"Celtic": "Keltic" or "Seltic" or Both?

Feb 27th, 2008, 07:32 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
"Celtic": "Keltic" or "Seltic" or Both?

a question about the pronunciation of the word CELTIC

Long ago in America this word was inevitably pronounced like sel-tic - as in the famous Boston Celtic perennial champion NBA basketball team

It was 'seltic' music, etc.

Then a few decades ago the word inevitably became said as "keltic" even though the Boston Celtics have kept their 'seltics' pronunciation

And on Fiona Ritchie's (sp?) NPR Sat eve radio show showcasing new trends in Celtic Music this Scottish, i believe, lass, definitely says Keltic with a very hard K

So i thought Seltic had become passe in favor of Keltic universally except in basketball circles

So when i recently stayed in Eltham, London at a B&B run by Phyllis Dennis, a dear older lady who told me she was born in Ireland and was Irish though she fled, like many other Irish to England, many many years ago - this came up when i detected some klicking brogue when she said certain words so i asked if she were Scottish and she said no Irish

Anyway she soon said the word Celtic and pronounced it Seltic

I asked about this - the difference between Seltic and Keltic and how i thought it was all Keltic

and she said no, to her Irish were Seltic and Keltic is what she'd call the Scots

Is there a difference between Seltic and Keltic when saying Celtic?

thanks, curious in Tonbridge
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:45 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 589
She was having you on, mate!
bobludlow is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:45 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
PalenQ asked: " Is there a difference between Seltic and Keltic when saying Celtic?"

Yes. Except for the names of two sports teams (in Boston and in Glasgow) and other teams named in recognition of them, Celtic is pronounced Celtic.
Padraig is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:48 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,258
Hi P,

>Is there a difference between Seltic and Keltic when saying Celtic?

Depends on which old lady you talk to.

"Pardon me, sir. Is this state pronounced Hawaii or Havaii"?
"Havaii".
"Thank you".
"You're Velcome".

ira is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:49 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,176
First, the two easy bits.

If you believe in a "correct" pronunciation (a concept that's wholly alien to English), it has to be Kelts, because that's how Herodotus spelt it.

But the most common pronunciation in British and Irish English is Seltic, because that's how the football team's pronounced.

Your landlady's two-pronunciation idea is bonkers. My memory is that Seltic remained the standard British Isles pronunciation for a long time (all British politicians talked about the "Seltic fringe" , referring to Wales, Cornwall and Scotland till the mid-90s, and a lot still do).

Only academics have consistentkly talked about the Kelts. As half-baked tertiary education, as well as anthropobabble, poison the population, it sounds posher to use academics', rather than footballers, English.

So everyone who witters on about "the central role of women in Keltic religions" insists on being academically correct.

As far as I'm concerned, though, unless you're talking about European tribal movements before the year 0, it's Seltic.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:51 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
No she was not putting me on - not this lady - definitely not - maybe misunderstood something but definitely called herself Celtic as in seltic

she was not the type to be putting me on of that i'm sure

and we did indeed use the pronunciation Seltic in the States for years and years before it suddenly became Keltic

maybe this lovely older lady still have the seltic also in her mind? Not having been in Ireland or Irish circles much i think
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:12 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,397
In general the S sound is used for sports teams and the K for anything to do with peoples, institutions, countries etc.

Lots of debate on how the distinction between the two pronunciations came about although there does seem to be some consensus that common parlance generally preferred the S form until the academic K from became prevalent.

I do know that my own team, Glasgow Celtic, has always been pronounced as an S. Would be interesting to hear from any linguists on this.
wellididntknowthat is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:20 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,060
...and of course many academics reckon that the Celts never set foot in Britain.

BTW, I knew a very grand old lady who always referred to the Kinema.
Josser is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:24 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Ach, seltic, keltic, who gives a sh't? Rangers rule!
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:25 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
According to Merriam-Webster, both pronunciations are possible:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-b...nary&va=Celtic

The Irish prefer seltic, and since Celtic Glasgow was founded by an Irishman in 1887, pronunciation is seltic Glasgow.

Linguists, historians etc. would certainly prefer keltic.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:14 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,397
Taxi for Robspierre!!!!
wellididntknowthat is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:22 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
<<< Celtic Glasgow >>>

It's Glasgow Celtic

alanRow is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:29 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,892
There is a probably apocryphal story of a drunk in America coming up to Richard Burton
and talking about how much they had in common as "They were both Celts" pronouncing it "Selt".

Burton Replied, "No Sir, I am a selt, you are a sunt"
willit is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:35 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 339
<<< Celtic Glasgow >>>

It's Glasgow Celtic


To be really pedantic it's neither.

The club's just called Celtic FC.
Pete_R is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:13 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,601
Celtic comes from the French celtique and the correct pronunciation is seltic.
kerouac is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:23 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 692
Ya' gotta' love Richard Burton!



Sam
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:23 AM
  #17  
ron
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,675
I would have thought that the switch from the S sound to the K sound comes from the success the Irish government had in reviving the use of the Gaelic language in Ireland. Being more logical than English, S is used for the English S sound, C for the Engish K sound, and there is no K.
ron is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:28 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
Wonder why Fiona Ritchie on her Celtic music hour on NPR, where she showcases new folk type music from Scotland, Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany, etc.

why seh says 'keltic'

not an academic setting but seems she would pronounce it as the locals do or local musicians
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:28 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,798
>>Celtic comes from the French celtique and the correct pronunciation is seltic.<<

Er, no, actually - on either count.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:33 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,397
As already mentioned PalenQ, the soft S is used almost exclusively in the context of sporting clubs. In Glasgow we have a music festival, throughout January, called Celtic Connections, the K sound is used for it.

wellididntknowthat is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:06 PM.