Type

Book Chapter

Authors

David Stifter

Subjects

History

Topics
school of celtic studies tradition central europe single iron age production early medieval skin

Hallstatt – In eisenzeitlicher Tradition? (2005)

Abstract An etymology from a putative Celtic *hal ‘salt’ < PIE *sal has been claimed for various placenames attested from the middle ages onwards, containing an element hall in Central Europe, among them most notably Hallstatt and Hallein. But this etymology is rendered unlikely, if not impossible by a number of facts: 1.The required sound change PIE *s > Celtic *h has no convincing parallel in Continental Celtic. 2.The Proto-Celtic word for ‘salt’, that can be reconstructed on the basis of the Insular Celtic languages, is *saleyno-, although the existence of a root noun *sal cannot be excluded for Continental Celtic. 3.The placenames in hall unequivocally show a geminated ll, whereas a word for ‘salt’ would have contained a single l. 4. Placenames in hall- are found exclusively in areas settled by Germanic peoples, but not in other areas inhabited by Celtic peoples in antiquity. 5. It is highly unlikely that the invading Germanic peoples of the early middle ages would have encountered speakers of Celtic languages in the Alpine regions, but rather speakers of Romance languages. Romance does not possess the sound /h/. 6.The attestations of hal(l) as a proper noun in Old and Middle High German point to a meaning ‘place where salt is produced by simmering brine, salt pan’, not ‘salt’. Furthermore the method of salt-production in the middle ages was completely different from Iron Age salt-mining. 7. Most of the places with hall in their name lack a continuous settlement since antiquity; most of them are foundations of the early and high medieval period.Therefore an etymology for hall has to be found within Germanic, not Celtic. Various Germanic proposals have been made in the last 150 years, none of which is without semantic or phonological problems. My new proposal is to derive hall from Proto-Germanic *χallan, which continues PIE *kalnom or *kHlnom ‘hardened skin, encrustation’ (cp. Latin callum ‘horny skin, callus’).This originally must have referred to the encrusted salt that forms in during the simmering of brine. From the salt thus produced the word must have been transferred to the instrument and place of simmering.
Collections Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Type = Book Section
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Subject = Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Academic Unit = Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy: School of Celtic Studies
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Subject = Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy: School of Celtic Studies
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Status = Published
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Academic Unit = Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy: School of Celtic Studies: Early Irish (Sean Ghaeilge)
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Academic Unit = Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy
Ireland -> Maynooth University -> Open Access DRIVERset

Full list of authors on original publication

David Stifter

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David Stifter
Maynooth University
Total Publications: 47