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 ...
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
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
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.
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]