How old is English?
I must remind the readers that the presence of Celts in Britain is attested only from 450 BC
(start of the Celtic period in Britain) on and later. Officially the Britons spoke something else before that date.
What? It is called pre-Celtic. How clever.
We recommend the official website of Vindolanda:
 Substrate word
A word which existed locally before the new PIE (Proto-Indo-European) language was
introduced. Typical are words for local plants and trees or for specific animals. An example in Germanic: oak, birch, bear,
deer. Substrate words are words with a limited geographical spread. Some estimate that up to one third of all old Germanic
words are substrate words. They contrast with other words which are genuine PIE and therefore traceable in many other PIE
 In Normandy, France, locals refer to a farm as "un pays". The official meaning
of 'pays' in French is country, land.
Place names of which the etymology means 'granary' are:
*bona is related to the modern German word Buehne (theater stage,
plank floor); in Dutch 'beun' (attic).
Examples of breaking the circular reasoning :
Vindolanda , Lincoln
Here are some examples of how it can be completely different. Both etymologies of Vindolanda and Lincoln are officially in proto-Welsh. This section illustrates that there is an alternative.
Vindolanda is a Roman fort near Hadrian's Wall. The official etymology of the place-name is in Welsh: vindo+lann. 'vindo' = white +'llan' = land, fields.
The first problem lays within the word 'llan'. This is clearly the same word as
'land'. 'Land' is to be found in all German languages: middle Dutch, old high German, old Saxon, old Fries, old English,
Gothic. Outside the German languages: old Irish: 'land', Welsh: 'llan', old Prussic: 'lindan'
(valley), old Russian: 'ljadina' (shrubs, weed). The geographically limited spread of the word points towards a German
substrate word , and not a PIE word. The word must have been introduced in
Old Welsh first (where the 'd' disappeared), and later in Old Irish (where the 'd' was maintained). 'Land' does not occur
outside the Germanic zone on the Continent. It is not a Gallic (=Celtic!) word. The Old Prussian and Russian versions are
known to be loanwords.
In all Brythonic dialects, a llan, land or lann is a loanword and always means land owned by the Church or is some Catholic propriety. So, it is obvious that the word was introduced together with the Christian religion. Clearly, it is not an original Celtic word.
The problem in Vindolanda is that the word 'landa' is too early. When Hadrian's Wall was build
the Catholic Church was still some sort of expanded former-fisherman's-club.
The second problem is the word 'vindo-' = 'white' and what it refers to (Modern Welsh: gwyn-, also in the first name Gwendolyn = 'white circle' = the moon). The Brythonic meaning of Vindolanda, 'white fields', is at least doubtful. Many objects in leather were discovered on the site because the soil is black due to a lack of oxygen. A visit to the site confirmed that there is no trace of something white.
But, one can always imagine that 'white lands' refers to white flowers in the spring. Was this a flower garden in the middle of a harsh landscape, inviting the legionnaires into a circular chain dance? Unlikely. The whole region is barren, very windy and cold. We saw a lot of bright yellow buttercups but nothing white.
Vindolanda is Germanic
The etymology in proto-English is far more probable:
Vindolanda is a compound word, so it has one single and specific meaning. This too
excludes the 'white field' meaning. There is a village called Whitfield in England, but that meant: "mr. White's
Vindolanda is (proto-English) Brigantes territory
Wars and unrest were always much more an exception than the rule. So, more and more etymologists
think that bergen and berg have two wholly different origins.
It is possible to build from any word a PIE version with the rules of modern linguistics, even with words like anorak or kangaroo: words of a clear non-European origin. Such reconstructions are of course bogus, but remember: it is not because a pie word can be reconstructed that the word really existed in PIE.
In the Germanic world, nearly all villages were 'burghs', even the ones build on flat plains. The word had simply evolved to become a word for town, village or city (the latter two words came later and are of French origin). In Dutch and German berg means hill and -burg means town. This enforces the idea that a burgh is a protected place and that it has nothing to do with a location on a hill or slope. Nevertheless, the similarity of burgh and berg even fooled the Roman interpreters. But the reality is that the word Brigantes is simply the written version of "Brugendaz", with 'r' and 'u' metathesis (inversion) and the softening of '*-undaz' into '*-entes', while the Gallo-Roman writers noted '-antes'. How is nowadays Burgh by Sands (Abavalla - the most western fort on Hadrian's Wall) pronounced? As Bruff by Sands! The same metathesis.
The word Brigantes means in Brythonic literally hill people and that is explained
as 'high ones' and not as villagers. Brigantes would refer or to 'hill-people', which is very unlikely given the barren
Pennine range, or to a tribe who had a very high esteem of itself. The problem is that when you fail to uphold this
self-attributed title, your enemies will mock you until the end of days. "High ones" can be very quickly transformed into
"fallen ones". No tribe, to my knowledge, was so stupid to chose such a name. Therefore, it is very likely that the word
Brigantes is a literal, though wrong, Brythonic interpretation of the local Brugendaz (='ruled/organized citizens')
and that it had no 'hillbilly' meaning.
Lincoln is a Germanic place-name too
Lincoln. The Roman name for Lincoln is well attested in the classical geographies. The name in Latin was Lindum
Colonia (both are attested). "-coln"= colonia = a resting place for legionnaires.
This is possible because:
The Roman fort was centered on a 60 meter high hilltop at the end of a limestone ridge and allegedly overlooked a
hypothetical (and dark) pool in the river Witham from the north.
Map of Lincoln.