Front-rounding Celts (was Is there a conlang inspired in Old English?
|Date:||Saturday, September 7, 2002, 16:03|
--- Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...> wrote: >
Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> >En réponse à John Cowan <jcowan@...>:
> > >
> > > IIRC the argument is that French (and
> Gallo-Romance varieties of
> > > Italian) acquired front rounded vowels from the
> Celtic substrate.
Is there any evidence of front rounding in Celtic or is this all a big
AFAIK Gaulish had no front rounding. It wasn't a Common Celtic feature.
never developed in Q-Celtic. British has an unconditional change
/u:/ > /y(:)/ (like French and Ancient Greek!) but this affected Latin
loanwords so it can't have been that early, and may not have happened at
all in (closely related) Gaulish. It did however predate the split into
Cornish and Breton. In Modern Welsh /y/ > /1/ or /i/ according to
Middle Cornish had /y/ but so did SW Middle English.
The other Celtic front rounded vowel I know of is /6/ (rounded /e/ if
got the right symbol). It developed from PIE & CC /a:/ and /o:/ which
merged in British as some kind of low back rounded vowel. In Welsh this
gave /aw/ or /o/, but in Cornish and Breton /6/ when stressed. Most of
relates to how the Late British vowel system reorganised itself to
the loss of phonemic length. All far too late and far too "insular" to
anything to do with any Gallo-Romance substrate IMHO.
I think /y/ in Scots (Lallans that is) is "recent" and nothing to do
Old English /y/. Interestingly many Scots dialects lack phonemic vowel
so as in Late British it could be a mechanism for maximising the number
qualitative vowels distinctions. I.e. /u/ > /u(:)/ while /u:/ > /y(:)/
Just a thought,
And as for the Picts ("don't mention the Picts!"), what little evidence
is (place and personal names mostly) implies that they spoke a P-Celtic
language, much like British and Gaulish. Of course if you define _Pict_
"any pre Scottish/British inhabitant of Caledonia since the old stone
age" then you can have pretty much any language you like.