The Invisible Third.
The Basque and Celtic Words for "Swallow".
In a keynote address at the XI. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen
Gesellschaft, about possible non-Indo-European influence on the Celtic
languages, Kim McCone drew attention to the similarity between the
Insular Celtic, e.g. OIr fannall, W gwennol, and the Basque,i.e. enara, ain(h)-
ara, words for 'swallow' (Lat hirundo). McCone reconstructs *waNilri or
*weNrilri as preforms for the Insular Celtic words, and *(w)aiNala for Pre-
Basque (McCone 2005,408-9).l This suggestion looks very attractive and
suggestive and, if correct, would shed rare light on prehistoric linguistic
relationships in Western Europe. In this article, I will examine the equation
more closely and add a number of observations.
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