I found a new term for what I would call a change of inflection ‘phonologically contaminated.’
Sounds rather catching and potentially painful.
To Go A Howling
‘fáelchu becomes a creature of double vision, which can only be seen and not heard.’
Further along than I thought, that looks like a rough working conclusion. More evidence required! Its based on the story so far so may be prone to change.
Howling wolf does at the moment seem preferable to wolf wolf as a translation of fáelchu and confael
With Laignech Fáelad start to see how the word transforms from ‘to go a howling’ to ‘become a wolf’ and conreachta wolf- shape/ form, becomes the dominant form in translation and I suspect will be the most common form of the word in later Irish usage.
So far not much.
fáel= wolf, comes from a verb which means to howl.
It usually occurs in a series of compounds i.e fáelchu = wolf + cu (dog/ hound/ wolf), ḟaolchasaoideacha ‘yelping like wolves.’
It is also found as a compound in personal names i.e Faelchu, Faelad.
Laignech Fáelad, that is, he was the man that used to shift into fáelad, i.e. wolf-shapes. He and his offspring after him used to go, whenever they pleased, into the shapes of the wolves, and, after the custom of wolves, kill the herds. Wherefore he was called Laignech Fáelad, for he was the first of them to go into a wolf-shape. (1)
Coir Anmann (fitness of names) makes the name clear, Fáelad means ‘to become a wolf’ but it can be read literally as ‘to go a howling.’
What it does is give a tentative way in to understanding confael conrecta, it makes a difference.
confael (sound) conrecta (form).
The sound is easy to grasp its a howl.
The form I am not so certain of, it has the shape of a wolf, but contain’s or has the potential to be something other than a wolf. The changes here are not just physical but also abstract and internal.
Is that reflected in the language? Do they both express differing emotional states?
confael ( recht, as if a burning fire) conrechta (recht, person of legal status) (1)
I don’t know the answer but the next question is what does an old Welsh wolf sound like?
With regard to form and shape I need to start looking at the difference between putting on a wolf skin and transformations that are internal, abstract and emotional, but which also result in physical change.
May not be a clear-cut distinction between the two.
W. Stokes, Coir Anmann (fitness of Names), 1897
(1) Emotional outburst sense of recht to a more reasoning subect; alidh cach recht a otrus la Fene (every condition of person is entitled to his nursing).
Recht ( person of legal status) is a required condition of any person entitled to nursing.’
(2) Modern translators appear to use conreachta the masculine form of the Irish for werewolve as the template for all translation, as it has this literal meaning
form/ shape/ guise
state/ quality/ kind
out of ones proper from
It allows fáelchu to become a creature of double vision which can only be seen and not heard.
Translated as werewolf. My notes here will be far more slight. Its proving to be rather difficult. I was working from memory and after checking the first dictionary start to think my mind had been drifting as all I got was Fael = a wolf.
One further compound, na trí arrachta ḟaolchasaoideacha yelping like wolves.
Was not looking good to my mind I had fael = a wolf but with a root to howl.
i.e if I gave a literal translation of confael = con= dog/ hound wolf, fael = hound/ wolf
Basicaly Wolf Wolf. Not exactly working. Clearly I need a wider pool of comparison and contrast to get to werewolf (discuss the limits of my knowledge here so far, next).
confael conrecta, trans is a werewolf (confael) in wolves shape (conrecta), basically at the moment the text reads werewolf werewolf. Not a whole world of sense,which is why the translator suggests conrecta must be a later gloss that was accidentally placed in the body of the text while copying. He seems interested in establishing an early date for this part of the text and is keen to eradicate the gloss as a late error and mis-observation along with conrecta leaving confael as the ‘original’ and early concept.
Taken me two days to find a source. Hopefully it will lead me to more references. I may also have to start speaking in a different tongue, Old Welsh or Brythonic.
Brythonic is related to old Irish in that they are both from a Celtic family of languages. Welsh is slightly misleading, it is where modern Welsh comes from but was spoken throughout Britain.
Irish was probable always spoken in parts of Britain with close sea connections i.e. the Western Isles of Scotland but Brythonic language was the predominant language before the introduction of groups speaking varying forms of the Germanic languages.
To avoid the issue of using ethnic terms Q celtic can be used for Irish and P. Celtic for Brythonic or Old British/Old Welsh. Not exactly straight forward, I must confess to being more interested in making the notes than making sense at the moment.
Main language groups that effect the ebb and flow of the North Atlantic zone, which Britian forms a part of.
Germanic, Norse, Swedish, Dutch, German, English
Romance, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian.
Continental Celtic, Gaulish, Celtiberian, Leapontic (these are dead languages, no longer spoken)
Insular Celtic, Britian, Ireland, Isle of Man, France (parts of)
Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Manx
Brythonic (P- Celtic)
Welsh, Cornish Brenton
law-abiding person, person of legal status
fri cach racht cid fíala a flaithe though their lords be generous to everybody
These are other examples from the text I am looking at
ben gadas ar cach recht who robs everybody
alidh cach recht a otrus la Fene every condition of person is entitled to his nursing
All of the potential wider world of words surrounding werewolf. Finished ! I thought it would never end. The latin came as a surprise. Word is Irish but Latin is also written and known. need to think about that one and do a bit of checking
Serious difficulty in two places, causing a bit of a headache. Drop these for the moment until I can firmly confirm them (if I can ). Can’t get a firm translation until I do.
Lot of work for a very small piece of text. I like detail. With this kind of thing patience is required and the realization that it may not go to plan.
Still I have enjoyed discovering some of the relationships here and some of the language. Oldest source I use, don’t return to this period much or early Irish, nice to be back for a while.
Major divide in early Irish society was between free and unfree. The unfree had no legal status. Look at this more alongside the status of women with a role and position of rank in Irish society.