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Re: [albanach] Irish Celtic verses Scottish Celtic

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  • Sharon L. Krossa
    ... First, note that Celtic is a language family, not a language -- Celtic is on a par with Germanic or Romance , not any specific language within those
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 26, 2007
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      At 11:32 PM +0000 8/26/07, Keina MacGhriogair wrote:
      >I have a question, during the middle ages the clans travel back and
      >forth and all around what is now Ireland and Scotland (and all the
      >islands in the channel). So at what time and place was it determined
      >there was a difference between Irish and Scotish Celtic?

      First, note that "Celtic" is a language family, not a language --
      "Celtic" is on a par with "Germanic" or "Romance", not any specific
      language within those language families. See my article "Celtic Rant"
      at <http://medievalscotland.org/postings/celticrant.shtml> for more
      discussion.

      Anyway, you seem to be using "Celtic" here to mean specifically
      Gaelic and not any of the other languages in the Celtic language
      family (which include Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Celt-Iberian, Gaulish,
      and probably Pictish -- two of which, Welsh/Cumbric and Pictish, were
      spoken in medieval Scotland in addition to Gaelic and so are just as
      "Scottish Celtic" as Scottish Gaelic).

      You're right that there was a lot of interaction between Gaelic
      Scotland and Gaelic Ireland, with people moving back and forth (more
      commonly individuals and families than clans, however), even though
      politically the two were separate from fairly early on in the Middle
      Ages. (This is similar to how there was a lot of interaction and
      movement of people between Scotland and England even though they were
      politically separate.)

      Linguistically, despite the political divisions, both Irish and
      Scottish Gaels (and Manx) considered themselves to all speak the same
      language into the 17th century, and share a common literary heritage,
      and modern linguists largely agree that the different kinds of Gaelic
      were dialects of the same language (Gaelic) until around 1700 when
      Irish (Gaelic) and Scottish Gaelic are considered to have become
      different languages.

      That said, the difference between being two dialects of a the same
      language and being two different languages is not a precise, entirely
      linguistically determined categorization -- when two languages are
      closely related the difference usually comes down to political and
      social considerations as much as linguistic ones. In the case of
      Gaelic, the main thing that changed around 1700 was the written
      language changed to reflect the national dialects more, instead of
      the ideal for written Irish and Scottish Gaelic being exactly the
      same, and that added to nearly a millennium of political separation
      (and a few other considerations) tipped the scales in favor of two
      separate languages instead of dialects of the same language. Then,
      when Irish underwent major spelling reform in the 20th century, the
      differences between written Irish and Scottish Gaelic became even
      more pronounced (and it became much more difficult for Irish and
      Scottish Gaels to read the others writing).

      However, if we leave written forms aside, orally/aurally it is
      probably more accurate to speak of a dialect continuum from the south
      of Ireland to the northern-most Western Isles, with dialects being
      more similar to their closer geographic neighbors than more
      geographically distant dialects, even if the closer neighbor is from
      the other language and the more geographically distant dialect from
      the same language. So, speakers of the southern-most dialect of
      Scottish Gaelic will have an easier time understanding speakers of
      the northern-most dialect of Irish Gaelic than the northern-most
      dialect of Scottish Gaelic (because geographically and linguistically
      the former will be closer to their own dialect than the latter, even
      though the former is considered a different language and the latter
      the same language as their own).

      For a basic timeline of Gaelic in Scotland, as well as resources for
      historical and modern Gaelic, see
      <http://medievalscotland.org/scotbiblio/languages.shtml#gaelic>

      Let me know if anything I've said isn't clear!

      Sharon
      --
      Sharon Krossa, PhD - skrossa-yg@...
      Resources for Scottish history, names, clothing, language & more:
      Medieval Scotland - http://MedievalScotland.org/
      Shopping Online? Help support! - http://MedievalScotland.org/patron/
      The most complete index of reliable web articles about pre-1600 names:
      The Medieval Names Archive - http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/
    • Keina MacGhriogair
      Thank you for your explanation, it does help, and my appologize for saying Celtic when you are correct I meant Gaelic. Another question, keeping in mind your
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 27, 2007
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        Thank you for your explanation, it does help, and my appologize for
        saying Celtic when you are correct I meant Gaelic.

        Another question, keeping in mind your information stated that the
        upper part of Ireland dilect and the southern part of Scotland being
        similar. I have been researching the spelling of Ghriogair, I was
        told this is Scotish Gaelic, but I have also been told no that is
        Irish Gaelic, I suppose it may depend if you are asking a Scot's or
        and Irishman? Sorry a little silly and a dash of frustration!

        Keina

        > First, note that "Celtic" is a language family, not a language --
        > "Celtic" is on a par with "Germanic" or "Romance", not any specific
        > language within those language families. See my article "Celtic
        Rant"
        > at <http://medievalscotland.org/postings/celticrant.shtml> for more
        > discussion.
        >
        > Anyway, you seem to be using "Celtic" here to mean specifically
        > Gaelic and not any of the other languages in the Celtic language
        > family (which include Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Celt-Iberian,
        Gaulish,
        > and probably Pictish -- two of which, Welsh/Cumbric and Pictish,
        were
        > spoken in medieval Scotland in addition to Gaelic and so are just
        as
        > "Scottish Celtic" as Scottish Gaelic).
        >
        > You're right that there was a lot of interaction between Gaelic
        > Scotland and Gaelic Ireland, with people moving back and forth
        (more
        > commonly individuals and families than clans, however), even though
        > politically the two were separate from fairly early on in the
        Middle
        > Ages. (This is similar to how there was a lot of interaction and
        > movement of people between Scotland and England even though they
        were
        > politically separate.)
        >
        > Linguistically, despite the political divisions, both Irish and
        > Scottish Gaels (and Manx) considered themselves to all speak the
        same
        > language into the 17th century, and share a common literary
        heritage,
        > and modern linguists largely agree that the different kinds of
        Gaelic
        > were dialects of the same language (Gaelic) until around 1700 when
        > Irish (Gaelic) and Scottish Gaelic are considered to have become
        > different languages.
        >
        > That said, the difference between being two dialects of a the same
        > language and being two different languages is not a precise,
        entirely
        > linguistically determined categorization -- when two languages are
        > closely related the difference usually comes down to political and
        > social considerations as much as linguistic ones. In the case of
        > Gaelic, the main thing that changed around 1700 was the written
        > language changed to reflect the national dialects more, instead of
        > the ideal for written Irish and Scottish Gaelic being exactly the
        > same, and that added to nearly a millennium of political separation
        > (and a few other considerations) tipped the scales in favor of two
        > separate languages instead of dialects of the same language. Then,
        > when Irish underwent major spelling reform in the 20th century, the
        > differences between written Irish and Scottish Gaelic became even
        > more pronounced (and it became much more difficult for Irish and
        > Scottish Gaels to read the others writing).
        >
        > However, if we leave written forms aside, orally/aurally it is
        > probably more accurate to speak of a dialect continuum from the
        south
        > of Ireland to the northern-most Western Isles, with dialects being
        > more similar to their closer geographic neighbors than more
        > geographically distant dialects, even if the closer neighbor is
        from
        > the other language and the more geographically distant dialect from
        > the same language. So, speakers of the southern-most dialect of
        > Scottish Gaelic will have an easier time understanding speakers of
        > the northern-most dialect of Irish Gaelic than the northern-most
        > dialect of Scottish Gaelic (because geographically and
        linguistically
        > the former will be closer to their own dialect than the latter,
        even
        > though the former is considered a different language and the latter
        > the same language as their own).
        >
        > For a basic timeline of Gaelic in Scotland, as well as resources
        for
        > historical and modern Gaelic, see
        > <http://medievalscotland.org/scotbiblio/languages.shtml#gaelic>
        >
        > Let me know if anything I've said isn't clear!
        >
        > Sharon
        > --
        > Sharon Krossa, PhD - skrossa-yg@...
        > Resources for Scottish history, names, clothing, language & more:
        > Medieval Scotland - http://MedievalScotland.org/
        > Shopping Online? Help support! -
        http://MedievalScotland.org/patron/
        > The most complete index of reliable web articles about pre-1600
        names:
        > The Medieval Names Archive - http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/
        >
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