|Ireland , United Kingdom , France and a.|
|speaker||over 2.5 million:
Ireland 1.6 million, Wales : 600,000, Brittany : 250,000, England : 130,000, Scotland : ~ 60,000
|ISO 639 -2||
The Celtic languages form a branch of the Indo-European language family ; a reconstructed forerunner language, the primitive Celtic , is assumed to be its origin . The language group was at home in large parts of Europe and Asia Minor until the turn of the century , many sub-branches and individual languages then gradually died out.
Celtic languages are spoken today mainly in the British Isles and in French Brittany in mainland Europe. Shrinking Communities native speakers can still be found in Canada , mainly in the province of Nova Scotia , and in Patagonia ( Argentina ) in the province of Chubut . Other areas in which a Celtic-speaking diaspora exists are the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. All Celtic languages except Welsh are classified as Endangered Languages by UNESCO .
Outline of the Celtic
The Celtic branch possibly forms together with the Italian the developed Italo-Celtic branch within the Indo-European languages. These considerations go back to Carl Friedrich Lottner (1861) and Alois Walde from 1917 (About the oldest linguistic relationships between Celts and Italians) .
According to Haarmann (2016), however, this theory is not sufficiently proven; he sees Celtic as an independent Indo-European language group, which was split off from Ur-Indo-European around 2000 BC. Have started. Schmidt (1992) takes a similar view . Robert William Elsie (1979) tried to determine the relationship between the British Celtic ( p-Celtic languages ) and other Indo-European language branches by comparing the vocabulary . Using statistical methods, it was examined how much of the basic Celtic vocabulary has equivalents in other Indo-European language branches. Elsie received the following ranking as a result:
- Germanic (61.0%)
- (Latin) Italian (55.2%)
- Indo-Iranian (52.3%)
- Greek (50.9%)
- Baltic (45.0%)
- Slavic (43.0%)
- Armenian (34.9%)
- Albanian (25.6%)
- Tocharian (21.5%)
- Hittite (14.0%)
The genealogy of the different Celtic languages from the early Celtic or Protoceltic is controversial due to the sparse data situation for the traditional mainland Celtic individual languages, since all are extinct.
The island celtic
The living or revived island Celtic languages , as well as their documented extinct variants, are divided into the two groups British and Goidelic . The Pictish , which was spoken in present-day Scotland up to around the year 1100, cannot be assigned with certainty due to a lack of data, assumptions range from its classification in the British Celtic to an interpretation as a non-Indo-European language.
The British branch
The Britannic languages (also called Brythonic languages ) belong to the group of p-Celtic languages and include, among others:
- the Welsh (the most widely spoken Celtic language)
- the Cumbrian (extinct in the 11th century)
- the Cornish (extinct, weakly revived)
- the Breton (came from the British Isles ( Cornwall ) to northern France ( Brittany ) and therefore belongs to the insular Celtic languages, although it is spoken today exclusively on the mainland.)
The Goidelic branch
- the Irish (official language in the Republic of Ireland )
- the Scottish Gaelic (one of the official languages in the autonomous part of the country Scotland of the United Kingdom )
- the Canadian-Gaelic (in the 19th century, the third most common language in Canada )
- the Manx (extinct in the 20th century and currently being revived)
- the Shelta (a mixed language with a strong Gaelic reference)
Gaelic made its way from Ireland to Scotland in the early Middle Ages and to Canada in the 19th century.
The mainland Celtic
Most of the spoken languages are p-Celtic, namely:
- the Gallic
- the Noric
- the gala
- the Lepontische (the oldest surviving Celtic language from the 6th century BC. Chr.)
Also as the only q-Celtic language on the mainland:
- the Celtiberian
Differentiation criteria from other Indo-European languages
The recorded extinct and living Celtic languages can be traced back to earlier language levels , which all had the following characteristics:
Change of plosives
Indo-European / p /
- Shrinkage of the Indo-European bilabial / p /: idg. * Ph₂tḗr 'father' → air. athir , awal. - atr
- Spirantization to / x / before plosives: idg. * Séptm̥ 'seven' → air. real , gall. sextan .
In p-Celtic languages a secondary / p / was later formed from / kʷ /, in q-Celtic Irish the sound / p / is only found in loan words and words with certain sound combinations (e.g. / b / + / h /> / p /) available (cf. idg. kʷri-n-h₂- 'buy, swap' → urkelt. kʷri-nă- → air. crenaid : wal. prynu ).
Indo-European / gʷ /
Reconstruction of the vocal system
Long middle primary vowels
- long middle vowels / ē / and / ō / became / ī / or / ā / ~ / ū / (depending on their position in the word):
- idg. * h₃rēǵs 'King, Prince' → air. rí , gall. rīx , Wal. rhi ;
- idg. * deh₃nus 'donation' → vorurkelt. * dōnus → urkelt. * dānus → air. dán , wal. dawn
Long middle secondary vowels
- secondary / ē / (</ ei /) and / ō / (</ eu /, / ou /, / au /) were newly formed from old diphthongs :
- idg. * Hreidʰ- 'riding' → urkelt. * rēd-o- → air. réidid
- rooted. * lousk-o- → late curl. * lōsk-o- → ir. luasc ' to swing', wal. llusgo ' to drag'
- Vocalization of the Indo-European syllable liquids l̥ and r̥ depending on the sound environment to / al /, / li / or / lā / or / ar /, / ri / or / rā /.
- Consonant - sonorant - laryngeal consonant (KSHK) → KSaHK → KS ā K: idg. * Pl̥h₁nos 'full' → urkelt. * φlānos → ir. lán 'a lot', wal. llawn 'full'
- Consonant liquida - plosive → KL i P: idg. * Pl̥th₂-nós ‚wide '→ urkelt. * φlitanos → air. lethane , bret. ledan ; idg. * ḱr̥d-jo- → urkelt. * kridion → air. cride 'heart', Whale craidd 'middle, center'
- Consonant-sonorant + non-plosive → K a S n P: idg. * Mr̥wós 'dead' → ir. Marbh , Wal. Marw
Other linguistic features
The typical features of today's Celtic languages such as the initial mutations of the island Celtic languages or the phonemic palatalization in the Goidelic languages can be traced back to later developments. In the recorded mainland Celtic languages , these developments are not clearly (mutations) or not (palatalization) verifiable. These features cannot therefore be considered common Celtic.
Original spread and sources
The spread of the Celtic languages largely followed the migratory movement of the Celtic peoples and their culture and thus also reached the British Isles and Asia Minor from the core area. Much is known of the continental Celtic culture from archeology. Since the Celts had no written culture in the earliest times (cf. oral tradition ), knowledge of their hypothetical original language is primarily dependent on traditional place and personal names as well as on reconstructions based on ancient inscriptions and on the living languages.
However, the archaeological and linguistic findings of the early Celtic expansion are in tension. The linguist Jürgen Udolph pointed out in 2006 that many archaeological legacies of Celtic culture - from typical Celtic merchandise to princely seats - can also be found in regions in which Celtic place names are almost completely absent; this applies to Hessen, for example.
In later times, however, ethnic groups speaking Celtic languages did leave written evidence, especially as stone inscriptions and on coins. But this always happened under the impulse of other peoples, i. H. the Iberians in Spain, the Romans in Gaul , etc. In addition, there are Greek and Roman reports on which research can also be based, but which mostly dealt primarily with the outward appearance and customs of the Celts. These are usually treated as an ethnic entity in such reports, which they probably never formed. In addition, it is questionable whether, when describing foreign peoples, a strict distinction was always made between individual language groups , which in turn did not always correspond to ethnic groups . The ancient reports are valuable but should be viewed critically.
On the mainland, all Celtic languages disappeared in the first centuries of our time, mainly under the dominant influence of Latin in the Roman Empire and the spread of the Germanic languages . From early medieval sources indicate that possibly in the fifth century in the area around Trier has spoken a Celtic dialect from one part of the population, in Normandy perhaps even down to the ninth century.
The Germanic tribes spread until the 1st century BC. Chr. Increasingly from their original language area to south and west of Central Europe. In doing so, they displaced the Celts and their language as far as the rivers Rhine and Danube , which now formed the border currents to Celtic Gaul and also to Celtic Raetia .
The eastern island Celtic group, the British or Brython , includes today's Breton , Cornish , the largely unknown Cumbrian in northern England, which has only been handed down in a few words, and Welsh (or Cymrian ). The Pict language , known only from the place names of north-east Scotland, may also belong to this group. A common precursor of these languages has not been proven, but the early medieval British languages were so similar that one might have understood one another without further ado. Breton, which is still spoken in Brittany today, came to northern France through settlers from Cornwall , who fled the Anglo-Saxon conquerors.
The Cornish language became extinct in the 18th century, but is now spoken again by around 3,000 people (around 300 of them fluently; source: SGRÙD-Report 2000), while Welsh is still relatively widespread with over 500,000 speakers. According to new estimates (Broudig 1999), Breton is spoken by around 250,000 people.
The western island Celtic group, the Goidelic, consists of Old Irish and the three modern languages derived from it, Irish , Scottish Gaelic (rarely - after the Scots term Erse - referred to as "Ersisch") and Manx . Gaelic came to Scotland in the early Middle Ages , as part of an expansion from northern Ireland (by the Dál Riata tribe ) that led to the fall of the Pictish kingdom.
Today's language situations
The situation of the Celtic presents itself differently in the different Celtic nations today. All Celtic languages with the exception of Welsh are classified as threatened. The age structure of the speakers is often unfavorable, as they are mostly older people who use their indigenous language in everyday life. The low social status of the Celtic languages, as it was widely found in the 19th and 20th centuries, can no longer be confirmed across the board today. This is especially true of Welsh and Irish, which have seen an appreciation in recent decades.
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
The Republic of Ireland supports numerous projects to preserve the Irish language , known in Irish as Gaelic (Irish Gaelic: Gaeilge ). Surveys on the number of native speakers vary widely between 40,000 and 95,000 speakers. An estimated 33% of the Irish population say they speak Irish at very different levels. Irish is taught as a compulsory subject from kindergarten through the final exam. In recent years, many Gaelic-speaking schools ( Gaelscoileanna ) have also been founded outside the Gaeltacht , in which all teaching is in Gaelic in one language, which has increased the number of young speakers who use Gaelic in everyday life. The Foras na Gaeilge handles Irish language affairs. In Northern Ireland Irish has not been used as a mother tongue or first language since the 1950s, but there it has a strong identifying and political significance within the Catholic community. In the 2001 census, around a third of the population said they spoke Irish.
Scotland and Canada
Scottish Gaelic (Scottish Gaelic: Gàidhlig ), which according to the 2011 census has fallen below 58,000 speakers (1.1% of the Scottish population) , receives less government support . The Outer Hebrides and the Scottish Highlands are considered the heartland of the language and are traditionally referred to as Gàidhealtachd . One dialect of Gaelic, Canadian Gaelic , is still spoken by around 1250 mostly elderly people in Nova Scotia ( Canada ). The Bòrd na Gàidhlig takes care of Scottish Gaelic matters.
The Isle of Man
The last known native speaker of Manx (Manx Gaelic: Gaelg ) was Ned Maddrell , who died in 1974. The language is well documented and there are efforts to revive it, albeit with moderate success. It is taught in schools today on a voluntary basis. About 1,800 people on the Isle of Man stated that they had knowledge of Manx at different levels. Coonceil ny Gaelgey takes care of the Manx's affairs .
The Breton (Breton: Brezhoneg ) is a Britannic language , which originated in the UK and through immigration or expulsion to the north coast of France arrived ( Brittany ). It was traditionally spoken by over a million people until the 1950s. Today, it is estimated that 206,000 people still use it as their mother tongue in everyday life, with the majority of speakers being over 50. According to estimates, a total of 356,000 speak the idiom more or less well. Most of the speakers can be found in the Finistère department . The French state does not allow official surveys of the number of speakers. The Ofis publik ar Brezhoneg is responsible for matters relating to the Breton language .
Wales and Argentina
In Wales, over 19% of the population (approximately 562,000 people) have an active knowledge of Welsh (Welsh: Cymraeg ). An estimated 788,000 people reported having varying levels of knowledge of Welsh. Welsh is a compulsory subject in schools, making it an identity building for all people living in Wales. Especially in the north of Wales, Welsh is ubiquitous in everyday life. The Welsh Language Commissioner ( Meri Huws ) is responsible for matters relating to the Welsh language .
Welsh is also spoken by around 25,000 people in Argentina , with many speakers in the Chubut Province of Patagonia in particular . Smaller groups of speakers can be found in Canada (2500 speakers) and the USA (2500 speakers). The largest group of Welsh speakers outside Wales is found in England, spread across the country (150,000 speakers).
Dolly Pentreath from Mousehole (Corn. Porthenys) died in 1777 as the last speaker of Cornish (Cornish: Kernewek ). There are isolated attempts to revive it. There are said to be around 600–2000 people who have mastered Neo-Cornish at different levels, but who are at odds with one another over the question of correct spelling. Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek is responsible for matters relating to the Cornish language .
- Shelta , largely Irish-based with influences from unknown sources (around 86,000 speakers in 2009).
- Welsh Romani , extinct
- Beurla-reagaird , language of the "travelers" in the Scottish highlands.
Celtic elements in other languages
Different European languages have been influenced by Celtic languages in different ways. This influence was limited, but not to be underestimated either. A distinction must be made between the effects of the Old Celtic languages on the one hand and the later effects of the Island Celtic languages on the other. The effects can also be broken down into pure loanwords , names of places and waters, and more general influences ( syntax , phonetics , etc.).
Since large parts of Central, Southern and Western Europe were settled by ethnic groups with Celtic languages, remnants of these languages can be found in many languages of these regions.
The oldest Celtic word material can be found in old European water names. These include E.g. in southern Germany most of the masculine river names like Rhein , Main , Lech , Inn and Regen and some feminine river names like Danube , Glonn , Iller , Isar , Isen , Loisach and Traun . Also, place names are derived from Celtic designations from, in particular those with the extensions -ach , -I and -F (originating from estates, after the original owner of a person name with the suffix acos derived) or -Stomach (of magos = “Field, meadow, plain”) such as Andernach , Breisach , Kessenich , Disternich , Lessenich , Kirspenich , Zülpich , Elsig or Dormagen and Remagen (“Königsfeld”). Other city names in southern Germany with Celtic roots are probably u. a. Bonn , Mainz , Worms (< Borbetomagus ), Daun (from Dunum = fortified hill), Cham , Prien and Zarten (<Taro-dunum); in France the river names Rhône and Seine (the latter from Gaulish Sequana ) as well as city names such as Lyon (from Lugu-dunom , "fortress of (god) Lugos") and Verdun (from * ver (o) -dunom = "fortress above") .
Old Celtic language remnants
Relic words in German
The following German words are borrowed directly from a Celtic language (probably from Gallic) :
|shad||alausa||see. french alose , occ . alausa , span. alosa|
|Office||ambactos 'subservient , servant '||composed of ambi 'all around, around' + actos 'gone'; . ahd ambaht , henchman '
Celtic: whale. amaeth , compatriot, farmhand' grain. ammeth 'agriculture', a bret. ambaith , air. immeasily 'sends around'
|Attich||odocos||ahd. attuh ; see. span. yezgo|
alemann. Benne 'car body'
|benna 'wagon basket, wheelbarrow'||Celtic: wal., abret. benn 'wagon'|
|Brünne||brunni 'breast'||celtic: air. bridge|
|Mountain ash (also Eberbaum)||eburo 'yew'||celtic: air. ibar 'yew' (was from nir. iúr , schott.- gäl . iubhar ), wal. efwr ' Bärenklau ', bret. efore , buckthorn '|
|iron||isarnon||celtic: air. íärn (was from nir. iarann ), Wal. haearn , bret. houarn|
|hostage||* free of charge , deposit, deposit; Hostage'||celtic: air. gíall (waraus nir., schott.- gäl . giall ), wal. gwystl , bret. gouestl|
|Bell jar||cloccos 'bell, bell'||celtic: air. clocc (waraus nir., schott.- gäl . clog ), wal. cloch , bret. kloc'h|
|Grief||comboros ' collected '||celtic: me. commar 'meeting of valleys, rivers , paths', Wal. cymmer , bret. kember|
|leather||letro||celtic: air. lethar (was from nir. leathar ), wal. lledr , mbret. lezr|
|Rich (or the adjective rich )||rīgion||literally 'that belonging to the king (rix) '; see. me. ríge 'royal rule' and place names like Icorigium|
|what||Volcæ||celtic tribal name|
|fence||dunon 'fortress'||celtic: nir. dún , wal. din 'castle'|
|Goat||* dwigeri- , actually 'heated twice'||composed of dwi 'two-fold' + geri 'warm up, heat up'; see. Romansh tschigrun
Celtic: awal. dou 'double', air. fogeir 'he heats up'.
It was not until the end of antiquity that the Greek- Gallic hybrid form paraverēdus (Greek para , besides' + Gallic-Latin verēdus , post horse, courier horse '), ancillary horse to the post horse', was borrowed from the provincial Latin of Gaul , from which the current German word horse originated.
The Celtic word * karros 'carriage' has developed in a special way . At first it came into Latin as carrus , via this into the Romance languages , later from these into various other languages, among others. a. into German ( Karre , Karren , Karosse ) and via the English car, cart also into Irish , so again into a Celtic language ( carr 'car', besides the self- formation gluaisteán , actually about 'mover').
Substrate words in Romance languages
The effects on the vocabulary of the various Romance languages are comparatively small. All the words in question were initially transferred to Gaulish provincial Latin, for example alauda " lark " ( old Spanish aloa , French alouette , Italian lodola ), and ivos " yew " (French if , Provencal liéu ) and various other expressions mostly from flora and Fauna.
Loan words of Celtic origin
The effects of the island Celtic languages that exist today are quite minor, but are mostly underestimated. There are relatively few loan words in other languages. These include, to name just a few, Whisk (e) y ( ellipse from to usqueba (u) gh , from Irish uisce beathadh , or usquabae, usquebae , from Scottish Gaelic uisge beatha , actually "water of life"; cf. . Synonymous Latin aquæ vītæ , French eau de vie ) and the English expression galore "much, mass" (from Scottish gu leòr "sufficient, numerous" - in English probably the only adjective that is always followed).
Expressions from island Celtic languages have only found their way into German through the mediation of other languages, mostly English . In addition to the whiskey, these include the words clan 'child, family', slogan 'collective, battle cry' and flannel . The latter originally comes from a specific form of the Welsh word for 'wool': mengl. flanyn 'sackcloth', from gwlanen 'woolen garment', formed into gwlân / gwlaːn /, with a lenient initial / g / and singular suffix -en . In English, the final -n and -n- were dissimilated internally and the ending resulted in -l . The German name for certain megalithic monuments, namely dolmens and menhir , are pseudo-bretonisms that were conveyed through French and ultimately borrowed from Cornish and Breton; d. H. respectively grain. tolmen 'megaliths in Dartmoor ', composed of toll , tell 'hole' + me (y) n 'stone', and bret. menhir (in place names), from mbret. men 'stone' + hir 'long'. The French words bijou 'jewelry' (from Bret. Bizoù 'finger'), balai 'broom' (from Afranz. Balain , from mbret. Balazn 'undergrowth, broom') are also of Breton origin and are actually used to discriminate against Breton- speaking soldiers in the French army coined noun baragouin 'wheel breaking , gibberish' (from Bret. bara ha gwin 'bread and wine' contracted).
Furthermore, all island Celtic languages had a strong impact on the respective regional pronunciation and syntax of the larger neighboring languages. Hiberno-English is particularly known for this. However, due to the influence of Breton , z. For example, the emphasis on the regional variant of French has been shifted from the last to the penultimate syllable (as in Breton).
More general influences such as the counting system based on the 20 in the island Celtic languages, in French and approaches in English ( score , “20”) are still being discussed . The assumption is that this system originates from the Celtic languages, since it is or was present in all island Celtic languages. The regionally very inconsistent course of the changeover to the vigesimal system in different variants or dialects of Gallo-Roman and Basque also leaves the possibility open that it could be a parallel development without island Celtic influence. In addition, the progressive form of English ( I am a-going , I am going ) is a possible candidate for an island Celtic origin. This progression is also present in all island Celtic languages: Irish Tá mé ag dul ("I am walking"), Welsh Rydw i'n mynd ("I am walking") etc. However, these approaches are highly controversial.
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- Holger Pedersen: Comparative grammar of the Celtic languages. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1909
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- Alois Walde: About the oldest linguistic relationships between Celts and Italians. Innsbruck 1917
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- German-speaking forum for Celtology
- Celtology at the University of Bonn
- Celtology at the University of Marburg
- Celtology at the University of Vienna
- Study house for Celtic languages and cultures
- Ernst Kausen, The Classification of Celtic Languages (in the context of Indo-European). (DOC; 220 kB)
- Ofis ar brezhoneg / Office de la langue bretonne (Breton / French)
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- Wolfram Euler, Konrad Badenheuer: Language and Origin of the Germanic Peoples - Outline of Proto-Germanic before the first sound shift. Inspiration Un Limited, London / Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-9812110-1-6 , cf. v. a. Chapter 1.2.4 .: Teutons, Celts and Italians.
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- Harald Haarmann: Lexicon of the fallen languages. C. H. Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-47596-5 , p. 71.
- Tim de Goede: Derivational Morphology: New Perspectives on the Italo-Celtic Hypothesis. Dissertation, Leiden University, 2014.
- Wolfram Euler: Language groups with close relations. Method reflection and criticism. Res Balticae 11, 2007, pp. 7-28.
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- Karl-Horst Schnmidt: Latin and Celtic: Genetic relationship and areal relationships. In: O. Panagl, T. Krisch (Ed.): Latin and Indo-European. Innsbruck 1992, pp. 29-51.
- Robert William Elsie: The Position of Brittonic. A Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis of Genetic Relationships in the Basic Vocabulary of Brittonic Celtic. Dissertation, University of Bonn 1978, Bonn 1979, p. 166.
- Hermann Kinder, Werner Hilgemann: Penguin Atlas of World History. Part 1: From Prehistory to the Eve of the French Revolution. 2nd, improved edition. Penguin Books, London 1978; Translation by Ernest A. Menze from Dtv-Atlas zur Weltgeschichte. Maps and chronological outline. Volume 1: From the beginnings to the French Revolution. Dtv, 1977.
- Jean-Benoît Nadeau, Julie Barlow: The Story of French. New York 2006, p. 22
- http://www.cso.ie/ Central Statistics Office, Census 2011 - This is Ireland - see table 33a
- Census 2011 Scotland: Gaelic speakers by council area
- "National Household Survey Profile, Nova Scotia, 2011". Statistics Canada. September 11, 2013. Found June 7, 2014.
- Isle of Man Census Report 2011 "(PDF). Economic Affairs Division, Isle of Man Government Treasury. April 2012. P. 27. Found June 9, 2014.
- (French) Données clés sur breton, Ofis ar Brezhoneg
- "Welsh language skills by local authority, gender and detailed age groups, 2011 Census". StatsWales website. Welsh Government. Found November 13, 2015.
- Office for National Statistics 2011 http://ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/key-statistics-for-unitary-authorities-in-wales/stb-2011-census-key-statistics- for-wales.html # tab --- Proficiency-in-Welsh
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - UK: Welsh". UNHCR. Found May 23, 2010.
- Around 2,000 fluent speakers. "'South West: TeachingEnglish: British Council: BBC". BBC / British Council website (BBC). 2010. Found February 9, 2010.
- some 600 children brought up as bilingual native speakers (2003 estimate, SIL Ethnologue).
- "Shelta". Ethnologue. Found March 9, 2010.
- ROMLEX: Romani dialects ". Romani.uni-graz.at. Found 19 August 2011.
- Beurla-reagaird (Travelers' Gaelic Cant) ". Am Baile. Found March 7, 2010.
- Rudolf Friedrich: Brief Celtic-High German word studies. agenda Verlag, Münster 2013 ( Memento from August 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), ISBN 978-3-89688-503-6 , accessed on April 21, 2019 (archived version)
- Marcellus Empiricus , Med. Lib. 7.13.
- Suggestion by Johann Ulrich Hubschmied in Vox Romanica 1, 92–95; by Julius Pokorny in Vox Romanica 10, 253 f. rejected for reasons of sound.