"Cha toil leam stocainnean."
Translation:I do not like socks.
Yes, and what makes it worse is that I do not trust the reference books. Historically they were very biased against Celtic, so even if a dictionary says the word comes from English you can't be sure. Otto Jespersen expressed the general attitude in 1905 when he said
We now see why so few Celtic words were taken over into English. There was nothing to induce the ruling classes to learn the language of the inferior natives; it could never be fashionable for them to show an acquaintance with that despised tongue by using now and then a Celtic word. On the other hand the Celt would have to learn the language of his masters, and learn it well; he could not think of addressing his superiors in his own unintelligible gibberish, and if the first generation did not learn good English, the second or third would, while the influence they themselves exercised on English would be infinitesimal.
As recently as 2002, in a mainstream book, A history of the English language (London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 2002) Baugh et al maintain
The Anglo-Saxon found little need to adopt Celtic modes of expression. [...] The reason for this lack of Old Celtic vocabulary in English must lie in the absence of integration between the British and the Anglo-Saxon invaders. As Bede records, the British were in time either driven westwards into Wales and Cornwall or they remained a subject people of serfs. The dominant language would therefore be English.
In this particular case, the only reference I can find for the Gaelic word is MacBain, who in 1911 said it came from the English. It does seem to be Germanic in ultimate origin - see stukkaz which means 'stick, beam, post, tree trunk, stump'. But to go from there to say that stocking means 'cover with material' seems a bit odd. Any material would surely be material on a tree trunk etc. In other words, stocking comes from the resemblance of a stockinged leg to a tree trunk as much as anything. So if Gaelic stoc means 'stock (also of a bagpipe), stump, trunk 2 (live)stock 3 butt (of a gun) 4 muffler 5 gunwale 6 (clerical) collar' similar to the English stock, then *stocan (later stocain then stocainn) would be the diminutive. This would be perfectly normal to use for something small that resembles a tree trunk, as a stocking does.
Thanks for this reply, DaibhidhR ; it's very interesting. I've read about children being severely punished for speaking Gaelic at school. My own great-grandparents in Nairn, both native speakers, made sure that their six children spoke only English. I have the impression that this was mainly to offer them a 'better' future, but also because it allowed the two of them to have a private conversation in front of the children : )
I've never heard the private conversation argument before but it is an interesting suggestion.
It was genuinely believed that encouraging people to speak English to the exclusion of Gaelic would improve their English and improve their job prospects.
In fact this has been disproved. Children are remarkable learners and can easily become fluent in two or even three languages. My ex spoke two languages, English and Portuguese when she started at school, but they only spoke French at school. Result: prefect fluency in three languages.
But there are further advantages. The obvious ones are simply being bi- or tri-lingual and able to speak to more people, and an increased aptitude for language learning, so you can more easily learn other languages when required. But less obvious is the effect on brain development. You simply end up with a better brain if you give it exercise during development, and this is some of the best exercise available. Lots of the most successful people in the world have been multilingual, and in many countries it is compulsory. Everyone in India has to learn Hindi, English and their own language if different, and no one ever says this holds them back.
There also seems to have been some two-facedness here, as while the rich were teaching their children Latin and Greek, and sometimes French and German, and telling them it was 'good for them', they were telling the peasants that the children's English would suffer if they spoke Gaelic.