Is it correct that the Isle of Wight and Albion owe their name inGoddess of Barley?

By: | Post date: 2016-10-17 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Linguistics

Any Goddess of Barley in Greek would be named for the Greek for barley: alphi. That derives from proto-Indo-European *albhi- , and Albanian elp is a cognate.

Albion is the Celtic name of Britain, which survives as the Gaelic for Scotland, Alba. Its cognates are Welsh elfydd < *elbid ‘world, land’ and Gaulish albio– ‘world’. Per Albion – Wikipedia, there are two possible etymologies in proto-Indo-European: *albho- ‘white’ or *alb ‘hill’. I think Pokorny conflates them.

Per Pokorny, one guy (Specht) has speculated that *albhi ‘barley’ and *albho ‘white’ are related. *shrug* Who knows, maybe they are. But given how the Albh– stem shows up all over the place in place names (including the Alfeios river—and the Alps), I’d have thought that any Barley/White connection would be old—and would certainly predate the naming of Albion.

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