Class 1, Question 4

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Post  Marc on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:34 am

Trace the linguistic family tree for Celtic languages. Identify all the Celtic languages,
where they are/were spoken,
which ones are extinct,
and explain their relationship to English and the influence they have had (if any) on English. Give examples if possible.


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Class 1, Question 4 Empty Re: Class 1, Question 4

Post  Sandie on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:05 am

Celtic Language Family Tree:
(Le tableau n'apparaît pas, il est sur word sur mon ordi)

Two strains of Celtic resulted from the separation between continental Celts and insular island Celts.

The Celtic languages:

• Lepontic
• Celtiberian
• Gaulish
• Welsh
• Cornish
• Breton
• Irish Gaelic
• Scottish Gaelic
• Manx

Philologists today usually divide the Celts along linguistic boundaries, a division which corresponds to what is believed to be two successive migrational waves over Europe. The earlier wave was that of the “Q,” or Goidelic, Celts who retained the “kw” sound from the original Indo-European language. Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic and Manx are members of the Goidelic language family. The later migrational wave was that of the “P,” or Brythonic, Celts who mutated the “kw” sound into a “p” sound. Welsh, Gaulish and Lepontic (spoken in northern Italy) are members of the Brythonic language group.

Irish Gaelic:
There are basically three main living dialects of Irish Gaelic, represented by the geographic areas of Munster, Connacht and Ulster. These dialects have small differences in their pronunciation and in their idioms of speech.
While, unfortunately, English is now the primary language in Ireland, there are small “islands of Gaelic,” called Gaeltacht, where Irish Gaelic is the primary and sometimes sole language. These communities are scattered along the south and west coast of Ireland, in counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry, Cork and Waterford.
You should remember that while rules for pronunciation are significantly different than those of English, they are certainly more consistent.
Dia duit!
jee ah ghwuit
“God to you,” a greeting
Tá mé go maith.
tah may gu mah
“I am well.”

Scots Gaelic:
Scots Gaelic has evolved into its own language, yet Modern Irish and Scots Gaelic are still mutually intelligible. In many respects, Scots Gaelic is more “conservative” and has retained the features of Old Irish which Modern Irish lost; this is a common, curious phenomena of “colonial” languages. There are many innovations in Scots Gaelic as well, which further differentiate it from Modern Irish Gaelic.
Scots Gaelic was strongly influenced by the non-Gaelic speakers in Britain, especially the Brythonic Celts. This affected verb tenses as well as pronunciations.
A Scottish standard emerged in the 17th century as native poets ignorant of Irish literary standards began composing in their own dialects. Spelling and pronunciation finally became stable in the 18th century.

It seems to have been first occupied by Brythonic Celts, then later colonised by Irish Celts in about the fifth century CE. Extinct dialects of Ulster and Galway were very similar to Manx..
A form of Irish was the language of the majority of Manx, although it was not written down until 1610. The orthography* chosen by a Welsh bishop, John Phillips, was based on English, and hence is very difficult for Irish and Gaelic speakers to decipher. Furthermore, this written representation became fixed before a series of wide ranging phonetic changes had occurred, making it unrepresentative of the later spoken language.
Nearly all of the inhabitants of Man in the 18th century spoke Manx, the few exceptions being only administrators and English-educated. But the advent of smuggling in the second half of the century, and the beginning of tourism soon after, started a sharp decline in Manx use, and the inevitable invasion of English.
The 1930s saw an interest in reviving the language, when enthusiasts learned Manx first hand from the few remaining native speakers. They, in turn, taught others or opened classrooms to teach it. Fortunately, this effort has been quite successful. The 1971 census showed a 72% increase in language use from just ten years before, and a resolution in 1985 officially recognised Manx for the first time. Today, efforts at maintaining Manx are coordinated by Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh, an organization which opened its headquarters in 1986

The animosity between England and Wales continued through the centuries, heightened by England’s attempts to dominate the Celtic nation.
In 1961, out of a population of 2,518,711 people, about 656,002 spoke Welsh, of which 26,223 spoke it exclusively. Wales is struggling to maintain its identity as it absorbs waves of English tourists and immigrants, who seldom recognise, let alone attempt to adopt, Welsh language and culture. Nevertheless, Wales seems to be safeguarding its traditions and securing the right of children to receive their education in Welsh.
The orthography of Welsh is actually fairly simple. Nearly all of the letters are voiced, unlike the vestigial letters left after mutations in Gaelic. The consonants used are B, C, D, F, G, H, L, M, N, P, R, S, and T, with the exceptions from normal English pronunciation
F always like English ‘v’, as in “vat.” ‘F’ is weak, and tends to disappear at word ends.
FF always like English ‘f’, as in “fat.”
NG as in English “sing.”
PH like English ‘f,’ as in “phone.”
SI like English ‘sh’, such as “shop.”
TH always thick ‘th’ sound, as in English “the.”
ae, ai as in English “I”, or “aye”
iw, uw, yw as in English -ew, “dew”
oi, oe as in English

Breton (Brittany):
Brittany continues a desperate struggle for existence to this day. Forced into submission, it has since annexation been subjected to French policies designed to destroy the Breton identity. The French seek to control the Breton economy, induce large scale emigrations of Bretons, and direct the educational system and media in an anti-Breton mission.

Cornish (Cornwall):
Cornish is quite similar to Welsh, as it is to Breton.
Cornwall was the first Celtic country to be conquered and annexed by England, and, therefore, Cornish became the first Celtic language to die under the yoke of English rule.
By 1984, seven Cornish schools were teaching the language, and 18 evening courses were being held in various Cornish institutions. Today, Cornish seems firmly re-rooted in its Celtic homeland, thanks to the dedication and persistence of its revivalists.


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