At present, Welsh is spoken only in Wales, and Breton in Brittany, yet there was a time when it was spoken not only over the British Isles, but over parts of Continental Europe. For it has been maintained, falsely in my view, that the Celts, or ancient Gauls, were one and the same with the Britons, and making allowance for dialect, used the same language. Although most modern researchers deny this, the widespread knowledge of early Welsh must hold true.
Very many of the Celtic or Gallic words agree very well with the Welsh, both in sound and in sense. In addition, many of the names of cities, mountains, rivers etc. in France (anciently, Gaul), cannot be accounted for without a knowledge of Welsh. Here are a few examples. Arles (Latin: Arelatum) derived from Ar (upon) and Llaith (moist); because situated upon moist ground, Ysloudun, Guienne (Latin: Uxellodunum) derived from Uchel (high), and Din (fortified mound). The Cevennes comes from the root Cefn (back or ridge), and the Apennine mountains, Pen (head, top or chief, etc.). The river Arar, in French, La Saonne, from Araf (slow, soft), the Garumna, now called La Garronne, from Garw(rough, harsh)” (Thomas Richards’ Welsh &English Dictionary (1839).
Was English related to Hebrew? The idiomatic likenesses between English and Hebrew were noticed by Tyndale when he translated the scriptures. He said, “The properties of the Hebrew tongue aggreeth a thousand times more with the English than with the Latin. The manner of speaking is in both one, so that, in a thousand places, there needest not but to translate the Hebrew word for word.”Canon Samuel Lyson found 5000 Hebrew roots in the English language (“Our British Ancestors”); other authorities put the figure still higher. The Welsh is so much like the Hebrew that the same syntax may be used for both. “ Our (Welsh) translation of the Holy Scriptures seems to have one peculiar advantage of most modern versions, in that the Hebrew idioms, phraseology or forms of speaking, are retained, and that with great propriety too, in the Welsh language” (Thomas Richards’ Welsh &English Dictionary (1839).
The Old Saxon language is said to be eighty percent Hebrew. The ancient poem in the Irish language known as the “Book of the Dun Cow” (1106 A.D.) are “not unlike the poetical passages in the Old Testament” (5:626, Encyc. Brit. 11th edition, Early Irish Myths and Sagas).
Isaiah 28:11 says, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people” (Ephraim — v.1). The Hebrew word for “stammering” here is “Laeg” reading right to left but English reads left to right so it would be pronounced “Gael” in English. Gaelic is not only a foundation of the English language, but is still spoken in its primitive simplicity in many places in Scotland and the north of Ireland. Judges 12:6 says the Ephraimites had trouble pronouncing the aspirate “h” as in “Shibboleth”. In Britain today, the linguistic trait remains, especially with Cockney. Speaking of the Kymric use of the Hebrew rule of “Aspiration” Dr. Meyer says, “The assuming of the gutteral aspiration on the part of the consonant under the influence of the preceding vowel is the kind of change regularly adopted in Irish, whereas in Welsh the vocalization of the mute is now the general rule. It is now unquestionable, however, from the gradual and even now only partial adoption of this rule in Welsh, that the Irish usage is the more ancient of the two, as is still further proved by its striking analogy with that of the Daghesh Lene in Hebrew.”
“Davidson’s Hebrew Grammar“ says, “The word Daghesh is from a root which possibly expressed the idea of hardness. The sign of Daghesh is a point in the bosom of a letter, and this point was used to indicate both a lighter and a heavier kind of hardness. When it indicates the lighter hardness it is called D. lene, when the stronger, it is called D. forte.”
You can take any sentence in Hebrew and change it into Gaelic, word for word, without altering the order of a single word or letter, and you will have the correct Gaelic idiom in every case. You cannot do that with any other language in Europe. Hebrew has a rule which is known as “Aspiration.” which applies to certain consonants when they follow a vowel. It means the same consonant has two different sounds, according to its position. Gaelic has the same rule and applies it in exactly the same way. Even words borrowed from other languages are at once modified in sound according to the Hebrew rule of Aspiration. Does any other language use this rule? I don’t know of any.
Ancient Media, where the ten tribes were taken captive, is where the language of Sanskrit was developed. Sanskrit has a more elaborate rule for modifying the consonants, called “Sandi” under which every consonant may have as many as four distinct sounds, according to its position. Dr. James Pritchard in his book “The Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations” has shown that Welsh alone of all living languages, has preserved the rule of “Sandi” entire. He proves from this and many other similarities, including words in such common use as the whole paradigm of the verb “to be,” that the ancestors of the Welsh must have lived among the people who spoke Sanskrit. These people were in Media. He also shows that Gothic is the link between ancient Sanskrit and modern Teutonic.
The grammatical structure of Welsh and Hebrew is the same. The verb, for instance, occupies the same place in the sentence of both languages. The roots of most Welsh words may be traced to Hebrew. Not only do Welsh words themselves indicate a similarity; their variations and inflexions afford a much stronger proof of affinity. In the Kymric, as well as the Hebrew, the cases and gender of nouns are distinguished by affixes and prefixes. The plural number of nouns likewise is often formed in a similar manner in the Kymric by adding “in” to the singular. Welsh, like Hebrew, has no present tense. In the formation of sentences, and in the government of words, in the agreement of the adjective with the substative, in the precedence of the latter, in the usual exceptions to this rule, and in verbs plural being governed by nominatives singular, the Welsh so exactly corresponds with the Hebrew that the same syntax might serve for both. Meric Casaubon has taken some pains to show that the Saxon language has great affinity with the Greek (De Ling Sac. p234-376 (1650).
All our modern unabridged dictionaries are inadequate with regard to the origin or etymology of old English words not derived from Greek or Latin. Very much of Greek and Latin and other European languages can be derived from Hebrew so the question becomes, “Did even those English words that are similar to Greek and Latin come from them, or their predecessor Hebrew? These European languages are quite young compared with the old Hebrew. (Pages 67 to 72 of “God’s Covenant Man: British-Israel” by Edward Odlum, gives many English roots from Hebrew).
The language of the learned bards, in which their poetry was composed, was Hebrew. Taliesin, a celebrated bard of the ancient Britons, who was subsequently converted to Christianity, distinctly says, when speaking of his own songs, “My lore has been declared in Hebrew, in the Hebraic tongue have I sung.” Dr. Thomas Stratton of Edinburgh said, “It would be difficult to adduce a single article or form of construction in the Hebrew grammar, but the same is to be found in Welsh, and there were many whole sentences in both languages exactly the same in the very words.”