Mudcat Café message #21196 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #3622   Message #21196
Posted By: the professor
11-Feb-98 - 12:15 PM
Thread Name: Celtic Music
Subject: RE: Celtic Music
Ther problem with these types of forums is that almost anyone can claim to be an expert, and have studied a subject for thirty years. in this forum Bruce O. has mistakenly presented q-celts and p-celts as subgroups of celts. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The terms p- celtic and q-celtic refer to language groups. Insular Celtic is that group of languages centered in the British Isles. It is in turn divided into Goidelic (or _q_-Celtic) and Britannic (or _p_-Celtic). (The terms _q_- and _p_- refer to their respective develop- ments of the Indo-European labiovelar *kw; it became k in Goidelic and p in Britannic.) The Goidelic branch includes Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Manx. . . . The Britannic (or Brythonic) branch of Celtic comprises Welsh, Cornish, and Breton. . . .

Juris G. Lidaka Dept. of English West Virginia State College There were two waves of invasions to the British Isles which gave rise to the P/Q variaties we have today. The first invasion was to Ireland in the 4th century BC, probably from Western France. This variant became Gaelic and spread from Ireland to the Isle of Man and Scotland. The second invasion (P-Celtic) was to southern England and Wales and from there (in 5th century AD) to Brittany. Celtic languages have also spread from Britain. 150 Welsh speakers started a Welsh colony in Patagonia in 1865, and there is also a Scots Gaelic community in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. (about 1,000 speakers today). Breton is not classified as continental Celtic because it came to Brittany from Britain. There was a Gaelic speaking community in the Carolinas but this died out in the early 20th century.

Pictish: The Picts were Celts but spoke a mixture of languages. They spoke a pre-Celtic language for ritualistic purposes (source: Prof Derek Thompson - "Why Gaelic matters"), and Pictish at other times. Pictish is mentioned The Cambridge Encyclopedia of language as possibly being Celtic or possibly being a non-Indo-European isolate like Basque. Thompson says "It is clear from the evidence of place names that there was much common ground between [Brythonic] and the Celtic constituent of Pictish". There is some debate as to whether Pictish was non IE or not, as there is so little information available on it. There are three groups of Celtic languages: Continental, Brythonic, and Goidelic. The only known Continental Celtic language was Gaulish, which died out some time during the Roman occupation during the first four centuries AD. The Brythonic (or P-Celtic) languages are Welsh, Breton, and Cornish (in order of prevalence). The Goidelic (or -Celtic) languages are Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic (this is usually the language which is called "Gaelic"), and Manx Gaelic (again in order of prevalence). The Brythonic and Goidelic strains are distinguished primarily by the fact that the former will have "p" and "b" in places in words where the latter will have "c" and "g."

Welsh (Cymraeg) is alive and well, with over 500,000 speakers in modern Wales. It is most prevalent in the northern and western hill country of Wales, where English language and customs have never fully taken root. There may still be Welshmen who are not fluent in English. Breton (Brezhoneg) is the language of Celtic Brittany, where refugees from the Saxons fled during the 500s and 600s AD. Modern Breton has digested many elements of French, but is still essentially Celtic. Most speakers of Breton are elderly, and almost all of these also know French. Thus, the future of the language is in some doubt, although 500,000 still speak it. Cornish (Kernewek) was the language of Cornwall, the enclave of Celtic resistance to the Saxon invasion at the corner of southwestern England. Cornwall fell to Wessex in 856, and the Cornish language virtually died out at the end of the 18th century. At this time, however, there are over a hundred people who are at least semi-fluent in the old Cornish tongue.