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Subject: Re: selkie
From: Fiona Patrick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scottish Gaelic Language beginners forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 1 Aug 2003 19:59:18 +0100
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Moran taing, Candon.  Tha seo ir leth inntineach.  Cha robh mi eōlach air am
facal Selki bho Norn mar sin is tusa as ceart  :-) .  'S math sin.


> --- Fiona Patrick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> >  So selkie was there to be
> > found.  I
> > burrowed deeper into Dwelly and found 'seilche' - tortoise/turtle
> > againn.
> > Well that could be a development of slige [shell] mar sin, chum mi
> > orm
> > a-rithist.
>
> _Seilche_ 'turtle', Seilch_ 'water monster' and most definitely
> _seilcheag_ 'snail, slug'  come from Old Irish _seilche_ 'snail,
> turtle'.
>
> >Thinking on how genetives can alter names I came to
> > 'siliche' -
> > spare or lean creature, pithless creature - well it had
> > possibilities.  it
> > was a creuture!
>
> Maybe.  MacBain suggest it might have come from _siol_ 'seed'
> therefore seedy.  Perhaps it comes from the word _si/l_ and means
> something like 'some one who is pithless because they are dripping
> from having to live outside in the rain' i.e. 'homeless'.
>
> >then came sėleagach - dripping wet - a further
> > possibility.
> > a link with wetness - from the verb 'sėl'
>
> And probably from Old Irish _siled_ 'a dropping, dripping'.
>
> > A bit of back-tracking agus fhuair mi e - 'sealacha' - seal!
> > Sealacha isn't
> > a kick-in-the-pants off Selkie  I can't inmagine why i hadn't come
> > on it
> > before.  MacBain hasn't anything to say on it - unless it's under a
> > less
> > obvious spelling.  It does appear, superficially at any rate, like
> > a GOOD
> > Gaelic word.  It still has cognate with Soelh but also quite
> > clearly links
> > to Gaelic expressions for water & wetness.
>
> It could also be a straightforward loan from Old English, or a
> semi-phonetic spelling of _seilche_.  And speaking of the Germanic
> Languages, the Old Norse for 'seal' is _selki_, exactly the word
> found in Scots _selkie_ (Old Norse was a major contributor to the
> formation of the lowland language).
>
> No, Scots _selkie_ is quite definetly of Germanic origin and wasn't
> borrowed from Gaelic.  Indeed if the word were to have been borrowed,
> the West Highland tales would would use selkie rather than the _ro\n_
> (or older _roan_) that they do use.
>
> Fionnghal, all the words you have mentioned could have some sort of
> root in an Indo-European word or root.  I don't know.  But when we
> have a Scots word that sounds and means exactly as the Old Norse word
> (a major contributor to that language's formation) it's simpler to
> assume that the word is Germanic, and not borrowed.
>
> The Old Irish word _seilche_, while _looking_ similar to _selkie_
> sounds quite different, and if borrowed into Scots might have sounded
> like *silech not selkie.
>
> > || moruach - mermaid, sea-monster - a word no longer in use here
> > but looks
> > as if it could have derived from 'muir + each'.   This appears to
> > be to an
> > Old Scottish Gaelic equivalent of the Irish 'murúch' no Candon's
> > 'murdu\ch(a)'.
> > +
> > maighdean-chuain - mermaid
>
> Modern Irish _muru/ch_ 'mermaid' most definetly comes from Old Irish
> _murdu/cha_ 'mermaid'.  An earlier spelling, before the spelling
> reform of the 1950s was _murdhuacha_ 'mermaid' which clealy shows the
> etymology.
>
> So my suggestion that we might find a Scots Gaelic *murdhu\ch(a) (or
> something similar) is quite reasonable.
>
> In fact, _moruach_ looks like something similar: cf. Gaelic
> _mor(dh)uach_ with Irish _murdhuacha_
>
> Candon
>
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