Eugene Oh wrote:
> Ray,
> Would you know whence Lluyd got the inspiration for the
> name "Celtic" then? 

Caesar refers to the peoples of Middle Gaul as 'Celtae' 
(also some earlier Greek & Roman writers referred to some 
peoples in northern Europe as 'Celtae' - so 'Celtic' was 
more politically acceptable than 'Gallic')

> As the recent SpecGram article on
> classifying languages by their word for "umbrella"
> suggests, Italo-Celtic is more than just a passing
> oddity. ;)

I'm sure it still has its advocates.

Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
 > Hallo!
 > On Sun, 27 Jun 2010 07:41:39 +0100, R A Brown wrote:
 >> Yep - tho several interesting similarities with the
 >> Italic branch have led some to posit an earlier
 >> 'Italo-Celtic' subdivision.
 > Yes.  While some of these similarities are probably
 > archaisms, others appear to be genuine shared
 > innovations, but they are not many, and the whole matter
 > very controversial.

Yes, it  is. but IMO one cannot dismiss the possibilty.

 >> 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)
 > I have heard of that, yes, but in my opinion it is utter
 > tosh. Apart from noting that such a trade jargon would
 > not be likely to replace the native languages of the
 > entire British Isles,

Well, English has come close to doing that.  But even by the 
7th cent, much of Brittonic speaking Britain had given way 
either to Gaelic or to various Norse and Saxon dialects. The 
Britons held on only in the western part.

 > one can definitely say that the
 > Insular Celtic languages with their complex grammars
 > (especially Old Irish; the younger Goidelic languages as
 > well as the British ones have simplified a bit, but still
 > have a more complex morphosyntax than to expect from a
 > creole) do not look at all like creoles of any sort!

I agree with you over Irish.  Old Irish has a very complex 
morphology and doesn't give the appearance, as far as I 
know, of any creolization.

But from what I understand the 'Celtic' languages of Britain 
& Gaul had morphologies more similar to what we find in 
Latin. The "weirdness" of Welsh, Cornish and Breton develops 
together with a reduction in morphology, especially with 
nouns, and also there's a growing tendency, which continues 
to the present day, to use analytical verb forms rather than 
synthetic ones; one could believe some degree of 
creolization took place.

But the development of the "weird features" of Insular 
Celtic is puzzling and there is no evidence anything similar 
happening in related continental languages.

 > What we see in Insular Celtic is a peculiar (and complex)
 > syntax filled in with morphological elements of (mostly)
 > clear Indo- European provenance.  The rich inherited
 > grammar was not simplified, as one would expect from a
 > creole, but restructured into something
 > "un-Indo-European" but equally intricate, perhaps under
 > the influence of a substratum.

Maybe - there was surely simplification going on in the 
Brittonic dialects.

 >> 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.
 > Yes.  One of my minor conlanging projects is a modern
 > Continrental Celtic language spoken in the French Alps,
 > and that won't be like an Insular Celtic language at all.
 > As much as I respect Dan Jones's Arvorec, it always
 > rubbed me as wrong that that language, which purports to
 > be a descendant of Gaulish, looks like an Insular Celtic
 > language.  AFAIK, there is not a shred of evidence for
 > the Insular typological features in Gaulish (or
 > Celtiberian), to the contrary.

I agree - I'm not aware of any such evidence either.
Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
 > Hallo!
 > On Sun, 27 Jun 2010 13:36:48 +0200, Lars Finsen wrote:
 >> On the other hand, it seems the ancient Irish were aware 
of a
 >> relationship, and were able to reconstruct Q-Celtic 
versions of words
 >> that must have been loanwords, e.g. Pretani -> Cruithni 
(if I
 >> remember the spellings right). This has always struck me 
as a weird
 >> phenomenon. Did the Irish really such a level of 
linguistic knowledge
 >> more than 2000 years ago?


 > The explanation I have read is that Early Irish lacked 
/p/ (the loss
 > of PIE */p/ is a common feature of all Celtic languages; 
the P-Celtic
 > languages created a new /p/ from */k_w/; also, the Ogham 
script, in its
 > earliest form, lacks a letter for /p/), and therefore, 
/p/ in loanwords
 > was adapted as /k_w/, which was perceived as the closest 
to /p/ the
 > language had (well, /b/ would have been at least equally 
close, but
 > apparently, the Early Irish speakers considered the 
voicelessness of
 > /p/ salient enough to equate it with /k_w/ rather than /b/).

That's right. What they were aware of was that they 
substituted [k_w] for [p] in loan words from Latin and other 
languages. An interesting example is the Old English 'penig' 
("penny') which got borrowed by the Irish, changing initial 
[p] to [k_w] before passing it onto the Welsh (presumably 
when they were lording over much of north & central Wales); 
it now appears in modern Welsh as _ceiniog_ /k@jnjog/

 >> If so, was all of this knowledge utterly lost by the 
12th century?

It was never there to lose.

 >> The relationship between various P-speaking groups seems 
to have been
 >> widely accepted too, in ancient times. Not surprising, I 
guess, as
 >> their migrations were recent.
 > Sure.  Welsh, Cornish and Breton are similar enough that the
 > relationship can be easily spotted by a non-linguist, and 
in the
 > Middle Ages, their similarity was yet stronger than today.

Oh yes, it was realized that these were related - as Jörg 
says, one didn't need to be a linguist to notice it.

 > But
 > the gulf between them on one hand, and Irish and Scots Gaelic
 > (which were considered a single language for long, and 
are still
 > to some extent mutually intelligible today, I have heard) 
on the
 > other, is much greater.

Indeed it is - they would no more be thought of as related 
by a non-linguist than would, say, German and Italian.

 > Pictish is still a mystery.  Some people consider it 
 > others say it was just an aberrant British Celtic 
language, perhaps one
 > with many loanwords from a non-IE substratum.

All true, indeed. Furthermore, it is not certain that when 
the ancients referred to 'Picti' they always meant the same 
people. The world merely means "painted people"! Some 
scholars hold that those anciently called 'Picti' were both 
a pre-IE people and one (or more) later Brittonic people(s).

Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.