From: Old-Irish-L <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Dennis King
> OE “bera” > ber, altered under influence of “cethir = four-footed animal”?
That's quite some stretch. First of all, there would have been absolutely no phonotactic problem to accommodate OE bera straightforwardly into OIr., either as **berae (i ̯o-stem) or as **beru/a (n-stem). Secondly, cethir is not simply "four-footed animal", but rather "domestic animal", "cattle", but apparently also "sheep", and related forms are specifically employed in contrast to altai "wild animals", which the bear would be.
BTW, the inflection of cethir is no wholly clear. In the Milan Glosses Database and in the Blathmac Database, we distinguished (rare) cethir from more common collective cethrae, meaning the same thing. In fact, if cethir is an i-stem (which is likely), all attestations of cethrae in those texts could be interpreted as plural forms of cethir. However, bethir appears not to be an i-stem, as far as one can judge from the few attestations. This would again remove it formally from cethir.
Does anyone know of a reliable list of OE loanwords into OIr.? Most of one can get via a language search on eDIL are actually rather late loans. As I said before, almost all of the alleged early ones look doubtful to me. Sebocc "hawk", first found in St Gall, seems to me to be the best example, but that could have come via Welsh.