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Glenfiddich named by the Welsh...

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Glenfiddich named by the Welsh...

Postby bernstein » Thu Sep 15, 2005 10:03 am

At least 80% of Scotland's population live in places whose names can be interpreted by looking at a Welsh dictionary, according to a new book by William Oxenham: Welsh Origins of Scottish Place-names.
Interesting reading, but not really surprising, thinking about the Kelts and the spread of their culture. Even in my nearest neighbourhood there’s a village called “Kalterherberg”, which means nothing but “settlement of Kelts”. No whisky there of course...

For more information go to http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk and search for "Glenfiddich" (article from Sept, 13th 2005).
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Postby Aidan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:54 pm

...and Scotland was named by the Irish, kind of.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:29 pm

Very curious, since the Celtic languages fall into two branches which are not, on their faces, all that similar: the first comprising Irish and Scots Gaelic, and the second comprising Welsh, Breton, and Cornish. (Once again, I forget where Manx falls.) A Breton speaker I met told me that Bretons and Welsh can converse quite easily, as can, I presume, Irish and Scots Gaelic speakers. I find this contention rather surprising, Bernie, but then again I am no expert on any of these languages. Nick, what do you think? Perhaps they are as closely related as the Germanic and Nordic languages. Any thoughts on that, Bernie, Christian, et al.?

Aidan, wasn't it the Romans who called those folks Scoti? Or am I confusing this with the Picts?
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Postby Aidan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:52 pm

The Scots were a tribe of Irish who invaded Scotland when it was inhabited by the picts, I believe. Maybe it was the Romans who called these the Scots in the first place, though. It's ironic, since Northern Ireland was then plated by the Scots...

My Irish is not as good as it should be anymore, but it is quite close to Scots gaelic. I wouldn't understand a word of welsh, and I don't think I've ever heard breton or cornish.

Apparently, the gaelic spoken in Islay is a cross between Irish and Scots...

My father is a fluent irish speaker and has appeared in many irish language discussion programmes in TV.
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Postby bernstein » Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:21 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:Perhaps they are as closely related as the Germanic and Nordic languages. Any thoughts on that, Bernie, Christian, et al.?

I'm not an expert on Celtic languages either (neither?). All I know is that most of the Celtic (Gaul) tribes living in Central Europe were expelled or just absorbed by Germanic tribes coming in from Northern Germany and Scandinavia. The Celtic tribes in my Eifel-region close to the Belgian border were the 'Eburones', closely related to the Belgae, another Gaul tribe. You'll find some interesting archeological hints around here, some Celtic 'oppidae' as close as 30km from where I live - and - of course - some of those suspicious local names.
BTW - 'Wales' and 'Welsh' are originally Germanic expressions (as you'll find in Cornwall or Walloon as well). In the 19th century nationalistic Germans referred to France and the French speaking parts of Switzerland and Belgium as "Welschland".
"It may be the result of an early borrowing (in the 4th century BC) of the Celtic tribal name Volcae into early Germanic (becoming the Proto-Germanic *Walh-, "Foreigner" and the suffixed form *Walhisk-). The Volcae were one of the Celtic peoples that barred, for two centuries, the southward expansion of the German tribes in central Germany on the line of the Harz mountains and into Saxony and Silesia"

(For further information you may take a look at wikipedia).
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Postby kallaskander » Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:24 am

Hi there

Cornish as a spoken language was dead since the 1780ies when the last native speaker Polly Poltreath of Moushole (pronounced Mousle there) died. In recent years there was a revival of Cornish. I heard it once when I was at Keynance Cove, Cornwall. One of the wardens of the National Trust there explained the way to the cove to me in Cornish. It sounded very much like Welsh but a little less harsh and even more melodious to my ears.

Speaking of Kelts. In an earlier post I wrote that St Austell Brewery cooperates with a Devon cider farm to make Cornish whisky. That statement is wrong, I apologise.
St. Austell Brewery cooperates with the Cornish Cyder Farm at Penhallow. Cheers to that.

http://www.whiskymag.com/magazine/issue ... pirit.html

Greetings
kallaskander

PS Ever heard of a malt called Ballechin? Seems Mr Symington at Edradour has something up his sleeve.
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Postby guto » Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:11 pm

Of course many names in 'Scotland' are from Welsh origin. Welsh in 600 was spoken from Edinburgh to the Isle of Wight. The English were comparatively recent immigrants - a Germanic minority controlling only the east coast of this island. The vast majority of the inhabitants of this island spoke Welsh - as they had always done, ever since the Celts first arrived here probably around 1000 BC. Welsh survived in Scotland until about 1100, in Cornwall until about 1800, is still alive in Brittany and is flourishing in Wales. Welsh has been spoken in Glasgow for about 2100 years, Gaelic has been spoken there for about 300 and Scots/English for only about 600. The oldest Welsh language poetry was composed here honouring warriors who fought against Anglo-saxon and Gaelic invaders. They fought very hard to prevent their country being made in any way Scotland. We know the names of these northerly kings, good Welsh names like Owain, Dyfnwal, Urien. We know they lived in places like Baeddgoed/Bathgate, Eglwysfechan/Ecclefechan, Llannerch/Lanark etc.. It's amazing how many English speakers don't actually realise that Welsh is the original native language of Britain and that the English came from Germany around the fifth century.

A Welshman and a Breton don't speak the same language any more because both languages have changed since they parted. It's not difficult for a Welsh man to learn Breton and vice-versa. A Welshman or a Breton can study the oldest Welsh poetry though - poetry composed in Edinburgh and Glasgow and Carlisle. Do a wikipedia search for these poets - Aneirin, Taliesin. Look also for the names of their kingdoms - Elfed, Gododdin, Rheged, Ystrad Clud.

Dolly Pentreath wasn't the last speaker of Cornish. This is a bit of a myth. There were some eight known in the first decade of the nineteenth century.

There is quite a good degree of mutual intelligibility between Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:53 pm

Very interesting, thank you! So was Gaelic confined to the northern areas? I'm not clear where that fits in.

I would quibble about Welsh being "the original native language of Britain"--the Celts were themselves invaders. I do think most of us are aware that the Anglo-Saxons came considerably later, and the Normans later still, and that it was after the latter arrived that anything we would recognize as English language developed.

Thanks again for the post.
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Postby kallaskander » Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:51 am

Hi there,

yes thank you. I was not aware that at the beginning of the 19th century there were still people around who spoke Cornish as their native tongue. I heard a new Cornishman speak Cornish once. You can learn that in modern Cornwall in an attempt to revive it and to hold on to the Celtic herritage. It sounded like even more melodious Welsh like our Welsh friends speak it to my ears.

Greetings
kallaskander
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