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British Latin & Latin loans in Welsh

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, June 7, 2001, 20:43
At 9:53 pm +0000 6/6/01, kam@CARROT.CLARA.NET wrote:
>Here's the first installment. > >Well, you asked for it ...
Thanks :) ------- At 8:38 pm +0000 6/6/01, kam@CARROT.CLARA.NET wrote:
>Here's the opening of Gratwick's article, which I managed to copy >yesterday before the library closed (just the bit here, that is). >Unfortunatly the library in question is across the Tamar in England so >I can't take books out.
Not even if you get a visitor's visa to enter England? ;) I feel to do justice to Gratwick's article, one really needs to go back to Professor Jackson's "Language & history in Early Britain" (which I've npw put on my "must read" list). Two points, however, I think I'd like to make after reading it (first reactions): 1. I find no evidence in either the article or in the list of loan-words that British Latin maintained phonemic vocalic length while the rest of the Latin-speaking word had changed to vocalic quality. Original long-e does indeed develop to _wy_ in, e.g. magwyr <-- mace:ria, eglwys <-- eccle:sia - but this where the stress occured & the vowel would've received _allophonic_ lengthening. Indeed, the development of /e/ in stressed open syllables to /oi/ in Old French. In fact, I find several things in the list of Welsh loans from Latin which point up the _similarity_ between the treatment of these loans in Welsh and in early Francien. 2. Even if there is other, more compelling, evidence yet to be presented by Gratwick that 'Brittish Latin' was more archaic than the spoken Latin of north Gaul, it seems clear that he is not talking of 'British Latin' as a whole, i.e. all Latin spoken in Britain. He is talking, to use his own words, of the Latin of a putative British 'squirearchy'. It would not be a surprise at all if these native Brit speakers of Latin consciously affected to be "more Roman than the Romans" - and not just in their speech. We might well expect certain genuine and, indeed, false archaisms from such speakers. This could well be important in the transmission of any Latin loans into Brittonic (tho I await firmer evidence). But Brythenig is a _Romance_ lang (even tho strongly Brittonicized); the fact that no Romancelang survived here, unlike in Gaul, is surely due to the almost total collapse of Roman urban life in the upheavals following the settlement here of Saxons and other Germanic peoples, not to mention the raids by the Irish on the west of the island. Brythenig could only have developed, surely, if some _urban_ Romano-British centers remained and 'twould be essentially from such Latin that Brythenig would derive. I find it difficult to believe that urban Latin was any more archaic than urban English is today. One looks to rural or rustic dialects to find archaisms. The continued trade and movement peoples between Britain and the continent, particularly in the urbanized south would, it seems to me, mean that the urban Latin of southern (especially south-eastern) Britain would not differ over much from north Gaul (nor, possibly, from urban Latin generally). Certainly I see nothing so far in the loan words which contradicts this. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================