Werdna Yrneh Yarg
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With a simple background in schoolboy French and Spanish, I became interested in studying Celtic languages at 16, as well as N.T. Greek. After asking my father (who achieved distinction in all his A-levels) what the etymology of BLACK was, having known that the German adjective is SCHWARTZ > 'Swarthy', and the French is NOIR(E), it happened to be just a word that came into my mind as not in any way connected to them. This sparked my interest in pursuing any word that might be carried through from Celtic, that was still spoken generally in the United Kingdom until the advance of the Saxons, the Angles (hence Anglo-Saxon), and the Vikings, et cetera. These conquests practically wiped out the Celtic vocabulary, except in certain place names and, particularly river names - some of which are actually pre-Celtic in origin. Certain words have been handed down in speech before any records were left of their written forms. Words like DOWN and DUN have Germanic cognates, but if they have been carried down from the Celts it is because of their Germanic equivalents. There are a few exceptions to this and, words of Iberian origin - separate from Basque that is isolated from the rest of the European languages - are very tricky to attest from their origin and links with pre-historic Spanish or Javanese. Etymologies have been my focal point of hobby interest as far as languages are concerned for over forty years. If disallowed to continue editing etymological sections on the Talk (Discussion) pages, my ultimate work was to compile an Etymological word list, included only Middle English and older words, thus eliminating all the borrowed words, especially from Classical background. This would involve a point system to be included, (that I had already commenced); as follows: 0 = absolutely not; 1 = exceedingly unlikely; 2 = very unlikely; 3 = dubious; 4 = possible ; 5 = probable; 6 = likely; 7 = unattested; 8 = attested; 9 = obvious, (this relating only to indisputable, almost matching earlier words in the same language). Upgraded terms:  means 'Absolutely not;  means 'Exceedingly unlikely';  means 'Very dubious';  means 'Questionable';  means 'Possible';  means 'Probable';  means 'Likely';  means 'Most Likely' or *Unattested;  means 'Attested';  means 'Obvious' - only used for close matches within the same language or dialect, at linkable periods.
Enough said about personal background, except that I used the origins of languages in their family trees as my non-fiction subject for my O-level G.C.S.E. English Language in 2003. I only obtained a B- because the paragraphs were not linked properly, but re-wrote it to obtain A-. It was four years later that I took up the subject seriously to write out all the mediaeval and older words commencing with A and B, with their etymologies from the Oxford Etymological Dictionary, comparing certain words with their Celtic equivalent from Welsh, Gaelic and Irish dictionaries. Very few had to be stated differently than what I read, but those that did were developed in a similar manner to some already on Wiktionary. I used to like to think of a Celtic origin of a number of words; but they either have that origin or they do not. Hybridity of Celtic and Germanic origins of certain words cannot be out ruled, since the Celtic slaves would not have taken on the Anglo-Saxon language over night, particularly amongst themselves - many would not have had the learning capacity to do so! (If a word begins with 'Cl' and has been retained from Celtic, it will still retain 'Cl', whereas the Germanic equivalent is 'Hl'. Germanic initial 'K' equates with Greek initial 'G', when relevant). 'Wookey' in Wookey Hole, is from Celtic OGO(V) [and possible the root of COVE, with its Germanic cognates]. 'Hole' is from Germanic for a 'cave' or 'cavity'; so when we use 'WOOKEY HOLE' we are really saying 'CAVE CAVE' from two different language sub-families! Certain lexemes exist that have Germanic cognates but yet are all of Brythonic origin, without having a separate Germanic root. MOOR is an example of this, having its meaning mutated from 'sea' through to 'swamp' and finally to 'heath'. This equates with Cornish HAL, that now means 'moor', earlier as 'marsh', from the root of HYLY (salt water), akin to Greek ΆΛΣ (HALS) = (sea), and also (salt) - but that final connection is very dubious! The point that I make is that if a word has its equivalent in French it is likely to come from French or Old French, not from an older conquest origin. If a word is closer to its Scandinavian counterpart than its older English form, it will be at least influenced by that cognate word if not directly from it. An exception to this is ROCK, that is carried through in the bisyllabic word STĀN-ROCC, from the Celtic, possibly remotely connected to Cornish RAGG in RAGGENYS (rocky island). The vowel sound was often lengthened in Anglo-Saxon when a dental lost its nasalisation, for example SANDHA became SŌTH = SŌDH, MOND became MŪTH, TANDh became TŌTH, et cetera. The stock root of the origins of 'six' and 'seven' pre-date any posed roots in Wiktionary and are of extreme antiquity, especially that of 'seven'. The Welsh and Cornish for 'six' and 'seven' are a hybrid of Celtic and Uralian; compare Finnish kuusi and seitsemän, respectively. The origins in the British Isles were from Gomer and all of that area belonged to that same pre-historic family. It must be remembered that the original language in Britain was older than Punic (the language of the Carthaginians) - it was like the ancient Canaanite of the Castari. The original language in Wales is certainly the oldest in the British Isles, where languages that belong to three or four different language families were spoken during its history. The -aeth and -eth suffices are pre-Celtic. A number of British words differ little from their Germanic counterparts and so were easily assimulated. It is wrong to assume that all of the ancient words in the British Isles were eliminated by conquests. It has been stated by scholars that much of the Celtic tongues are pre-dominantly Brythonic or Goidelic in their vocabulary, but Punic or pre-Celtic in grammar! A scholar has proved that while most of Pictish is now of Brythonic origin, there are remnants of scripts that belong to the Neolithic form of ancient Pictish, of which TAGONA, (whence Gaelic THA = 'yes' and 'to be), resembles Basque DAGO; and NAUKA (to have), closely resembles, both phonetically and semantically that in Basque.
To take it up seriously, regard for all the sound changes laws has to be manifest. Most words retained only in bisyllabic form in Old English survived the Anglo-Saxon conquest, but PIG may be an exception. Certain patterns are soon learned, although there are exceptions. There are very few exceptions to Grimm's law and Verner's law. For example, 'Dh' became the fricative 'F' in Romance languages; but 'TH' did not become 'D', so there is absolutely no etymological connection between Greek THEOS (God) and Latin DEUS, ultimately related to Sanskrit DEVA (god). 'S' and 'H' did not derive from SH in Proto-Indo-European; but such consonants were separated very early in its history. They are even distinct between Goidelic 'S' and 'F' = Brythonic 'H' and 'GW' respectively; but these Celtic sound changes are nothing to do with the earlier changes. Grimm's Law and Verner's Law have to be followed when pursuing etymologies through to ancient words that no longer exist, such as in Indo-European that was a language, albeit in a relatively confined community. On the whole, pre 20th century dictionaries present etymologies that are not sufficiently reliable for Wiktionary contributions! There seems to be no evidence to support the theory that the Proto-Germanic language moved into the North West by migrants; but rather, that the Proto-Indo-European produced it as a language branch in Germany and surrounding areas, as also Celtic in the Alps.
Just because peoples spoke one language, or one of the languages, does not mean that they belonged to the same race or of the same ethnic origin at all. We do not assume anything on Wiktionary without knowing facts. Such facts include the dispersion of languages over four millennia ago . This is partially attested by the many splinter dialects in the Caucasus range, including the root of Basque grammar. Considerable significant changes then took place over a comparatively short period of time within most of these language families. Before this, little is known about an original language; and Nostratic is scientific, but not proved. However, a truly astute etymologist, unbiased by teaching speculations, can readily see that "Hiddekel" was the oldest form of the ancient forms of the River Tigris. Dr. Yehuda certainly conjectured in the early 1930s that Hebrew evolved from the ingress of Aramaic (by the patriarchs) into the current Canaanite and Egyptians forms subsequent to their arrival in Egypt; however the Aramaic roots seemed to have prevailed as also its influence in that stage of the history of the Hebrew language. Conclusion can be formed that either primeval Hebrew was the original language, or the original tongue was that of ancient Aramaic.
Wiktionary shows an asterisk * in front of many word roots: this means that they are unattested, but scientifically correct; these being confirmed by PhDs et cetera. If there is a definite word connection with an ancient root still documented, we do not need that asterisk *, because that is attested.
The reliability of any etymology, in any language, is directly proportionate to the square root of the multiple of the certainty of the accuracy of the century or confined period in which a word was first used in the community (however limited) AND the certainty of the etymological path(s), including the ancestral language(s) and its cognates. Andrew H. Gray 11:45, 28 January 2019 (UTC) Andrew (talk)
Some REGULATIONS for Editing Etymologies on the Main Entry Pages.Edit
1. Before considering an edit it must be sourceable from a reliable and known dictionary source, preferably a multi-volume dictionary, or that from a Wiktionarian administrator who is an etymologist.
3. Most words found in Old English are of Germanic or Proto-Germanic origin; especially if the semantics of the cognates are close in meaning. However, if they are not clearly linked in meaning, do not assume that they have a Proto-Germanic root.
4. "Cognate" is used to present related lexemes that are found in the same language branch during approximately the same period. Only use "akin" in the instances of lexemes or words that are compared in a distinct Indo-European branch such as Greek, Latin or of Celtic, to Germanic, for example.
5. If cognates are found in Old French, that is likely to be their origin, except for borrowing from more modern French; but in all cases check with a reliable dictionary, such as Oxford Etymological Dictionary, Skeat's, Merriam Webster's (on the earlier part of the section) and Gresham's New English Dictionary.
6. Do not be tempted to pioneer etymologies on the Entry pages; and follow the rules of etymology instructions in
7. If in doubt, do not assume anything, and place suggestions in the Tea Room pages.
8. Lastly, but not least; make sure that all the formatting rules are followed, and that all edits are followed by clicking on the central rectangular box depicting "Show preview" and reading how it will look, before returning to the edit and saving the page!
User:Werdna Yrneh Yarg Andrew H. Gray 21:05, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
- ^ The Story of Language,name=Barber C. L., page 86