Horthmen as 'mGall'

X99Lynx at aol.com X99Lynx at aol.com
Sun Aug 22 07:14:01 UTC 1999

In a message dated 8/21/99 11:20:01 PM, you wrote:

<<Thurneysen says that PIE */w-/ became /B-/ (bilabial voiced fricative)
and then /f-/ and that early loans from Latin show the same development,
e.g., <fín> (<fi'n>) from <ui:num> 'wine', <fescor> from 'uesper'.
Later there's <Ualerán> (<Ualera'n>) 'Valerianus' c.800.  I'd expect an
early borrowing to show <f->, a later one, <u->.

Brian M. Scott>>

I'm not sure when the Irish would have borrowed this version of 'walh' etc
from the Germanic.  Of course the word could have been borrowed more than
once as the meaning of the word changed.  I'm not sure when the 'mGall' quote
was from, but it would pretty likely be after 800.  If those Northmen were
from Normandy they would have been from the ON 'Valland' and in either case
would have been recognized by clerics as being from 'Gallia'.

As far as the borrowing, "galc = thicken cloth, fulling; from the English
walk, waulk" (McBain's Etym Dict - Scot Gaelic) would be likely a loan from
AS.  On the other hand, "barant = warrant,  Middle Irish baránta, Welsh
gwarant" would be I think from the Anglo-Norman.  MacFarlaine takes Gaelic
'balla' = wall, not early but from the AN 'bailley' - outer castle wall (cf.,
Old Bailey's) and wall = 'cailbhe' as the earlier word.  On the other hand,
Gaelic/goidelic 'cuinnsean' is given as from the English, 'whinger'.  I've
seen Scandinavian origins given for Gaelic "gaoth" = wind.  And another
problem is that earlier apparently the /v/- /u/- in Gaulish created a very
different pattern - though which way the words travelled is terribly unclear.
 The PIE */w-/ obviously was but a distant memory.

The problem with all this is not basically in the sounds I think, but in the
fact that words and meanings bounced around like ping-pong balls in this time
and area.  So historically we don't know which got what from whom and when
and how often.

B_T_W, I just noticed that MacFarlaine gives a different, much more local
explanation for "Gall" as foreigner -
"Gall: foreigner, a Scottish Lowlander
Galldachd:  nf.ind. the country occupied by the non-Gaelic speakers of
Scotland, usually termed the Lowlands of Scotland : air a' Ghalldachd, in the

Were these 'Ghall-' supposed to be Britons or Germanic speakers?  Hmmm.

Steve Long

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