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Note: I'm not intending to criticize _anyone_ in what I say below.  If I
seem to, just put it down to the crustiness of a one-time believer turned
skeptic :)

At 8:23 pm -0800 8/3/99, Sally Caves wrote:
......
>> >This wasn't something Orin noted.  Lots of languages besidesCeltic and
>>Semitic
>> >have only two genders.
>>
>> Indeed - e.g. the Romance langs (generally, tho Romanian does have a 3rd
>> gender), Hindi/ Urdu & the other IE langs of north India.  Therefore, I
>> find this "evidence" too circumstantial.
>
>I said he didn't use it as evidence, Ray.  It was your statement.

And I didn't say _he_ used it either.  BUT it has been adduced as one of
the "pieces of evidence" for the Semtic-Celtic these.  I say it is too
circumstantial and, personally, I find much of the other "evidence"
vanishes away like a will-o-wisp on closer inspection.

>> .Be that as it may, there were Celts in the northern & north eastern parts
>> of the Iberian peninsular at that time.  It is inconceivable that there
>> were no contacts between these people.
>
>I don't think the issue is that there was no contact.  If I made that remark,I
>retract it as a poor summation of the study.

OK - so we agree contact was probable.

>The issue is what kind of
>contact would have resulted in a sharing of core grammar between two
>languages so far removed from one another?  I can't imagine that a
>mercantile relationship between the two would do it, but that's just my
>opinion.

Trade.  One theory has it, e.g., that proto-German began its life as a
creolized form of an IE based trade jargon which had developed along the
route of the amber-trade in northern Europe.

A similar creolization of a trade jargon developed between Semites & Celts
would not be impossible.  However, I am very wary of postulating this as a
reason for the supposed similarities.  To be honest, I am not persuaded
that the core grammar of the Celtic languages is Semitic.

> The Welsh and the English lived next to each other
>for centuries in various states of enmity and cooperation, and there is
>very little trading of core grammar.

Yes - but before life settled and the two communities could take to trade
on a large scale, the Normans came over and made Norman French the official
language of England & Wales for the next 300 years.  It had a profound
effect on English.  It affected Welsh rather less (the Normans were not
able to hold more than costal areas) but quite a lot of Norman words did
find their way into Welsh.

By the time English re-asserted itself, England was well on its way to
becomining the dominant partner until the total absorption of Wales into
England under Henry VIII - something that was not changed till the present
century.  Under these circumstances there's been little incentive for the
English to encourage any communication except via English.

>Also, the point I remember
>Orin made is that despite the similarities in grammar,
>there is very little lexical exchange, which seems strange if a creolization
>is surmised to have happened.

Which again leads me to question the connexion.

>But really, Ray... you say below that you are not prejudging
>Orin, which be true, but you may be prejudging my sorry
>account of Orin's work.  If your intent is to point out *my*
>weaknesses, then that's one thing.

Neither intending to point out any weaknesses on your part nor to prejudge
your account.  It's simply that I've been too often disappointed on this
issue.  As I said, I came to a similar idea very many years back and was
convinced that there was a 'Semitic core' to insular Celtic.  But when I
looked more closely, the core became insubstantial and almost vannished
just leaving a faint, ghostly glimmer.  Whenever I've come across this
theory elsewhere, I've found on closer inspection that it turns out to be
another mirage. There has so far been nothing fresh.

>But if you want a critical
>showdown with Gensler, go to the original.  As I remarked  before,
>you skeptics should take the matter up with Orin instead
>of  wrangling it out with me.

One needs to read Orin first.  I don't really know what his central thesis
is. Does he hold that the 'Semitic core' was part of Celtic right from the
very start or was it something peculiar to the Celtic of Britain & Ireland?
Are these Semitic traits exhibited in Old Irish? etc. I don't expect
answers here - but unless I read what Orin actually says, it's difficult to
say much more.

Ray.