SSi Forum

Connections with other languages


That was it, giving Diw in Welsh. The word on Millionaire was actually: Quotidian


One I’ve been meaning to do for ages: llogi.

It turns out that the Latin for to rent, or to rent out, was basically to ‘place’ something (temporarily, for a fee): locare comes from locus, a place, as in English ‘location’. So that explains why car-rental firms in France say location de voitures (they’re not just telling you the whereabouts of the cars) and why tenants are locateurs: the popular Latin forms have treated the word in a variety of ways, giving French louer, Portuguese alugar, Occitan logar – and Catalan llogar and Welsh llogi.

(I particularly like that way that Catalan turned a strongly-pronounced Latin L into the -lli- sound of ‘million’, spelt -ll-, in many of the same places that Welsh turned it into a totally different sound, also spelt -ll-. It means that the Catalan for castell is castell, and the Welsh for dilluns is dydd llun – and that the llog- bit of ‘to rent’ looks exactly the same.)


Siarad has been very tentatively linked with some French, Ocittan, Italian and Spanish words for the unrelated English word Chatter–mostly of unknown origin, all apart from siarad supposedly onomatopoeic - all seemingly popping up in the 15th century-ish or later - Charade, Charrado, Ciarlare, Charlar, with other tenuously suggested links to Charlemagne (Carlomagno) and Charletan. Just putting this out there, since it seems a strange time in history to have words linked through those languages, if indeed they are.

I’ve been looking up Occitan and I think that’s a language @RichardBuck knows a bit about. I was wondering about the age of the troubadours in medieval Europe - poets, minstrels, bards and storytellers. The origins of the Troubadour traditions are unclear - all disputed, but there are suggestions of Spanish Arab links and links to Islamic poetry etc. As it happens the word for poet or minstrel in Arabic is Shaeir. There are also words of Arabic origin in modern English that came via French - like alchemy, algebra, algorithm, sugar, cotten, coffee etc. Could medieval Welsh have adopted a word from troubadours, that came from an Arabic word?? - This is all huge speculation, but you could sort of imagine it being feasible.


Lladron meaning thieves is an awful lot like the Spanish word for theif, ladron.

The welsh singular for one thief, lleidr, not so much.


Lleidr is from Latin latro, lladron from its plural, latrones. There is a pattern of short ‘a’ vowels in a penultimate syllable turning into ‘ei’ or ‘ai’ in Welsh, so latro - lleidr, bracchium - breich/braich, Maria - Meir/Mair.


Aredig=Arar. Another one where the penny dropped today for me. I was listening to the band Bob Delyn â’r ebillion (Thanks so much to @siaronjames for introducing me!). My favourite song by far is Cân John Williams, in the album Dal i ‘Redig Dipyn Bach. ). ‘Redig is short for Aredig, meaning to plough. In Spanish it is Arar, which may not seem too similar. But in the present perfect it becomes “Arado”, which is a bit closer. BTW, Latin root is arare And the thing with which you plough is aratro


And of course we have the English word “arable”. Arable land in farming is used for crops, which implies ploughing, as opposed to it being used for grazing.


and tilled or arable land in Welsh is just simply âr.


Also just spotted “cyfar” for a ploughing or tilling agreement or ploughing together. Tempting to think this form of âr, might be in other words that would show an agricultural origin, but I haven’t really pinned any others down. There are ones out there that would fit and create a quite convincing etymology backstory, but GPC doesn’t show the links.


These are ones that show up directly on GPC, when searching for the English word tillage:

ploughed or arable land, tilth, tillage, (agricultural) land, soil, earth (sometimes of the grave); a ploughing → âr

a ploughing, tillage, cultivation, agriculture, also fig.; ploughed land → arddiad

arable land, tillage → ardir

a ploughing, tillage → ariad

Arddiad does remind me of Ardd for garden, but that comes Gardd, which GPC says is a borrowing from old Norse - Garor. (Garor and Gardr are old norse words for enclosure - cognate with old English Geard, word or Worth, Brittonnic - Garth and supposedly Pictish!!??? - Gardd).


A couple more that came up recently: morthwyl ‘hammer’ is from Latin martellus, as in Catalan martell, Italian martello, Portuguese martelo, and French marteau (Old French martel, as in Charlemagne’s grandfather Charles Martel whence also, apparently, English ‘martel’ a war-hammer).

And gwedd ‘face, appearance’ apparently comes from the same Indo-European root as Latin video as in, um, VCR (he says, showing his age): French voir, Italian vedere, Occitan veire, Catalan veure, English ‘evidence’, ‘view’, etc. What I didn’t realise was that Welsh gweddol (‘fair, middling’, as in Sut wyt ti heddiwYn weddol) is from the same word – presumably in the same sort of way as English ‘Monday’s child is fair of face’ is the same word as in ‘fair to middling’ :slight_smile:


Have we got a video?


I once read, I think it was Carwyn James’s ‘History of Wales’ that one of the benefits of Roman occupation of Wales was to provide us with a means of writing our language, where previously under bardic tradition history was passed down by word of mouth. This would explain the origins of many of the words that you quote. Just a loose thought on my behalf.


Seeing “tillage”, any connection with “curtilage”?

(I came across that word the other day… had been only vaguely aware of its existence before that. These days, used only in slightly legalistic way, I would think). From google:


  1. an area of land attached to a house and forming one enclosure with it.

“the roads within the curtilage of the development site”


I just looked it up - it’s apparently from an Old French form related to ‘court(yard)’, plus what is presumably some sort of diminutive ending, plus ‘-age’. So, apart from the ‘-age’ it looks like it’s mostly coincidental.


Slightly at a tangent, but did anyone else notice this connection in last week’s Advanced Content. For “significant”, Beca used “arwyddocad” containing “arwydd” (sign).

It sounds strange, but until now, I’ve never connected sign with significant in English.


Well, I’m not up to date with the advanced content, so now I’ve learnt arwyddocâd :slight_smile:
The one that did that for me was seeing dw i’n cael yr argraff (I get the impression) within days of seeing argraffu for ‘Print’ on a website. I kind of went “but I thought that meant… Oh! Like when it says ‘first impression’ in a book! Like a printing press! Well I never…”


German has the same concept. “drucken” is to print or to press, and “beeindruckt” is “impressed” (there is also “aufgedrückt”). “Impression” is “Eindruck”.

I think that strictly, “arwyddocâd” is significance, and “arwyddocaol” is significant.




According to the GPC, gwadu ‘to deny (something)’ comes from the same root as Latin (and English) ‘veto’ :slight_smile:


Ah yes sorry. What was the significance/arwyddocâd


I have a strong suspicion the ar in arwain might be link to the “ar” in plough/arable-some one who leads the plough/ox/horse?? . There is an arwydd that means plough but a late entry in GPC (17th century), so don’t know if that “ar” in the other awydd/arwyddo etc etc come from that direction or not.

Oh and cyfarwydd / cyfarwyddo?

Cyfaredir or cyfaradr = cyf and aradr and GPC says co-ploughing, co-arate. The co-arate, I presume is co-aerate. Ploughing is a form of aeration of the soil. So by some strange co-insidence - aradr and aerate could in some instances have the same sorts of meaning - I can’t find anything that says they come from the same origins, but quite a coincidence nonetheless.