Island Celtic languages
This language group is divided into two subgroups:
- Cumbrian in northern England , extinct in the 11th century, few words survived (numerals, legal terms). The status of Kumbrian in relation to Welsh is not definitely clear; In certain theoretical models, Cumbrian is seen as a Welsh dialect and not as a separate language. However, both the geographical distance and the conclusion by analogy from the divergence of the various other variants of Britannic indicate more of a status than a separate branch.
- West British
- South West British
- North British
- West Goidelic
Scottish Gaelic in north-west Scotland with perhaps 20,000 people using the language in everyday life (out of a total of 50,000 speakers in 2001)
- Canadian Gaelic in Newfoundland (Canada) with around 500 to 1000 mostly older speakers
- Manx on the Isle of Man , extinct in 1974 ; revived (~ 1600 speakers in 2001 ).
- Scottish Gaelic in north-west Scotland with perhaps 20,000 people using the language in everyday life (out of a total of 50,000 speakers in 2001)
The terms North British or West and East Goidelic are rarely used. Whether the Pict and the Shelta also belong to the island Celtic languages is debatable. The Pictish is too poorly documented to be classified exactly (some points suggest it belongs to Britannic ), and Shelta is a language with elements of diverse origins.
History and characteristics
At the turn of the century, island Celtic languages were most likely spoken throughout the British Isles (if Pictish is one of them). Today only Welsh is still very vital, all other island Celtic languages still spoken are threatened with extinction and only exist as a mother tongue or first language in peripheral areas.
Common to all island Celtic languages is the sentence order VSO ( Verb-Subject-Object ), whereby in Breton and Late Cornish other parts of the sentence are very often in front. In addition, all of these languages have initial mutations , a linguistic characteristic that rarely or not systematically occurs in the mainland Celtic languages . Further typological characteristics of the island Celtic are the existence of conjugated prepositions, which is otherwise atypical for Indo-European languages , and the vigesimal system .
The fundamental differences between the two main groups:
- The Goidelic languages are q-Celtic , whereas the British languages are p-Celtic .
- In the Goidelic languages there is originally initial stress (on the first syllable) - in all dialects (except in Munster-Irish in certain cases) until today.
- In the Britannic languages prevails Pänultima -Betonung (penultimate syllable). An exception is the Breton dialect Gwenedeg (French: Vannetais), in which the ultima tint (last syllable) is the rule and a tendency to give up the word accent can be seen following the example of French.
- Only in the Goidelic languages is a distinction still made between palatal and non-palatal consonants , where they each form phoneme pairs . In the Manx this distinction is largely eliminated.
- The initial mutations are different in the main groups (and to a lesser extent in the individual languages).
|I am learning
(" am I
|tá mé ag foghlaim||tha mi ag ionnsachadh||ta mee ynsaghey||(ry) dw i'n dysgu||yth esof vy ow tysky||me zo o teskiñ
( I'm studying)
with a palatal
initial sound / k´ /
with / j / insert from
(/ k w /> / p /)
|mkorn.pen (n) (*),
late grain. pedn
also domh, dhom, dhomh
(prep. do + suffix)
(prep. do + suffix)
(prep. do + suffix)
|i mi /
fuck (prep. i "zu" + pers.pron. "I")
(prep. dhe + suffix)
(prep. da + suffix)
- 2004 Welsh Language use survey ( Memento from May 24, 2010 on WebCite ) (PDF; 548 kB) 2004 Welsh Language Survey .
- Nigel Callaghan (1993). More Welsh Speakers than Previously Believed (on-line). Accessed March 21, 2010
(*) Note: Three different orthographies are used for Neo-Cornish. Kemmyn writes <penn>, Unys Amendys <pen> and Nowedga <pedn>.
(**) Note: In Welsh and Late Cornish, a development towards an analytical system based on the English model can be observed: Late Corn. <tho vee> [ðə 'vi:] "to" + "I"