[Bards] What is a bard?
rudin at ev1.net
Tue Jun 12 09:05:45 PDT 2007
The word "bard", like every other word in the English languages, has many
different meanings. The reason we will not agree on the one precise
meaning of the word "bard" is that there isn't one.
I use the word in its most common English sense -- a poet. I've
occasionally been accused of doing this because I am being sloppy with
language. In fact, it's the exact opposite. I use the English meaning
because I am speaking English. I would no more use "bard" to mean a Scots
baird or a Welsh bardd than I would use "digital computing" to mean
counting on my fingers, even though that's the etymological history of
those words. "Epee" originally meant any sword. "Pompous" meant grand and
stately. "Awful" meant capable of inspiring awe. "Villain" meant peasant.
"Barbarian" meant anyone who cannot speak Greek. "Cosmos" meant a
specifically created thing (it has the same root as "cosmetic"). I will
not use any of those words that way.
In Welsh today, a "bardd" is a poet recognized at Eisteddfod. I have been
recognized at Eisteddfod; I am a bard.
In early Celtic societies with religious beliefs I do not share, it denoted
a specific position with religious consequences. For obvious reasons, I
cannot use it in that sense.
So, when speaking English, I use it in its English sense. And, as with any
English word, I have to use context to tell what meaning a speaker intends.
Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
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