Re: Celtic word for "tree"
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, November 13, 2004, 18:49|
On Friday, November 12, 2004, at 03:01 , Thomas Leigh wrote:
> Sgrìobh Ray:
>> BTW I note the subject line is 'Celtic word for
>> "tree"' - and we haven't had the word yet! The
>> closest is the root *k_wrenn-, thus Irish & Scots
>> Gaelic _crann_ "tree", Welsh & Cornish _pren_ "tree".
>> But it's not the normal word in Welsh or Cornish.
> Just in the interest of nitpicking :) -- _crann_ is not the usual word
> for tree in Scots Gaelic either; the usual word is _craobh_ (which in
> Irish means "branch" or "bough").
So it's not. Unfortunately I have no English to Gaelic lists, dictionaries
etc. - only the other way round! When I got as far as _crann_ and found
what I wanted I did not read on :)
But I've just checked in my copy of Alexander McBain's "An Etymological
Dictionary of the Gaelic Language" (by that he means Scots Gaelic), I
discover _craobh_. The word apparently exists in Irish but, according to
"Teach Yourself Irish", it means 'branch'. The TY Irish lists _crann_ for
McBain gives _croeb_ or _craeb_ as early Irish forms of _craobh_ but the
word appears to have no equivalents in the Brittonic langs.
While nits are being picked, I should say that I have been informed that
the modern Irish spelling of the word for 'door' is _doras_ and not
_dorus_ as I gave. McBain gives only _dorus_ for both Scots & Irish Gaelic
and also for Old Irish. My copy of "Gaelic without Groans" (1963 reprint)
gives _dorus_ for Scots Gaelic, but Hugo's "Scots Gaelic in Three Months"
(1996 edition) gives the spelling _doras_. From this I assume the older
spelling in both Gaelics was _dorus_ but that the contemporary spelling is
_doras_. But both -as and -us are pronounced AFAIK [@s} :)
But when all nits are picked, it is still clear that:
- the Gaelic & Brittonic words for "oak" have nothing whatever to do with
Sankrit's or any other language's word for "door";
- that though the root *k_wrenn- has derivatives in all the modern Celtic
langs, the actual words normally used for "tree" in the various languages
do not derive from any one common form.
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]