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On Friday, November 12, 2004, at 03:01 , Thomas Leigh wrote:

> Sgrìobh Ray:
>> BTW I note the subject line is 'Celtic word for
>> "tree"' - and we haven't had the word yet! The
>> closest is the root *k_wrenn-, thus Irish & Scots
>> Gaelic _crann_ "tree", Welsh & Cornish _pren_ "tree".
>> But it's not the normal word in Welsh or Cornish.
>
> Just in the interest of nitpicking :) -- _crann_ is not the usual word
> for tree in Scots Gaelic either; the usual word is _craobh_ (which in
> Irish means "branch" or "bough").

So it's not. Unfortunately I have no English to Gaelic lists, dictionaries
etc. - only the other way round! When I got as far as _crann_ and found
what I wanted I did not read on   :)

But I've just checked in my copy of Alexander McBain's "An Etymological
Dictionary of the Gaelic Language" (by that he means Scots Gaelic), I
discover _craobh_. The word apparently exists in Irish but, according to
"Teach Yourself Irish", it means 'branch'. The TY Irish lists _crann_ for
tree.

McBain gives _croeb_ or _craeb_ as early Irish forms of _craobh_ but the
word appears to have no equivalents in the Brittonic langs.

While nits are being picked, I should say that I have been informed that
the modern Irish spelling of the word for 'door' is _doras_ and not
_dorus_ as I gave. McBain gives only _dorus_ for both Scots & Irish Gaelic
and also for Old Irish. My copy of "Gaelic without Groans" (1963 reprint)
gives _dorus_ for Scots Gaelic, but Hugo's "Scots Gaelic in Three Months"
(1996 edition) gives the spelling _doras_. From this I assume the older
spelling in both Gaelics was _dorus_ but that the contemporary spelling is
_doras_. But both -as and -us are pronounced AFAIK [@s}     :)

But when all nits are picked, it is still clear that:
- the Gaelic & Brittonic words for "oak" have nothing whatever to do with
Sankrit's or any other language's word for "door";
- that though the root *k_wrenn- has derivatives in all the modern Celtic
langs, the actual words normally used for "tree" in the various languages
do not derive from any one common form.

Ray
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Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
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