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    Hallstatt – In eisenzeitlicher Tradition?

    Stifter, David (2005) Hallstatt – In eisenzeitlicher Tradition? In: Interpretierte Eisenzeiten. Fallstudien, Methoden, Theorie. Tagungsbeitrage der 1. Linzer Gesprache zur interpretativen Eisenzeitarchaologie. Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Linz, pp. 229-240.

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    An etymology from a putative Celtic *hal ‘salt’ < PIE *sal has been claimed for various placenames attested from the middle ages onwards, containing an element hall in Central Europe, among them most notably Hallstatt and Hallein. But this etymology is rendered unlikely, if not impossible by a number of facts: 1.The required sound change PIE *s > Celtic *h has no convincing parallel in Continental Celtic. 2.The Proto-Celtic word for ‘salt’, that can be reconstructed on the basis of the Insular Celtic languages, is *saleyno-, although the existence of a root noun *sal cannot be excluded for Continental Celtic. 3.The placenames in hall unequivocally show a geminated ll, whereas a word for ‘salt’ would have contained a single l. 4. Placenames in hall- are found exclusively in areas settled by Germanic peoples, but not in other areas inhabited by Celtic peoples in antiquity. 5. It is highly unlikely that the invading Germanic peoples of the early middle ages would have encountered speakers of Celtic languages in the Alpine regions, but rather speakers of Romance languages. Romance does not possess the sound /h/. 6.The attestations of hal(l) as a proper noun in Old and Middle High German point to a meaning ‘place where salt is produced by simmering brine, salt pan’, not ‘salt’. Furthermore the method of salt-production in the middle ages was completely different from Iron Age salt-mining. 7. Most of the places with hall in their name lack a continuous settlement since antiquity; most of them are foundations of the early and high medieval period.Therefore an etymology for hall has to be found within Germanic, not Celtic. Various Germanic proposals have been made in the last 150 years, none of which is without semantic or phonological problems. My new proposal is to derive hall from Proto-Germanic *χallan, which continues PIE *kalnom or *kHlnom ‘hardened skin, encrustation’ (cp. Latin callum ‘horny skin, callus’).This originally must have referred to the encrusted salt that forms in during the simmering of brine. From the salt thus produced the word must have been transferred to the instrument and place of simmering.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: Postprint version of published article.
    Keywords: placenames; etymology; Continental Celtic;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Celtic Studies > Early Irish (Sean Ghaeilge)
    Item ID: 6093
    Depositing User: Prof. David Stifter
    Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 15:33
    Publisher: Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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