Celtic languages? (was: The etymology of (King) Arthur)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Monday, September 27, 2004, 6:10|
On Saturday, September 25, 2004, at 09:05 , Joe wrote:
> Mario Bonassin wrote:
>> I always thought that Welsh and Gaelic were both descendents of the
>> languages as well?
> Insular Celtic. We were discussing Continental Celtic.
Quite right - what I was arguing is that the Insular languages, which are
certainly interrelated were not conventionally called 'Celtic' until the
18th century. I said the only _continental_ language AFAIK that appeared
to be cognate is Gallic 9the language of the Gauls).
> The list of
> attested languages is as follows (An asterisk means extinct, though the
> insular ones are undergoing revivals):
> P. Celtic
> Insular Celtic
> Continental Celtic
> Lepontic(possibly Italic)
> Q. Celtic
> Insular Celtic
> Irish Gaelic
> Manx Gaelic*
> Scottish Gaelic
> Continental Celtic
I need to be convinced that the P ~ Q split occurred before the Gaelic and
Brittonic languages developed. There is also a similar P ~ Q split among
the Italic languages: for example Latin belonged to Q langs, Sabine
belonged to the P group. Those who posit a Celto-Italic family sometimes
put the Q ~ P split even earlier than Jo. But I see no need to do this.
Similar divisions occurred in the ancient Greek dialects and AFAIK no one
has suggested linking the division there either to the P ~ Q split in the
'Celtic' langs or in the Italic langs.
> Pictish may fit somewhere in here as well. But it's not very certain.
Indeed, not. Some claim Pictish wasn't even IE - our knowledge is too
scanty, I think, to make any safe assumption.
But I have other misgivings with Jo's list because.....
On Saturday, September 25, 2004, at 01:52 , Doug Dee wrote:
> Other Continental Celtic languages of which something is known include
> Celtiberian, Lepontic, and Galatian.
> (According to _The Celtic Languages_, ed. by Martin J. Ball & James Fife.
There are some supposed Celtiberian inscriptions but my understanding is
that they are sparse and give us little information. The Iberian
insctptions AFAIK remain undeciphered and the language is considered
non-IE. The descriptions of the ancients suggest the Celtiberi were a
mixed Celtic & Iberian group.
Lepontic - yes, some 70 or so inscriptions I believe. I must admit I had
forgotten this lang. It certainly changed IE /k_w/ to /p/ as did Gallic
and Sabine. But was it related to Gallic? It shows some affinity with it
but also to Italic. It appears to be an IE language but has quite
noticeable un-IE elements, I understand. A complicating factor is that
this area had by overrun by Gauls by the time of the inscriptions (2nd
cent. BCE), so we cannot rule out the possibility of Gallic influence on a
Galatian - are there any inscriptions? It seems that around 280 BCE a
group of Galatai made their way from the Balkans into Asia Minor. In 230
BCE King Attalos of Pergamon settled them among the Phrygians in the area
of modern Ankara. They appear to have remained a separate group until the
5th cent. CE. But I do not know how much direct evidence we have about
their language. As far as I know, the inclusion of the Galatai with Celts
rests upon statements of ancient authors who sometimes talk of the Keltai
& Galatai as separate peoples and at other times seem to suggest they are
much the same. How much _direct_ evidence do we have about the Galatian
What I have never been able to get an answer to is how much direct
evidence we have of the language of the actual peoples the ancients called
On Saturday, September 25, 2004, at 07:40 , Joe wrote:
> I don't believe Gaulish is even the best known one. Lepontic and
> Celtiberian are also around(and Celtiberian is Q-Celtic). Though the
> Celticity of Lepontic is debateable. It may be Italic, with Gaulish
Certainly Gallic is the one I have more information about than the others.
Certainly in the case of Lepontic, as I have said above, Gallic influence
cannot be discounted because the Gauls had overrun them before the time of
the extant inscriptions.
I notice you confidently say that Celtibrian is Q-celtic. To day that, you
must have more information than I have - which is by no means improbable.
What is your information? This is not meant to be critical - I really want
"They are evidently confusing science with technology."
UMBERTO ECO September, 2004