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Re: Celtic languages?

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, October 1, 2004, 11:02
Ray Brown scripsit:

> Quite true - the initial mutations of the Gaelic & Brittonic groups, tho > having some superficial similarities, are different and cannot go back to > a common ancestor. There can be no reasonable doubt IMO that they were > independent developments in the two groups.
Independent in the sense that they don't descend from Common Celtic. Not, however, independent in the sense that one cannot have influenced the other.
> ...yep - being akin to Basque :)
Being Basque. :-)
> >Celtic superlative ending *-isamo in: > >letaisama > >sekisamos > > Again, what is it that indicates these are superlatives? If they are > superlatives, why could they not be related to Italic forms like the > Latin > -issim- <--- *itt@m- ?
It is precisely the superlative that was one of the earliest bits of evidence for the Celtic-Italic theory (which, if mostly ignored now adays, is far from dead). However, "-issim-" cannot have been the original Italic superlative as such; the Oscan/Umbrian evidence makes it clear that Common Italic used something like [m_0=mo], which surfaces in Latin in those few superlatives in -i:mus and -e:mus. (Another possible case is bru:ma 'winter' < brevis, oddly enough.) Latin -issim- is too regular to be anything but an innovation. -- John Cowan O beautiful for patriot's dream that sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law! -- one of the verses not usually taught in U.S. schools