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Thread: Similar words between Latin and Gaulish Celtic

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    4 members found this post helpful.

    Similar words between Latin and Gaulish Celtic

    How much did the ancient Romans understand the Gauls when Caesar set on his 9-year campaign? Would the language have appeared outlandish to Latin ears, like Basque is to us today, or on the contrary rather familiar like Romance and Germanic languages are to English speakers? Or maybe somewhere in between? Latin is an Italic tongue and as such shares a lot with Celtic languages, as the two only split from one another in the Late Bronze Age. Some linguists even classify Italic languages as a branch of Celtic. In any case 2000 years ago there were several Italic languages or dialects and many more varieties of Celtic. Chances are that Cisalpine Gaulish was more remote to Goidelic tongues of Ireland than to nearby Italic languages.

    Without entering too much into details, I would like to concentrate here on basic everyday vocabulary that would have been mutually intelligible between Romans and Gauls. As there were various dialects of Gaulish sometimes two variants of the same word are mentioned.

    Nouns

    Latin Gaulish English
    Equus Epos/ekwos War horse
    Caballus Caballos Workhorse
    Carrus Carros Wagon
    Cassis Cassi Helmet
    Gladius Gladios/cladios Sword
    Lancea/hasta Lancia Spear/lance
    Damnum Daunei Destruction, damage
    Nomen, nomino Anuana Name
    Tribus Trebo Tribe
    Vir Uiro Man
    Pater Ater Father
    Mater Matir Mother
    Rex Rix King
    Regina Rigan Queen
    Bucca Bocca Mouth
    Deus Divos/devos God
    Argentum Argento/arganton Silver
    Stannum Stanno Tin
    Canis Cunos Dog
    Cattus Cattos Cat
    Taurus Tarvos Bull
    Sus, Porcus Succos, Porcom Pig
    Capra Gabro(s) Goat
    Betulla Betulla Birch
    Mare Mori Sea
    Dies Dios Day
    Nox Nox, noux Night
    Unus Oino One
    Duo Duo Two
    Tres Treis/tri/tidres Three
    Quattuor Petuar/petro/petru Four
    Quinque Pempe/pimpe Five
    Sex Suexs Six
    Septem Sextan Seven
    Octo Octu/oxtu Eight
    Novem Nauan Nine
    Decem Decan/decam Ten
    Centum Canto/Conto Hundred


    Adjectives/adverbs/conjunctions

    Latin Gaulish English
    Et Etic And
    Ex Es Out(side)
    Intra, intus Entara Inside
    Itum, Item, Idem, Etiam Eti Also, too
    Ita, sic Isoc Like, as
    Nunc Nu Now
    Novus Novio New
    Senex Seno Old
    Magnus Maros Big, large
    Medius, Medium Medio Middle
    Rectus Cert (c & r inversion) Right
    Rutilus, Cocus Rud, cocos Red


    Verbs

    Latin Gaulish English
    Battuere Bat- Beat, hit
    Bibere Ibere Drink
    Cantare Cantare Sing
    Cambi(a)re Cambiare Ex(change)
    Dare Dere Give
    Gnatus, Genitus Gnatos, Genos Born
    Legare Legare Bequeth, offer
    Sedere Sedere Sit
    Venire Benire Come
    Vertere Vertere/vartere/vortere Turn

    Note that many words are identical appart from the -us ending becoming -os in Gaulish. But since both languages use similar declensions, these ending would have changed depending on their function in a sentence anyway, so that for a singular masculine word in -us, it would have become -um (Latin) -on (Gaulish) in the accusative, -i (for both) in the genitive and -ō (Latin) -u (Gaulish) in the dative. The similarity of grammar would have made it easy to learn each others language.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 07-09-21 at 21:02.
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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    While making research for the list above I realised that a few words in English actually have Gaulish/Celtic roots.

    Gaulish English
    Aballo Apple
    Beber Beaver
    Oxso Ox
    Redo Ride
    Andero(s) Under


    Other Gaulish words are related to Germanic languages rather than Latin.

    Gaulish English Old German/English
    ab of ab/af
    Beccus Beak Becca
    Bri'ua Bridge Bruwwi
    Dori Door Dor/duru
    Dunum Town Tuna/tun
    Duxtir Daughter Dhuter/dohtor
    Iouin Young Jung
    Landa Land/field Land
    Libu Love Lubo/lufu
    Ollo All Al/Eall
    Rectu Right (law) Rehtan/rihte
    Roudo Red Roti
    Sonno Sun Sunna/sunne
    Sam Summer Sumar/sumor
    Vidu Wood Witu/wudu
    Vistu/vid/vissu Wisdom/wise
    Last edited by Maciamo; 01-09-21 at 21:18.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    some other similarities between gaulish and germanic words would include:

    duxtir=daughter

    bri'ua = a bridge, Proto-Germanic *bro'wo', *bruwwi' 'a bridge

    isarno=Iron,
    Proto-Germanic *isarn

    sam=summer

    sedlon =saddle, German Sattel

    suadu- (pleasant) akin to "sweet"

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    some other similarities between gaulish and germanic words would include:

    duxtir=daughter

    bri'ua = a bridge, Proto-Germanic *bro'wo', *bruwwi' 'a bridge

    isarno=Iron,
    Proto-Germanic *isarn

    sam=summer

    sedlon =saddle, German Sattel

    suadu- (pleasant) akin to "sweet"
    Gaulish duxtir and its Germanic counterpart (see English "daughter") is inherited from Proto-Indo-European. See also Greek thygatēr (θυγατηρ) and Persian dokhtar (دختر).

    The word iron in Germanic was no doubt borrowed from Celtic. According to Ringe, the root *īsarno- is vrddi construction (lengthened e-grade), regularly shifted in Celtic.

    The word for 'saddle' may also be a borrowing, or a shared inheritance.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    We have to be cautious and base ourselves on more words;
    some of the Maciamo 's list are loans of Latin to Celtic; the contrary surely occurred for other words;
    and the numeral figures are not a good sample to to with: too much closeness between a lot of parent languages (numbers tied to trade in some way).
    This topic had been spoken about already some years ago, and I had made a list of Latin and Galish words and the proximity between both languages was not so evident; even with evident cognates, a small number of phonetic diverging evolutions are enough to create bad understandablility in spoken languages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Gaulish duxtir and its Germanic counterpart (see English "daughter") is inherited from Proto-Indo-European. See also Greek thygatēr (θυγατηρ) and Persian dokhtar (دختر).

    The word iron in Germanic was no doubt borrowed from Celtic. According to Ringe, the root *īsarno- is vrddi construction (lengthened e-grade), regularly shifted in Celtic.

    The word for 'saddle' may also be a borrowing, or a shared inheritance.

    for 'saddle' rather a borrowing, I think, we would have waited a word in *'sat-l-' or *'set-l-' if it was a cognate ?

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    if we search we 'll find a lot of cognate words in Slavic(s) too, left the phonetic evolution aside; and for some words, this evolution didn't create too much difference. Only an allover lexicon comparison could give us a taste of the respective distances between these languages. It wonder if Germanic isn't the more "central" between all, for vocabulary, if we exclude old loans to Latin by the others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    We have to be cautious and base ourselves on more words;
    some of the Maciamo 's list are loans of Latin to Celtic; the contrary surely occurred for other words;
    and the numeral figures are not a good sample to to with: too much closeness between a lot of parent languages (numbers tied to trade in some way).
    This topic had been spoken about already some years ago, and I had made a list of Latin and Galish words and the proximity between both languages was not so evident; even with evident cognates, a small number of phonetic diverging evolutions are enough to create bad understandablility in spoken languages.
    Exactly my thoughts on the subject, too.


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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    We have to be cautious and base ourselves on more words;
    some of the Maciamo 's list are loans of Latin to Celtic; the contrary surely occurred for other words;
    and the numeral figures are not a good sample to to with: too much closeness between a lot of parent languages (numbers tied to trade in some way).
    This topic had been spoken about already some years ago, and I had made a list of Latin and Galish words and the proximity between both languages was not so evident; even with evident cognates, a small number of phonetic diverging evolutions are enough to create bad understandablility in spoken languages.
    Yeah, I think a broader comparison that also included modern Celtic languages (e.g. Breton, Irish and Welsh) would be useful - having said this, the Brythonic languages in particular have a share of Romance loanwords that replaced native Celtic ones (e.g. words for "bridge", "fish" and "people" were Romance borrowings). I agree that phonologically Latin and Gaulish were not so similar. One difference you notice immediately, of course, is that Latin had /kw/ (qu) in places where Gaulish usually had /p/. An example is Latin "equus" and "quinque" versus Gaulish "epos" and "pimpe". Celtiberian, which preserved the /kw/ sound, was more similar to Latin that regard.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    @Taranis;
    Agree concerning Brittonic: the Roman long presence with a more evolved society for comfort/cosiness, technics and new religion has produced a lot of loanwords in Brittonic;
    modern Welsh and/or Breton: cadair/kado(a)r : chair - magwyr/moger : wall - ffenestr/fenestr : window - (y)stafel : room (< stabula) -
    eglwys/ilis : church - allor/altar : autel - porth/porzh : harbour/port (a big part of the lexicon) -

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    I put again here what I had posted then:
    I doesn't exclude some synonyms common to both languages;

    GAULISH LATIN ENGLISH
    cattos feles cat
    ibos?- eburos taxus yew
    camba curvus curve
    talo frons, frontis forehead, front
    tâxo meles badger
    caliavos lepillus, silex little stone
    briga altitudo, munimentum hill, height,
    brog regio-nis, pagus country, region
    magos campus, planities plain, open fields
    lanon terra, planities plain, open fields
    math sus, suis, porcus pig
    nanto vallis, vallicula valley, dale
    novios novus, recens new
    seno vetus, senilis old
    (s)asiam secale rye
    mâros magnus, procerus big, large
    medio medium, medius half, middle
    epos, marca- equus, caballus horse
    are prae, ante ahead
    ver super on
    vindo albus, candidus white
    rix rex, regis king
    isarno ferrum iron
    carruca aratrum plough
    verno alnus elder tree ?
    mori mare sea
    upsello/uxello summus, superior high, superior
    nerto/naritu vires strenght
    -samo -issim superlatif
    sonno sol, solis sun
    vidu arbor, lignum wood, timber
    bud victoria, praeda victory, win,
    tutto gens, gentis people, folk
    gabros capra goat
    labar- loquor- speak-
    ambi circum, circa around
    isca, dobro- aqua water
    bona terminus, fines, boundary stone
    cladios ensis, gladius sword
    ritom vadum (portus) ford
    genos?- gnatos natus born
    pennos caput, capitis head
    garr-* crus, cruris leg
    cavan- noctua, bubo, bubonis chat-huant
    bron- pectus, sinus bossom
    braca- bracae breeches
    druto spissus, densus dense (thick,fat...)
    nemeton templum, fanum, aedes temple
    tarvos taurus bull
    allo alius, alter other
    sedlon sedes, sella seat
    bardos poeta, bardus bard, poet
    gaesa lancea lance
    ratis filix, filicis fern
    doula folium leaf
    betulla betulla birch
    beccos rostrum, culmen beak, tip, peak
    leuga leuca
    carpentom plaustrum cart
    cambi- mutat-, permutat- (ex)change-
    cocos, rud ruber, rutilus, cocus ? red
    treicle pes,pedis foot
    aballo malum apple
    doro janua, ostium, porta door
    trebo tribus folk, tribe
    berula cardamina, nasturcium watercress
    brucos myrica heather
    blato frumenta, triticum, farina wheat, meal
    bedo- fossa (sepulcrum?) ditch, grave
    artos ursus bear
    abonna flumen, amniculus river
    ander vacca cow
    catu pugna, proelium fight
    vobera plaustria marsh
    benno acume, vertex tip, peak
    cumba vallicula small dry valley
    biber fiber, castor beaver
    bag fagus, faginum beek
    ambactos obses, obsidis servant, hostage
    anuana nomen name
    allos secundus, alter second, other
    matu bonus good
    ater- pater father
    bnanom<<ban- femina, mulier woman
    curmi cervisia beer, ale
    cert- recte, justus right
    cintux primus first
    da da- give !
    dios dies day
    duxtir + gnata filla + nata daughter + born
    eti item, quoque also, too
    exo praeter, excepta excepted
    mapo-, gnate filius, natu son
    in in in
    isoc sic, ita like, as
    carata* amata loved (fem.)
    bratu* judictum, sententia judgment
    lubi ama- love !
    lugos corvus raven, crow
    matir mater mother
    nane fames hunger
    nepi/nepon quidam, aliquis somebody
    nu nunc now
    ponc quando when
    regu- offerre, praebere, da- offer, give
    rigan- regina queen
    toncnaman jus jurandum oath, pledge
    vo sub under
    vero superior

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    Moesan, what is the source of your list?

    I see a large number of them that are latinized, others where I feel they may be transcribed erroneously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Moesan, what is the source of your list?

    I see a large number of them that are latinized, others where I feel they may be transcribed erroneously.

    I think I took them in more than a source and when I think, some of them could have been found in A.DAUZAT 's work about French words eymology, some of Celtic origin passed through Late Latin, so surely some of them were latinized. I 'll precise the diverse source to you; it was not a scientific work with chronologic forms or ... I 'm more attached to roots than to declinations, as you have maybe guessed on my previous posts about ancient languages.

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    Taranis, here under a list of words I think I found in one of the Xavier DELAMARRE works about Gaulish.
    But I have not the Latin translations to compare word by word spite some correlations can be found sometimes. Before I disentangle my first list, I hope it could help some forumers here.

    allos second
    anatia souls
    ancios narrow
    ambi(tou)tos co-citizens
    anderon young women
    anmat(u) not good
    anuana names
    areitalo region, district, countryside
    artuas high places
    atom/atos edge
    ava grand-daughter
    barnaunom judged persons
    batoron fighters
    biiete be !
    bionti they are
    bnanom women
    bocca mouth
    brictom charm
    briwtia magy
    budduton kiss
    cambion change
    cammanom way, path
    cantam (circular) pan, enclosure
    karnitu stoned (put/covered with stones)
    catili plates
    certiognu with right reasons
    cintux first
    conscilitom to carve, to prune ?
    Crixos (personal name) curly (?)
    cue and
    curmi beer
    da ! - give! -
    daga good (fem.)
    daunei destruction
    decametos tenth
    derce eye
    di(ios?) day
    dunon high place > fortress ? -
    duxtir daughter
    edi is (v.)
    entara inside
    es outside
    eti also, too
    exa coming from, out of
    exucri ! - go out ! -
    gabi takes, receives (v.)
    geneta, gnatha daughter
    gobedbi with the smiths
    gob- smith
    ibetis ! - do drink ! (v.)
    ifadem stallion
    in in
    incarata not loved (hated?)
    incors ! - shut ! (v.)
    inte noviio in a new mode
    internon among, amidst
    isoc so
    linda drinks (n.)
    loncate you are swallowing (food)
    lubi! - do love ! -
    luge oath, promise
    mugos crow, raven
    macarni food
    macasiam fence
    mar(os) big, great
    mat(u) good
    matir mother
    meion small, little
    mid month
    molatus praise
    mon my
    namet(os) ninth
    nane hunger
    naritu strenght, force
    neddamon neighbours
    nemeton sanctuary
    nepi, nepon somebody
    Nertocomar(os) (personal name : « great by his strength »?)
    nu now
    oilam young ewe
    ollon big, large
    onobiia streamy waters ? (water+live?)
    oscues somebody
    oxtumetos eighth
    pape/papi/papon… every
    petuar four(th)
    pimpetos fifth
    pissiiumi I shall see (v.)
    ponc when
    porcom pig
    rigani to the queen
    risu writing (?)
    sedlon sit, chair...
    sesit he has linked/tied
    sextametos seventh
    silabur silver
    sindiu today
    sleitom stricken/struck
    so this (pron.)
    sosin this ? - that ? -
    tarvos/taurom bull
    tidres three
    toncnaman oath, promise
    tousei sum, amount
    toutios citizen
    trinox three nights stage
    tuθos citizen
    ulano ful satisfaction
    veadia female weaver
    veia strength
    velor I want (v.)
    ver-, ur- superiority prefix
    vertai outside
    vertatos outside
    vidlu by (clair)voyance
    vimpi pretty
    vo under (adv. + prefix)


    I can (with time) put the new Celtic tongues words inherited (with semantic evolution) or cognates to this list words.
    As everybody can expect, a lot of these words can be found among Greek, Germanic and Slavic languages, and not too much denser in Latin.

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    a small list with diverse neo-Celtic languages cognates: I have not tried to put all the meanings, by lack of place. Just for the fun, as a little taste of... Vaclav BLAZEK [vatslav blazhèk] has written (compiled?) diverse Gaulish words with comparisons with other languages. I 'll try to copy some interesting pages. Vaclav BLAZEK [vatslav blazhèk] has written (compiled?) diverse Gaulish words with comparisons with other languages. I 'll try to copy some interesting pages.


    cattos feles G/I cat, W cath, Br kazh cat
    ibos?- eburos taxus

    camba curvus G/I cam, W cam, Br kamm bent, lame + wrong
    talo frons, frontis W tâl, Br tal forehead, front, Fr talus
    tâxo meles

    caliavos lepillus, silex ? W caill, Br kell testicule, Fr caillou little stone
    briga altitudo, munimentum W bre, Br bre hill, W bri, Br bri respect, fame
    brog- > broga regio-nis, pagus OI mruc, W bro region, Br br country, region
    magos campus, planities W i maes, Br er maes outside, maes, field(s)
    magos -id- OI *magh
    lanon terra, planities W llan, Br lan hallowed place
    math sus, suis, porcus

    nanto vallis, vallicula W nant, vale, valley, Br (n)ant furrow
    novios novus, recens G nodha, I nua, W newydd, Br newez new,
    seno vetus, senilis G/I sean, Crn hen, Br hen old, ancient
    (s)asiam secale

    mâros magnus, procerus G/I môr, W mawr, Br meur great, big
    medio medium, medius I meàn middle W i mewn inside
    epos, equus, caballus G/I each horse, W ebol, Br ebeul colt, foal
    marca equus, caballus G marcadh to ride, W march, Br marc’h horse
    are prae, ante

    ver super W gwr-, Br gour- super- (prefix)
    vindo albus, candidus G/I fionn fair, white W gwyn Br gwenn white
    rix rex, regis G/I ri(gh) king, OW/Obr rhi/ri lord, king
    isarno ferrum G/I iarann,W haearn,Br houarn (<ho-iarn) iron
    carruca aratrum G/I càr car, chariot, W car, Br karr car, cart
    verno-s alnus G/I feàrn-, W/Br gwern alder-trees
    mori mare G/I muir, W môr, Br mor sea
    upsello/uxello summus, superior W uchel, Br uhel high
    nerto/naritu vires G/I neart, W nerth, Br nerzh strength, force
    -samo -issim W -af, Br -añ(v) < -ham+ superlative suffix
    sonno sol, solis

    vidu arbor, lignum G fiodh wood, timber, W gwydd, Br gwez trees
    bud victoria, praeda W budd, Br buz+ profit, bote
    tutto gens, gentis I tuath country, W tud+ Br tud people, parents
    gabros capra G/I gabhar, W gafr, Br gavr goat
    labar- loquor- G/I labhair to speak, W llafar, Br lavar speach
    ambi circum, circa W am about, around
    isca, aqua G/I uisce/uisge water, rain (Whisky)
    dobro- -id- I dobhar, W dwfr/dwr, Br dour water
    bona terminus, fines, W bôn base, trunk Br bon landmark, milestone
    cladios ensis, gladius G/I claidheamh, W cleddyf, Br kleze(ñv) sword
    ritom vadum (portus) W rhyd, Br roudouz ford
    genos?- gnatos natus W geni, Br genel/ganiñ to be born
    pennos caput, capitis G/I ceann, W pen, Br penn
    garr-* crus, cruris W/Br gar leg
    cavan- noctua, bubo, bubonis Br kaouenn owl > Fr « chat-huant » (*chouan)
    bron- pectus, sinus W bron, Br bronn breast
    braca- bracae Br bragoù ~breeches
    druto spissus, densus Br druz dense, abundant, fat
    nemeton templum, fanum, aedes G/I neamh, W nef, Br neñv heaven
    tarvos taurus G/I tarbh, W/Br tarw bull
    allo alius, alter G/I eile, W/Br (ar)all (an)other
    sedlon sedes, sella G/I sui(dhe) to sit, W sedd, Br sez seat
    bard-os° poeta, bardus G bàrd, W bardd, Br barzh bard, poet
    gaesa lancea

    ratis filix, filicis W rhad grace, blessing
    doula folium G/I duille(ag), W deilen/dalen, Br deilenn leaf
    betullus* betulla G/I beith(e), W bedw, Br bezw beech trees
    becc-os° rostrum, culmen Br beg beak, mouth, cape
    leuga leuca G lîog, Br lew
    carpent-om° plaustrum

    cambi- mutat-, permutat- Br (es)kemm (ex)change
    cocos ruber, rutilus, cocus ? W coch, Cn kogh red, scarlet
    rud ruber, rutilus, cocus ? G/I ruadh, W rhudd, Br ruz red, scarlet
    treicle pes,pedis

    aballo malum G ubhal, I ull, W afal, Br aval apple
    doro janua, ostium, porta G/I doras, W dôr, Br dor door
    trebo tribus G/I treabh tribe,W tref town,Br trev p.of paroch
    berula cardamina, nasturcium

    bruc-os° myrica

    blato* frumenta, triticum, farina W blawd, Br bleud meal, flour
    bedo- fossa (sepulcrum?) W bedd, Br bez tomb, grave
    artos ursus W arth, Br arzh bear
    abonna flumen, amniculus G/I abhainn, W afon, Br aven+
    ander vacca Br annoar/onner heifer
    catu pugna, proelium I cath, W cad, Br kad fight
    vobera plaustria

    benno acume, vertex

    cumba vallicula W cwm valley, Br komm coombe
    biber fiber, castor

    bag fagus, faginum

    ambactos obses, obsidis Br ambazh hostage + shy
    anuana nomen G/I ainm, W enw, Br anw
    allos secundus, alter

    matu bonus G/I ma(i)th, W/Br mad good
    ater- pater G/I athair father
    bnanom<<ban- femina, mulier G/I bean, W. benyw woman
    curmi cervisia W cwrw (< cwrf), Br korev beer
    cert- recte, justus G/I ceart right, correct
    cintux primus W cyntaf, Br kentañ first
    da da-

    dios dies G/I dia, W dyw, Br doue god
    duxtir filla + nata

    eti item, quoque

    exo praeter, excepta

    mapo-, gnate filius, natu G/I mac, W/Br mab son
    in in W yn, Br e(n)
    isoc sic, ita

    carata* amata G/I cara(id) friend, W caru Br kared to love
    bratu* judictum, sententia G bràth, W brawd sentence, Br breud trial
    lubi ama-

    lugos corvus

    matir mater G/I mathair mother,W modryb,Br moereb aunt
    nane fames W newyn, Br naon hunger
    nepi/nepon quidam, aliquis W neb,Br neb person, whoever
    nu nunc I nuair when (conj.)
    ponc quando G/I cuin W pan, Br pa when (conj.)
    regu- offerre, praebere, da- W rho(dd)i, Br roiñ/reiñ to give
    rigan- regina W rhiant parent (< authority?)
    toncnaman jus jurandum W tyngu to swear, Br tonkañ to destine
    vo sub G/I fo-, W go-, Br gou- sub-, under-
    vero super ? Br gour- super-, sur-

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    We have to be cautious and base ourselves on more words;
    some of the Maciamo 's list are loans of Latin to Celtic; the contrary surely occurred for other words;
    It doesn't matter for my purpose whether some words have been borrowed from Latin to Celtic or the other way round. I just want to estimate roughly how much the Romans and Gauls would have been able to understand each others, say at the time of Julius Caesar (before, during or just after the Gallic Wars).

    Based on the above vocabulary I'd say that most basic words are similar. The very different words are usually those that are less common, like say heather, fern, yew, watercress, marsh, badger, boundary stone, pledge or hostage.

    But legionaries could easily make themselves understood if they wanted to ask some to "come sit inside now" to discuss the purchase of "a wagon with two workhorses filled with 10 new spears and 5 old swords" or "exchange a warhorse for the tribal king's silver helmet", or buy "a bull, a pig and a goat to bequeath to the gods". All those words would be almost identical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    It doesn't matter for my purpose whether some words have been borrowed from Latin to Celtic or the other way round. I just want to estimate roughly how much the Romans and Gauls would have been able to understand each others, say at the time of Julius Caesar (before, during or just after the Gallic Wars).

    Based on the above vocabulary I'd say that most basic words are similar. The very different words are usually those that are less common, like say heather, fern, yew, watercress, marsh, badger, boundary stone, pledge or hostage.

    But legionaries could easily make themselves understood if they wanted to ask some to "come sit inside now" to discuss the purchase of "a wagon with two workhorses filled with 10 new spears and 5 old swords" or "exchange a warhorse for the tribal king's silver helmet", or buy "a bull, a pig and a goat to bequeath to the gods". All those words would be almost identical.


    Partially agree, partially only.
    All that depends of the time chosen. I haven't sufficient knowledge to date every word (surely a lot of the crossed loans were made after the conquest by Rome and not before, spite Julius Caesar wrote there was not a place in Gaul were there was not a Roman merchant! ; That said, even if based on the spelling we can devine common origin of certain words, the genuine pronounciation of these words could have been very mistaking respective to every of both languages. Are you sure that in a normal speaking way a Roman can recognize 'equus' under the form 'epos'? Even the same written consonants could have been pronounced in a very different way. We are reasoning as knowledged persons (in part) interested in philology/linguistic examinating written texts. I can assure you that in oral dialectology practise we see very more difficulties than in writings. After all, Jules mentioned interpreters for him (but not between certains Gaulish and Britonnic tribes), if I don't mistake.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    Partially agree, partially only.
    All that depends of the time chosen. I haven't sufficient knowledge to date every word (surely a lot of the crossed loans were made after the conquest by Rome and not before, spite Julius Caesar wrote there was not a place in Gaul were there was not a Roman merchant!
    I think that most of the similar words listed above have a shared Italo-Celtic or more broadly Indo-European root (e.g. numbers, family members). I updated the list in post #1 yesterday and now have 57 common words that are very close. How many of these would you say are loanwords from Celtic to Latin or vice versa?

    Then, even if there are a few loanwords, by the time of the Gallic Wars the Romans had already conquered most of Cisalpine Gaul for about 150 years and Gallia Narbonensis for 70 years. That's enough generations for a few useful loanwords to have circulated in both directions.

    That said, even if based on the spelling we can devine common origin of certain words, the genuine pronounciation of these words could have been very mistaking respective to every of both languages.
    Doutful. Both Latin and Gaulish share very similar phonemes. They didn't have difficult vowels like modern French or Danish or tricky consonants like θ, δ, ç (voiceless palatal fricative).

    Are you sure that in a normal speaking way a Roman can recognize 'equus' under the form 'epos'?
    They should. After all the q to p transition also took place in some Italic languages like Sabine, Picentine and Oscan, which Romans would be familiar with, at least through personal names, which we see in names of gentes such as Pompeius (Oscan), Pompilius (Sabine) or Pomponius (Sabine), whose names derive from number five (pompe in Sabellic dialects, closer to the Gaulish pempe than to Latin quinque). I am sure that the word for horse across most Osco-Umbrian regions as well as Cisalpine Gaul (meaning over half of Italy) was closer to epos than equus.

    Even the same written consonants could have been pronounced in a very different way.
    Doubtful. Consonants are still basically the same in all Romance languages today after over 1500 years of divergence. And Romance languages were adopted by various Italic and Celtic speaking populations conquered by the Romans from tiny Latium. Many local words survived this Romanisation until today (hundreds of Gaulish words have survived in French), yet consonants haven't changed in practically any Romance language and dialect.

    We are reasoning as knowledged persons (in part) interested in philology/linguistic examinating written texts. I can assure you that in oral dialectology practise we see very more difficulties than in writings. After all, Jules mentioned interpreters for him (but not between certains Gaulish and Britonnic tribes), if I don't mistake.
    It's always better for leaders to have interpreters so as to avoid misunderstandings on important diplomatic negotiations or treaties, which could have catastrophic consequences. I was just saying that basic exchanges in the street could be conducted between Gauls and Romans without too much difficulty, a bit like between Spanish and Italian speakers today.

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    @Maciamo

    Interesting challenge!
    I ‘ll answer in disorder : This is not a lost of time because it could show how even same family languages can become not understandable in say 1500 years, spite having been written by some
    elites. This is showed on ‘You Tube’ by more than an example.

    Maciamo: It's always better for leaders to have interpreters so as to avoid misunderstandings on important diplomatic negotiations or treaties, which could have catastrophic consequences. I was just saying that basic exchanges in the street could be conducted between Gauls and Romans without too much difficulty, a bit like between Spanish and Italian speakers today.


    Moesan: Spanish and Italian : I doubt it would be possible for basic Italian and Spanish not knowledged speakers to understand each other, only in some short statements, and not for all everyday needs, how basic could be these needs.
    hombre : uomo – mujer : moglie – hijo : figlio – hermano : fratello – sobrino : nipote - primo : cugino niño : bambino - ternero : vitello – carnero : castrato – morueco : montone - cordero : agnello -
    oveja : pecora – perro : cane – ave/pajaro : ucello -
    espaldas : dorso – ojo : occhio – hombro : spalla – pierna : gamba – anca : coscia -
    lluva : pioggia – hierro : ferro – cobre : rame – plata : argento -
    bruno : moreno – amarillo : giallo – limpio : pulito – sucio : sporco – lleno : pieno – viejo : vecchio -
    ventana : finestra – patio : cortile – huerto : giardino – mesa : tavola – vaso/copa : bicchiere -
    aceite : olio – carretera : strada – manzana : pomo/mela – dia : giorno -
    mirar : guardare – comer : mangiare – matar : uccidere/ammazzare – tomar/coger : prendere/pigliare esperar/aguardar : attendere/aspettare – entender : comprendere – salir : uscire/sortire – subir : salire llorar : piangere …
    Here above we have different roots or same roots (IE > Italic cognates very often) with strong phonetic evolution; I have not tried to explore the resources of “fake-friends”, they are not so seldom. Surely, these romance languages show a lot of cognates words from Latin, of Italic or imperial Latin origin, but this does not prove that the inter-understanding is so easy. Evidently, some approximative synonyms plus imagination can help in a slow and tiring exchanges of sentences, as can help mimics and hands language. But we have to keep in mind that spoken and written languages are not the same, and that a lot of so called “Romance” abstract words are in fact Latin medieval loans: they are easy to understand in the whole “Romania” of today and in high level English, but they were not in the basic everyday language of Spanish and Italian speakers, and this intellectual lexicon exchanges were not the rule between Gaulish Celts and Romans before our era, IMO. And what we do, me and others, is listing words. But in today language, even close language of the same “family” which show an allover close enough lexicon, have not the more common synonyms as first choice. So, yes, kind of a hard and limited understanding. For Gaulish and Latin we see on the lists of words that it was very harder !


    Maciamo: I think that most of the similar words listed above have a shared Italo-Celtic or more broadly Indo-European root (e.g. numbers, family members). I updated the list in post #1 yesterday and now have 57 common words that are very close. How many of these would you say are loanwords from Celtic to Latin or vice versa?
    Moesan: The problem of our lists is that I do not know when they came into Latin! For what I think I know concerning your list, carrus, gladius are of Gaulish origin, maybe argentum too, for betulla I know the root bet- is Celtic, the suffix I do not know… Porcom is a Latin form by origin (Scotland Gaelic oircean/uircein without *P-), and I think Cocos is also from latin; there are a lot of words in Celtic languages for ‘pig’, ‘swine’ and similar meanings. In my list, bardus, carpentum are of Gaulish origin.
    Some of the cognates you notice are mistaking: rect (L) > < cert, nomen/nomino (L) > < anuana (G) BI; for magnus and maros I’m not sure they are cognate: look at Germanic (Asx) more, merely (*mar-) # main (*magin-); again: Gaulish -gnato(s) seems reserved to personal names (“born from ...”), for ‘son’ Gaulish had also mapo(s) Breton, Welsh & Cornish mab, Irish & Scottish Gaelic mac (← *makw- ?)


    Maciamo: Then, even if there are a few loanwords, by the time of the Gallic Wars the Romans had already conquered most of Cisalpine Gaul for about 150 years and Gallia Narbonensis for 70 years. That's enough generations for a few useful loanwords to have circulated in both directions.
    I have not a sufficient knowledge of the facts to answer with credibility. It seems that Gauls and Celtic people in general didn’t write before they met Romans and Greeks (they wrote I think in Latin, Etruscan, Greek graphies; I think the list we have, in despite they are heterogenous, show a rather late stage of Gaulish, so with integrated lonwords int it. Poor answer of mine.


    Maciamo: Doutful. Both Latin and Gaulish share very similar phonemes. They didn't have difficult vowels like modern French or Danish or tricky consonants like θ, δ, ç (voiceless palatal fricative).
    Moesan: It is kind of an act of faith; I suppose that everytime when speakers of a tongue borrow a new spelling they make approximations; we see that with the Gaulish written in Etruscan alphabet : no distinction of voiced/unvoiced BI. Even when sounds are closer, it remains differences: French and British people do not pronounce vowels and consonants the same way, even when they try to do: all that is proxi’s. It is almost sure that the tendency we see now among Iberia Romance tongues to lenition in the voiced consonants as been preceded since a long time among Celtic languages, not only for voiced but for unvoiced too: it explains the today stage of Celtic languages and French, particuliarly Oïl French. Based on standard Italian and central-southern dialects on a side and neo-Celtic languages we could suppose Latin was very less tightly pronounced than Gaulish (surely already sandhi/provection phenomenons and lenitions of initial after final vowels) spite articulating stronger the intervocalic consonants: I would say: in the Celtic phrases words were surely more tightly linked one together. Word by word, it seems on the reading of the little we can find about its phonology and the evolutions in neo-Celtic languages, the consonants and groups of consonants were very more unstable than in Latin; the -ct, -pt implosives were unstable, and it seems that in some dialects, initial sr- became fr-, what we found in today Brittonic dialects (it seems an argument for a link tighter between Gaulish and Brittonic than believed before); I know some recent evolutions are not the proof of the previous stage of languages: diverging evolution (hazard + substrata/superstrata) but already… I recall today natural Breton speakers (don’t read or write) are surprised when you tell them they pronounce some words differently according to environment: a lot are not aware of it!
    ad/dadt/(s)zad – penn/benn/fenn – kalon/galon/(H)c’halon - gwaed/waed/kwaed -
    plus, not written, in phrases: mad: > [eñv zo mat] : [mad eo] – mab: [map] > [e mab on] – e-raog:
    [e-rowk] > [e-rowg e vreur] pemzeg [pemzek] + gwas [gwas] > pemzeg gwas[pemzek kwas]-
    Maciamo: They should. After all the q to p transition also took place in some Italic languages like Sabine, Picentine and Oscan, which Romans would be familiar with, at least through personal names, which we see in names of gentes such as Pompeius (Oscan), Pompilius (Sabine) or Pomponius (Sabine), whose names derive from number five (pompe in Sabellic dialects, closer to the Gaulish pempe than to Latin quinque). I am sure that the word for horse across most Osco-Umbrian regions as well as Cisalpine Gaul (meaning over half of Italy) was closer to epos than equus.
    Moesan: word by word an knowledged person can recognize some cognates differentiated only by this mutation. Yet, in a speech made with a normal speed it becomes very hard if we have several words with this mutation, even more if they are short words, at explosive position. The more the common syllabes in a word, the easier the identification. I doubt common people speaking Latin would have been aware of the dialects of other Italic speakers comporting this mutation and other differences too, indeed. A few famous personal names are not enough to built a system of intelligible correspondences. I doubt there has been a real inter-understanding between Italic of both groups, so it would have been even harder between Latin and Gaulish speakers.
    Maciamo: Doubtful. Consonants are still basically the same in all Romance languages today after over 1500 years of divergence. And Romance languages were adopted by various Italic and Celtic speaking populations conquered by the Romans from tiny Latium. Many local words survived this Romanisation until today (hundreds of Gaulish words have survived in French), yet consonants haven't changed in practically any Romance language and dialect.
    Moesan: I have partly answered this just above. The evolution among who we can suppose to be the closer speakers of Celtic to Gaulish ones show that they changed and that these changes are not born out of the air, there was surely already trends towards these changes, and writings are not always the best witnesses. In Welsh of th 7th/8th C. ancient -t- were written -d- as ancient -d- ; I doubtthe ancient -d- were still pronounced [d]; how could have Welsh speakers known whose of them were to become later -dd- [đ] (english that) ? The same confusion occurred for voiceless/voiced/spirantised consonants in Old Breton where the logical evolution and the conservation of an old system of degrees was not reflected in the between orthographic system which lacked new signs. Contrary to what you write, I think Gaulish had already spirantised consonants, but here we need more clues if possible. It is reflected in the different spellings of a same name spite with the same alphabet. ATWThe pronounciation of ancient tongues is based upon comparisons and deductions.

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    sorry
    I insist to say that to understand modern written languages of same family with a lot of international words (technics, medecine, culture etc...) for an educated and knowledged person is not the same as to understand the same languages, but spoken and more "trivial" for people who are not interested in languages.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    The linguist KH Schmidt stated in 1984 that Italic and Germanic uniquely share the word for 'copper, bronze' (Latin aes ~ Gothic aiz, Old Norse eir, Old High German ēr), while Germanic and Celtic uniquely share the word for iron: *īsarno- 'iron'. This would parallel the connections in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    sorry
    I insist to say that to understand modern written languages of same family with a lot of international words (technics, medecine, culture etc...) for an educated and knowledged person is not the same as to understand the same languages, but spoken and more "trivial" for people who are not interested in languages.
    Ok, but why do you assume that ordinary ancient Romans were not interested in languages? It was surely more important for legionaries and traders who were travelling a lot and needed to communicate with foreigners constantly. Surely some of them would have developed an aptitude for languages by force of necessity, if not by personal inclination.

    As for Roman patricians, they received a bilingual education in Latin and Greek and would therefore have more facility to learn other Indo-European languages. Gaulish is certainly closer to Latin than Greek is to Latin anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northener View Post
    The linguist KH Schmidt stated in 1984 that Italic and Germanic uniquely share the word for 'copper, bronze' (Latin aes ~ Gothic aiz, Old Norse eir, Old High German ēr), while Germanic and Celtic uniquely share the word for iron: *īsarno- 'iron'. This would parallel the connections in the Bronze and Iron Ages.
    I think I read this one time already. Interesting but does a single kind of link like this learn us plenty about old connexions? I read we saw all sorts of connexions concerning copper and bronze origins in Scandinavia. A new word very often comes into the 'sink' language (importer) with the first appearence of a stuff, in the tongue of the exporter. But it can have been transported through more than an ethny (chain of exports-imports), or sometimes been "translated" or replaced by a proxi in one of the diverse languages during travel. Plus the trade connexions are not always tightly linked to the ethnic connexions (common ancient origin of people). So, when we speak of ethnies connexions in past, we need a lot of basic lexicon, and the stuffs/commodities names are not the best ones, even more when they are isolated. Let's imagine three ethnies geographically close one to another, forming a triangle. A new stuff can go from one direction at some time, another stuff later from another direction. Could it tell us anything about the thightness of the connections between the three ethnies? I rely more on the family, body, nature, basic adjectives and verbs to establish links.
    The only unsure but not illogical lesson I see here could be that relations between Italics and Germans were more ancient than links between Celts and Germans, and even...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Ok, but why do you assume that ordinary ancient Romans were not interested in languages? It was surely more important for legionaries and traders who were travelling a lot and needed to communicate with foreigners constantly. Surely some of them would have developed an aptitude for languages by force of necessity, if not by personal inclination.

    As for Roman patricians, they received a bilingual education in Latin and Greek and would therefore have more facility to learn other Indo-European languages. Gaulish is certainly closer to Latin than Greek is to Latin anyway.
    I suppose I didn't understand well your point? When I speak of proximity of languages, I think in the common people ability and feelings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    I think I read this one time already. Interesting but does a single kind of link like this learn us plenty about old connexions? I read we saw all sorts of connexions concerning copper and bronze origins in Scandinavia. A new word very often comes into the 'sink' language (importer) with the first appearence of a stuff, in the tongue of the exporter. But it can have been transported through more than an ethny (chain of exports-imports), or sometimes been "translated" or replaced by a proxi in one of the diverse languages during travel. Plus the trade connexions are not always tightly linked to the ethnic connexions (common ancient origin of people). So, when we speak of ethnies connexions in past, we need a lot of basic lexicon, and the stuffs/commodities names are not the best ones, even more when they are isolated. Let's imagine three ethnies geographically close one to another, forming a triangle. A new stuff can go from one direction at some time, another stuff later from another direction. Could it tell us anything about the thightness of the connections between the three ethnies? I rely more on the family, body, nature, basic adjectives and verbs to establish links.
    The only unsure but not illogical lesson I see here could be that relations between Italics and Germans were more ancient than links between Celts and Germans, and even...
    Yes I use it more often Moesan. What I suppose is a 'warrior-elite' spread from the Unetice-middle Danubian area to the North Sea coast in EBA. They founded the Sögel-Wohlde culture. Besides R1b U106 they also brought in a kind of Italo-Celtic tongue (hypothese).

    All tentative and preliminary of course Moesan.

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