Middle Welsh (Welsh: Cymraeg Canol) is the label attached to the Welsh language of the 12th to 14th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period. This form of Welsh developed from Old Welsh.
Middle Welsh is the language of nearly all surviving early manuscripts of the Mabinogion, although the tales themselves are certainly much older. It is also the language of most of the manuscripts of Welsh law. Middle Welsh is reasonably intelligible, albeit with some work, to a modern-day Welsh speaker.
The phonology of Middle Welsh is quite similar to that of modern Welsh, with only a few differences (Evans 1964). The letter u, which today represents /ɨ/ in North Welsh dialects and /i/ in South Welsh dialects, represented the close central rounded vowel /ʉ/ in Middle Welsh. The diphthong aw is found in unstressed final syllables in Middle Welsh, while in Modern Welsh it has become o (e.g. Middle Welsh marchawc = Modern Welsh marchog "horseman"). Similarly, the Middle Welsh diphthongs ei and eu have become ai and au in final syllables, e.g. Middle Welsh seith = modern saith "seven", Middle Welsh heul = modern haul "sun".
The orthography of Middle Welsh was not standardized, and there is great variation between manuscripts in how certain sounds are spelled. Some generalizations of differences between Middle Welsh spelling and Modern Welsh spelling can be made (Evans 1964). For example, the possessive pronouns ei "his, her", eu "their" and the preposition i "to" are very commonly spelled y in Middle Welsh, and are thus spelled the same as the definite article y and the indirect relative particle y. A phrase such as y gath is therefore ambiguous in Middle Welsh between the meaning "the cat" (spelled the same in Modern Welsh), the meaning "his cat" (modern ei gath), and the meaning "to a cat" (modern i gath). The voiced plosives /d ɡ/ are represented by the letters t c at the end of a word, e.g. diffryt "protection" (modern diffryd), redec "running" (modern rhedeg). The sound /k/ is very often spelled k before the vowels e i y (in Modern Welsh, it is always spelled c, e.g. Middle Welsh keivyn = modern ceifn "third cousin"). The sound /v/ is usually spelled u or v, except at the end of a word, where it is spelled f (in Modern Welsh, it is always spelled f, e.g. Middle Welsh auall = modern afall "apple tree"). The sound /ð/ is usually spelled d (in Modern Welsh, it is spelled dd, e.g. Middle Welsh dyd = modern dydd "day"). The sound /r̥/ is spelled r and is thus not distinguished from /r/ (in Modern Welsh, they are distinguished as rh and r respectively, e.g. Middle Welsh redec "running" vs. modern rhedeg).
Read more about Middle Welsh: Grammar
Other articles related to "middle welsh, welsh, middle":
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... extensively in Old Irish and to a small extent in Middle Welsh (see Morphology of the Proto-Celtic language) ... as follows Insular Celtic Goidelic Primitive Irish, ancestral to Old Irish, ancestral to Middle Irish, ancestral to Irish Scottish Gaelic Manx Brythonic Pictish (probably) British Cumbric (extinct) Old Welsh ... Proto-Celtic Gaulish Welsh Cornish Breton Primitive Irish Modern Irish Scots Gaelic Manx English *kʷennos pennos pen penn penn qennos ceann ceann kione "head" *kʷetwar- petor pedwar peswar pevar *qetwar ...
... Middle Welsh (Cymraeg Canol) is the label attached to the Welsh of the 12th to 14th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier period ... It is also the language of the existing Welsh law manuscripts ... Middle Welsh is reasonably intelligible, albeit with some work, to a modern-day Welsh speaker ...
Famous quotes containing the words welsh and/or middle:
“Never does one feel oneself so utterly helpless as in trying to speak comfort for great bereavement. I will not try it. Time is the only comforter for the loss of a mother.”
—Jane Welsh Carlyle (18011866)
“Of all the barbarous middle ages, that
Which is most barbarous is the middle age
Of man! it isI really scarce know what;
But when we hover between fool and sage,
And dont know justly what we would be at
A period something like a printed page,
Black letter upon foolscap, while our hair
Grows grizzled, and we are not what we were.”
—George Gordon Noel Byron (17881824)