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Type: lexical
Meaning: 'ruler'
Language: Celtic
Phonemic analysis: /allau̯n/-
From PIE: *u̯l̥H-mn- or *u̯l̥nH-mn- (vel sim.) 'ruler'
From Proto-Celtic: *u̯al(l)amn- 'ruler'
Attestation: ualaunal


The element uellaun-/uallaun- is widely attested in Celtic onomastics: Gaulish personal names (uellaunus, uercassiuellaunus, ualauna), theonyms (icouellauna), ethnonyms (κατουελλαυοί, segouellauni) and toponyms (uellaunodunum); OBrit. personal names (cassiuellaunus, dubnouellaunus, ualauneicus) and ethnonyms (catuuellauni), OW -gwallawn (cadwallaun, MW casswallawn); Ogam valamni (CIIC 125), OIr. folloman; lexically in OIr. *follomon- 'ruler, chief' (→ follaimnigid 'rules', etc.). See Holder 1896-1907: III 94, KGP: 288 f., GPN: 272–277 (with older literature), Lambert 1990: 206–208, DLG: 311, Delamarre 2007: 188, 235.

The form is analysed as a thematised formation of an agentive in -mon-/-mn- from the PIE root *u̯elH- 'be strong, be powerful' by Lambert 1990: 213 f., Lambert 1996: 94 f. (also DLG: 311) and Stifter 1999: 66. (Cf. the nominal o-stem u̯alo- 'ruler' from the same root.) Stifter reconstructs amphikinetic *u̯élH-mon-/*u̯l̥H-mn-, with later analogical full grade in the root throughout and in the thematised formation (*u̯élH-mno-), the variation between /e/ and /a/ in the root due to (not fully executed?) Joseph's Rule (Joseph 1982: 55), and geminate /l/ secondarily (and possibly also /a/ to an extent) introduced from the n-infix present *u̯l̥néH-/*u̯l̥nH- (LIV²: 676) by analogy. Lambert derives the form from the n-infix present (*u̯l̥nH-mn-), in turn explaining /e/ in the root as the outcome of forms with secondary full-grade (*u̯elnH-mn-). Indeed, the coincidence of different derivations with different ablaut grades and analogical levelling is likely to play a part in the variation. (Lejeune 1971: 65, n. 229 explains /a/ as sporadic regressive assimilation; cf. KGP: 93.) In an earlier publication, Lambert 1985: 171) identifies the suffix as medio-passive *-mh1no-, followed by De Bernardo Stempel 1994, Prósper 2002: 207, Villar & Prósper 2005: 317, 327–330 (cf. also Zair 2012: 193); Delamarre DLG: 311 suggests that the two suffixes were conflated in Celtic. The development -Vmn- > -Vu̯n- occurs in all languages but Irish.

David Stifter, Corinna Salomon


CIIC R[obert] A[lexander] S[tewart] Macalister, Corpus inscriptionum insularum Celticarum, Dublin: Stationery Office 1945–1949.
De Bernardo Stempel 1994 Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, "Das indogermanische m(V)no-Verbaladjektiv im Keltischen", in: Roland Bielmeier, Reinhard Stempel (eds), Indogermanica et Caucasica. Festschrift für Karl Horst Schmidt zum 65. Geburtstag [= Untersuchungen zur indogermanischen Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaft 6], Berlin – New York: De Gruyter 1994, 281–305.
Delamarre 2007 Xavier Delamarre, Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'épigraphie classique. Nomina Celtica Antiqua Selecta Inscriptionum, Paris: Errance 2007.
DLG Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd, revised edition, Paris: Errance 2003.