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CONLANG  June 2010, Week 4

CONLANG June 2010, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Celtic (was: Hibernic - Starting to plan for a plan)

From:

R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Jun 2010 07:41:39 +0100

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Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
> Hallo!
> 
> On Sat, 26 Jun 2010 21:42:10 +0100, R A Brown wrote:
[snip]
>> The connexion between the languages was not recognized
>> till the 18th century when the term 'Celtic' was also
>> coined to denote the sub-family of IE that these two
>> were thought to form.
> 
> As far as I remember it, J. J. Scaliger's 1599
> classification of the languages of Europe (the one with
> the "Deus" [Romance], "Theos" [Greek], "Gott" [Germanic]
> and "Boge" [Slavic] families besides seven smaller ones)
> treats British Celtic and Irish Celtic as two distinct
> families (and designates neither of them "Celtic").

Yep - nobody ever called anyone in Ireland or Britain 
'Celtic' until the 18th century    :)

It was the work of Edward Lluyd, the Keeper of the Ashmolean 
Museum in Oxford in the early 18th century who did years of 
fieldwork & research into the grammatical structures of 
these two groups of languages that first made clear their 
relationship. At the same time a Breton, Paul-Yves Perzon 
suggested a connexion between the Welsh & Bretons and the 
ancient peoples of Gaul. Spurred on by this, Lluyd developed 
the notion, now universally accepted, that the Gaelic 
languages of Ireland & Scotland, and Welsh, Cornish, Breton 
and the language(s) of ancient Gaul formed one IE sub-family 
and it was he who first designated as as 'Celtic'.

This coincided with the developing Romantic movement and 
thus, as J.R.R. Tolkien noted, "'Celtic' of any sort is, 
nonetheless, a magic bag, into which anything may be put, 
and out of which almost anything may come. ... Anything is 
possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so 
much a twilight of the gods as of the reason."

> I think that the Celtic branch of Indo-European is
> securely established by now, even if the two branches of
> Insular Celtic parted ways quite a bit earlier than North
> and West Germanic (let alone West, East and South
> Slavic), though later than Indic and Iranian, and are
> often assumed to represent two separate waves of
> immigration into the British Isles.

Yep - tho several interesting similarities with the Italic 
branch have led some to posit an earlier 'Italo-Celtic' 
subdivision.

> The typological "weirdness" (VSO order, initial
> mutations, etc.) that unites the two branches of Insular
> Celtic against the rest of IE (including, most
> importantly, the Continental Celtic languages which 
> apparently were pretty "well-behaved" western IE
> languages), appears to be some sort of areal or
> substratal phenomenon.  The notion that the substratum
> responsible for this was Semitic is popular, 

I have also come across the theory that the 'weirdness' of 
'Insular Celtic' was due to creolization which developed 
from trade pidgin that had grown up between peoples of these 
islands and Phoenician traders (who certainly did trade with 
Britain)
---------------------------------------------

Larry Sulky wrote:
 > Jörg, are there any living examples of these
 > "well-behaved" Continental Celtic languages?

Nope - they (practically) all gave way to Vulgar 
Latin/Proto-Romance.

 > Breton is a
 > reintroduction from the islands, isn't it? It does
 > feature mutation, IIRC. --larry

It does - it is closely related to Cornish. It used to be 
thought it was taken to Brittany by refugees from Cornwall 
escaping from Saxon raids.  It is now thought they were more 
likely fleeing from the Irish who they certainly did not 
recognize as "fellow Celts."

-- 
Ray
==================================
http://www.carolandray.plus.com
==================================
Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.
[WELSH PROVERB]

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