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CUMBRIC

CUMBRIC. A Celtic language, akin to Old WELSH, spoken in southern Scotland and north-west England until early medieval times. Most relics of Cumbric are place-names such as Pennersax in Dumfriesshire, whose Welsh equivalent would be Pen y Sais Englishman's summit. Some commentators consider that garbled echoes of Cumbric survive in the Cumbric Score or sheep-counting numerals, numbers of a sort used in Cumberland and West Yorkshire by men counting sheep, women counting stitches, and children in games. A. J. Ellis published 53 versions of these in 1877–9, and Michael Barry 70 versions in 1969. In Borrowdale in Cumberland, 1–10 was yan, tyan, tethera, methera, pimp, sethera, lethera, hevera, devera, dick (Welsh is un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump, chwech, saith, wyth, naw, deg). ‘Fifteen’ was bumfit (Welsh pymtheg). The Score was acquired from informants at second hand; apparently, no one has ever been found actually using it. See CELTIC LANGUAGES.

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