This will ruffle a few kilts...

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This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by PhilHunt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:16 am

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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:08 pm

THIS gets them too!

Mind you, after many years of research, that apart from a few beauties that are now available, the Irish and the Scots were much better at it than us.

By the way I had better disassociate myself from the “Twllch dyn bob sais” at the end. My moiety is English!

(It should have been spelled "Twll din pob Sais" anyway)
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by zmjezhd » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:24 pm

(It should have been spelled "Twll din pob Sais" anyway)

Strange post. Why was he yelling at me in poorly spelled English and Welsh? I'd like to know the name of these ancient Welsh MSS dating from (precisely 356 CE). As far as I know there are no Welsh MSS from before the 13th century, though some of the writings therein are usually traced back to the 7th century or so. (In fact, technically there was no Welsh in the fourth century.) Welsh chwisgi looks to me like a loanword from English whisk(e)y. (Cf. chwisl 'whistle', chwislo 'to whistle'.) NB, I have no axe to grind on either the Goidelic or the Brythonic side of the argument.

[Corrected typo.]
Last edited by zmjezhd on Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:48 pm

Yes Zmjezhd, I agree it is a stramge post, but it was the first one that I found when I was looking for support before saying that the Welsh invented whisky!

I have always been led to believe that "chwisgi" is an older word that all of the others, but I regret that at the moment I have no proof (terrible pun, I apologise). I actually posted as a lighthearted aside, but now that you have asked the questions I have become interested.

I'll do some research, and let you know how I get on.


For those of you who are wondering:
Twlch - hole
Din - rump
pob - all
Sais - Englishmen

Needless to say the adjective follows the noun in Welsh.
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by zmjezhd » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:22 pm

Some of what I've been able to discover so far.

1. The location, Bardsey Island (English Isle of the bards, Ynys Enlli in Welsh, i.e., Isle of the current), is most famous for a monastery founded by St Cadfan (Latin Catamanus, English Caedmon), a Breton, the grandson of Emrys Llydaw (English Ambrose of Brittany). Cadfan founded Bangor Gadfan in the mid-6th century.

2. I haver not been able to find a Reault Hir (also Reaullt on the web). Reault looks more French than Welsh. I did find 1 16th century Welsh poet Hywel ab Rheinallt (Hoel son of Reynold) who wrote, amongst other things, a cywydd (a traditional Welsh metrical form) that mentions Ynys Enlli. Hir is Welsh for 'long'. (Perhaps, Rollo the Long or Reynold the Long.) As far as I can tell, none of Hywel's poems have been edited, and remain in MSS.

3. 356 CE. This date is just too early for distilling aquavitae. Most conservative estimates are a 6th century or later date for the introduction of distillation into Great Britain by Irish monks returning from the continent.

4. Some of the versions online (which are all unattributed) say that RH's "whiskey" was made from braggot (a mead and barley mixture) and distilled. Some say it was called chwisgi in Welsh, others offer the Welsh version of 'water of life' gwirod.
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:39 am

.. Phil the explanation for this weee piece of sassenach rubbish is easy .. as any good Scot will tell you the "recipe" for any haggis worth its weight has been handed down within the family from generation to generation .. there was never a need for it to be written down especially as this might allow someone else to garner the secret that ones ancestors had discovered in making the best haggis ever .. so when some holidaying Englishman lost his way and ended up in Scotland in 1614 he found to his great delight the gourmet sensation now universally known as Haggis .. through industrial espionage he was able to write down, and smuggle back to England, a very ordinary list of ingredients and methods for making Scottish haggis .. in 1615 this was published in said recipe book .. certainly this was the first recorded written recipe for haggis but it had been getting made in Scotland for generations prior to this . again we see the foible in believing that nothing existed before the first written example .. next you'll be trying to tell me the Scots didn't invent television ..

WoZ wi' haggis 'n neeps
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:21 pm

And as WoZ well knows, we are coming up to the start of the haggis hunting season.

Haggis hunters will soon be out on the hillsides sprinkling pepper onto large stones. You will need to check with the experts of course, but I have always been led to believe that a haggis has two legs shorter on one side than on the other, because they always run around the mountains in the same direction.

The trick when you are hunting them is to make sure that the pepper is on the side of the rock that your particular haggis will see when it comes around the mountain. If it does see the pepper it will of course sniff it, be incredibly curious. The pepper then causes a sneezing fit, and the haggis bashed its brains out on the rock.

It is a well known country sport in the Highlands.
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by zmjezhd » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:53 pm

again we see the foible in believing that nothing existed before the first written example

Of course not, all a first citation allows the etymologist to determine is the terminus ante quem of a word's coinage or borrowing. (The terminus post quem in this case would have to be the domestication of sheep which unfortunately is not something one is bound to find in the written record, but in the archaeological one.) One ought also to remember that the word might not have the same meaning or denotation 400 years ago as today, but this is alleviated by the early citation within a cook book. Also, one could find citations of the word haggis which did not include secret family recipes. Another fallacy common in the arm-chair anthropologist is to assume that something item had a single origin and migrated with speakers to a new place where it was borrowed. Who invented the flat bread, sausage, or pasta? The usual etymology connects the Middle English form of the word hagis. It is thought to be connected with haggle or hack with its ultimate origin being probably Old Norse, but a connection to Old French hagiz, cf. French haché, is possible also, because it occurs in a French MS in Trinity College ca.1400, Femina (link). It is strange that the Scottish Gaelic word for haggis, taigeis, is a loan from English (link). MacBain in his etymological dictionary seems to agree (link). Strange that the Scots would borrow a word from the Normans for a food they invented.

[Fixed typo.]
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Re: This will ruffle a few kilts...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:46 pm

This is the link to Wikipedia's explanation of 'terminus ante quem' and 'terminus post quem':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminus_post_quem
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