Tuesday, November 7, 2017

... on Celtic and Indo-European (quora)

Can you give any examples of recognisable Indo-European roots in Celtic languages? Words with roots which are not later loanwords from other groups? I have read that Celtic languages are Indo-European, but their words look unfamiliar.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
I speak two langs, Latin and Germanic. In a few dialects.
Answered just now
aithir in Irish is thought to be same as pater
máithir is same as mater
bráithir is same as frater
siuir / fiuir is same as soror, or thought to be so

aon, daoi, trí, cáithir, cóig
sé, seacht, ocht, naoi, deich

However, clearly mac is NOT same as either filius or hyos, iníon is NOT the same as either filia or thygater.

Also, Latin filius and filia are not the same as hyos and thygater.

There are in fact a lot of words which are NOT common to Indo-European languages.

There are two explanations possible:

  • there was a PIE language, but in each daughter language (the main ones, like Celtic, Italic, Greek, Germanic …) lots of words were exchanged, either through loan or through slang or when the language was taken over by people originally speaking sth else;
  • there was NOT a single PIE language, the commonalities we see between the groups are due to mutual influence, since this was limited, some words are simply not IE, since not part of what this or that language took over from the other ones or offered to them.

Inis as in island is of course not one of those common to all IE languages, but could very well be the origin of the Latin insula (ínis-la, insla, insula).

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