[TUHS] Boats (was: Slashes)

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Mon Jul 11 21:07:06 AEST 2016

Johnny Billquist scripsit:

> So the obvious question then becomes: Are you saying that Old
> English also borrowed the word from English?

Now you're being silly.  It's obvious that "boat" is a cuckoo in the
Scots nest, and who could have laid it there but English?  Scots is shot
through with English borrowings, just as the Nordic languages are full
of Low German and English is full of Old Norse and French.

For an example of a Scots word that went the other way, consider OE
rád, which meant 'an event of riding'.  In Beowulf, the sea is called
(among other poetic things) the swanrád, the place of the swan's riding.
According to the sound-change I discussed before, this becomes ModE road,
which is now specialized to mean 'the place where people usually ride
(or used to)'.  In Scots, however, it took the meaning of a 'riding for
military purposes', and as the sound change predicts, its form is raid,
which was borrowed into English in the 19C (by Sir Walter Scott).

> (See http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=boat)

Etymonline is an excellent resource, but not entirely perfect, and it
happens to be wrong in this case about the related languages (which is
not its focus anyway).  The OED3 has the same story I gave you, with
some doubt about a few details; <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/b%C3%A5d>
agrees also.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and all other acyclic
graphs; you have a right to be here.  --DeXiderata by Sean McGrath

More information about the TUHS mailing list