or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Which Your Humble Servant Jumps To A Hasty And Ill-Formed Conclusion And Is Rightly Corrected By An Admirably Polyglot Member Of The Public

I cheerfully admit that I'm not an expert at anything. I'm a passionate amateur in a couple of fields, so I blog about them, and I have plenty of other interests, though I'm not starting any more blogs any time soon. (I was considering a knitting blog, until I realized that I would have to take a lot of photographs, and I just can't be arsed.)

But because I am not an expert, I do make my mistakes, and when I do, I cheerfully admit those, too, and then move along.

A couple of years ago I noted during a trip to Wales that the Welsh word for "church", "eglwys", was essentially identical to the French word "eglise" with the same meaning. Aha, I figured: when the French kindly took over conservatorship of England in 1066, and naturally imported their vocabulary into the bargain, they must have given Welsh the word "eglise", which was transformed into "eglwys". I mean, just look at them! Except for that interpolated vowel, just the sort of thing that happens over the centuries, they're exactly the same word!

But it seems I might have been wrong about that. I was recently informed that Welsh didn't take the French word, but instead evolved it independently, from, as with the French, the Latin word "ecclesia". I naturally did my research, and while I couldn't find any solid proof that I was wrong, I couldn't find any proof that I was right, either. Most sources simply say that the words are from the same Latin mother-word, in one of those intriguing instances of parallel evolution, and so it seems I am going to have to concede that I was almost certainly wrong and that I made an unwarranted assumption (something which I'm always warning against in matters of etymology). Tsk.

I'll try to do better in the future.


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