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Thread: Miscellaneous Welsh Odds and Ends

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebe Watts View Post
    Yes of course you are right - I could have expressed myself better. The statement "no reason to believe that it had any meaning of contempt" is only about the use of Sais as an epithet attached to a personal name (of someone who is Welsh).
    No problem.
    Do you have any thoughts on the linguistic origins of the Cecil surname please? I know it is a name of Welsh origin and there was a Welsh Kingdom "Seisyllwg" possibly named after Seisyll ap Clydog, 8th century King of Ceredigion.
    Various surname spellings Sitsyllt, Saissil ,etc. one theory it may have originated in the latin name "Caecilius".
    I have wondered if there could be any connection to Sais/Seys but haven't found anything to suggest such a connection.

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  3. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    No problem.
    Do you have any thoughts on the linguistic origins of the Cecil surname please? I know it is a name of Welsh origin and there was a Welsh Kingdom "Seisyllwg" possibly named after Seisyll ap Clydog, 8th century King of Ceredigion.
    Various surname spellings Sitsyllt, Saissil ,etc. one theory it may have originated in the latin name "Caecilius".
    I have wondered if there could be any connection to Sais/Seys but haven't found anything to suggest such a connection.
    The TJ Morgan book has a column and a half on this name and I'm sure you'll know about the pedigrees linking Cecil to Seisyll. There seems to have been quite a debate!

    I was just wondering whether the name Seisyll is so old that it predates a lot of the interaction between the British and the Sais/Saeson? The use of Sais in patronymic names such as Davy Gam's is quite a bit later.

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  5. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetro View Post
    Maybe it had only that meaning.
    At the same time on the other foot "Welsh" was not neutral.
    As in the rhyme "Taffy was a Welshman", although that comes back to bite the teller, it is still an insult: don't steal from a Welshman who has nothing.
    And when I did not shut the door as a child "Are you Welsh?!" implied that the Welsh were too poor to have doors and only had cloth doors that shut themselves or lived in tents (this may have come from a mining town my ancestors came from that had parts named for their Welsh, Cornish, Scottish inhabitants : neighbourhoods of Kooringa (local native name), Llwchwr, Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Redruth and Graham, when my ancestors had worked their way up to renting a stone cottage).

    Perhaps the Welsh were more noble people and did not retaliate.

    Certainly in modern times "Sais" can be a term of opprobrium, but some English worked hard to earn the right to that. Unfortunately.
    On insults, I always thought this was an interesting snapshot of national strereotypes (from Merry Wives of Windsor):

    "He will trust his wife, he will not be jealous. I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aquavitae bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself."

    I used to always forget whether the Welshman was supposed to be excessive with the cheese or with the butter, and then out of the blue happened upon this blog post about a medieval (or early modern) joke: http://nunastic.blogspot.com/2015/02...lshmen-in.html

    "I find written among old stories how God made Saint Peter port of Heaven, and how God, in his goodness soon after his suffering on the cross allowed many men to come to the kingdom of heaven who very little deserved it. So at this time there were in heaven a lot of Welshmen, who troubled all the rest with their boasting and chatter. So God said to Saint Peter that he was fed up with them, and that he’d be very glad to have them out of heaven. Saint Peter replied to him, “Good lord, I guarantee that it will be done in no time.” So Saint Peter went outside the gates of heaven and shouted in a loud voice, “Cause bobe!” which is as much as to say, “Roasted cheese.”

    When they heard this the Welshmen ran out of heaven at great speed. And when Saint Peter saw that they were all outside, he quickly went in to Heaven and locked the door, and so he barred all the Welshmen out."

  6. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    As far as I know it's not the same usage in Welsh. The term "gammy leg" meaning lame was used in my youth but I don't hear it now.
    Such sayings can continue within some families - sometimes for generations, by which time the true meaning and certainly the origin has been forgotten.
    "Gammy leg" was a saying of my mother-in-law. Yes, she did have Welsh ancestry.
    But a more obscure saying from my father's side was still used by my father and grandfather even though they did not realise that its origins referred to J S Bach (d.1750)! It was only when I happened to study the early life of the composer that its meaning became clear.

    Friends of Scottish origin have some obscure sayings.
    We are trying to find out their origins and true meanings and continue their use in future generations.

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  8. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    As far as I know it's not the same usage in Welsh. The term "gammy leg" meaning lame was used in my youth but I don't hear it now. It could also mean something like a squint I believe. Some say Davy Gam Ap Einion Seys was the inspiration for Fluellen in Shakespeare's Henry V and in Olivier's film of the play Fluellen is portrayed with a squint.
    "If your Majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps, which, your Majesty know, to this hour is an honorable badge of the service. And I do believe your Majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy’s day."

    Attachment 20915
    Quote Originally Posted by Saetro View Post
    Such sayings can continue within some families - sometimes for generations, by which time the true meaning and certainly the origin has been forgotten.
    "Gammy leg" was a saying of my mother-in-law. Yes, she did have Welsh ancestry.
    But a more obscure saying from my father's side was still used by my father and grandfather even though they did not realise that its origins referred to J S Bach (d.1750)! It was only when I happened to study the early life of the composer that its meaning became clear.

    Friends of Scottish origin have some obscure sayings.
    We are trying to find out their origins and true meanings and continue their use in future generations.
    In the movie Coraline, Miss Spink says to Miss Forcible "With your gammy legs? It's nearly 2 miles to the theater." The movie is based on a story by Neil Gaiman, but he's not Welsh
    R1b>M269>L23>L51>L11>P312>DF19>DF88>FGC11833 >S4281>S4268>Z17112>BY44243

    Ancestors: Francis Cooke (M223/I2a2a) b1583; Hester Mahieu (Cooke) (J1c2 mtDNA) b.1584; Richard Warren (E-M35) b1578; Elizabeth Walker (Warren) (H1j mtDNA) b1583;
    John Mead (I2a1/P37.2) b1634; Rev. Joseph Hull (I1, L1301+ L1302-) b1595; Benjamin Harrington (M223/I2a2a-Y5729) b1618; Joshua Griffith (L21>DF13) b1593;
    John Wing (U106) b1584; Thomas Gunn (DF19) b1605; Hermann Wilhelm (DF19) b1635

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  10. #126
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    What about the old slang term "gams" for legs?

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  12. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmarjoribanks View Post
    On insults, I always thought this was an interesting snapshot of national strereotypes (from Merry Wives of Windsor):

    "He will trust his wife, he will not be jealous. I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aquavitae bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself."

    I used to always forget whether the Welshman was supposed to be excessive with the cheese or with the butter, and then out of the blue happened upon this blog post about a medieval (or early modern) joke: http://nunastic.blogspot.com/2015/02...lshmen-in.html

    "I find written among old stories how God made Saint Peter port of Heaven, and how God, in his goodness soon after his suffering on the cross allowed many men to come to the kingdom of heaven who very little deserved it. So at this time there were in heaven a lot of Welshmen, who troubled all the rest with their boasting and chatter. So God said to Saint Peter that he was fed up with them, and that he’d be very glad to have them out of heaven. Saint Peter replied to him, “Good lord, I guarantee that it will be done in no time.” So Saint Peter went outside the gates of heaven and shouted in a loud voice, “Cause bobe!” which is as much as to say, “Roasted cheese.”

    When they heard this the Welshmen ran out of heaven at great speed. And when Saint Peter saw that they were all outside, he quickly went in to Heaven and locked the door, and so he barred all the Welshmen out."
    Heaven is reserved for the less fortunate like the English - we already live in God's country.
    I understand after Henry Tudor came to the throne attitudes to the Welsh started to soften a little, not so much of the "wild and warlike". This is reflected to some extent in Shakespeare with some fairly comic Welsh characters. I understand a standing joke was the Welsh carrying mousetraps to protect their cheese. The famous Welsh rarebit
    The reality was probably based on the relative poverty of many and the use of animals to raise money rather than to eat, so a reliance on bread and cheese and not so much meat. It was probably exaggerated of course.
    Last edited by JohnHowellsTyrfro; 01-20-2018 at 07:39 AM. Reason: typo

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  14. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewsloth View Post
    In the movie Coraline, Miss Spink says to Miss Forcible "With your gammy legs? It's nearly 2 miles to the theater." The movie is based on a story by Neil Gaiman, but he's not Welsh
    I'm one of those irritating people who has to try and find the "right" answer - I have failed on this one. If anyone can come up with a certain origin, great but different sources seem to say different things. I suspect it's origin lies in a celtic language.
    Game/Gammy/Gimpy - suggested origins include :-

    related to game birds, particularly fighting cocks which may have been prone to leg injuries. There still are "Game Birds" in poultry breeds and cockerels fight mainly with their legs and feet.
    Collins English Dictionary
    "Gammy - British slang
    (esp of the leg) malfunctioning, injured, or lame; game.
    Word origin of 'gammy'
    C19: from Shelta gyamyath bad, altered form of Irish cam crooked; see game". A suggested 19th Century origin is obviously wrong as we know from Davy Gam it was in use at least as far back as the 1300's. I had to look Shelta up, I understand it's a traveller language
    associated with Ireland.

    Some sources seem to say an Irish Celtic origin, others Welsh (maybe both). If anyone has a better source or definition, glad to hear it.

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  16. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetro View Post
    Such sayings can continue within some families - sometimes for generations, by which time the true meaning and certainly the origin has been forgotten.
    "Gammy leg" was a saying of my mother-in-law. Yes, she did have Welsh ancestry.
    But a more obscure saying from my father's side was still used by my father and grandfather even though they did not realise that its origins referred to J S Bach (d.1750)! It was only when I happened to study the early life of the composer that its meaning became clear.

    Friends of Scottish origin have some obscure sayings.
    We are trying to find out their origins and true meanings and continue their use in future generations.
    This isn't a Welsh speaking area although there are Welsh medium schools here now.
    There were quite a few Welsh phrases (and English West Country terms) in use when I was young that I doubt will be heard when my generation has moved on.
    An adult would say to a child about to pick up something disgusting "ach-y-fi" neither adult nor child knew what the words meant but we knew it was bad. There were many such terms. We will all become a culturally uniform beige one day.
    'ach-y-fi'
    "Welsh, probably from ach, achy general exclamation of disgust + fi I, me"
    Last edited by JohnHowellsTyrfro; 01-20-2018 at 08:18 AM. Reason: typo

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  18. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebe Watts View Post
    The TJ Morgan book has a column and a half on this name and I'm sure you'll know about the pedigrees linking Cecil to Seisyll. There seems to have been quite a debate!

    I was just wondering whether the name Seisyll is so old that it predates a lot of the interaction between the British and the Sais/Saeson? The use of Sais in patronymic names such as Davy Gam's is quite a bit later.
    Yes I've tried to look into the Cecil origins for obvious reasons. The pedigree isn't reliable much before the 1400's. Unsubstantiated claims of a possible Norman origin (Robert Sitsylt) about 1090 but Sitsyltt doesn't sound Norman, (we are U106 of course). There was a Saisil or Sassil recorded in Herefordshire in the Domesday book but this forename may not mean anything.

    If you come across anything that may be reliable I would be very interested. It looks to me at the moment the Cecil rise from relative obscurity was connected to the Tudors beginning with Henry VII and Bosworth.
    My only hope at the moment is more Y test matches from within the UK or possibly continental Europe. Thanks for the reply.

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...ucP6es1jF89pSd

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