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Front-rounding Celts (was Is there a conlang inspired in Old English?

From:KAM <kam@...>
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 circular arguement? AFAIK Gaulish had no front rounding. It wasn't a Common Celtic feature. It 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 Welsh, Cornish and Breton. In Modern Welsh /y/ > /1/ or /i/ according to dialect. Middle Cornish had /y/ but so did SW Middle English. The other Celtic front rounded vowel I know of is /6/ (rounded /e/ if I've got the right symbol). It developed from PIE & CC /a:/ and /o:/ which had 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 this relates to how the Late British vowel system reorganised itself to accommodate the loss of phonemic length. All far too late and far too "insular" to have anything to do with any Gallo-Romance substrate IMHO. I think /y/ in Scots (Lallans that is) is "recent" and nothing to do with Old English /y/. Interestingly many Scots dialects lack phonemic vowel length so as in Late British it could be a mechanism for maximising the number of qualitative vowels distinctions. I.e. /u/ > /u(:)/ while /u:/ > /y(:)/ Just a thought, Keith Mylchreest And as for the Picts ("don't mention the Picts!"), what little evidence there 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_ as "any pre Scottish/British inhabitant of Caledonia since the old stone age" then you can have pretty much any language you like.


Clint Jackson Baker <litrex1@...>Joke WAS Re: Front-rounding Celts