Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Celtic and Afro-Asiatic?

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 15:29

I have recently read an article by Theo Vennemann in which he
proposes that the peculiarities of the Insular Celtic languages
are due to a "Semitidic" (i.e., Afro-Asiatic) substratum, and
I don't really know what to think about it.

The conlangy motivation for my question is that I consider making
the language family of the "British Dwarves" an Afro-Asiatic one.

Six years ago (March 7, 1999), Sally Caves posted the following list
of common features of Celtic and Semitic to this list:

> 1) Conjugated prepositions (prep. + pronominal object in a single word. > 2) Word order: VSO, N-Modifier, Prepositions > 3) Relative clause linker: invariant particle, not relative pronoun. > 4) Relative clause technique (oblique): copying, not gapping, > i.e., "the bed, I slept in it," meaning "the bed that I slept in." > 5) Special form of the verb peculiar to relative clauses. > 6) Polypersonal verb (subject and object both marked). > 7) Infixing/suffixing alternation: Object marker is infixed to > the verb if there is a preverb, suffixed otherwise. > 8) Definite article in genitive embeddings may occur > only on on the embedded noun: "house the-man" ="the man's > house." > 9) Nonconcord of verb with full-NP subject: verb can fail > to agree with the subject, depending on word order. > 10) Verbal Noun (Vn: object in genitive), not Infinitive > (object in same case as with finite verb). > 11) Predicative particle: in copular or nominal sentences, > the predicate is marked with a particle homophonous > to a "local" preposition: "He (is) in a farmer"="he is a farmer." > 12) Prepositional periphrastic: BE + Prep + VN, e.g., > "He is at singing" [TEONAHT'S "she is with singing"] > 13) DO periphrastic: DO + VN, e.g. "He does singing." > 14) Notional adverbial clause expressed as "and" + finite > clause > 15) Nonfinite forms usable instead of finite main-clause verb > 16) Word-initial change, expressing a variety of syntactic > functions > 17) Idiomatic use of kin terms in genitive constructions, e.g. > "son of sending" = messenger; "son of land" = "wolf"
This looks quite interesting. But how common are these features among the languages of the world? How many of them are typological implications of others in the list (e. g., VSO order)? Thanks in advance for the discussion. Greetings, Jörg.


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>Infinitives vs verbal nouns (WAS: Re: Celtic and Afro-Asiatic?)
Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>