Posts Tagged ‘Irish language’

Bernhard Bauer (Universität Wien) presented parts of his PhD-thesis ‘Intra-Celtic loanwords’ with an emphasis on the borrowings in the lexical field of magic.  I am not a linguist, so much of this presentation flew right over my head.  My notes consists of a scant few scratchings, which I will add here along with the abstract for the presentation.

The Irish forms ammait ‘witch, hag’, cél ‘presage, omen’, célmaine ‘id.’ and muir móru ‘mermaid’ can be explained as being borrowed from British Celtic.  It is noteworthy that, although there are numerous loanwords fro Irish, the British Celtic language did not borrow words from this particular semantic field from Irish.  By dating the sound changes in the donor as well as in the borrowing languages the date of loan words can be narrowed down.  Besides anchoring them historically, this allows to draw conclusions on the cultural relations between the Irish and British Celtic world in the medieval period.

from the world loanword database (who knew there was such a thing?):

Zauberei – magic

Fiurt (Irish) miracle (Latin)

Sén (Irish) charm


Ammait – witch, hag

Root – to take hold of – to love – mama, nurse

(I love this root association with Mother)


Borrow ? – foolish

Native form ? – one without mind

Cél – omen


Muirmóru – siren

sea, girl, unmarried woman

Borrowed mid 9th century (half Irish, half Welsh)

use limited to scholarly tradition ?


And that, dear readers, is the sad extent of my notes.  If you attended this presentation and took better notes,  gap filling would be much appreciated!

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