[Spellyans] The development and spread of Celtic

ewan wilson butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Sun Dec 1 22:37:50 GMT 2013

Also, as I understand it ( and I may very well have misunderstood it, so please let me know if that's the case!) this hypothesis states that in effect a whole new language system evolves out of the need to develop a particular register, in this case a common commercial register.
You do have to wonder if the whole weight of a new , quite distinctive linguistic system, with all its peculiarities and distinctives of syntax, let alone morphology and lexical features can rest on such a slender base.
Are there any 'proven examples' of such a thing? 
When the need for a common academic languahe arose in Europe they simply turned to Latin but surely it remained distinctively Latin, the lingua franca even if it gradually became 'Silver Latin'. 
The concept of population movement to account for language seems more compelling instinctively to me. However it'd be fascinating to see what the expert philologists have to say on the matter!

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Daniel Prohaska 
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
  Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2013 7:38 AM
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The development and spread of Celtic

  Also, there needn't necessarily be a massive change in population when a culture and language shift occurs. Whatever language the R1b-gene bearers spoke when they populated what is today Britain and Ireland, we cannot know what language they spoke, and it is unlikely to have been Celtic for reasons of time depth. The Atlantic-Celtic hypothiesis has merit, but I'm still very skeptical as to Cunliffe's theory of a Celtic Tartessian on the Iberian peninsula….

  On Dec 1, 2013, at 1:45 AM, Dai Hawkins wrote:

Here's what I think, Craig: A clip of a talk by Sir Barrington Cunliffe has been going the
rounds on the internet.THis gives no indication that his ideas are hypothetical, and that
most leading scholars in this field, linguists, rather than archæologists, while willingly
admitting that the traditional view needs considerable qualification, are unconvinced that
the Cunliffe-Koch hypothesis can bear the weight of available evidence.

"What we are now seeing is that IN FACT the story was PROBABLY the reverse of that; that
the Celts or Celtic languages VERY PROBABLY began in the Atlantic zone."
It is clear that there are features of modern Celtic languages which can have arisen only
in the Atlantic zone; no scholar would dispute that. The $64,000 questions are where and
when Celtic originally arose as a separate, identifiably Celtic, language; at the present
state of play the burden of proof lies on the Atlantic enthusiasts.

"IN FACT our ... Celtic speakers are not immigrants from Europe in the 1st millennium BC;
they are local people, indigenous populations, who have been speaking the same language as
their ancestors deep back in time."
The dating of protoCeltic is crucial in this discussion. If Celtic developed late, as
compared with e.g. Germanic, as some people maintain, then the Atlantic hypothesis looks
more attractive. However, the evidence for a late genesis of Celtic ignores the fact [sic]
that languages differ very considerably in their degrees of progressivism or conservatism.
While by no means as conservative as e.g. Greek, the Celtic languages have been remarkably
conservative, leading to the the widespread myth ("myth" in the sense of "untruth") that
"Welsh is the oldest living language in Europe". There's a lot of teasing out of scarce
material yet to be done on this issue.

I may one day be forced to eat my words on this issue, but, like many people who are far
more informed on the matter than I am, I remain at the moment highly sceptical of the
Celtic Atlantic hypothesis, as presented to us by Cunliffe-Koch, and unhappy about the
fait-accompli way in which it is consistently presented by the duo.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: janicelobb at gmail.com
      Sent: Sat, 30 Nov 2013 21:13:11 +0000
      To: spellyans at kernowek.net
      Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Fwd: The development and spread of Celtic

      I've absolutely no idea whether it is true or not, but it all sounds highly plausible. It tells a good story.

      On Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM, Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:

        Begin forwarded message:

          From: Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org>

          Subject: The development and spread of Celtic

          Date: 2013 Mys Du 30 12:40:54 GMT+00:00

          To: Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com>, Ray Chubb <ray at spyrys.org>

          This is a précis of the hypothesis developed by Prof. Sir Barry Cunliffe and Dr John Koch, which (at long last) turns the old idea on its head.

          By running linguistic and archaeological research together, this hypothesis makes a great deal more sense than the "Early Iron Age central-European origins" first postulated in the 17th century, and which has lingered without being seriously questioned for far too long.  The old theory concentrated upon the supposed movement of peoples, rather than the spread of trade and techniques requiring a common language to deal with its complexities.

          Koch and Cunliffe are currently attempting to pin down dating even more firmly than they have (if that is possible).  However, if this hypothesis is reasonably correct, then Cornwall's Neolithic megalith-builders spoke an early form of Q-Celtic and, therefore, no surviving structures can be called "pre-Celtic".

          I'd be interested to hear what you think.


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