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https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

Welsh language borrowings

Does anyone know of a website which gives the etymology of Welsh words, and also which of them have been absorbed into English? I'm often curious to know whether a Welsh word came from English, French or Latin, or whether an English word came from Welsh (I know there aren't many of the latter). I know I can go to places like Wikipedia for individual words, but it would be useful to access a website set up specifically for Welsh borrowings.

2 years ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/iwc2ufan
iwc2ufan
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https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

Thank you. I was surprised at how few there are. I knew it was a small number, but I had the feeling that it was around 200. A bit disappointing:(

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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You'd want to ask someone who has actual expertise, but although the word borrows might be minor, there's another area where Welsh has hugely affected English. I believe the biggest influence Welsh has had on English is that it's from Welsh we get our continuous tenses, which have no equivalent (I believe) in any other Germanic language, and they're even constructed in a way that mimics the Welsh. Not a word borrowing, but a whole series of tenses is quite a contribution ;)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ibisc
ibisc
Mod
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Interesting. Was it the influence of one language on the other, though, or was it they had, in part at least, a common ancestor in Brythonic?

Primitive Welsh is thought to have arisen, largely from Brythonic, but with Latin, etc, influences by about 500-550 AD, and Old Welsh by about 800 AD.

Similarly, Old English seems to date back to about 450 BC, developing partly from the germanic languages of incomers and traders from the east but also including elements of Brythonic etc.

Of course, both languages then developed alongside each other and with a lot of trading back and forth as the various populations moved around and intermingled, together with what we might expect to be a lot of multi-lingualism.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

I believe that the use of auxiliary verbs to create sentences comes from the original British language(s) - you won't find the construction in other teutonic languages or italic ones.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

Yes, of course - thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten about that, and hadn't thought of it as a contribution to the English language, but of course this is what makes it so distinctive. Although there are other languages which have a similar construction - but not related to the Germanic ones.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iwc2ufan
iwc2ufan
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Yes, it does look like it's mainly gone the other way.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krispolard

Take heart, the Wiki article states at the beginning: "This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it." I once read that 'door' comes from Brythonic 'duir' meaning 'oak'.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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EtymOnline disagrees: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=door

Compare German "Tür", Dutch "deur", etc.

Seems much more likely to me that it's a common (inherited) Germanic word, rather than a loanword from Brythonic.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krispolard

That seems reasonable. Perhaps all these forms of 'door' and 'duir' go back to a common Indo-European root.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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If your "'duir' meaning 'oak'" is related to derw meaning 'oak' (in modern Welsh), GPC implies that it is related to English tree, not door.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElizabethS746001
ElizabethS746001
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I watched a short documentary that said English has more in common with the Dutch version of Germanic language than German itself. If that makes sense.. English seems to have a higher level of mutual intelligibility, If I remember correctly. Doesn't mean a speaker of one understands completely the other, but more similarities than is usual.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

I think it's related to druid, not door. Door in Welsh is drws.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ibisc
ibisc
Mod
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If you look in the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (GPC) - http://geiriadur.ac.uk/gpc/gpc.html - it shows the origins and relations of words as the first line in the entry. You may need to go to the help or background pages to look up what the abbreviations mean, although lots of them pop up if you hover the cursor over the abbreviation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

Thanks for this information.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/varigby
varigby
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Talking of borrowings isn't the word "Welsh" from "Wēalas/wealh" the Anglo Saxon for foreigner? They were a cheeky bunch them Saxons!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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Yes :)

Germans in Switzerland sometimes also use "die Welschen" for the French-speakers there - also an extension of "foreigners [whose language we can't understand]".

Similar to the Greek barbaroi "people who say 'bar-bar'" or Russian Nemec "German" from nemoy "mute", i.e. "people who don't have a[n understandable] language".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krispolard

Maybe the Greeks were thinking of the Beach Boys ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=654H4xfDYKM

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

LOL

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/varigby
varigby
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A Chinese person visiting somewhere like London, Berlin, would refer to the locals as "foreigners." Anyone non-Chinese, anywhere in the world is a foreigner...even in their native country!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krispolard

Many Brits have a similar attitude - when I lived on the Costa del Sol most British ex-pats were convinced the Spanish were foreigners!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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I can affirm this to be the case, shamefully for us Brits. I think/hope this attitude is dying out, slowly. but... very slowly.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

Not sure of the veracity of this, but many years ago a friend told an anecdote of a British couple on holiday in Costa del ... and the husband was complaining of all the foreign food. His wife gently reminded him that they were the foreigners there, to which the husband indignantly replied, "We're not foreign - we're British!" Nuff said:)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/varigby
varigby
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That makes me laugh! And as a fellow Brit it shouldn't surprise me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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The GPC dictionary gives etymology, e.g. entry for byd with etymology.

For words from English see e.g. entry for siop.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/draigyddaear

Thank you.

2 years ago