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Is French related to Irish? Is that is why I can’t figure out how to pronounce either.

After the Irish name I posted yesterday – Aoibheann, pronounced EE-Van – I got to  wondering if Irish might be related to French (since I have a hard time figuring out how to pronounce words in either language.) I read this on a Yahoo answers posted by a user named Brennus. at
I haven’t researched it further yet so don’t take it as gospel truth.  I will post again when I have looked into the idea further but for now, it is an interesting concept.

There is a tenuous relationship between the two languages because Irish is a Celtic (or more accurately Neo-Celtic) language and French is a Romance language with a Celtic substratum inherited from the Ancient Gauls who spoke a Celtic language. There also appears to be a Celtic substratum in Dutch which also comes from the Ancient Gauls. This gives French a flavor different from the other Romance languages, and Dutch a flavor different from German spoken just across the Rhine.
Some linguists claim that the tendency of French to palatalize a lot as in the change of Vulgar Latin “caballus.” “castillum,” “cattus” and carita to cheval, château, chat and cherie is a carry-over from Celtic. Palatalization is quite common in Gaelic too. For example, Latin ecclesia “church” and scribere “to write” was borrowed into Irish as eaglais (pronounced ogg-lush) and sgríobh (pronounced shgreev).
The nasal sounds in French are probably a carry-over from Celtic too as they did not exist in Latin are not found in Italian either. I remember that Welsh actor Richard Burton once said of Welsh, a Neo-Celtic language, that it could out-nasalize French and out-gutteralize German. Nasalaization also occurs in Irish in a process known as “eclepsis” as in capall “horse” but don gcapall “for the horse” and bád “boat” but don mbád “to the boat.”
There are a few words of Gallic origin in French that have unmistakable counterparts in Modern Irish like 1) barrière “barrier” cf. Irish barr “top/ summit,” 2) briser “to break” cf. Irish brisim “to break, 3)chemin “road,” cf. Irish céim “step”, ” 4) lande “heath / moor” cf. Irish lann “land / holy ground,” 5) ruisseau “stream” cf. Irish sruth; Welsh ffrwydd “stream,” and 6) ruche “beehive” which corresponds to Breton ruskenn “beehive” and to Irish rusc “bark.”
One must keep in mind , however, that despite numerous miscellaneous links between French and the Celtic languages, French is still Romanized enough to be classified as a “Romance” language rather than a “Celtic” language.


6 Responses

  1. It’s scriobh. There’s no g unless you’re speaking scottish gaeilge. And brisim means ‘I break’ in the present tense. Very interesting though.

  2. You’re a woman after me own heart…I really enjoyed this post. I speak fluent French but grew up listening a fine blend of Irish and Italian during my childhood. Actually even when my great aunts spoken English (the language of the Sassenach) I still couldn’t understand them. I read some where that 20% of the words in Dutch also come from the French. And when I read the Dutch newspapers I can always pick them out. Very interesting piece and one I can relate to on a very personal level.

    • In reading about the Celtic underlying base of French they did talk about the same root of Dutch. Old Celtic roots at the bottom of both. I too found that interesting.

  3. Najlepsza strona – audiobooki

  4. For the awesome posts

    I’ll be back in a bit.

    Thank you!

    Bulk Email

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