Re: [tied] Re: /a/ in Celtic

From: Andrew Jarrette
Message: 48961
Date: 2007-06-12

Thank you.  You have answered all my questions.

"Anders R. Joergensen" <ollga_loudec@...> wrote:
--- In cybalist@..., Andrew Jarrette <anjarrette@ ...>
> Awhile back I presented words from Celtic languages (Welsh, Irish)
that seemed to show evidence that in some words, for no reason
apparent to me, IE *e and sometimes *o shifted to /a/ in Celtic. I
have a new list of some more words that seem to show the same
change. My question is, why did this change occur in some words
(and yet other words show no sign of this shift)? Is there a sound
law in Celtic that explains this?

There are several sound laws, operating at different stages and
sometimes branch specific. These laws account for a good deal of the
material you have collected. Peter Schrijver's book Studies in
British Celtic Historical Phonology (1995) discusses most of them.

Syllabic *-r- > *-ar- / __R, s, w, y
E.g. barr, carr

*e > *a / __Ra
"Joseph's Rule". Proto-Celtic (?)
*skerH- > *skera- > *skara- --> *skar-a:- (OIr. scaraid, -scara).
Another good example is Gaul. -garanus, W garan 'crane' < *garano- <
*gerHno- (Gr. géranos).

*e > *a / __ g + e , i
Operates in both British and Irish, but with restrictions in the
latter branch). Explains laigid, draigen (W draen), daig, aig (W
iâ). Note also that when inflected, the i-stems aig and daig change
the root vocalism to the original -e-: gen. sg. ega, dega (yeg-ous,
degW-ous). saidid is assumed to have been influenced by laigid.

*o > *a / w__
British Celtic only.
gwas. Also e.g. *kWetwores > *pedwor > W pedwar '4' and several
other examples.

*e > *a / y__
British Celtic only.
ias (OIr. ess). W iâ would be covered by this, by may have *egi >
*agi as well.

Modern Welsh -ai- is from Middle Welsh -ei- and hence does not
necessarily come from PCelt. *a. Takes care of gwain (MW gwein),
haidd (MW heidd, MBret. heiz), nai (MW nei).

Hope this helps,


> Irish saidid "sits", IE *sed-
> Middle Irish laigid "lies", IE *legh-
> Welsh add-iad "longing", IE *jet- (Skt. yatati "puts oneself in
the right or natural place")
> Irish ad-con-darc "have seen", IE *dedork^e
> Irish ball ferda "penis", IE *bhel-
> Irish daig "flame", IE *dhegw-
> Irish gaibid "takes", if = Gmc geban-
> Irish draigen "sloe-tree", OHG dirnboum "cornel cherry", Rus
derën "cornel cherry")
> Irish crann "tree"= Gk pri^nos "holm-oak", IE *kwresnos
> Irish laigiu "lighter, poorer", IE *h1le(n)gwh-
> Irish na-ch "not", IE *ne
> Irish naidm "bond", IE *ned-
> Irish naiscid "binds", IE *ned- (Lat. necto:, no:dus, Engl. net)
> Irish nasc "fastening tie, ring", IE *nedskeh2
> Irish scaraid "separates, divides", IE *(s)ker- (with no
laryngeal after the *r)
> Welsh tarfu "hunt", IE *tergw-
> Welsh gwas "abode", IE *h2wostos
> Welsh gwas "servant", IE *Hupo-sth2i/ o
> Welsh craidd "middle", IE *k^redjom
> Welsh chwaer "sister", IE *sweso:r
> Welsh chwarren "ulcer", IE *sweros
> Welsh garth "pen, fold", IE *ghortos
> Welsh gwain "wagon", IE *wog^hno- or *weg^hno-
> Welsh haidd "barley", IE *sesjo-
> Welsh ia^ "ice", IE *jeg-
> Welsh ias "boiling", IE *jes-
> Welsh nai "nephew", IE *nepo:ts
> Welsh tarrach "fearful", IE *ters-, *tres-
> In addition, several other words show /a/ where by the laws I
have understood, /a/ would not be expected:
> Welsh gwraidd "root", IE *wrdjo-
> Irish bard "bard", IE *gwrH-dhh1os
> Irish barr "point, tip", IE *bhrstis
> Irish carr "vehicle", IE *k^rs-, *k^ers-