Did the Vikings Go to Wales to Buy Carrots?
How it all came around.
A while ago I was watching an old episode of the Swedish QI, and they were talking about old languages. One of the contestants, actually one of my favorite comedians in Sweden, started talking about "kymriska". It is the official word for the Welsh language in Sweden. Kymriska. At first I didn't think to much about it.
Then Rob Brydon continued the mystery.
But then just the other day, I ended up hearing the Welsh comedian Rob Brydon talking about words in Welsh, and one of them was "moron", which apparently means "carrot". I though it was weird , because in Swedish, the word for carrot is "morot", which is just different by one letter.
This was when my fascination took over. How could two so different languages have such a similar word for something that ancient. Or how long have carrots been around actually? There were so many questions in my head now.
For some reason, I couldn't get the thought out of my head, it kept swirling and swirling around and I kept thinking about it.
Then it hit me. Last December I took the boat from Holyhead to Dublin, I had plans of working there, but that's another story. I remember seeing the signs in Welsh and in English, and the word "Cymraeg", or maybe "Cymreag" was everywhere. I think it means Wales in Welsh.
So it made me think. Kymriska- Cymraeg, there we have the similarities again. In Swedish, the ending -ska, or -iska indicates that it is a language, so if we remove that part, what is left is kymr.
Cymraeg - Kymria?
Kymr - cymraeg, I just couldn't stop thinking about it, and it now made my head spin even more. Was there any possibility that the vikings had gone to Wales as well? They probably did, but was there ever Viking trading colonies in this area? It is a well-known fact that the Vikings founded cities like Dublin and York, why couldn't they have been in Wales founding a trading colony as well? In Cymraeg, or in Kymria, as they would have called it. It would have been interesting to see an old map of Viking settlements in this area, just to see if there was anything to "prove my point".
A thousand years ago.
And then you think about the age. If for the swedes, the official name of the language is Kymriska, that means that when the Vikings were there, it already had that name. They just took it with them back home and used it to name the place where they had come back from. The name must have been around then for at least a thousand years, longer than the names Scotland and England, I guess. A thousand years ago, the Welsh must already had a name for themselves and where they lived.
And what about the carrots?
It is fascinating to think that a thousand years ago, Viking ships went to Wales for trading. But how and where does the similarities with the word for carrot come around? Was that, what they were trading? Did Wales have an abundace of carrots, that the Vikings bought and brought to Scandinavia? How did the carrots arrive in Scandinavia, or are they native there? Or was it the other way, the Vikings that exported the carrots from Scandinavia to Wales? Do the Welsh love carrots? Even more questions in my head now.
I think I will just have to google it all to try to find the answers. But then, ironically enough, I will have more material to write a new article, I'll call it "part two of my Welsh -carrot explorations".
As soon as I have some more info, I'll be back.