« ForrigeFortsæt »
DURING the Roman occupation there existed in Cumbria two Celtic languages only partially intelligible to each other, besides those remains of older dialects (already mentioned) introduced with, or before the time of, the Celtic peoples. The forts constructed by the Romans (as far as we know anything about them) all bore Celtic names, certain evidence that each one was in connexion with a native population. Somewhat of the same state of things existed in Cornwall; yet in the latter province the native language maintained itself into the last century: in Cumbria our evidences are scanty that Celtic was ever spoken within its limits.
It is necessary to account for the extinction of Celtic in Cumbria compared with Cornwall. First, at the time of the Gothic invasion Cornwall was much more thickly populated than Cumbria; the latter, from the nature of the ground, contained fewer inhabitants than any other part of England. Secondly, against Cornwall only one section of the Gothic peoples was directed, against Cumbria both add to which, the former received no Danish invasion. Thirdly, civil war being at an end, Celtic Cornwall could only be affected on one side, Cumbria was open to external influence on two sides, if not three.
Celtic survived to so late a period in Cornwall, that we have historical evidence of the time and manner of its extinction: this is altogether wanting in the case of Cumbria. In the year 1722, Cornish was spoken by the vulgar in two or three parishes at the Land's End, but the same persons also spoke English. Even
then the English dialect of Cornwall was remarked for its correctness, and it is probable we should now search its vocabulary in vain for evidence of a Celtic extraction. Why, then, need we be surprised that the English dialect of Cumbria retains few or no Celtic words, seeing that its old dialect was probably extinguished centuries before that of Cornwall.
It has been already pointed out (see page 5) that in the name of Holme Cultram we have evidence that Hiberno-Celtic was dominant in the northwest of Cumbria as late as the reign of Henry I. Lanercost is similar evidence on Cambro-Celtic. How late the ancient dialects maintained themselves on the slope of the Pennine, it is impossible to say; but probably as this was the part earliest colonised by the Celts, it was that in which their language latest survived.
The following is a part of what still remains current of the
ARD (H. C. ard, high), dry.-Lat. arduus.
BEEL (H. C. beul, the mouth), to bellow.
BOGGART (H. C. bac, to stop, to hinder), a ghost. The ta euphonic addition.
BOGGLE (H. C. bac, to stop, to hinder), to be brought to a stand, a ghost or apparition.-The Welsh bogelu.
BRAID (H. C. braith, to betray), to resemble. "He braids o' me," he is like me.-Old E. bewray, G. verrathen, N. bregda.
CALKERS (H. C. calc, to harden), the irons fastened to clogs.— Lat. calco, I tread upon, A. S. calc, a shoe, E. calk, to stop the seams of a ship.
CAMMED (H. C. cam, to bend), crooked.
CAMMOCK (H. C. cam, to bend, dim, ending og, young, kind of), a crooked stick. The ending ock, wherever found, is Celtic.
CORP, H. C. corp, the dead body.
GAPE, GOPE (H. C. gob, the mouth, the beak of a bird), to talk foolishly. Prov. gab, gob, the mouth, gabble, E. gape, and many others.
GAWP (H. C. corp, the body), an unfledged bird, a young child. GAWRLING (gorpling), a dim. of gawp, and in the same sense. Nursery saying: "Gape, gawrling, and I'll gi' thee a worm."
GowL (H. C. guil, to weep), to weep or cry. Fr. gueule, the mouth of animals, gueuler, to brawl, E. howl.
LAM (H. C. lamh, the hand), to beat. Irish prov. lambaste, to beat violently.
MARROW (H. C. mar, like to), an equal.
marrows of it," these are not fellows.
MASK (H. C. measg, to mix), to mix with water-" to mask the tea." E. mash.
"This is not the
RAG (H. C. rag, abuse), to scold. Irish prov. to ballyrag, to abuse publicly in the street (baile, a town).
SAD (C. C. sad, firm), heavy, thick; "sad cake," when not made with yeast. This word cannot have come in any other way than through the Celtic, though it does not exclusively belong to the Welsh language.
URCHIN (H. C. uircin, a young pig, from obs. porc, a pig, see page 75), a hedgehog. E. urchin, a brat.
WAD (H. C. uidhe, a road), direction. "It lies in the same wad." Wad-lead probably so called because lying in strata.
In pointing out the Celtic words of any English dialect, we labour under the disadvantage of not having for comparison any portion of the original language, and instead only the cognate dialects Irish and Welsh. Moreover, so closely does a great number of Celtic words resemble those of the Gothic languages, that there is often a difficulty in deciding from which side to trace the descent.
For some time after the first Gothic invasions, a state of very great linguistic confusion existed in Britain. Fortunately, wherever different peoples come in contact, a considerable part of the population finds no difficulty in acquiring the language of the opposite side. The want of education does not appear to be an obstacle, and no doubt during the period in question, Britain had its bilingues, and its dialects were freely mixed and corrupted. We cannot get a better specimen of much of the language spoken
during that time, than the word luraane (supposed to be lordDane), from the D. lure to lurk, H. C. ending an (pr. awn), Lat. part. ant, meaning a lurking fellow. But this kind of dialect, the product of necessity, disappears in course of time, until its traces become difficult to discover.
The dialect of Cumbria would probably have experienced the same fate as that of Cornwall, had there been no Danish colonisation. But this event turned the scale against Celtic, besides imposing a number of words foreign to other parts of England. The present dialect-namely, English mixed with archaisms and provincialisms -began to form itself much earlier than is supposed, and the slowness of its progress can only be accounted for by the closeness of the little communities in which the older dialect was spoken. It is probable the dales were to a great extent exclusively colonised by the Danes, and it is in those parts the provincial peculiarities of the dialect are especially to be found.
Angles and Saxons, though without means of preserving their share of the dialect, enjoyed the advantage of speaking the same language with their kinsmen of the rest of the island. It is not surprising, therefore, that even the number of Danish words now forms but a small proportion of the list that makes out the glossary. Nevertheless archaisms exclusively Angle are perhaps more difficult to point out than Celtic, as all such were most likely to merge in the modern dialect.
HADDER (G. hader, a quarrel, D. had, hate, spite), to drizzle. "It's a haddery day." "It keeps haddering and raining." It has been observed by a correspondent of the Kendal Mercury that this word is in common use about Orton and Shap, but not at all in the south of Westmorland. It is also used in the north of Cumberland. Its provincial use is difficult to be accounted for; a number of words allied to the above, exist in the Gothic dialects, but all signifying hatred, etc. Probably in the connexion of the words spite and spit we have an explanation of the manner in
which it arrived at its Cumbrian application. From the localities in which it is found, there can scarcely be a doubt of its Angle origin. It is the Scotch huther, which Jamieson supposes to be the Islandic hiufrar, but from this it could not come. Jamieson has also huttit, hated, and hutkerin, ugly (hateful?)
TANSY (G. tanz, a dance, D. dands, a dance), a merry night," or public-house annual benefit ball. It is not in general use; but belongs to the Borders, and amongst other places, to the neighbourhood of Hesket.
WEALD (G. wald, a forest, from obs. val, a hill, cf. G. wallen, to undulate), anciently forest land, now more generally land cleared of forest. A tract of land on the east border of Westmorland. Prov. wold. The harvest labourers from the Weald of Sussex are called "wildish men" in the neighbouring counties.
WELSH (G. wälsch, strange, foreign), insipid. "Wuntry (D. vantro) waerch," incredibly welsh or insipid, gives the DanoEnglish form of this word. Welshman, the general name at one time amongst the German tribes for a foreigner; Wales, Wallachia, Wälschland (Italy) are all of this origin. It has the same derivation as the last word, val, a hill, wald, a forest. Cf. G. waller, a traveller, and It. forestiero (a forester), a stranger. The Whale of Westmorland was the name given by the Angles of Helton to the "foreigners" on the other side the Lowther. Cf. Wales, also a gentile name.
YAUD (E. jade, an old horse), a horse. The Grey Yauds, the grey horses, a stone circle near Cumwhitton.
The Angle words here selected are given as remarkable in themselves, and as supporting what has been said of the localities originally colonised by the invaders from beyond the Pennine. There are many more, but the difficulty of discriminating between the dialects, forbids their introduction within the present limits.
are not so easily pointed out as may be supposed. Very considerable changes have taken place in the Scandinavian dialects since