] = hedge, hedgerow, fence; field, enclosure; circle, sphere; barrier or obstruction in Welsh
  • ke = hedge or fence in Cornish
  • kae = hedge or quay in Breton

The English word quay in English, was borrowed from the French word quai (quay, wharf, platfrom), which comes from the Latin caium (storehouse, shop, workshop, quay, wharf), from the Gaulish cagiíun/*kagyom, from the Proto-Celtic *kagyom. The Portuguese word cais (quay, wharf, pier) comes from the same roots [Source].

Other words from the same roots include:

  • [kʲeː] = quay in Irish
  • cidhe [kʲi.ə] = quay in Scottish Gaelic
  • keiy = jetty or quay(side) in Manx
  • cei [kei̯] = quay in Welsh
  • kay = quay in Cornish

The Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx words for quay come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Anglo-Norman kay, cail (quay, wharf) and Gaulish [source]. The Welsh and Cornish words for quay also come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Middle English, Old French and Gaulish [source].

There are quite a few other words for Fields, Meadows and Pastures in Celtic languages. You can be find more details on the 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.

Celtic Pathways – Swans

In this episode we are looking into words for swan.

Swans, etc

In Proto-Celtic word for swan was *eli-, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁el- (swan, bird, waterfowl) [Source].

Related words in modern Celtic language include:

  • eala [ˈalˠə] = swan in Irish
  • eala [jal̪ˠə] = swan in Scottish Gaelic
  • olla(y) = (mute) swan in Manx
  • alarch [ˈalarχ/ˈaːlarχ] = swan, the constellation Cygnus in Welsh
  • alargh = (mute) swan in Cornish
  • alarc’h = swan in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include alondra (lark) in Spanish, alouette (lark) in French, and allodola (skylark) in Italian. They were probably borrowed from the Gaulish alauda (skylark), from ala (swan) [Source].

Other words from the PIE root *h₁el- include auk in English, olor (swan) in Latin, alke (auk) in Danish and Norwegian, and álka (razorbill) in Faroese and Icelandic [Source].

More details of words for swan in Celtic languages can be found on the 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.

Celtic Pathways – New & Year

In this episode we are looking into words for new and year in Celtic languages.

A multilingual Happy New Year!

One Proto-Celtic word for new is *nouyos, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *néw(y)os (new), from which most words for new in Indo-European languages are descended [Source].

Related words in modern Celtic language include:

  • nua [n̪ˠuə / n̪ˠuː] = new, fresh, recent, novel; newness, new thing in Irish
  • nuadh [nuəɣ] = new, fresh, recent, novel, modern, unfamiliar in Scottish Gaelic
  • noa = fresh, modern, new, novel, original, recent, unused in Manx
  • newydd [ˈnɛu̯.ɨ̞ð] = new, recent, newly-grown, modern, late, novel, changed, fresh in Welsh
  • nowydh = fresh, new, novel, newly, just in Cornish
  • nevez [ˈne.ve] = new in Breton

The town of Noia in A Coruña in Galicia in the northwest of Spain probably gets its name from the same Proto-Celtic root, possibly via the Celtiberian nouiza [Source].

Another Proto-Celtic word for new is *ɸūros, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *puHrós (wheat), possibly from *pewH- (to be clean, pure) [Source].

Related words in modern Celtic language include:

  • úr [uːɾˠ] = fresh; free, liberal, moist in Irish
  • ùr [uːr] = new, fresh in Scottish Gaelic
  • oor = new, sweet, novel, sappy, crisp, span, fresh, hour, raw in Manx
  • ir [iːr] = verdant, green, juicy, sappy, moist, succulent in Welsh
  • yr [ɪ:r/iːr] = fresh in Cornish

Words from the same PIE roots include pure in English, პური (ṗuri – bread, wheat) in Georgian, and պուրի (puri – a type of Georgian bread) in Armenian [Source].

In Proto-Celtic words for year were *blēdanī/*bleido. which possibly come from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰloyd- (pale) [source].

Related words in modern Celtic language include:

  • bliain [bʲlʲiənʲ] = year in Irish
  • bliadhna [bliən̪ˠə] = year, vintage in Scottish Gaelic
  • blein = [blʲeːnʲ / blʲiᵈn] = year, twelvemonth in Manx
  • blwyddyn [ˈblʊɨ̯ðɨ̞n] = year, a long time, ages; lifetime, life in Welsh
  • bledhen = year in Cornish
  • bloavezh = year in Breton

Words from the same PIE root include бледный (pale) in Russian, бледен (pale, pallied, insignificant) in Bulgarian, and bledý (pale) in Czech [source].

More details of new and year-related words in Celtic languages can be found on the 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 – Javelin

In this episode we’re getting to grips with the word javelin.

Javlin

A javelin is a light spear thrown with the hand and used as a weapon, or a metal-tipped spear thrown for distance in an athletic field event. It comes from the Old French javelline (javelin), a diminutive of javelot (javelin), from the Vulgar Latin *gabalottus (spear), from the Gaulish *gabalos (fork), from the Proto-Celtic gablā- (fork, forked branch), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰabʰlos (fork, branch of tree) [source].

Related words in modern Celtic language include:

  • gabhal [ɡoːəl̪ˠ] = bifurcation, fork, crotch, junction in Irish
  • gobhal [ɡoːəl̪ˠ] = bifurcation, fork, crotch, junction in Scottish Gaelic
  • goal = fork, branch, crotch, crutch, junction, perineum in Manx
  • gafl [gafl] = fork, stride, lap, inner part of the thigh, groin, angle, nook in Welsh
  • gowl = crotch, fork in Cornish
  • goal = fork in Breton

The English word gable comes from the same Gaulish root, via the Old French gable [source]. The English word gaffle (a lever used to bend a crossbow) possibly comes from the same Gaulish root, via Middle English gaffolle, the Middle Dutch gaf(f)el (fork) and the Proto-West Germanic *gabulu (fork) [source].

Words in other languages from the same Gaulish root include Gaffel (gaff) in German, gaffel (fork) in Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and kahveli (gaff, fork) in Finnish [source].

More details of fork-related words in Celtic languages can be found on the 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 – Coracle

In this episode we’re getting out onto the river to look into the word coracle.

John Baker's Doppelmonk Brogue K188 Kalbsleder hellbraun (brown) (1)

A coracle is a small, rounded, lightweight boat traditionally used in Wales, in parts of the West Country of England. in Ireland and in Scotland. It is made of a framework of split and interwoven willow rods, tied with willow bark and traditionally covered with an animal skin such as horse or bullock hide, with a thin layer of tar to waterproof it. These days calico, canvas or fibreglass are used instead of animal hide [source].

They are also known as currachs/curraghs in Ireland and Scotland, and these words were all borrowed from Celtic languages: coracle from Welsh, currach/curragh from Irish or Scottish Gaelic.

Related words in Celtic language include:

  • curach [kəˈɾˠax] = currach, coracle in Irish
  • curach [kurəx] = coracle, curragh, frame (of a coracle or an animal) in Scottish Gaelic
  • curragh [ˈkɔrʊɡ(i)] = coracle, canoe in Manx
  • corwg(l) = coracle, skiff; vessel, drinking vessel in Welsh
  • koroug = coracle in Cornish
  • korac’h = coracle in Breton

These words comes from the Proto-Celtic *korukos (leather boat), probably from the PIE *(s)koro- (leather), from *(s)ker- (to cut off) [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include cuir (leather) in French, cuero (leather, animal skin, hide) in Spanish and couro (leather, hide) in Portuguese [source].

More details of shoe– and trouser-related words in Celtic languages can be found on the 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 – Flowers

In this episode we’re look into words for flowers and related things.

View from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

In Proto-Celtic, the word *blātus meant flower of blossom. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰleh₃- (bloom, flower) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bláth [bˠl̪ˠɑː/bˠl̪ˠaː] = blossom, flower; bloom, beauty, prime; prosperity or abundance in Irish
  • blàth [bl̪ˠaː] = bloom, blossom, flower, consequence, effect or heyday in Scottish Gaelic
  • blaa [bleː] = bloom, blossom, flower, heyday or pride in Manx
  • blodyn [ˈblɔdɨ̞n / ˈbloːdɪn] = flower, bloom, blossoms, florets, flowering plant or petal in Welsh
  • bleujen [ˈblɛdʒən] = blossom or flower in Cornish
  • bleuñv [blœ̃w] = flowers, flowering, apogee or menstruation in Breton

The Proto-Celtic word *blātus became *blātōnā (flower) in Gaulish, which was borrowed into Medieval Latin as blādōna (mullein – plants of the genus Verbascum), which became belladonna (a.k.a. deadly nightshade / Atropa belladonna) in Italian [source].

English words from the same PIE root include bloom, blossom, blade, flower, flour, flourish, foliage and folio [source].

Incidentally, words meaning flour in some Celtic languages come from the same PIE root, via Anglo-Norman, Old French, Latin and Proto-Italic. They include fflŵr/fflowr in Welsh, flooyr in Manx, flùr in Scottish Gaelic, and plúr in Irish, which also means flower [more details].

More details of flower-related words in Celtic languages can be found on the 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 – Crooked and Twisted

In this episode we’re looking at some crooked and twisted words.

Spiral staircase in Conwy / Grisiau troellog yng Nghonwy

In Proto-Celtic, the word *kambos meant twisted, crooked or bent. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European word *kh₂em- (to arch, bend, curve), from *(s)ḱh₂embos (crooked) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • cam [kaumˠ] = bend, bent, crooked, crookedness, fraud; to bend, crook, distort in Irish
  • cam [kaum] = bent, crooked, awry, not straight, squinty, wry, one-eyed; bend, curve, trick in Scottish Gaelic
  • cam = bent, crooked, deceitful, intricate, knotty, perverse, rakish, wry, wrong in Manx
  • cam [kam] = crooked, bent, hunch-backed, distorted, wry, bowed, curved, looped, winding in Welsh
  • kamm = bent, crooked, erroneous, error, wrong in Cornish
  • kamm = angled, bent, bend in Breton

The Proto-Celtic word *kambos is the root of the Galician words camba (doorjamb of an oven, handmill), cambar (to bend), cambiar (to change) [source]. The word cambiar (to change) in Spanish and Portuguese, and the word change in English come from the same Celtic roots [source].

*kambos is possibly also the root of the French word as camus [ka.my] (flat-nosed, snub-nosed) [source], which was borrowed into English as camous/camoys (flat, depressed, crooked nose – used until the 19th century) [source].

The English word kam (crooked, awry) was borrowed from the Welsh word cam, but is no longer used [source].

The name Campbell comes from the Scottish Gaelic Caimbeul, from cam (crooked) and beul (mouth) [source], while Cameron comes from Camshròn, from cam (crooked) and sròn (nose) [source].

More details of crooked words in Celtic languages can be found on the 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 – A Slew of Slogans

In this episode we’re looking into the Celtic roots of the words slogan and slew.

A Slew of Slogans

In English the word slogan means a distinctive phrase of a person or group of people, a motto, a catchphrase, and formerly, a battle cry used by the Irish or by Scottish highlanders [source].

In the past it was written sloggorne, slughorne or slughorn, and it comes from the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm [ˈsɫ̪uəɣɤɾʲəm] (battle cry) from the Old Irish slóg/slúag (army, host, throng, crowd), and gairm (call, cry, crow, proclamation) [source].

The Old Irish word slóg/slúag comes from the Proto-Celtic *slougos (troop, army), from the Proto-Indo-European *slowg(ʰ)os (entourage) [source].

Celtic words from the same root include:

  • slua [sˠl̪ˠuə] = host, force, army; crowd, multitude, throng in Irish
  • sluagh [sl̪ˠuəɣ] = folk, people, populace; the fairy host; crowd in Scottish Gaelic
  • sleih = commonalty, crowd, family, inhabitants, people, populace, public, relations in Manx
  • llu [ɬɨː / ɬiː] = host, a large number (of people), a great many, multitude, throng, crowd in Welsh
  • lu [ly: / liˑʊ] = army, military, troop in Cornish
  • lu = army in Breton

Words for family and household in Celtic languages, such as teaghlach in Irish and teulu in Welsh, come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via *tegoslougom (“house army”) [source].

The English word slew (a large amount), as in “a slew of papers” was borrowed from the Irish slua [source].

Words from the same PIE root include слуга (servant) in Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian; sługa (minion, servant) in Polish; sluha (servant) in Czech and Slovak, slugă (servant, domestic) in Romanian, and szolga (servant, attendant) in Hungarian [source].

The Old Irish word gairm (call, cry, crow, proclamation) comes from the Proto-Celtic *gar(r)man- (cry, shout), from the Proto-Indo-European *ǵh₂r̥-smn̥, from *ǵeh₂r- (to shout, cry).

Celtic words from the same root include:

  • gairm [ˈɡaɾʲəmʲ/ˈɡɪɾʲəmʲ] = call, summons, calling, vocation in Irish
  • gairm [ɡɤrʲɤm] = calling, crying, call, cry, announcing, declaring, convenning, call of the cockerel in Scottish Gaelic
  • gerrym = crowing, outcry, shouting, whoop, whooping, (cock) crow), avocation, mission, profession, vocation in Manx
  • garm = shout, cry, outcry, clamour in Welsh
  • garm = shout, whoop, yell in Cornish
  • garm = cry, clamour, weeping in Breton

Words from the same roots include gáir (cry, shout, report) in Irish, goir (to call, cry, hoot) in Scottish Gaelic, gair (word, speech) in Welsh [more details].

The English words garrulous (excessively talkative), care and charm (sound of many voices (esp. of birds or children), a flock or group (esp. of finches)) as come from the same PIE roots [source].

More details about words for Troop, host, throng can be found on the 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 – Clan

In this episode we’re looking a the word clan and related things in Celtic languages.

Dufftown Highland Games

The word clan in English means a group of people descended from a common ancestor, a traditional social group of families in the Scottish Highlands having a common hereditary chieftain, or any group defined by family ties with some sort of political unity [source].

It was borrowed from clann in Irish or Scottish Gaelic, which come from the Old Irish cland (children, family, offspring, plant), from the Old Welsh plant (children, young people, offspring), from the Latin planta (vegetable, sprout, shoot, twig, shrub), possibly from the Proto-Italic *plāntā, from the Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂- (flat) or from the Proto-Italic *plānktā, from the Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂k-/*pleh₂g- (to strike, fast) [source].

Related words in the Celtic languages include:

  • clann [kl̪ˠɑun̪ˠ/kl̪ˠɑːn̪ˠ/kl̪ˠan̪ˠ] = children, offspring, race, descendents, clan, followers, plant, lock (of hair),
    and planda [pl̪ˠaun̪ˠd̪ˠə] = plant, scion in Irish
  • clann [kl̪ˠaun̪ˠ] = children, offspring, progeny, clan, lock of hair, curl
    and plannt [pl̪ˠãũn̪ˠd] = plant in Scottish Gaelic
  • cloan [klɔːn] = children, descendent, family circle,
    and plant = plant in Manx
  • plant [plant] = children, young people, offspring, progeny, descendents, followers, disciples, servants in Welsh
  • plans = plant in Cornish
  • plantenn = plant in Breton

The English word plant comes from the same roots, via Middle English, Old English and Latin [source], as does the word plantain, via Middle English, Anglo-Norman, Old French and Latin [source].

The word clan was borrowed from English into various other languages, including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. It even ended up in Turkish, via French. So the Turkish word klan arrived via French, English, Irish/Scottish Gaelic, Old Irish, Old Welsh, Latin, Proto-Italic and Proto-Indo-European – quite a journey! [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 – Sacks

In this episode we are looking into the origins of words for sacks, bags and bellys in Celtic languages.

Sacks

The Proto-Celtic word *bolgos means sack, bag or stomach. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰólǵʰ-o-s (skin bag, bolster), from *bʰelǵʰ- (to swell) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • bolg [ˈbˠɔlˠəɡ] = belly, stomach, abdomen; bag; bulge, broad part, middle; bellows in Irish
  • bolg [bɔl̪ˠɔg] = blister, bulge, (light) bulb in Scottish Gaelic
  • bolg [bolg] = stomach, abdomen, belly, tummy, corporation, bilge, bowl (of lamp) in Manx
  • bol [bɔl] = belly, paunch, abdomen, stomach, bowels; tripe; appetite, desire, gluttony, liking; womb; swelling, bulge, surface, side in Welsh
  • bolgh [bɔlx] = breach, gap, opening in Cornish
  • bolc’h = flax pod in Breton

The related Gaulish word *bolgā (sack, bag, stomach) was borrowed into Medieval/Late Latin as bulga (knapsack, wallet, satchel, purse, womb), and became bouge (sack, purse, small bag) and bougette (budget – purse for carrying coins) in Old French; bouge (hovel, dive, shanty, bulge, protuberance) in modern French; bulge, bilge and budget in English, and possibly bolgia (pit, bedlam, madhouse, shambles) in Italian [source].

Other words for the PIE root *bʰelǵʰ- (to swell), include belly, bellows, Belgium, billow, bolster, fool and folly in English [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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