Welsh Language

WelshLanguage is one of the languages of Wales (the one that isn't EnglishLanguage). It is a member of the Celtic branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Apparently the celtic languages divide up into two groups: This grouping is a historical one. It is postulated that all the P languages developed from a common ancestor-language, which became distinguished from the other Celtic languages when its speakers began pronouncing the sound *kw (inherited from proto-indo-european) as the sound p, instead. This development is supposed to be the explanation for the p~c sound correspondences observable in words of the modern languages. For example, the Welsh word for "head", pen, corresponds to Irish cen (or something like that... I don't know Irish).

It's ceann, I believe. As to the hard-and-fast P/Q split, see Kim McCone?. I think the book is http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0901519405/ref=sr_aps_books_1_2/026-9703678-6105249 , but I could be mistaken. Mae'n hyfryd i weld Cymraeg ar y Wiki. - LlewelynThomas

In fact, St. Patrick's name gives away the fact that he was a Brit, not Irish, in origin. The originally Irish (Q-celtic) version of the name Patrick is Cethric.

Erm, no. Patrick is a borrowing from Latin Patricius, from patrician. Irish use Padraic for Patrick.

Close, but no cigar: it's Padraig --KeithGaughan?

The P-celtic languages are sometimes called Brythonic, and the Q-celtic ones Goidelic.

(This grouping might explain why I can sometimes get the gist of Breton, but not Irish. --)

For example:

Yr iaith Gymraeg yw iaith Cymru. Mae'n iaith Geltaidd. ("Welsh is the language of Wales. It is a CelticLanguage.")

Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel!

y and w are vowels in Welsh --KeithGaughan?

So ... a student of these languages would have to be sure to mind their p's and q's?

Welsh looks more difficult to pronounce than it actually is. I am not a Welsh speaker, but some of the misleading-looking combinations are:

dd
pronounced th (as in THis or THat).
th
pronounced th (as in THree).
ll
pronounced <soft ch>l where the soft ch is like the Scottish loch or German ich. - <th as in THree>l is a better approximation of Welsh ll. The quicker you say it, the closer you get to a genuine Welsh ll. (If you position your mouth and tongue to say an s, and then try to say an l, you get ll.)
y
most often pronounced like the "schwa" sound in the English word "but", but (in certain words) like the "ee" sound in the English word "beet".
u
pronounced like the "ee" sound in the English word "beet".
w
most of the time a vowel, like English 'oo'.
ff
like English "f".
f
like English "v".
ch
like Scottish "ch", as in "loch".

And don't forget some of the dipthongs, like eu, which sound more like ey

Then there are the mutations. Gymraeg above is derived from Cymru, but I have forgotten how and why if I ever knew. GoogleIsYourFriend?.
Here's how you get Gymraeg from Cymru: the Welsh suffix -eg makes adjectives of nationality and language from country names. So take the word Cymru ('Wales'), add the suffix -eg and, with a little alteration to make it look/sound right, you get cymraeg (adj. 'Welsh') and Cymraeg (adj. and n. 'Welsh [language]', note capitalization).

Now for the mutation bit to get from Cymraeg to Gymraeg. Mutations are changes that happen to certain initial letters of words in certain syntactic contexts. There are three types of mutation: soft mutation, nasal mutation and aspirate or spirant mutation. Different contexts produce different types of mutation, and different types of mutation make different changes to letters.

In your example above, Yr iaith Gymraeg yw iaith Cymru ('Welsh is the language of Wales'), Gymraeg and not Cymraeg is correct because iaith ('language') is a feminine noun, and an adjective following a feminine noun will undergo a soft mutation. In this type of mutation, the unvoiced consonant c becomes voiced g (other things happen to other letters).

If mutations excite you, you can read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/learnwelsh/pdf/welshgrammar_mutations.pdf. To assist in searching for more, the Welsh for mutation is treiglad, pl. treigladau.

-- I don't want to make a HomePage on Wiki; it would just be a waste of space. So I will remain an AnonymousDonor, unless someone specifically asks me not to.

ObXP: can we relate the complexities of the WelshLanguage, and the influence of foreigners' efforts to make it fit the roman alphabet, to software? -- MatthewAstley

See http://www.egt.ie/ -- LlewelynThomas

pattern-identification, maybe? It was actually the Welsh who adapted the Roman alphabet to represent their own vernacular.

In fairness, Welsh orthography identifies it's pronunciation at least as well as Spanish. It just looks a little alien.

Well that shows up my history knowledge, then.


In middle school, my best friend and I tried Memory Chess, with a standard opening setup and standard rules, but no physical board. I think Welsh Scrabble would be a similar exercise in MentalMasturbation.


See also: CelticLanguage
CategoryNaturalLanguage

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