Cumbrian language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Cumbria (now Northumberland , County Durham and Central Lowlands , UK )
speaker (extinct)

Indo-European languages

Celtic languages
Island Celtic languages
British languages
  • Cumbrian
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2

cel (other Celtic languages)

ISO 639-3


Cumbrian is a Celtic language that was spoken in much of Cumbria , northern Northumbria, and the Central Lowlands of Scotland until about the 11th century. Although traces of Kumbrian have been preserved mainly in place names, the language has died out.

There are few sources that can accurately determine the proximity or distance to Welsh . Relics of the Cumbrian number system remained in use when shepherds counted their sheep until the early 20th century . For the numbers from 1 to 20, corrupted forms of the Cumbrian numbers were used (see Yan Tan Tethera ).

In addition to these numbers, only a few legal terms have been preserved, as well as some place names such as Penrith , Lanark and probably Glasgow .

In the past, Cumbrian was sometimes referred to as North Welsh , Cornish as South Welsh. At least Cornish is definitely not a Welsh dialect , as it belongs to the south-west British group and is closer to Breton than to Welsh. At the time of its greatest spread, the Cumbrian language may have been spoken by around 30,000 people.

The greatest difficulty with Kumbrian is that it may not have been a distant language to Old Welsh and it is therefore doubtful whether it makes sense to speak of a separate Cumbrian language . Alternatively, one could speak of a Cumbrian dialect of Old Welsh.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ John T. Koch: Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia . Pp. 515-516.
  2. ^ AG James: A Cumbric Diaspora? Pp. 187-203.


  • Kenneth H. Jackson: Language and History in Early Britain . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1953
  • Alan G. James: A Cumbric Diaspora? In: Oliver James Padel, David N. Parsons (Eds.): A Commodity of Good Names: essays in honor of Margaret Gelling . Shaun Tyas, Stamford, 2008, ISBN 978-1900289-900 , pp. 187-203.
  • John T. Koch (Ed.): Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia . ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara (California) / Oxford, 2006, ISBN 1851094407
  • Richard Oram: The Lordship of Galloway . John Donald, Edinburgh, 2000, ISBN 0-85976-541-5
  • Charles Phythian-Adams: Land of the Cumbrians . Scolar Press, Aldershot, 1996, ISBN 1-85928-327-6
  • Paul Russell: An Introduction to the Celtic Languages . Longman, London, 1995, ISBN 0-582-10082-8
  • Karl Horst Schmidt : Insular Celtic: P and Q Celtic . In: Martin John Ball, James Fife (Eds.): The Celtic Languages . Routledge, London, 1993, ISBN 0-415-01035-7 , pp. 64-98

Web links

Wiktionary: Cumbrian  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations