[Spellyans] Welsh

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu May 24 08:08:33 BST 2012

From the online etymological dictionary:
O.E. Wilisc, Wylisc (W.Saxon), Welisc, Wælisc (Anglian and Kentish), from Wealh, Walh "Celt, Briton, Welshman, non-Germanic foreigner;" in Tolkien's definition, "common Gmc. name for a man of what we should call Celtic speech," but also applied to speakers of Latin, hence O.H.G. Walh, Walah "Celt, Roman, Gaulish," and O.N. Valir "Gauls, Frenchmen" (Dan. vælsk"Italian, French, southern"); from P.Gmc. *Walkhiskaz, from a Celtic name represented by L. Volcæ (Caesar) "ancient Celtic tribe in southern Gaul." The word survives in Wales, Cornwall, Walloon, walnut, and in surnames Walsh and Wallace. Borrowed in O.C.S. as vlachu, and applied to Romanians, hence Wallachia. Among the English, Welsh was used disparagingly of inferior or substitute things, hence Welsh rabbit (1725), also perverted by folk-etymology as Welsh rarebit (1785).


On May 24, 2012, at 8:19 AM, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

> English may not be German per se, but it is a Germanic language in origin.  Compare Anglo-Saxon with Frisian (Garry Funk gave me a Frisian phrase book and it's amazing how closely related the two are, even after centuries).  As to the dictionary, do we know that the meanings given are correct, or Clark-Hall's interpretation 1500-1000 years on?
> It's also possible that the term originally meant "Celtic speakers", but was later extended in meaning.
> Consider this as regards: Walnut.   A walnut resembles a skull which can be opened to reveal something that looks remarkably like a brain.  The Celts of the Iron Age/Roman and post-Roman periods were well known for their custom of taking the heads of their enemies.
> Craig

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