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.

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Episode 5 – Solresol – The Musical Language

In this episode I talk about Solresol, a musical language invented by François Sudre in the early 19th century. It is designed to be a simple language for international communication with just seven basic syllables based on the Western major musical scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si).

Solresol was the first constructed language to be taken seriously as an international auxiliary language (IAL), and the only musical language that gained much of a following.

I look at the history of the language, and its structure, and will play with it to see how it works.

Here are the Solresol words and phrases I use during this episode:

Simi re domi dosolfala misol fa lalaresi refafa lasi la lamisolsi solresol lasolfado.
Hello and welcome to episode five of the Omniglot podcast.

The appears to be no word for welcome in Solresol so I used domi dosolfala misol (you come well), and for Omniglot podcast I used lamisolsi solresol lasolfado (all language show).

There is no word for radio either, but maybe you could use resolrefa solfasimi fasidola resisido (“send sound far device”). I came up with lasirela sifamire lasi dofadofa (“international network of knowledge”) for internet. So another way of translating Radio Omniglot Podcast might be lamisolsi solresol lasolfado lare la lasirela sifamire lasi dofadofa (“All language show on the international network of knowledge”).

  • doredomi = body, physical
  • domilafa = rationality, reason, sense, reasonable
  • sofamisol = wisdom, wise, sage, wisely
  • dolasoldo = meat, steak, beef
  • redoredo = clothes, outfit, effects
  • remifala = home, house, hut, cottage, hotel
  • remisolla = room, lounge, dining room
  • residoso = family, kinship, relative
  • solremifa = to sing
  • sôlremifa = song
  • solrêmifa = singer
  • solremîfa = songlike
  • solremifâ = singingly
  • sôlremifa’ / sôlremifaa = songs
  • sôlremifa’a = female singer
  • dolmîfado = man; dolmîfadô = woman
  • sisol = Mr; sisôl = Mrs
  • dore = I, me, myself; dorê = we, us, ourselves
  • misol = well, good
  • solmi = wrong, evil
  • fala = good, tasty, delectable, exquisite, delicious
  • lafa= bad
  • solla = always, perpetuate, perpetuately, constantly
  • lasol = never
  • simi = good morning/afternon, hello
  • misi = good evening/night
  • dore = I, me, myself
  • redo = my, mine
  • dofa = you, yourself
  • fado = your, yours
  • dore domilado = I speak
  • dore lala domilado = I am speaking
  • dore sisi domilado = I was speaking
  • dore dodo domilado = I have spoken
  • dore rere domilado = I spoke
  • dore mimi domilado = I will speak, I will have spoken
  • dore fafa domilado = I will speak, I will have spoken
  • solsol domilado = Speak!

Sire misolredo doredore famido re misolla, re famisol dosila re refasi. Dofa midomido midodosi dofasifa re domilafa, re falado fasolfa miladomi midodosi simisila.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Dore lala domilado solresol re solremisol lasisol. Domi mifare?
I am speaking Solresol with vocal punctuation. Do you like it?

Solsi mido dosollado re simi.
Thanks for listening and good afternoon.

There appears to be no word for goodbye in Solresol so I used simi, which is a general greeting meaning hello, good morning, good afternoon.

Information about Solresol


About muscial constructed languages

Other musical languages

You can hear a longer version of The Clockwork Octopus / Yr Wythdroed Clocwaith at:

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

Episode 4 – The Language of Music

In this episode I talk about Italian, and specifically about the Italian words used in Western classical music. I investigate why Italian is used, look at some of the words, and find out what they mean and how they are used in Italian.

Here are the words featured:

Words for musical compositions and parts of them

Word Musical meaning Other meanings
opera a drama set to music with singing and orchestral accompaniment work, action, deed, piece of work
concerto a work for one or more solo instruments accompanied by an orchestra concert, performance, gig, show
cadenza a florid solo at the end of a performance cadence, rhythm, intonation, frequency
aria an accompanied, elaborate melody sung by a single voice air, look, manner

Words for tempo (time)

Word Musical meaning Other meanings
adagio slow slowly, with care, gently; adage, saying; easy does it
largo slow and dignified wide, broad, loose, big, large, open sea
andante moderately slow, flowing along current, cheap, second-rate
allegro moderately fast cheerful, bright, lively; merry, tipsy
presto very fast soon, quickly, fast, early

Words for dynamics (volume)

Word Musical meaning Other meanings
piano soft flat, level, smooth; straightforward, simple, clear, plain; slowly, carefully, softly, quietly; plane, top, surface
forte loud strong, bright, heavy, hard, large, big, considerable; amazing, great; fast
crescendo becoming louder growing up, raising
diminuendo becoming softer decreasing, falling


Word Musical meaning Other meanings
mezzo moderately means, way, half, middle
molto very a lot, much, many, a great deal, very
meno less less, least, minus, except
più more more, plus, several
ma non troppo but not too much but not too much

More details of Italian musical terms


The other meanings come from Reverso.

Information about Italian

A discussion on why opera singers tend to be quite stout:

Tunes featured in this episode

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

Episode 3 – Irish (Gaeilge)

This episode is about the Irish language, or Gaeilge, as it’s known in Irish. I talk about my own Irish learning journey and adventures. Then look at the history of the language and its current state, and talk a bit about the language itself, with examples to illustrate its structure.

It features some Irish tunes, played by me, on the tin whistle, mandolin, low whistle and harp, and one of my own compositions, played on the melodica. It is mostly in English, with some bits of Irish.

You can find music for Sackow’s / Tripping Up The Stairs, the jig I play on the whistle at the beginning of this episode, here.

The slow air I play on the low whistle, Amhrán na Leabhar (The Song of the Books), was written by Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháín (1785-1848), a school teacher and poet who lost all his possessions, including his books, in a storm when they were being ferried between Derrynane Bay to Valentia Harbour. He wasn’t in the boat at the time, and wrote this song afterwards. It is also known as Cuan Bhéil Inse [source]. You can hear it, with words, at:

The tune I play on the harp is John O’Conner / Seán ó Conchubhair, which was written by Turlough O’Carolan. It is also known as the Belfast Almanac or Plaxty O’Conner.

There is another, rather faster, version here:

You can music for it here.

The tune I play on the melodica is at end of the podcast, The Saturday Hornpipe / Cornbib Ddydd Sadwrn, is one I wrote a few years ago. You can hear a longer version at:

Information about Irish

Here are some videos in and about Irish:

This is a silly little video I made in Irish based on songs:

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

Episode 2 – Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig)

This episode is about Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig). I talk about the current state of the language, its history, how it is used, about my experiences of learning it, and share some observations I’ve collected from other Gaelic speakers and learners.

Last week I was at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a college on the Isle of Skye where you can do courses in Scottish Gaelic languages, songs, traditional music, dance, drama, and other subjects. I have done quite a few courses in Scottish Gaelic songs since 2008.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

You can hear some examples of spoken Gaelic here:

Here is a silly little video I made to practise my Scottish Gaelic:

More information about Scottish Gaelic

The music in this podcast is a piece I wrote After The Rain / Ar Ôl Y Glaw:

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

Epsiode 1 – My Language Learning Adventures

In this first episode of the Radio Omniglot Podcast, I talk about my own language learning adventures. About the languages I’ve learned, and how and why I learned them.

You can also read about my language learning adventures on Omniglot.

If you would like to take part in this podcast, you can contact me via Omniglot.

The music in this episode is a tune I wrote in January 2018 called Apple Blossom / Blodau Afal, played on the cavaquinho:

See the score for this tune

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