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Saturday, January 7, 2012

A little nonsense to amuse myself

To me, “Swea Rike” sounds like the Gothic, sweareiki, meaning “my own realm”. In Swedish the equivalent would be “Egen Rike”.  Where does Sverige come from?  It seems like they added a suffix.  It reminds me that, in   Welsh, they add a suffix to ”cymry” (which means my country or countrymen) yielding “cymraeg” (those who speak our language).  However in Swedish, one who speaks the language is “svenska” while Sverige is the country. Likewise, where does Sweden come from? I heard it comes from English. How can this be? Maybe “den” refers to the lowlands, as it does in Denmark. Maybe, none of this is true but it helps me to remember the ever changing meanings.

The Swedes have a myth that they conquered the Goths, i.e., gutþiudai meaning Gothic people, but it actually was the Getes.  Maybe the Swedes were actually the Goths and just changed their language and invented the myth to fool everyone.  They further complicated the situation by forming a myth about being descended from the Getes.  Some believe the Swedes are actually descended from the Thracians.  In their histories however, the Goths are clear that together with the Greeks, they totally routed the Thracians at the Battle of Troy.  Did the Thracians ultimately return to avenge their defeat or is this just another ruse to through us off the track.  You may have heard tales of Vikings and suppose that Swedes are descended from them.  Just ask a Swede though and they will tell you that Vikings were just a myth. By now, you like I, may not care where they came from, but I do hope they will my little island from time to time.

Another thing that seems odd to me is that “Frizon” reminds me “frijon” in Gothic.  What would be a better name for the largest Christian festival than the Gothic verb meaning “to love”? 

1. Words shown to be Celtic loanwords by the Celtic sound change *
ē > *ī.
īk- ‘king’ (cf. Goth. reiks ‘ruler’), *rīkiją ‘kingdom’ (cf. Goth. reiki, ON ríki, OE rīċe,
rīhhi) PCelt. *rīg- ‘king’ (cf. Gaulish -rīx, -rīg- in names recorded by
Caesar; OIr.
rí, ríg-), *rīgiom ‘kingdom’ (cf. OIr. ríge) < PIE *(H)rēǵ- ‘king’
(cf. Lat. rēx, rēg-, Skt. rā́jā, Rigvedic also rā́)

2. Words which might be Celtic loans or shared inheritances.

*frijaz ‘free’ (cf. Goth. freis, OE frīo, OHG frī) < *priyos; PCelt. *rios > Welsh rhydd;
both words are reflexes of PIE *priHós ‘dear, beloved’ (cf. Skt. priyás), but the
unexpected semantic development to ‘free’ is peculiar to Germanic and Celtic

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