Celtic ==> [e-i-y] == Seltic == ???

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sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
Hello,
I remember that once our teacher told us, "If we have [e-i-y] after the letter [c], the letter [c] will be pronounced like [s] not [k].

For example: Cement - cigar - centimeter -

This is my question ===> why doesn't the word [Celtic] follow the above construction? I mean why isn't [c] in this word pronounced like [s]?

Thank you
 
  • perpend

    Banned
    American English
    From my experience people say both:
    Celtic = Kell-tic
    Celtic = Cell-tic

    I don't think one is more correct.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    In my experience in BrE, the /k/ pronunciation is normal when referring to the people or the languages and the /s/ pronunciation is normal for the football club. I suppose the reasons are etymological: /k/ is closer to the Latin form, and /s/ is closer to the French form.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    The k-sound in Welsh was represented by a k. Then during the Renaissance, some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to replace every k with a c as this would make the written language look more like Latin and therefore more learned. At least that's my understanding. In Welsh, even Wikipedia is written as Wicipedia. I don't know about the other Celtic languages. There's a k in at least some of them. I'll ask a friend.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The change to /k/ must be comparatively recent. Any ancient Greek word with /ke/, /ki/, /ky/ got taken up via Latin, and later Latin changed them to /tse/, /tsi/, and French changed them to /se/, /si/, which is how we got them. If we'd carried Celtic all the way through from Greek, it would have /s/, and in fact probably did until recently. It's not Welsh in form, so Welsh spelling, though it may be an influence, isn't a clear reason.
     

    jarabina

    Senior Member
    English - Scotland
    As a child (growing up in Scotland) I actually thought the word Celtic was spelt Keltic with a 'k' like kelpie, which just goes to show that it wasn't logical to me at least. The football team was easier, of course. But interestingly, I've just had a look at the online etymological dictionary and it shows Keltic as an alternative, very old, spelling. Also, the same dictionary shows that kelpie may have come from the Gaelic colpach. Perhaps there was etymological confusion in Scottish English?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    So you think there's perhaps a Gaelic link? Many BrE speakers are familiar with a ceilidh for example and know that it's from Gaelic and that the <c> is pronounced /k/ there.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I hadn't thought of looking at 'Keltic'. The earliest uses I can find in books are around 1788/9, such as Pinkerton's 1789 An Enquiry into the History of Scotland; he however uses both spellings. Turner's 1823 The History of the Anglo-Saxons (4th ed., so actually earlier) consistently uses 'Kelt' and 'Kimmerian', and seems to have had many editions so may have been influential on scholarly usage.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I’ve just read in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_orthography that one reason why modern Welsh orthography has a c and not a k is that the English publishers of William Morgan’s Welsh Bible, in 1588, did not have enough ks so they used cs instead (an unpopular decision at the time).
    The name of, for example, the Welsh town of Criccieth (spelt Cricieth in Welsh) is pronounced Krikki-eth.
    There is a k in the other Celtic languages and a c does not (necessarily) represent a /k/ sound in them.
     
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