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Insular Celtic leids

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Insular Celtic leids are the group o Celtic languages fae Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall an the Isle of Man. Aw survivin Celtic leids are in the Insular group, includin Breton, thit is uised on continental Europe in Brittany, France. The Continental Celtic leids, awtho at ane time widely uised in mainland Europe an in Anatolia, are extinct.

Sax Insular Celtic leids are stendit (in aw cases scrieved an spak) tae twa distinct groups:

Insular Celtic hypothesis[eedit | eedit soorce]

The "Insular Celtic hypothesis" is a theory thit thay evolved thegither in thae places, hivin a common ancestor later on nor ony o the Continental Celtic leids sic as Celtiberian, Gauls, Galatian an Lepontic, alang wi ithers, aw o thaim are lang extinct.

The proponents o the hypothesis (sic as Cowgill 1975; McCone 1991, 1992; an Schrijver 1995) pynt tae shared innovations amang these – mainly:

  • inflectit preposeetions
  • shared uise o certain verbal pairticles
  • VSO wird order
  • The odds atweesh absolute an conjunct verb endins as fund muckle throu Auld Erse an less in Middle Welsh.

Thae in favour o the hyponthesis assert a strang partin atweesh the Brittonic leids wi Gauls (P-Celtic) on ane side an the Goidelic leids wi Celtiberian (Q-Celtic) on the ither, micht be superficial, owin tae a leid contact phenomenon. Thay eik on thit the identical soond shift (/kʷ/ to /p/) coud hiv happened independent in the predecessors o Gauls an Brittonic, or hiv spreid throu leid contact stweesh thae twa groups. Faurer, the Italic leids haed a seemilar divergence stweesh Latino-Faliscan, thit haudit on tae /kʷ/, an Osco-Umbrian, thit1 chynged it tae /p/. Some historians, sic as George Buchanan in the 16t yearhunner, haed suggestit thit the Brythonic or P-Celtic leid wis a descendant o the Picts' leid. Indeed the tribe o the Pritani haes Qritani (an, orthographical orthodox in modern form but counterintuitively scrieved Cruthne) (Q-Celtic) cognate forms.[1]

The family tree o the Insular Celtic leid is as follaes:


This table lists cognates shawin the development o Proto-Celtic */kʷ/ to /p/ in Gauls an the Brittonic leids but tae /k/ in the Goidelic leids.

Cognates shawing the development o Proto-Celtic */kʷ/ in Gauls, Brittonic an Goidelic leids

Gaulish and Brittonic languages Goidelic languages Scots

Gaulish Welsh Cornish Breton Primitive Irish Modern Irish Scottish Gaelic Manx
*kʷennos pennos pen penn penn *kʷennos ceann ceann kione "heid"
*kʷetwar- petuar pedwar peswar pevar *kʷetwar- ceathair ceithir kiare "fower"
*kʷenkʷe pempe pumpa pymp pemp *kʷenkʷe cúig còig queig "five"
*kʷeis pis pwy piw piv *kʷeis (older cia) /cia quoi "wha"
^ In Welsh orthography ⟨u⟩ denotes [i] or [ɪ]

A significant difference atweesh the Goidelic an Brittonic leids is the transformin *an, *am tae a denasalised vowel wi lengthenin, é, afore an origeenally vyceless stap or fricative, cf. Auld Irish éc "deeeth", écath "fish hook", dét "teeth", cét "hunner" vs. Welsh angau, angad, dant, and cant. Itherwise:

  • the nasal is haudit on afore a vowel, , w, m, an a liquid:
  • the nasal passes tae en afore anither n:
    • Old Irish: benn "peak" (< *banno) (vs. Welsh bann)
    • Middle Irish: ro-geinn "funs a place" (< *ganne) (vs. Welsh gannaf)
  • the nasal passes tae0 in, im afore a vyced stap
    • Old Irish: imb "butter" (vs. Breton aman(en)n, Cornish amanyn)
    • Old Irish: ingen "nail" (vs. Old Welsh eguin)
    • Old Irish: tengae "tung" (vs. Welsh tafod)
    • ing "strait" (vs. Middle Welsh eh-ang "wide")

Insular Celtic as a leid aurie[eedit | eedit soorce]

In order tae kythe shared innovations are frae a common descent it is needit thit thay dinnae heeze up acause o language contact efter the stairt o separation. A leid aurie can result frae widespread bilingualism, perhaps acause o exogamy, an nae sharp sociolinguistic division.

Ranko Matasović haes gien a list o chynges thit hiv affectit baith branches o Insular Celtic but there is no evidence tae suiggest thit thay shoudnae be datit tae a putative Proto-Insular Celtic time. These are:

  • Phonological Chynges
    • The lenition o vyceless stops
    • Heezin/i-affection
    • Lawerin/a-affection
    • Apocope
    • Syncope
  • Morphological Chynges
    • Creation o conjugatit preposeetions
    • Loss o case inflection o personal pronoons (historical case-inflected forms)
    • Creation o the equative degree
    • Creation o the imperfect
    • Creation o the conditional mood
  • Morphosyntactic an Syntactic
    • Rigidisation o VSO order
    • Creation o preposed definite airticles
    • Creation o pairticles expressin sentence affirmation an negation
    • Creation o periphrastic construction
    • Creation o object merkers
    • Uise o ordinal nummers in the sense o "ane o".

Absolute an dependent verb[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Insular Celtic verb kythes a peculiar featur no kent in ony ither attestit Indo-European language: verbs hive different conjugational forms dependin on whether or no thay kythe in absolute initial poseetion in the sentence (Insular Celtic havin verb–subject–object or VSO wird order) or whether or no they are precedit bi a preverbal pairticle. The seetiation is maist robustly attestit in Auld Erse, but it haes baudit tae some extent in Scots Gaelic an traces o't are present in Middle Welsh an aw.

Forms thit appear in sentence-stairtin poseetion are cried absolute, thae that appear efter a pairticle are cried conjunct. The paradigm o the present acteeve indicative o the Old Erse verb beirid "cairy" is as follaes; the conjunct forms are illustratit wi the pairticle "no".

  Absolute Conjunct
Auld Erse Scots Auld Erse Scots
singular 1st person biru a cairy ní biur a dinnae cairy
2nt person biri ye cairy ní bir ye dinnae cairy
3rd person beirid s/he caires ní beir s/he disnae cairy
plural 1st person bermai we cairy ní beram we dinnae cairy
2nt person beirthe yese cairy ní beirid yese dinnae cairy
3rd person berait thay cairy ní berat thay dinnae cairy

In Scottish Gaelic this distinction is still fund in certain verb-forms throu awmaist aw the verbs (except for twa three). This is a VSO language. The exemple gien in the first column ablow is the independent or absolute form, thit haes tae be uised whan the verb is in clause-stairtin poseetion (or preceded in the clause bi certain preverbal pairticles). Than efter it is the dependent or conjunct form thit is needit whan the verb is preceded in the clause bi certain ither preverbal pairticles, in parteecular interrogative or negative preverbal pairticles. In these exemples, in the first column we hiv a verb in clause-stairtin poseetion. In the seicont column a negative particle straicht precedes the verb, thit garrs the verb uise the verb form or verb forms o the dependent conjugation.

Absolute/Independent Conjunct/Dependent
cuiridh mi “a pit/will pit” cha chuir mi “a dinnae pit/wilnae pit”
òlaidh e “he drinks/will drink” chan òl e “he disnae drink/willnae drink”
ceannaichidh iad “thay buy/will buy” cha cheannaich iad “thay dinnae/willnae buy”

Note thit the verb forms in the exemples abuin happen tae be the same wi ony subject personal pronoons, no juist wi the parteecular persons chysen in the exemple. The combination o tense–aspect–mood properties inherent in these verb forms is non-past but itherwise indefinite wi respect tae time an aw, bein compatible wi a variety o non-past times, an context indicates the time. The sense can be fully tenseless, for exemple whan statin thit something is aye true or aye happens. This verb form has erroneously been cried ‘future’ in many pedagogical grammars. A correct, neutral term ‘INDEF1’ haes been used in linguistics texts.

In Middle Welsh, the distinction is seen maist clearly in proverbs follaein the formula "X happens, Y disnae happen" (Evans 1964: 119):

  • Pereid y rycheu, ny phara a'e goreu "The furrows last, he thit made them lasts-nae"
  • Trenghit golut, ny threingk molut "Wealth perishes, fame perishes-nae"
  • Tyuit maban, ny thyf y gadachan "An infant graws, his swaddlin-claes grow-nae"
  • Chwaryit mab noeth, ny chware mab newynawc "A naked boy plays, a hungry boy plays-na"

The aulder analysis o the distinction, as pit oot bi Thurneysen (1946, 360 ff.), haud thit the absolute endins comr frae Proto-Indo-European "primar endins" (uised in present and future tenses) while the conjunct endings come frae the "secondar endins" (used in past tenses). Sicweys Auld Erse absolute beirid "s/he cairies" wis thoucht tae be frae *bʰereti (compare Sanskrit bharati "s/he cairies"), while conjunct beir wis thoucht tae be frae *bʰeret (compare Sanskrit a-bharat "s/he wis cairyin").

The day, hounaiver, maist Celticists gree thit Cowgill (1975), follaein an ideae present awready in Pedersen (1913, 340 ff.), fund thit the richt solution tae the stairtin pynt o the absolute/conjunct distinction: an enclitic pairticle, rebiggit as *es efter consonants an *s efter vowels, came in seicont poseetion in the sentence. Gin the first wird in the sentence wis anither pairticle, *(e)s came efter that an sicweys afore the verb, but gin the verb wis the first wird in the sentence, *(e)s wis cliticised tae it. Unner this theory, Auld Erse absolute beirid comes frae Proto-Celtic *bereti-s, while conjunct ní beir comes frae *nī-s bereti.

The identity tae the *(e)s pairticle steys no siccar. Cowgill suiggests thit it micht be a semantically degraded form o *esti "is", while Schrijver (1994) haes argied thit it is derived frae the pairticle *eti "an than", thit is attestit in Gaulish. Schrijver's argiement is supportit an stendit on bi Schumacher (2004), thit pynts taewarts faurer evidence, viz., typological parallels in non-Celtic leid, an especially a muckle nummer o verb forms in aw Brythonic lleids thit conteen a pairticle -d (from an older *-t).

Continental Celtic languages cannae be kythed tae hiv ony absolute/conjunct distinction. Hounaiver, thay seem tae anely kythe SVO and SOV wird orders, sic as in ither Indo-European leids. The absolute/conjunct distinction micht sicweys be an airtifact o the VSO wird order thit heezed up in Insular Celtic.

Possible pre-Celtic substratum[eedit | eedit soorce]

Insular Celtic, no like Continental Celtic, haes some structur characteristics like sindry Afro-Asiatic leids which are rare in ither Indo-European leids. These similarities include verb–subject–object word order, singular verbs wi plural post-verbal subjects, a genitive construction sib tae construct state, prepositions wi fused inflectit pronouns ("conjugated prepositions" or "prepositional pronoons"), an oblique relatives wi pronoon copies. Sic resemblances war notit as early as 1621 tawkin aboot Welsh an the Hebrew leid.

The hypothesis thit the Insular Celtic leid haed featurs frae an Afro-Asiatic substratum (Iberian an Berber leids) wis first pit forrit bi John Morris-Jones in 1899. The theory haes been uphaudit bi twa three linguists fae than: Henry Jenner (1904); Julius Pokorny (1927); Heinrich Wagner (1959); Orin Gensler (1993); Theo Vennemann (1995); an Ariel Shisha-Halevy (2003).

Ithers hiv suiggestit thit raither nor the Afro-Asiatic influencin Insular Celtic direct, baith groups o leids war influencit bi a nou lost substrate. This wis suggestit bi Jongeling (2000).[2] Ranko Matasović (2012) likewise argied thit the "Insular Celtic leids war subjack tae strang influences frae an unkent, maist-likely non-Indo-European substratum" an fund the syntactic parallelisms atweesh Insular Celtic an Afro-Asiatic leids tae be "prollly no accidental". He argied thit thair similarities arose frae "a muckle linguistic macro-aurie, kivverin pairts o NW Africa, as weel as muckly pairts o Wastren Europe, afore the arrival o the speakers o Indo-European, includin Celtic".

The Afro-Asiatic substrate theory, ni the wey o Raymond Hickey, "haes nivver fund much favour wi scholars o the Celtic leids".[3] The theory wis criticised bi Kim McCone in 2006,[4] Graham Isaac in 2007, an Steve Hewitt in 2009.[5] Isaac argies thit the 20 pynts identifeed bi Gensler are trivial, dependencies, or vacuous. Sicweys, he sees the theory tae be no juist unproven but wrang. Insteid, the similarities atweesh Insular Celtic an Afro-Asiatic coud hiv evolved independent.

Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]


References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Cowgill, Warren (1975). "The origins of the Insular Celtic conjunct and absolute verbal endings". In H. Rix (ed.). Flexion und Wortbildung: Akten der V. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, Regensburg, 9.–14. September 1973. Wiesbaden: Reichert. pp. 40–70. ISBN 3-920153-40-5.
  • McCone, Kim (1991). "The PIE stops and syllabic nasals in Celtic". Studia Celtica Japonica. 4: 37–69.
  • McCone, Kim (1992). "Relative Chronologie: Keltisch". In R. Beekes; A. Lubotsky; J. Weitenberg (eds.). Rekonstruktion und relative Chronologie: Akten Der VIII. Fachtagung Der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, Leiden, 31. August–4. September 1987. Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck. pp. 12–39. ISBN 3-85124-613-6.
  • Schrijver, Peter (1995). Studies in British Celtic historical phonology. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 90-5183-820-4.
  • Schumacher, Stefan (2004). Die keltischen Primärverben. Ein vergleichendes, etymologisches und morphologisches Lexikon. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck. pp. 97–114. ISBN 3-85124-692-6.
  1. All other research into Pictish has been described as a postscript to Buchanan's work. This view may be something of an oversimplification: Forsyth 1997 offers a short account of the debate; Cowan 2000 may be helpful for a broader view.
  2. Karel Jongeling, Comparing Welsh and Hebrew, CNWS Publications 81 (Leiden: Centre of Non-Western Studies, 2000), pp. 149-50 (cited by Steve Hewitt, 'The Question of a Hamito-Semitic Substratum in Insular Celtic', Language and Linguistics Compass, 3/4 (2009), 972–95 (p. 976), doi:10.1111/j.1749-818x.2009.00141).
  3. Raymond Hickey (24 Apryle 2013). The Handbook of Language Contact. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 535–. ISBN 978-1-118-44869-4.
  4. Kim McCone, The origins and development of the Insular Celtic verbal complex, Maynooth studies in Celtic linguistics 6, 2006, ISBN 0901519464. Department of Old Irish, National University of Ireland, 2006.
  5. Steve Hewitt, 'The Question of a Hamito-Semitic Substratum in Insular Celtic', Language and Linguistics Compass, 3/4 (2009), 972–95, doi:10.1111/j.1749-818x.2009.00141.