Derivation of "Wales"
Richard J Senghas
Richard.Senghas at sonoma.edu
Fri Sep 23 15:12:28 UTC 2005
Here's what the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, has for
etymology of "welsh", as I didn't find an entry for "Wales":
[OE. (West Saxon) Wilisc, Wylisc, (Anglian and Kentish) Welisc, Wælisc,
f. Wealh, Walh, Celt, Briton, = OHG. Walh, Walah (MHG. Walch, G. Wahle)
Celt, Roman, etc., ON. *Valr (pl. Valir, Gauls, Frenchmen): see etym.
note to WALNUT, and cf. WALACH and VLACH. To the English adj.
correspond OHG. wal(a)hisc, walesc (MHG. walh-, wälhisch, walsch, etc.,
G. wälsch, welsch), Roman, Italian, French, Du. waalsch Walloon, ON.
valskr Gaulish, French (MSw. valskr; Sw. välsk, Da. vælsk Italian,
French, southern); cf. the note to WALSHNUT.
In OE. the final h of the stem normally disappeared before the
adjectival ending. The West Saxon type *Wielisc (from Wealh) did not
survive beyond the OE. period; the two Anglian and Kentish types (from
Walh) existed concurrently till the 16th cent., after which Welsh
became the sole form in general use, Walsh remaining only as a surname.
(The AF. Waleis, which is rarely employed in ME., also survives in the
The spelling Welch is retained in the title of the Royal Welch
On Sep 23, 2005, at 6:02 AM, Julia Pührer wrote:
> I can confirm this. I have only recently heard that in the Austrian
> province of Carinthia, people who belong to the Slovene minority there
> are sometimes referred to as "welsch" ("wösch").
> J. Puehrer
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Harold F. Schiffman"
> <haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
> To: <lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
> Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 2:45 PM
> Subject: Re: Derivation of "Wales"
>> German also has the term Welsch, meaning something like "outlander" or
>> foreigner. (Now pejorative in "Kauderwelsch" meaning 'mish-mash',
>> jibberish, etc.)
>> Hal S.
>> On Fri, 23 Sep 2005, Kephart, Ronald wrote:
>>> > I doubt Ron's derivation of Wales. I understand it comes from
>>> >Galicia of which there was one in old Anatolia, hardly a place
>>> >where Old English was spoken.
>>> > Christina Paulston
>>> Christina, I could be wrong. I'm going by my American Heritage
>>> Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition (1980), which
>>> gives the etymology as:
>>> Middle English Wales, Old English Wealas, [...] plural of wealh,
>>> foreigner, Roman, Celt, Welshman.
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