Celtic, Keltic, Seltic ? ? ?

The home of the 2010 Ryder Cup

A little help here please, with the Ryder Cup starting later this week Celtic Manor is obviously in the news a little, all are pronouncing it ‘Keltic’ (with a hard ‘K’), I later hear a football report from Scotland and the exact same word is pronounced ‘Seltic’ (with an ‘S’), why?

Did you know…

The five-star Celtic Manor, owned by Wales’ richest man, Sir Terry Matthews

(from here)

The same site also claims,

The competition is the third biggest global sporting event behind the football World Cup and the Olympic games

That I find difficult to believe, perhaps they mean ‘US sporting event‘ but to suggest that there is greater interest in the Ryder Cup than The Cricket World Cup, The Rugby World Cup, The Commonwealth Games or even perhaps that 4 yearly national football tournament the Euro 20xx  I find difficult to believe.

I would think that perhaps an Ashes series draws a larger audience than the Ryder Cup!

22 thoughts on “Celtic, Keltic, Seltic ? ? ?”

  1. Bearsy :

    It’s a hard ‘c’ for me, Soutie, but you never know how the Scots are going to mangle a word. I’m sure Mr Mackie will instruct us.

    You are spot on Bearsy. The place is not too far away from where we live. Mrs Toc has made use of the conference facilities over the years to run many courses/conferences. It has always been a landmark on the M4 even in the days when it was much smaller.

  2. PS. On reflection, I have always referred to the football team as ‘Seltic,’ but when I think of the word ‘Celt,’ it comes out as ‘Kelt.’ I guess that in this, as in so many things, I am a little confused.

  3. Morning Soutie, I found this,

    “From the Guardian a couple of years ago………….

    Why is Celtic pronounced Seltic rather than Keltic, as it is in every other context?”

    A tricky one this. Ed Mortimer started us off. “The answer is simple,” he said. “We are wrong to pronounce the work Keltic. It’s one of those words where the pronunciation has changed for some reason in one context but not in others. Following the general rule that ‘c’ followed by ‘e’ or ‘i’ is pronounced as an ‘s’, we have Seltik, as in the football club. The same pronunciation used to apply to the adjective describing the ancient inhabitants of the western fringes of Europe, including parts of modern-day Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, France and Spain. The ‘s’ pronunciation still applies in French, Breton and Galician – but for some reason English has changed to the keltic variant. Put simply, the football club pronunciation is the right one.”

    Graeme Gardiner offered an alternative view. “Celtic were founded in 1888 to benefit the Irish immigrant population of Glasgow’s east end. The name Celtic was chosen to reflect the common roots of the Scots and Irish, who were on the receiving end of considerable sectarian prejudice. Unfortunately the name wasn’t used much outside academic circles and was simply mispronounced by the local population. Of course the de facto pronunciation among the faithful is Sellick.”

    However, the truth, if it is to be had, seemed to be that both pronunciations are ostensibly correct, with Keltic having become the more accepted usage only in the last 30 years. Celtic, having been formed in the last century, naturally retained the Seltic pronunciation.

    This from the Medieval Scotland website, which a number of readers kindly pointed out: “The reason the Boston Celtics and Glasgow Celtic and all those other sports teams founded around 1900 (give or take a couple decades) pronounce their names Seltic is not because they were founded by ignorant folk who didn’t know any better, but because they spoke English and did know the proper pronunciation of the English word ‘Celtic’.

    “So what happened? Well, any number of things might explain why the in-crowd pronunciation shifted to Keltic (such as the German influence on Celtic studies, which was strong in the 19th- and early 20th-centuries) but the upshot is that it is now fashionable – almost obligatory – in certain circles to pronounce the word with a K sound rather than the original S sound. In fact, in certain circles (both in and out of academia) it is something of a litmus test – if you don’t use the K sound, it will be assumed you are not knowledgeable about things Celtic. But the one and only reason Keltic is now one of the correct pronunciations of the word is because that is how many educated people pronounce it. That is the only logic in the Keltic pronunciation’s favour. The standard rules of English, the rules of language, long use and practice, all argue in favour of Seltic, not Keltic. But it still remains that Seltic is a long-established, traditional pronunciation of the word in English. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pronouncing Celtic as Seltic.”

    So basically, it was all the fault of some toffs, and everybody was right.”

  4. In a quiz recently we were told that the third most watched sporting event, was Formula 1. Not sure I believe that either.

  5. Morning all, thanks for the comments.

    Thanks for your research there Sipu, perhaps one of our 3 ‘J’s’ (one Welsh and the two Scots) will also shed some light on the matter.

    That general rule should I suppose include the letter ‘y’, cycad, cyst!

  6. Good morning.

    Oh those crazy C(K)elts and that crazy Grauniad!

    I never presume to offer definitive answers to anything but I did do Celtic (hard ‘c’) First Ordinary at Embra Uni many long years ago under Professor Kenneth Jackson. I learnt many fascinating things including how to count from 1 to 20 in Gaelic, the orthographic shift which led to the division between the P-Celt and Q-Celt languages, that the name of my home town derived from the Pictish word for a gorse thicket and that the allegedly Welsh poem, ‘The Gododdin’, is, in fact a Jock one.

    Unfortunately, to quote Shelley in re the boy Ozymandias. ‘nothing else remains’. Except that I know that the ‘c’ is always hard in Gaelic whatever vowel it precedes. I also seem to remember being told that this was because the Churchmen who first wrote the language down were translating from Latin sources, specifically the Bible, and so naturally used the Latin orthography and pronunciation where the ‘c’ is again always hard. Nothing to do with German influences or those toffs whom the Grauniad excoriates.

    I think that the paper is probably right to say that the word for the Weegie football team starts with the ‘S’ sound because the Irish immigrants to Scotland who founded it were English speakers and not from the Gaeltacht.

    I’m not writing the word, out of deference to JW’s feelings on the matter. It’s appearing on this post too much already for his delicate sensibilities, in my opinion. But, if he were here, I feel sure that he would point out that the word is pronounced by their fans as if it were spelt ‘Sellick’. The glottal stop is apparently obligatory.

    So, it’s Keltic for me, unless referring to the green Weegies. I could, of course, be wrong.

  7. I’ll have a hard “c” please Carol.

    Friends who’ve been there to play golf and get beauty treatments pronounce it that way, anyway. Proper tidy it is, apparently. 🙂

    Oi, Mr Mackie, that’s enough re-claiming Welsh poems. It’ll be Dylan McThomas next, you mark my words.

  8. Janh1, hi. I knew you would rise to the bait.

    I refer you to the aforementioned Professor Kenneth H Jackson. Born in England but fluent in all the modern-day branches of the Celtic languages and author in 1969 of ‘The Gododdin’ – The Oldest Scottish poem’.

    Without going into too much detail, the poem is about the kingdom of the Votadini which was centred in South-East Scotland and North-East England. The king gets his warriors seriously tanked up in Embra before heading south to get wiped by by the Angles at or around Catterick. The battle has, apparently, been dated to about 600.

    According to Professor Jackson, the poem would, therefore, pre-date the emergence of Primitive Welsh from the common P-Celt Brythonic language and would probably have originally have been in the Cumbric dialect of that language.

    In other words, North British up here at the truly hilly end of the land and not down there on the gentle, rolling West British plains.

    Dylan is definitely one of your lot and a fine wordsmith, in my opinion. Absolutely no evidence of Jockishness, however hard I looked. Pity – it might have made up for having to admit that Caledonia (‘stern and wild’) produced the ancestors of Lord Kinnock.

    Smiley thing, for the avoidance of doubt. ‘Y Goddodin’ as known today is, of course, as Welsh as tea cakes.

  9. Hello Soutie: It’s a hard C for me, though it will always be known as “The Lydia Beynon” to me, I wonder if anyone else on here was BORN there?

    One other piece of trivia, about the owner not the place, I once shared a desk with Sir Terry when we both worked for Northern Telecom in Canada, and he still owes me a few beers.

  10. Brilliant input from everybody, LW’s comment (Hi LW nice to see you over here) made me have a look at the history of the estate;-

    Originally known as Coldra House……..

    The Powells’ trustees then leased the house to a number of tenants……

    In the 1930s, Sir John gave the house to the local health authority, and on January 1, 1940, it opened as the Lydia Beynon Maternity Hospital, in memory of his mother………..

    A hotel takes shape
    After the Lydia Beynon closed in 1975, it was boarded up and there were fears that it might have to be demolished

    All rather interesting stuff, the rest here

    Coldra House, 1900

  11. Oh *that’s* why my parents always called it the Coldra Roundabout!! I had no idea how Cauldra Coldra, was spelled. Thanks Soutie!

    Mr Mackie, I of course bow to your superior knowledge of Scottish and probably even Welsh literature. I just have to be grateful that Dylan Thomas remains thoroughly Welsh. I am still enjoying a good smirk about Lord Kinnock though. That must have been a hard admission to make but I do appreciate it.

  12. Definitively hard c, as in k.
    There is no soft c in Welsh, doesn’t exist. It is in Wales, ergo it is hard c, even in the English language.
    What the Scots do is quite another matter, who can understand them anyway?

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