Yesterday morning, a couple of friends and I were sitting around at the Northern Renaissance Faire when the discussion turned to languages -- most notably Old English, Irish Gaelic and, inevitably, Welsh. It is quite interesting discussing these in a frame of mind meant to emulate that of the latter 1500s. Now, Welsh is a most peculiar language in that it appears to have words which turn out to look more like acronyms, or the linguistic equivalent of line noise. If you've ever seen Welsh written out, you know what I mean -- each word is typically a bunch of consonants with a few vowels sprinkled here and there for flavor, and is in no way connected with a word that sounds like its Anglo-Latin equivalent. Take, for example, the word "Wales" -- the name of their own country. They spell it "CYMRU". Makes perfect sense, right? Yeah, thought so. It looks more like an acronym for "Celtic Youth Mythical Research Union", or something like that. And that's just one of the short words (ask someone who is a bit more familiar with Welsh to come up with a longer one -- they can achieve twenty or more letters in one word, and you're lucky if there's more than two vowels in the bunch). Well, we finally figured out what must have happened. Ages ago, long before the latter 1500s, there must have been a large exodus from Wales which eventually settled in what is now called Hawaii. \...and they took all the vowels with them when they left.
(From the "Rest" of RHF)