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Welcome to issue #31 of  Words Matter, our bi-weekly newsletter .  Please feel free to share with a friend! 
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Celtic Words

English is at heart a Germanic language, a cousin of Dutch and Norwegian and German.  However, there is a major overlay of Latin and a good dose of Greek in English, along with words from over fifty other languages.

Since today honors the Irish and their customs and culture, I thought I would honor the words that we have in English from the Celtic (Gaelic) world of the Scots-Irish, along with a bit of Celtic Welsh and Cornish.

Of course we have brought into English some of the folklore words, such as leprechaun ("a little body"), banshee ("fairy woman"), druid ("oak-wise"), keening ("wailing") and shamrock (seamrog, "a little clover").  

Place-names from the Celtic world that have become well-established English words are limerick (not only the poetic form, but also a type of fishhook and of lace) and that real challenger at the spelling bees, shillelagh, a stick or club (pronounced shuh-LAY-lee).

Clothing words that we have borrowed include brogues (those perforated shoes good for walking on wet terrain),  flannel, plaid, and trousers.  Geography words include bog (where brogues were good to have), crag, lawn, and glen.  Animal words from the Celts are gull, penguin, hog, corgi (Welsh for "dwarf") and the word pet as a tamed animal.  For food and drink, we have crumpets and whiskey (but maybe not together).

If you say there is a slew of money, you're using Irish ("multitude").  If you say something is smashed to smithereens, you're using Irish (smidirin, little bits").  A smidgen of something?  Gaelic.  Have tweets galore?  Celtic go leór, "to abundance".

Truants ?   PhoneysHooligansTorys?  Celtic words.  ClanBardHubbub.
My favorite is the Scottish sluagh-ghairm, "army-shout".  It's now an everyday word associated with catchy commercials and political ads: it's our word slogan!
Have a wonderful St. Patrick's day, and remember an Irish saying: The one with the brogues does not mind stepping in the bog.
--R. D. "Doc" Larrick

Morpheme of the week:   The suffixes ER and EST illustrating the doubling principle of spelling

Enjoy this brief student video that comes directly from WordBuild Foundations Level 2. 
ER and EST doubling
ER and EST doubling

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