Focal an Lae #63
The Word of the Day in Irish

Word: ceann (KYAWN)

Meaning: ceann = head; one (thing); end; roof


History: Old Irish “cenn” is from Common Celtic *kwenno-, which also gives Gaulish “Penno-”, Welsh “pen” and Breton “penn”. This is probably the most commonly cited example of the distinction between “P-Celtic” aka Brittonic (= Gaulish, Welsh, Cornish, Breton) and “Q-Celtic” aka Goidelic (= Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx). Common Celtic had the sound ‘b’ but not its unvoiced counterpart, ‘p’. The P-Celtic group filled this gap early on by converting ‘kw’ to ‘p’. The Q-Celtic branch kept the ‘kw’, which later bacame simply ‘k’ (written “c”) and did not acquire the sound ‘p’ until it finally accepted it from Latin along with a flood of borrowings.

Scottish Gaelic: ceann

2008-06-19 CPD