Page images
[blocks in formation]


biodh, G. seems-to-me

diritza-t direct

direach, G. compare Latin, "dirigo." to make eguin

co-eignich-gu, G. truth eguia

gwir, W. done eguin

gwneyd, W. In making the above selection, my object has been to show illustrations from both Cymru and Gael; and it will be observed how curiously the word for “friends," maiteac, has been divided by the two races, the Welsh taking the first half, the Gaelic taking its

latter part.

II. The second vocabulary is taken from Dr. Latham's “Elements of Comparative Philology,” London, 1862. Pp. 678-9.

The learned author quotes 49 words, of which he finds only 12* resemblances, divided among 6 languages.


BASQUE. 1. God jainco

jen, Zirianian 2. Thunder turmoi

diermes, Lap * Nine resemblances will be found in these seven words; the remainder were in the numerals.



[blocks in formation]


= rain.

5. Lake

aintzira 6. River errio (? Spanish)

re'ka 7. Ice lei

led 1. Jainco (God), compare Gaelic, ionnsaich (to know). 2. Turmoi, thunder; Gaelic, tairneanach, thunder. 3. Gau, night; compare Welsh, caddugol (night), also gwyll

(dark). 4. Uri, euri; Gaelic, uisge 5. Aintzira, compare Gaelic, linne ; also the terminal “ ira”.

with Welsh "aw." 6. Errio, river; compare Welsh, “aw"

aw" = flowing 7. Lei, ice; Gaelic, eigh, ice.




barr, G. Hair illea

gwallt, w. Eye beguia

beachdaich, G. Ear belarria

compare the Gaelic word boidhre, for

deafness. Nose sudurra

sicireachd, G. Mouth aboa

labhair-àrd, G. Tongue

mingana Hand

compare the Welsh word estyn, “ to

hand.” Foot oina

bonn, G. Blood odola

compare the Welsh, gwaedol,"bloody." Bone

asgwrn, W. Beard bizarra

feusag, G.

N.B. This is precisely the same word, if we give f the power of b, and make the g a silent guttural.

canan, G.



[blocks in formation]

The following numerals are also from Dr. Latham, as above :bat, 1; biga, 2; hiru, 3 ; laur, 4; bortz, 5; sei, 6; zazpi, 7; zortzi, 8; bederatzi, 9; amar, 10.

The strong resemblances, in some cases, lead to the inference that all are corrupted from the Latin, as are the Welsh and Gaelic numerals also.

Compare bis, twice, with “biga," a two-horse chariot; tres = hir in hiru; quatuor, l-aur; quintz, bor-tz; sex = sei, the "x" mute; septi = zazpi ; octa = zortzi ; dec-em = amar.

The word bat = 1, may be derived from the Sanskrit ordinal prathama: compare primate, the Greek pheristos= best, and our own word “first;" the word bederatzi = 9, is perhaps a compound of bat for 1, and zortzi for 8 = 9.

As these notes are addressed only to the philological aspects of the Basque, it would seem superfluous to enter at any length upon the historical, geographical, and ethnological points involved in the question, “ Are the Basques of Celtic origin ? " however interesting that question may

be. But to avoid misconception, I will just remind my

readers that the Basques of to-day occupy, in Spain, the territory of the ancient Cantabrians, a word purely Celtic; as is our own Cantii of Kent, from ceann = headland; and the Brigantes of Yorkshire, from bri = hill, or mountain ; so that the ancient Cantabrians were the “hill-men of the headlands,” N. W. Spain. The modern province of Gallicia contains in its construction the root-word Gael, where also is the ancient promontorium Celticum, now Cape Finisterre. (Compare Finisterre in Britanny, among the Armorican Celts of N. W. France, and our own Land's End, among the Celts of Cornwall.) Here also was the ancient city of Brigantium, situated near Corunna, which has not, I think, been fully identified. Who need doubt that these people were Celts, -are true Celts ?

It will, perhaps, be expected that I should offer some attempted explanation of the apparent value of equivalents shown in the foregoing phonetic changes.

I. The Gaelic guttural: “g, ch, chd," seem lost in the liquid “r," and the vowel, a; while the “l” is dropped in both cases ; the “d, and dh " become “t," while our own “t” becomes their “c."

II. There is a tendency to add vowels to the terminal Welsh “1, 11;" while the strongly breathed “gw" seems lost altogether.

III. Two natural phonetic changes are shown in the Fr: merite deserved, which, in Basque, becomes mereci: t =c; and in the Latin gloria, which in Basque is loria.

But, if I am right about the vast phonetic change exercised upon the Latin numerals, it would seem useless attempting to systematize the


Finally, I rely most on the Welsh rather than on the Gaelic affinities; and this is only what is to be expected, considering the greater resemblance that the Welsh bears to the Celtic dialect of Britanny.


III. The following vocabulary is taken from Baron Humboldt's Supplement to Adelung's Mithridates, vol. iv. p. 294: Berlin, 1817.







acid gacia

garg, G. bone

esgyrn, W. rain uria

gwlaw, W. to sound

sein fawr = sonorous, W. to blow } foafotu

ffatiau = a blow, W.; literally,

a pat strong

spionnadh, G. entrails esteac

grealach, G. fly ulia

leig, G.

nis or nas, G. throat, or voice eztarria

geiriau, W. Relying chiefly upon the Welsh, I append the following polyglot, derived chiefly from the Apostolides' Paternosters.

1. Basque; 2. Welsh ; 3. Armorican; 4. Irish; 5. Gaelic.

N.B. The Irish aspirates are omitted. Our Father which art in heaven;

3. Hon Tad pehini oud en Envou ; 1. Gure Aita carena Ceruetan.

4. Ar na n'Ataar ataar Neam;; 2. Ein Tad yr hwn wyt yn y Nefoedd ; 5. Ar-n-Athair a ta air Neamh ;

no, not


« PreviousContinue »