With St. Patrick’s Day approaching (and here in Savannah, that means a big parade and 500,000 drunken tourists!), I’d like to know when the word Celtic (pronounced KELL-tik) came to be pronounced SELL-tik, as in Boston’s basketball team?
Apart from it being Glasgow Celtic Football Club, no 'United, it’s pronounced “Sellick”. Well, by most of their supporters anyway. But they don’t like that pointed out, which is as good a reason as any to do it.
In the Greek language and literature, the people known to the Romans as “Gauls” were called “Keltoi” generically, although in both Latin and Greek they are somtimes also distinguished by the names of the various tribes. I am unsure if they ever thought of themselves as a single entity, at least until Caesar launched a war of conquest.
I suppose that makes sense in terms of people who only heard of the team, and never of the land. Personally, I was quite aware of the land, but its name never came up in conversation, or on the tv/radio news, so I never heard it pronounced, and simply followed the “e after c” rule, and presumed that the correct pronunciation was “seltik”.
I think is it fair to say that most Americans never hear the name of the land of the Celts, and can be held innocent of knowing their error. But can the same be said of “Yukon”?
It annoys me terribly when I hear the nickname of the University of Connecticut pronounced with the accent on the first syllable: “UConn”.
It sounds exactly like Yukon, and I often misunderstand it when I hear it. Why can’t people call it “UConn”?
I studied ancient history, and had a personal interest and focus on Celtic history. I always pronounced it Keltic, and never heard otherwise in scholarly circles. This was in reference to the people of ancient Gaul and Britain, not modern people.
The correct pronunciation is “Keltic” just as the correct pronunciation of cinema is “kinema” (derived from the Greek for “movement” where we also get “kinetic” and not “cinetic” … or is it “cinetic”? … never mind)