Sunday 18 May 2014

Cyfri Defaid

Yn ardal Cumbria a deheudir Yr Alban,byddai bugeiliaid tan yn ddiweddar yn cyfri eu praidd wrth ddefnyddio'r Gymbrieg a siaredid yno tua'r 11eg ganrif.
Dyma esiampl o ardal Keswick: yan (1), tyan (2), tethera (3), methera (4), pimp (5), sethera (6), lethera (7), hovera (8), dovera (9), dick (10), bumfit (15) a giggot (20). 
From Tony Walker
Sheep Counting.

The Cumbrian sheep numerals are clearly Celtic in origin and clearly Brittonic rather than Gaelic. Their closest relatives are those of Welsh, Cornish and Breton. However, I think that the form 'giggot' proves that they are not imported from Wales (though they may be from Stratchclyde). Actually the Strathclyde survival is a bit of a red herring as the Medieval Kingdom of Strathclyde with its language 'Cumbric' was alternatively known as Cumbria or Cambria. So to talk about importing from Strathclyde to Cumbria is tautological.

Ok, Giggot.

20 in Irish is Fichead and 20 in Welsh is Ugain.   So far no obvious connection. In Middle Welsh it is ugeint. Getting closer. Both the Irish and Welsh forms point back to a Common Celtic form   *wicant.  In Welsh
and in Cumbric an initial 'w' can grow a "G" in front of it. Normall does actually, but irritatingly not in ugeint (=20). Compare Gwas (a servant) Welsh and "Gos" a servant as in "Gospatric" and early Cumbrian
aristocrat. So common Celtic would regularly give something like "Gwigent" in early Cumbric. Now another thing that Cumbric appears to do is, after growing a g in front of a w sound, it loses the 'w' leaving
just the G. Compare Gospatric against the Welsh Gwaspadrig and the Galloway word "gossocks" which is of the same origin. 
Still with me?  So I would expect the Cumbric word for 20 to have been Giggent.    Clearly I have still to explain the loss of the 'n'. Irish does it too in 'Fichead' notice above, but I am not claiming Irish
influence. It is either a development of the Cumbric langauge that we know nothing about or it has just got worn down over the centuries 
There you go - pretty strong arguments in favour of the Sheep counting numerals in the North West of England and Scotland to be relics of the native Cumbric langauge rather than imports or reinventions.  For
comparison I give the Welsh numberals to 20 in their feminine forms. Remember sheep 'dafad' is feminine so I would expect the Cumbric numerals to be feminine too.

Un, dwy, tair, pedair, pump (pron. pimp), chwech, saith, wyth, deg, un
ar ddeg, deuddeg, tair ar ddeg, pedair ar ddeg, pymtheg, (pron.
pumtheg), un ar bymtheg, dwy ar bymtheg, deunaw, pedair ar bymtheg,