Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Big...Big...Big Picture 2

Writing or speaking words become the threads that bind a cultural group together in this world of experiences.  Events of life like birth, death, and all the places in between, are packaged in words that get past down from one generation to the next.  The following table shows some of these words used among the language groups that played a role in the derivation of the surname JONES.  The words of life they are called.

The first column list these words in English, which is the language of my own tongue.  Next is Welsh which seems to be the cultural foundation for our surname JONES.  Latin [the language of the early Christian Church that wrote things down]...French [the language of those folks taking over the Island after 1066]...Greek [the language which clustered in the educated of the day such as priest, clerks, and the record keepers]...and finally Anglo-Saxon [the vernacular] which survived to bring us to the English.

Now what has this got to do with the surname JONES you may be asking.  Well, if you will, take each word in the first column and move its spelling across the other columns, you will see variations among the language groups.  Some spellings are close, but for the Welsh there are dramatic differences.  For example, the word for "Man" is "dyn" in the Welsh, but "homo" in Latin, "homme" in French, an "anthropose" in the Greek.  In the Anglo-Saxon it is "man".  Take some time and look through the words of life.

All this analysis shows how different the Welsh tongue is to our English tongue.  This difference is one main factor in the "phonetic" changes that took place during the course of the chronology of our surname JONES.  The language groups listed above all played a role in the formation and changes to our surname.  Welsh to English passing thorough a group of languages to become JONES.  What a "BIG" picture indeed it is.

Note: This table was put together after many years of trying to piece together why the various spellings of "John" appeared in the documents of the day.  Who would have known?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry to be picky, but as a Welsh speaker, just a couple of typos.

    Boy should be 'bachgen' (not bashgen)
    Child should be 'plentyn' (not the mutated 'blentyn')
    Infant should be 'babanod' (not babandod)

  3. Thanks for your input...need all the help I can get...are there any other thoughts?

  4. Any other Welsh speakers out there? Does mutation occur only with spoken words, or do words get mutated when writing?