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USAGE: Yet another few questions about Welsh.

From:Joe <joe@...>
Date:Saturday, July 3, 2004, 11:18
So, I went to Wales, as one does.  Bought some books while I was over
there(A New Testament and a Language Course, actually).  It's nice to
see that a Celtic language still thrives to such a degree.

But some things I'm curious about.  Historical ones, mostly.  Firstly,
where does the definite article '(y)(r)' come from?  All other Celtic
languages, Brythonic and Goidelic, seem to use 'an'.  Secondly, how
tenuous is the 'Italo-Celtic' link?  They do seem fairly similar in some
ways, different in others.  One similarity I've noticed, though it may
seem tenuous, is that they both have *k_wenk_we(Welsh 'pump', Irish
'coic', Latin 'quinque') as 'five', rather than *penk_we.  Thirdly, the
orthography.  I can understand, historically,  using <f> for /v/(and, as
a result, <ff> for /f/).  As they used the Latin alphabet, <v> was
probably representing /w/ in Latin at the time, right?  But why did they
use <u> for /1/?  Historical sound changes?  If so, what did <w>
originally represent?


Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>