latha vs an-diugh
I've now learnt that latha is 'day' while an-diugh is 'today'. I was just wondering why the different words exist, and if there are other places where latha/diugh are used where the distinction is important.
The same reason that oidhche is night and a-nochd is tonight… Language and its vocabulary changes.
The -diugh part is actually the same original word as Di- in DiDòmhnaich (from forms of Old Irish día ‘day’), and probably cognate with English day.
-nochd in a-nochd is also cognate with English night (through PIE. *nókʷts).
But for some reason, alternative words, oidhche (from O.Ir adaig, aidche ‘night’ of unknown origin) and là, latha (O.Ir laithe, lá ‘day’, related to Slavic lěto ‘summer’) won in general usage, and the other ones remain only in set phrases.
An interesting book, although old and probably outdated, is https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Etymological_Dictionary_of_the_Gaelic_Language
- diu, diugh (to)-day, an diu, to-day, Ir. andiu, aniu, O. Ir. indiu, W. heddyw, M. Br. hiziu, Br. hirio, *divo- (Stokes); Skr. divâ; Lat. diû. See Di-, day. The an (O. Ir. in) is the article.
- dé, an dé, yesterday, Ir. ané, (andé), O. Ir. indhé, W. y ddoe, Br. deac'h, M. Br. dech, sendi-gesi, art. an and gesi; Lat. heri (= hesî); Gr. χθές; Eng. yesterday. The Celtic forms are all influenced by the word for "to-day", G. an diu, O. Ir. indiu, W. heddyw, dyw; from diu, divo, day, q.v. Zimmer in fact refers the word to the root of diu (Zeit.30 17). *jesi, ghjesi, heri, etc. (St.).
List of abbreviations at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Etymological_Dictionary_of_the_Gaelic_Language/Abbreviations
Note that for instance the Irish words that are listed as aniu and ané nowadays are normally spelled inniu and inné, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Thanks! It is quite outdated by today standards, but still might be helpful, I used to browse scans of it on other sites, didn’t know it’s on Wikisource. :)
For people looking for state-of-the-art Celtic etymologies, I’d recommend Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasović, and for Old Irish, dil.ie: Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language which contrary to its name is a dictionary of Old and Middle Irish, modernized from the 1913–1976 analog edition – though this one’s pretty hard to use if you’re not familiar with it.