English 451 - Duncan


CELTIC.  (Outside of place names the influence of Celtic on Old
          English is negligible.)

     Place Names:  Thames, Kent, York, Avon, Dover, Cumberland.

     Loan Words:  binn 'basket, crib,' crag, cumb 'valley,' torr
          'projecting rock,' dun 'dark-colored,' etc.


  I.  The Period of Continental Borrowing.  (First to fifth 
     centuries A.D.  Around fifty words came into the language
     through Germanic contact with Rome before the invasion and
     settlement of Britain.)

     a.   War:  camp (L. campus) 'battle,' pil (L. pilum)
          'javelin,' straet (L. strata) 'road,' mil (L. milia)

     b.   Trade:  ceap (L. caupo) 'bargain,' pund (L. pondo)
          'pound,' win (L. vinum) 'wine,' mynet (L. moneta)
          'mint, coin;'

     c.   Domestic Life:  cuppe (L. cuppa) 'cup,' disc (L.
          discus) 'dish,' pyle (L. pulvinus) 'pillow,' cycene (L.
          coquina) 'kitchen,' linen (L. linum) 'linen,' gimm (L.
          gemma) 'gem;'

     d.   Foods:  ciese (L. caseus) 'cheese,' butere (L. butyrum)
          'butter,' pipor (L. piper) 'pepper,' senep (L. sinapi)
          'mustard,' cires (L. cerasus) 'cherry,' pise (L. pisum)
          'pea,' minte (L. mentha) 'mint.'

     e.   Other:  mul 'mule,' pipe 'pipe,' cirice 'church.'

  II.  The Period of Celtic Transmission.  (Latin words held over
          from the Roman occupation of Britain which ended in 410
          A.D.  Almost nothing remains outside a few elements
          found in place names:  ceaster (L. castra 'walled
          encampment') found in names such as Dorchester,
          Winchester, Manchester, Lancaster, and wic (L. vicum)
          'village,' found in Greenwich, etc.

III. The Period of the Christianizing of Britain.  (Seventh to 
          tenth centuries A.D.  Examples below are given in
          modern form since most of these words have altered only
          slightly in form.) 

     a.  Religion:  abbot, alms, altar, angel, anthem, candle, 
          collect, creed, deacon, demon, disciple, hymn, martyr,
          mass, nun, offer, organ, palm, pope, priest, prime,
          prophet, psalm, relic, rule, sabbath, temple, tunic.   
     b.  Domestic Life:  cap, sock, silk, purple, chest, sack. 

     c.  Foods:  lentil, pear, oyster, lobster, mussel, millet.

     d.  Plants:  coriander, cucumber, fennel, ginger,
          periwinkle, pine, aloes, balsam, cedar, cypress, fig,
          savory, plant.

     e.  Learning:  school, master, Latin, verse, meter, circe, 
          history, paper, title, grammatical, accent, brief (vb).

     f.  Other:  fever, cancer, paralysis, plaster, place,
          sponge, elephant, scorpion, camel, tiger, giant,


     (Mid-ninth to mid-eleventh centuries.  The initial influence
     was in the Danelaw, or the northern and eastern areas of
     England settled by the Danes.  Examples below are in modern

     a.   Nouns:  band, bank, birth, booth, bull, calf (of leg),
          dirt, egg, fellow, freckle, guess, kid, leg, race,
          root, scab, score, scrap, seat, sister, skill, skin,
          skirt, sky, steak, trust, window.

     b.   Adjectives:  awkward, flat, ill, loose, low, meek,
          muggy, odd, rotten, rugged, sly, tattered, tight, weak.

     c.   Verbs:  bait, call, cast, clip, cow, crave, crawl, die,
          droop, gasp, get, give, glitter, lift, raise, rake,
          scare, screech, take, thrive, thrust.