Ar 5:23 PM -0700 6/25/98, scríobh Candon Clannach:
>Modern Welsh dwfr, dw+r (water). As I said, tempting. But it may be
>simpler to explain these words as similar yet unrelated than to
>postulate that the words for 'world/deep' and 'water' are related to a
>word for 'dark/black.'
Let me add a further twist to this. Old Irish has two words (or maybe
just one?) spelled "dobur". One means "water". The other means "dark,
unclean; darkness, gloom". Cormac's Glossary (late 9th cent.) says:
"Dobur cétamus usci, unde dicitur dobarchú .i. cú uisci. Dobar
dana cach ndorche .i. inglan..."
= Dobur (is) first of all water, whence is said dobarchú, i.e.
cú uisci [hound of water; = otter]. Dobar (is) also everything
dark, i.e. unclean...)
Now, here's a further twist. A striking number of the citations in
the DIL for "dobur = dark(ness)" link the word, or its by-form "dorb",
as a compound with watery things:
doburcheo = dark mist
doburlinn = dark pool
doburnéll = dark cloud
doburuisce = dark water
dorbsháile = turbid seawater
dorbuisce = turbid water
If the two words began as a single term (McCone's postulated "dark
water"), that could explain their continued apparent affinity.
Anyway, that's the best I can do this evening!
>One wonders why then isn't there a word for '(bright) water.'
Well, there's always "fionnuisce" (bright/clear water), supposedly
the proper Irish origin of the name of Phoenix Park in Dublin.
Oíche mhaith! Nos da!