Horthmen as 'mGall'

Brian M. Scott BMScott at stratos.net
Thu Aug 26 02:37:22 UTC 1999

X99Lynx at aol.com wrote:

> <<Just to keep the record straight, the OED s.v. walk(2)
> observes that the word is not found in English in this
> sense until the 14th c.>>

>  The OED goes on to say "OE had the agent-n wealcere
> Walker (a common west German formation), but it is possible
> the corresponding sense of the Teut. vb. had not survived
> into OE..."  I take it that my AS guess was therefore not
> far off.

Very hopeful of you.  My sources are regrettably limited, but I see
nothing here to connect <galc> safely with OE.  Moreover, it seems to be
Sc.Gael. <fucadair> 'fuller', not <galcadair> 'do.', that produced
Sc.Gael. bynames (in record at least from the 14th c.); this suggests
that <galc> may have been a late-comer.

> <<The Dict. of the Irish Lang. gives the following senses
> in Old and Middle Ir., of which the first is earliest:
> (1) a Gaul, (apparently sometimes equated with Frank)...>>

> I'd love to see the source for Gall = a Gaul.  I didn't
> think written Irish went back far enough for Gauls to still
> be around to refer to. That's why the equation with Frank
> on the other hand may make a lot of sense.  And that
> brings us back to "walh."

I'd be delighted to hear from someone who actually knows OIr usage
first-hand, but I imagine that a <Gall> 'Gaul' was originally simply
someone from Gallia - a geographical term certainly known to the early
Irish (as when <saerchland Franc> 'noble race of Franks' is glossed
'tribus Gallie').  I still see no reason introduce <walh> to explain it.

Brian M. Scott

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