The Semantic Development of the Irish and Welsh Words for Fighting
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This investigation answers the question: What is the direction of the semantic development of the cognate words for fighting in Irish and Welsh? Traugott, building on the work of Meillet, argued that the tendency for words is to develop a more internal and subjective meaning. This underlies the hypothesis that the direction is ‘word’ >‘discussion’ >‘heated discussion’ >‘physical confrontation’ >‘fight’ and the development was not the reverse. The analysis of the word-pairs bríathar-brwydr, focal-gwaethl, dál-dadl, comrac-cyfranc, cath-cad, ár-aer and gleo-glew demonstrates that the direction of the semantic development is ‘word’ >‘discussion’ >‘heated discussion’ >‘physical confrontation’ >‘fight’.