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I'm very interested in the old Brythonic languages and their survival in northern England into the second millenium AD. Up until the last century you still saw a few word snippets in common use, for instance in sheep counting. Unfortunately I'm not a Welsh speaker which hinders my curiosity.

One question I've had in my head for sometime is with the meaning of the name of a certain village in Cumbria- Tallentire.

Wikipedia tells me that this means world's end but I'm not sure how this could come to pass. Words like peninsula have no connection. And even assuming a much further east historic coastline it seems unlikely this village was on the coast.

I do know that tallentire is an anglicisation of the spelling and that in the original Cumbric Ys were more prominent. Tallentyre at the least. The final e and double ls also seem anglicisations.

Tal yn tyr seems a fairly logical breakdown. Tall of something.....

All I can conclude with the tyr is that this is the Cumbrian version of the Welsh twr. That the name means Hightower - a name which would seem fairly sensible for a village in such a historically rural and lawless land.

I am wondering though. If anyone out there is less of an amateur than I. Is this w-y evolution at all possible or logical?

Ultimately I'm trying to understand the name of this village (which also happens to be my mother's maiden name).

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    The Wikipedia article on Cumbric says the name corresponds to Welsh tal y tir (which is glossed as "brow/end of the land"); the citation is "Ekwall, E. (1960) ‘The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names' 4th edn. Oxford: Clarendon Press." I don't speak Welsh, so I don't know if "tal" can actually have this meaning by itself in the modern language. The root this etymology refers to seems to exist in the word talcen. – brass tacks Apr 25 '16 at 16:04
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    Welsh "w" seems to descend from Common Brythonic /u/. It doesn't seem that this developed to /i/ in Cumbric, given the use of "cum" and not "kim" in the place names Cumrew, Cumwhitton, Cumwhinton, Cumdivock (also from the Wikipedia article on Cumbric). – brass tacks Apr 25 '16 at 16:15
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First, the choice of 'i' or 'y' is not necessarily significant: spelling was more fluid in earlier eras.

Secondly, there are indeed contexts in Modern Welsh where 'y' and 'w' can alternate. For example the equative of 'trwm' ("heavy") is 'trymach' ("as heavy").

However, this is not relevant here, because "tir" is a word meaning "land" (see Wiktionary). There is no need to bring in "tŵr".

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