On 17 Jan 2012 at 9:40, Christopher Gwinn wrote:
> > This is - at least - an Insular Celtic thing, but it probably goes
> > back to much older times. In Bret. "ankou", Corn. "ancow" and W
> > "angeu", all "death", we have formally u-stem plurals continuing PC
> > *ankou̯es < PIE *n̥k̑eu̯es, the plural of the u-stem noun *nek̑u-
> > "dead person, corpse". So the "ecáe" to whom he goes are really "the
> > dead".
> The Neo-Brittonic examples could also represent singular oblique forms, no?
Theoretically yes, but do you know other u-stem nouns that continue
the oblique? An argument in favour of the plural explanation is that
a Bretonist once told me that in Breton folklore the "ankou" were
pictured as a wagon-full (?) of souls of the dead, i.e. a plurality.