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Source: (consider it) Thread: Treiglad meddal - the Welsh thread
Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Jammy Dodger:
Got a question for you Welsh speakers out there. So how does hoil best translate (I may have the spelling wrong) - usually seems to mean something along the lines of passion, zeal, spirit.

I have a vague recollection of being told a Welsh greeting was sut hoil meaning "how is your spirit?". Is that correct or is my memory failing me (highly likely)?

I'm not a Welsh speaker, but a Wenglish one ...

Yes, 'hwyl' does have the connotations you list, particularly in South Wales.

'Soul' would be the nearest English or American-English equivalent.

When I was growing up it wasn't unusual to hear people say things like, 'He's got the hwyl, that preacher ...'

Or, 'He do 'ave the hwyl, aye. He do 'ave the hwyl on him.'

Others more knowledgeable than I am can say more about the regional variations with this one.

My impression is that in North Wales it tends to be more associated with 'fun' or perhaps what the Irish call 'the craic', whereas in South Wales it tends to be associated with religious enthusiasm.

It's more specific than that though, it didn't simply mean zeal or enthusiasm (although it carried that connotation) but a particular style of preaching too where the preacher would become carried away and transported by their own rhetoric with a strikingly hypnotic effect.

Given the cadence of the Welsh language - and Welsh-English too - one can readily imagine how this could happen.

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Jammy Dodger

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Thanks andras- thought it was worth asking before I got myself into trouble [Biased]

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Jammy Dodger

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And thanks too to Gamaliel on hwyl that makes more sense to me if there is a north/south variation. Ta.

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wild haggis
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Haven't been on for ages: busy life & learning Welsh. I don't find the mutations too bad as they make pronunciation easier.

The problems, as with any language learning, is usage. Here in Cardiff it isn't spoken much. Mind you in "Coffee 1" in Roath on Saturday a young couple were chatting away in Welsh!

I'm using children's books that have CDs to help between classes. "Sam Tan" ("Fireman Sam" - my keyboard won't do a "ty bach" - sorry) is great fun as there are easy pages (suitable for a beginner like me) and more complex ones. Maybe I'm just a big kid at heart!

Our teacher has said not to use Dualingo. I had started and another lady in our class was also using it. Apparently there are a number of mistakes in it as you go on. I don't speak the language properly so can't comment. But I'll take her word for it.

Language is fascinating. I was rubbish at school, until I did a course in Descriptive Linguistics and now I enjoy languages.

Karl: re Celtic language in N Portugal. Yes, there was a Celtic language in the isolated mountains of N Portugal being used by a few old people in a very small village in the early '80s. It has gone, no doubt now with their deaths. My professor at Lisbon uni specialised in Celtic languages (great fun for a Scot learning Portuguese in Lisbon!) and was recording and anaylsing it. Apparently at that time the only way to get ballot boxes in and out was through mountain passes using donkeys, unless you had a Land Rover! If you ever go to the north, around Guimareas there are various Celtic ruins. We Celts got everywhere!

Sad when languages go, but if no one speaks them.......that's why we need to get them recorded, if we can, before they go completely.

Right going to stop now and get on with my gwaith cartref for tonight's class.

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mr cheesy
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Hahaha, that's funny - one of my tutors in Gwent helped to write the content for Duolingo, so they've very keen to encourage people to use it here.

I think the main problem with it is that it doesn't really map very well onto what is taught in the classes. So I can believe it would confuse people.

On the chatting issue, here in Gwent there are various informal settings where learners are encouraged to chat. I'm not sure what happens in Cardiff but I'd be surprised if there are not various opportunities to practice the language there too. Can your tutor - or whoever organises the classes - point you in the direction of any?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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to bach - a ty bach is the bogs.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Re. Survival of continental Celtic in Portugal - I've drawn a complete blank. A dialect of Romance with lots of unique Celtic fearures I cam imagine, but a lone Celtic isolate - I'd expect to be able to find some citation. Such a language would be of great interest to Celticists as so much is unknown about continental Celtic languages.

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Baptist Trainfan
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When my wife and I lived in Lisbon in 1982, she got friendly with a research student who was investigating the last few speakers of a language, presumably Celtic, in the Tras-os-Montes region of Portugal. I expect it has died out by now.

This was a time when some remote villages still had neither electricity nor a road connecting them to the wider world.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

This was a time when some remote villages still had neither electricity nor a road connecting them to the wider world.

It seems unlikely that this would have been a celtic language, as the sources seem to suggest that all celtic dialects in the region died out before the year 1000.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
When my wife and I lived in Lisbon in 1982, she got friendly with a research student who was investigating the last few speakers of a language, presumably Celtic, in the Tras-os-Montes region of Portugal. I expect it has died out by now.

This was a time when some remote villages still had neither electricity nor a road connecting them to the wider world.

I would say presumably not Celtic, for the reasons given above. So little is known of the ancient Celtiberian languages that such a survival would be massive news in Celtic studies.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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This article implies that the minority language of the region is indeed Mirandese http://intheknowtraveler.com/visit-celtic-portugal/

Mirandes is a Romance language. The local culture is popularly described as Celtic, but the language isn't.

Whether there are more Celtic loans in Mirandese than standard Portuguese I am not qualified to say. But I can find no reference anyway to an endangered or recently extinct actual Celtic language in the Iberian peninsula. It'd be like finding a live (or recently extinct) non-avian dinosaur wandering around North Africa; palaentologists would be all over it like a rash.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I bow to your erudition! [Cool]
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mr cheesy
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Not sure if anyone is still following this thread, but I thought maybe if there was, we could share our favourite newly-learned welsh phrases.

Ych a fi tickled me. I think it just means bleugh, but somehow it seems a very Welsh way to say it.

Our Welsh tutor has a good sense of humour, which is fortunate because much of the stuff we're learning sounds unintentionally funny.

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andras
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I suppose that by now everybody knows pobty ping as a slang term for a meicrodon.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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One naturally thinks of all the cafés called the Hoffi Coffi... (to like coffee). Though as a Gog learner I say Licio anyway.

A nice one for mutation practice: Dw i'n licio dy gar di mwy na ei char hi neu fy nghar i - "I like your car more than her car or my car"

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andras
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I was once asked by an English monoglot what the Welsh word for Coffee was, and when I told him he laughed at the fact that there was no native Welsh word for it.

The fact that there was equally no native English word had apparently passed right by him. Poor dab!

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Baptist Trainfan
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Oh, I don't know: the native product is very nice.
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mr cheesy
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I find words that begin si or sg beguiling. Some are borrowed words (not always from English!) but the spelling is inspired.

Siampaen is good. Also sgrechian, siachmate and siampŵ.

That's champagne, shrieking, checkmate and shampoo.

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andras
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Welsh has always written loan-words as if they were Welsh, and has often mutated them into the bargain. It can look a little odd to English eyes, but 'cinwa' makes far more sense than 'quinoa'.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Tsiec mêt, surely? '-mate' would be pronounced as two syllables. Sgrechian was I think borrowed from Old English.

[ 01. December 2017, 18:24: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Aravis
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How should you write the word normally spelt "cwtch"? It's the obvious way to write it, but it doesn't obey the rules of either Welsh or English spelling, as you can't use a -tch combination in Welsh as far as I know.
You can't write it as "cwch" as that would be pronounced differently (and anyway it's the Welsh for "boat").
Just wondered if the experts had any views as it has always puzzled me - particularly when I was doing supply teaching in primary schools and children asked how to spell it!

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Tsiec mêt, surely? '-mate' would be pronounced as two syllables. Sgrechian was I think borrowed from Old English.

I made an error above in copying the word from my dictionary - it has it as siachmat rather than what I wrote before. Tsiec mêt would make more sense given Tsienini (China) and Tscimpansi spell the "ch" sound like that. But it isn't an option in my dictionary and I can't find anywhere else that uses that spelling.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Mine was a guess.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Aravis - dw i'di gweld 'cwtsh' / I've seen 'cwtsh' but it's an odd one.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Aravis:
How should you write the word normally spelt "cwtch"? It's the obvious way to write it, but it doesn't obey the rules of either Welsh or English spelling, as you can't use a -tch combination in Welsh as far as I know.
You can't write it as "cwch" as that would be pronounced differently (and anyway it's the Welsh for "boat").
Just wondered if the experts had any views as it has always puzzled me - particularly when I was doing supply teaching in primary schools and children asked how to spell it!

There seem to be both cwtch and cwtsh in the wild (for example there are shops using both alternatives in Newport) and there seems to be some debate about the correct spelling.

My money is on cwtsh because ch is the wrong sound in Welsh, but interestingly my dictionary doesn't have either.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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GPC says cwts or cwtsh, from Middle English Couche, a couch. It's what you do on one, I suppose.

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mr cheesy
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I've founds another page that suggests cwtsh/cwtch is a N/S difference, and another suggesting that cwtch is more wanglish (the Welsh-English hybrid dialect particularly found in the valleys) than Welsh.

So I guess you can take your pick of which version you like best.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Cwtch is definitely Wenglish; it'd be virtually unpronounceable wwre it Welsh.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
There seem to be both cwtch and cwtsh in the wild (for example there are shops using both alternatives in Newport) and there seems to be some debate about the correct spelling.

My money is on cwtsh because ch is the wrong sound in Welsh, but interestingly my dictionary doesn't have either.

There were plaques with both spellings on sale in Cardiff Christmas market the other night. I'd not seen the "s" version before, but overheard the stallholder telling someone that he believed it was the more authentic spelling.
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wild haggis
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Don't have any problems pronouncing cwtch. Will ask my Welsh teacher on Tues night about the debate.

Don't think it's Wenglish as there are no English words that I can think of being similar. Cwtch is not in my Welsh Learner's Dictionary.

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wild haggis

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
Don't have any problems pronouncing cwtch.

Try pronouncing it according to the rules of Welsh orthography, with 'ch' as in 'chi'

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Enoch
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Speaking as an English person living on the English side of the water, whatever else it might be, cwtch is definitely Wenglish, as is twp. Dap isn't though. That seems to be found more or less wherever the Great Western Railway ran.

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wild haggis
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Thanks.

For a Scot "ch" and "chi" don't sound the same.

Every Welsh person I've talked to here in Cardiff - teacher, friends, church folks, say that it sounds as the Scots "ch"
i.e. in in loch (but then most Sassenachs can't pronounce it properly).
"Duo-lingo" and "Speaking Welsh" also say it should be pronounced as Scottish "ch."

If you listen to Radio Cymru it is the same. Even "Sam Tan" on S4C pronounces it as a Scottish "ch"(brilliant for practicing Welsh is "Sam Tan")

Anyway will talk to my teacher tonight who is a native Welsh speaker and translator of documents/books etc. into Welsh. Maybe she can shed some light on cwtch.

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mr cheesy
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I think the issue is that most people pronounce cwtch as "kuch" - and the letter ch in cymraeg is a harsher sound. Even ignoring the t in cwtch wouldn't normally sound like how most people say the word.

The softer "ch" sound is more like English as in "church" - and other words in cymraeg which have that kind of sound use "tsi".

I think most Welsh speakers generally accept cwtch as a bit of an exception to the general pronunciation rules.

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
Thanks.

For a Scot "ch" and "chi" don't sound the same.


There are two pronunciations of chi is English and they mean different things.

There is chi sometimes spelt Qi from Chinese medicine and has a soft 'ch'

Then there is chi, the name of the Greek letter 'χ' which has the hard Scottish 'ch' sound. That is how you are taught it regardless of how it is said by mathematicians.

Jengie

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Enoch
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Jengie, I don't think I agree. Yes the Chinese word is pronounced chee in English, But I've usually heard the Greek letter pronounced as though it were ky, 'sky' without the 's'. The sound in 'loch' is quite different. It doesn't usually occur in RP but crops up in various place names, borrowed words and exclamations. I'm probably demonstrating my linguistic ignorance but it's fairly near the sound that is sometimes transcribed from other languages as ḥ.

I can't offhand think of an example in any sort of English where that sound comes at the beginning of a word. There may well be one, but it might just be one of those sounds like 'x' that in English virtually always has to have a vowel in front of it. Can you say 'xylophone' or 'Xavier' without any sort of schwa at all?

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mr cheesy
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I don't think there is really a comparable sound in English to the Welsh ch.

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Eigon
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I've often wondered about the Lancashire expression "Hutch up", meaning to squeeze together on a seat so an extra person can sit down. Could this have been derived from "cwtch"?

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wild haggis
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Noswaith dda.

Just come back from Welsh lesson. Yes, Cwtch is Welsh, so says a native Welsh speaker; my tutor, who works for the Welsh Government translating into Welsh and also tutoring at Cardiff uni. We discussed in class whether it was Wenglish and no one thinks it is.

Language is always evolving and Welsh is no exception. So there will be new words that may be indigenous or borrowed incorporated from time to time - just has happened in English itself. Added to that there is N & S Welsh which also varies. So Welsh is complex.

But no one could think of an English word in common usage, that links phonetically or definition-wise with cwtch. But it's a lovely onomatopaic word.

Hope that is helpful.

Nadolig Llawen.

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mr cheesy
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I also discussed this with my tutor, who is a native speaker.

He said that the word is correctly spelled cwts - which makes a lot more sense in terms of pronunciation. Apparently it became wanglified when the "h" was added to the end of the word.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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As I said upthread, according to the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru it's from Middle English Couche, meaning a couch. The meaning of the gair Cymraeg has shifted from the furniture to what one (or rather two) might to upon it.

[ 05. December 2017, 21:38: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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# 3081

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Maddeningly, it turns out that Y Gwyll is only available on Netflix here in English... or Polish. I was looking forward to listening in Welsh with English subtitles (I can sing lustily in Welsh but not speak it).

In the meantime I would like to know how so much French - eglwys (church), bont (bridge), Duw (God) has made its way into the language.

[ 05. December 2017, 21:49: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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I hadn't thought of doing this before, but I looked up the word(s) in the Welsh Newspaper Archive. I found the following exchange:

22 February 1887, The Western Mail

"Cwtch"

To the Editor,

Sir - Your correspondent "Morien" in his sketch of the recent colliery accident states that "cwtch" is Welsh for "nook". I venture, not withstanding "Morien's" great erudition, to question his interpretation of the word. It is not to be found in any dictionary or used by any Welsh scholar. I think it is a corruption of the word "couch". The Rhondda valley abounds with bastard imitations of English words, and the colliers are gradually forming an original language of their own"

Yours, etc Cymro


23rd February 1887, The Western Mail

"Cwtch"

To the Editor,

Sir - the only mistake which I made in respect of the above name, to which "Cymro" calls attention, was in the spelling of it. In the hurry of the moment "cwtch" instead of "cwts". "Cwt" means a little place; and in Glamorgan a tail is styled "cwtws". "Cwt" means also, that which terminates abruptly. The English word "cot" is derived from it as also is "cut".

<snip>

"cwt" is not derived from the English "cut" or "cot" and not even from "couch" as "Cymro" seems to suppose.

The "Cwts," or Nook, of the Rhondda Vach is a short cut or offshoot of the dale and is very descriptive of the spot.

It will be noted that "cwt" is the name in the proper form; but in South Wales "cwt" has long become "cwtws" to a tail. But to distinguish a hovel or a sty, or an abrupt termination like this nook, the Glamorgan people have dropped the last "w" (sounded oo) in the name and have called it "cwts" but continued to give the name "cwtws" for a tail.

<snip>

Morien

(edited for length)

Which goes to show that similar discussions have been going on a very long time!

It also seems that the meaning of the word has changed, today associated with a cuddle rather than a small hole or cupboard.

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

In the meantime I would like to know how so much French - eglwys (church), bont (bridge), Duw (God) has made its way into the language.

I think it's more that the French and the Welsh are both derived from Latin while the English words aren't - which would make sense as the Brythonic Celts and the Romans lived together for centuries, whereas the English and the Romans didn't.

Also some of the sound changes from Latin to early French are similar to the sound changes from early Celtic to Welsh, which is sometimes attributed to a residual Celtic presence in late Roman Gaul - so Latin-derived words look similar in both languages.

ecclesia > eglwys, église
pons > pont, pont
Deus > Duw, Dieu

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Gill H

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# 68

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And how did English end up with 'window'?

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andras
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# 2065

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quote:
Originally posted by Gill H:
And how did English end up with 'window'?

Window is Norse - the original sense of it is 'Wind Eye'.

As a general thing, and with all sorts of exceptions, words of Latin origin which have ended up as Welsh loan words have tended to come from Gaulish Latin rather than the Roman form.

The Gauls, for instance, seem to have had difficulty pronouncing the initial sc- in such Latin words as scala (ladder) and scholae (school) and so inserted a helpful vowel in front, giving modern French échelle and école respectively, where the accent on the é marks the disappearance of the -s- (which was still there in Middle French, and indeed lasted until the 17th Century or later).

And, of course, modern Welsh still proudly has ysgol, with both the Gaulish-inspired 'incorrect' initial vowel and the -s- still in full view.

Relating Welsh llaw to Latin palma takes a bit more effort, and I'm not going to do it here; but the two words are indeed cognate. Linguistics is fun!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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I'm pretty sure that the Welsh epanthetic(sp) vowel arose independently of Gaulish. It also arose in Spanish of course, which is why it's Espanol,

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

In the meantime I would like to know how so much French - eglwys (church), bont (bridge), Duw (God) has made its way into the language.

I think it's more that the French and the Welsh are both derived from Latin while the English words aren't - which would make sense as the Brythonic Celts and the Romans lived together for centuries, whereas the English and the Romans didn't.

Also some of the sound changes from Latin to early French are similar to the sound changes from early Celtic to Welsh, which is sometimes attributed to a residual Celtic presence in late Roman Gaul - so Latin-derived words look similar in both languages.

ecclesia > eglwys, église
pons > pont, pont
Deus > Duw, Dieu

This. There also some less obvious ones:

Saggita --> Saeth
Exiguus --> Eisiau

It's also been observed (although its significance is contested) that proto-Italic and proto-Celtic were very close. Hence we have some still obvious cognates:

Uentus/Gwynt (wind, also cognate of course)
Senex/Hen (old, proto-Celtic S- routinely became H- in Welsh)
Quis/pwy (who, Welsh of course is P-Celtic)

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andras
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# 2065

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I'm pretty sure that the Welsh epanthetic(sp) vowel arose independently of Gaulish. It also arose in Spanish of course, which is why it's Espanol,

But that sneaky little leading vowel is there in Roman Latin anyway!

But you're right that it isn't possible to be certain that Welsh and Gaulish didn't just happen to go down the same route without any influence between them.

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Adrian Plass

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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
... Just come back from Welsh lesson. Yes, Cwtch is Welsh, so says a native Welsh speaker; my tutor, who works for the Welsh Government translating into Welsh and also tutoring at Cardiff uni. We discussed in class whether it was Wenglish and no one thinks it is. ...

This may be incorrect usage in Wales, but over here, a Welsh word or grammatical construction being used without really thinking about it when a person is speaking English - including by an English monoglot from Wales - definitely counts as Wenglish.

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