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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 tree. 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. Ray =============================================== =============================================== 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" ]