SSi Forum

Connections with other languages


Well no matter how and why, aber/aper seems very close to aperto (Latin - aperire), both for sound and meaning.
In my first searches in Italian I didn’t find anybody mentioning Venetian, just Greek but also Sanskrit - that might as well connect the two words much earlier in time?
(will see if I can find anything else)


According to what I can find, there’s an Indo-European root wer- that means ‘to cover’ (and is – apparently – related to words like ‘weir’ and ‘warranty’); Latin aperio ‘I open’ is then supposed to come from the preposition later found as ab in Latin (English ‘off’) – ap + wer giving the root aper-, past participle apertus.

The Venetian form is just the Latin word with a couple of soft mutations: p -> b -> v averto, and the Greek is borrowed from Venetian: the usual Greek word for ‘open’ is ανοιχτός (anoichtos, pronounced anichtos in Modern), which goes back to some separate Ancient Greek term for ‘not covered’.

I don’t think there’s actually any provable link between aber and apertus according to accepted etymologies, although that’s not to say that Welsh monks literate in Latin (or Romano-Brits) might not have made the association before us: even if they’re not, in fact, related we can still link the similar sounds with the similar meanings. (Like I think I said elsewhere, English ‘have’ actually matches with Latin capio/Welsh cael-caffael, and not with Latin habeo/French avoir, despite the obvious similarities in sound and meaning – but I strongly suspect that, say, Germanic Auxiliaries in the Legions would have thought haban and habere were basically the same word.)


Well, we haven’t had one of these for a while, so here are three, one of which I just came across today.

1: In conversation in the pub a few weeks ago we needed the word for ‘vowel’ and, checking in the dictionary, found llafariad. Not obviously related to ‘vowel’, but clearly something to do with llafar ‘voice’ (also Cornish lavar ‘saying’) – but then English ‘vowel’ is just a doublet via French of the more Latin ‘vocal’ – which comes from vox ‘voice’. So now I remember llafariad.

2: In another pub conversation we needed the word ‘invoice’, which turns out to be anfoneb – something to do with anfon, sending something? And then we looked up English ‘invoice’, and it turns out to be from Old French envois – presumably from when you ‘send’ (envoyer) a bill to someone. So now I remember both anfoneb *and* the etymology of English ‘invoice’. Bonus!

3: Today I came across something about someone doing something with ei ên, and guessed from context that it might be their ‘chin’ – but if it was gên it looked a bit suspiciously similar in shape to the English word, so I looked it up anyway, and sure enough it was. Germanic had a k- sound (as in German Kinn, Dutch kin) where Celtic has a g-, and then the Germanic ki- combination turns into a Modern English chi- in the same way that ‘kitchen’ = cegin. So, yes, gên = ‘chin’ :slight_smile:


I have just read that mellt ‘lightning’ is related to Mjǫllnir – the name of Thor’s hammer. This makes me happy.


You could go on a long etymology journey with yma/mae/dyma.

I didn’t realise this, but Mae and yma are supposedly related: (they both sound the same where I live anyway - simply ma)

Wiktionary says - The third-person singular present mae originally meant ‘here is’ and is from the same source as yma “here” plus PIE *esti.

Moving on to “dyma”, this has the same construction of elements, but different etymology to Voici. Dyma comes from Wel dy yma (see to here), but the Wel (see) has been lost, but still there in French Voir ici (see to that place here).

also interesting to compare how the ci and ma bits can be used in the same way, in their stead:

cet homme- ci ― this man
y dyn 'ma - this man


Ooh, I’ve got to tell Angharad that (although it might not please her quite as much as it just pleased me!) :slight_smile:


A little Scots Gaelic gem I saw tweeted this morning:

The Scottish # Gaelic for “our father who art in heaven” is: “Ar n-athair a tha air nèamh.” “Our snake who art in heaven” is: “Ar nathair a tha air nèamh.” This is a mixup that is best avoided.
Which reminded me that the English ‘an adder’ was originally ‘a nadder’ – corresponding to Welsh neidr (and Gaelic nathair).


Yup, it’s importand to know one’s fadder from n’adder :roll_eyes:


Here’s a nice little simple one, that surprised me when I first came across it in Welsh: pared, for a ‘wall’, comes from Latin pariēs (stem pariet-), and corresponds to Castilian Spanish pared. Also Occitan pared, Catalan paret, French paroi (from earlier pareit), Italian parete and a fair few others.

While we’re at it, I guess we might as well do mur, too: French, Catalan, Occitan, Albanian, Polish etc. mur, Italian and Castilian muro, as in English ‘mural’ and ‘immure’.


Not a connection with another language as such, but I have a hunch on Gog v Hwntw words and differences, that is only a hunch and could well be wrong.

I have a feeling that in Welsh there has over time been a tendency, as the grammatical structure becomes more elaborate to shorten words by chopping off either the beginning or the ends of words and after that the process continues by chopping off the other/alternate end of the word.

Between North and South this process may sometimes go out of synch. Here are two examples to show what I am thinking.

Noefiad - to swim becomes Nofio or oefad (a soon to be obsolete southern word). If that continued Nofio would become ofio and oefad would become oef.

Ydyw becomes ydy o’r yw. and ydy then goes on to become 'di, whereas yw has nowhere left to go, although I hear people simply saying y all the time, for the times tables etc dau dau y pedwar, rather than dau dau yw pedwar.

Just an idea, but there have been other examples over the time I’ve been learning that make me wonder.?


Just from the top of my head, so no reason for it to be correct. Pared also reminds me of parapet.

Also mur etc, reminds me of magwr (as in the place near the M4 services. Apparently it has a connection with a wall, possible an estuary defence, which no longer exists.


I don’t know, but my instinctive reaction is that Welsh, like English, has quite a strong stress-accent, but that unlike English it’s pretty regularly on the last syllable but one. (Old English has it regularly on the root syllable of verbs – i.e. the first syllable ignoring any prefixes – and the first syllable of nouns, not excluding prefixes; Modern English is more of a mess, but still tends to have the stress on native English words towards the beginning of the word.) So in any Welsh word that’s long enough for it to matter, you’re basically guaranteed to have syllables both before and after the stress that are pronounced less strongly, and have the potential to disappear in everyday speech – whereas in English that’s mostly just going to happen at the end of the word.
In fact, it occurs to me that in Welsh you’re more likely to have the final syllable weakened, than to disappear completely – otherwise you’re either left with an unusual stress-pattern, or the stress has to shift. But it’s quite easy for the start to vanish altogether – I’m thinking 'chydig for ychydig, goriadau for agoriadau, that sort of thing.
I know that’s not the whole story, by a long chalk: sometimes the stressed syllable seems to vanish, leaving the stress to go elsewhere (I’m thinking of @aran saying cymrodd vs. @catrinlliarjones cymerodd, if I’ve got that the right way round), and it doesn’t explain anything to do with your North/South observation, but it’s all I can come up with at the moment :slight_smile:


I wonder how other factors could affect syllable stress - I hear some accents up North (not all) , with a distinct stoccato feel where the syllables of words are almost dissected into chunks and a word like isio has two syllables and an emphasis on ish, with almost a stop or pause, and then rises again to a distinct stop on the o, while eisiau in other dialects, particularly down south is more Rondo and has no stoccato feel at all and I’m struggling in that case to pin down where the stress actually is, although I think the tone rises to where the second I is, which is hardly pronounced and then falls - which fits with the penultimate syllable stress etc.


I love the NW Welsh accent (in both languages). To my ear there seems to be an additional slight stress on the last syllable of an important word, and a slight up-tone, but not as high as in a question. I like that - it conveys a meaning.

Has anyone else been keeping up with the stuff about English being described as y iaith faen? The thin language. I assume it refers to some English accents (not all) being less tonal and poetic than Celtic languages.


And German “Mauer” is not a million miles from “mur”.


Indeed :slight_smile:


I guessed one of the answers on Millionaire last night. Quotidinal sounded like Daily as I recognized Dydd in there. It turned out that the PIE root Dyre or simillar connects to Day and God/Divinity in many languages. I think it was Diw in Welsh. Diw, Diwrnod and hopefully Dydd. Connected to Shining.


Yes, dydd goes with Zeus Pater and Jupiter and Dyauh Pitah (‘sky-god father’) – and Tiw, whom Tuesday is named after, but (surprisingly) not the English word ‘day’ :slight_smile:


One that came up today on Twitter: Lleuwen tweeted a poem for International Women’s Day that posed the question of whyat about the women who don’t get celebrated – Beth am buteiniaid?

I really didn’t recognise that word, so looked it up in the GPC, only to discover it was a perfectly recognisable Romance word for ‘prostitute’ – as in French pute, putain, Spanish/Catalan puta, and culinary Italian puttanesca – but subjected to enough Cymrification to disguise it.

So the word is actually putain, just like the French: but then the plural ending -iaid makes the -ain- bit change to -ein-; and in Lleuwen’s question, the am inevitably caused the p to soften to a b.

So there we go: I’ve unpicked it, and may well now remember it: I’m just not sure how often I’m actually going to use it…


day (n.)

Old English dg “period during which the sun is above the horizon,” also “lifetime, definite time of existence,” from Proto-Germanic *dages- “day” (source also of Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch dag, Old Frisian di, dei, Old High German tag, German Tag, Old Norse dagr, Gothic dags), according to Watkins, from PIE root *agh- “a day.” He adds that the Germanic initial d- is “of obscure origin.” But Boutkan says it is from PIE root *dhegh- “to burn” (see fever). Not considered to be related to Latin dies (which is from PIE root *dyeu- “to shine”).

Meaning originally, in English, “the daylight hours;” it expanded to mean “the 24-hour period” in late Anglo-Saxon times. The day formerly began at sunset, hence Old English Wodnesniht was what we would call “Tuesday night.” Names of the weekdays were not regularly capitalized in English until 17c.

From late 12c. as “a time period as distinguished from other time periods.” Day-by-day “daily” is from late 14c.; all day “all the time” is from late 14c. Day off “day away from work” is attested from 1883; day-tripper first recorded 1897. The days in nowadays, etc. is a relic of the Old English and Middle English use of the adverbial genitive.