Status of the CELTIC Languages in Europe Today!

Redacted   Monday, June 23, 2003, 15:50 GMT
The ancestor of the present Celtic languages is believed to have come into existence in central Europe early in the last pre-Christian millennium. Like others of the language groups of Europe and southern Asia - the descendants of Teutonic, Slavonic, Italic and Sanscrit among them - Celtic evolved from the common ancestor known as Indo-European. On the European mainland there were probably at least four forms of Celtic - the Gaulish of France, the Lepontic of northern Italy, the Celt-Iberian of Spain and the language of the Celts of the Danube basin and of Anatolia. All these languages are now extinct although it is believed that elements of the Celtic of north-western Gaul can be traced in Breton.

By the opening of the Christian era, the scant evidence suggests that there were two forms of insular Celtic - the Godelic of Ireland and the Brythonic of Britain - the latter a language which had close affinities with Gaulish. (The forms are often known as Q-Celtic and P-Celtic.) By the fifth century AD, Brythonic had developed two forms, the western and the south-western. South-western Brythonic developed into Cornish; in addition, as a result of migration from Britain to Brittany, it is the main formative element of Breton.

Western Brythonic developed into Welsh which was spoken not only in Wales but also in the Brythonic kingdoms of Elmet in the Pennines, Rheged in Cumbria and Dumfries, Strathclyde in the Clyde Valley and the lands of the Votadini along the Firth of Forth, this language slightly differed from Welsh (Cymraeg) of Wales and became (Cumbric), or Cumbrian.

As a result of colonisation by the Irish, Irish became the language of communities in Cornwall, Devon, Western Somerset and in south-west and north-west Wales, but these communities proved to be short lived. Northerly migration by the Irish had more permanent linguistic consequences for it gave rise to the Manx of the Isle of Man and the Gaelic of the Scottish islands and Highlands.

Cornish ceased to have native speakers in the late 18th century as did Manx in the 1970s. Of the four other Celtic languages, there are no precise statistics about the number of Breton speakers for the French government refuses to conduct linguistic censuses in Brittany.

It is believed, however, that there are about 450,000 Breton speakers although, because of slippage between the generations, the number is declining rapidly. Up to a million of the inhabitants of Ireland claim to have some knowledge of Irish, but the communities in which it is the everyday language have a population of only about 30,000. There are about 80,000 speakers of Gaelic in Scotland. Thus, at the opening of the twenty-first century, Welsh, which has some 550,000 speakers in Wales and large numbers in England and with a higher status than its fellows, is the strongest and the best-placed of the Celtic languages.
Simon   Tuesday, June 24, 2003, 09:05 GMT
Do you peruse the BBC's Welsh pages at all? They look very professional. How do Welsh speakers feel about these sort of developments?   Friday, June 27, 2003, 09:35 GMT
i have personaly NEVER seen or spoken to a ghaelic person so why the hell would they convert bbc2 into a friggin ghaelic chanel!!!!
Martin   Tuesday, July 01, 2003, 21:08 GMT
I like Redacted's historical account with one exception. The term "colinization by the Irish" lets them off the hook. Most of it was invasion. My family is
of Cornish and North Welsh origin. I am particularly familair with the history of N Wales. For instance in the sixth century the Votadini (mentioned by
Redacted) and Maneu Picts under Cunedda came down from Lothian and with
their local friends and fought a war against "colinizers" across the whole of
Wales. They succeeded in driving themn out of the North half but not the
south. Hence many of the Votadini and Picts stayed as Cunneda became
the New king of the North. The Irish in the south stayed too eventually
succuming Culturally speaking to the Brythonic Northern Welsh. I do
not believe the Stathclyde Britains considered the Irish to be colinizers
either considering the amount of warfare against them (i,e King Cole et al).
Antonio   Monday, July 07, 2003, 13:53 GMT
I try to prove people that they are far more Celt than they may possibly think but no good. That frigging ghermanik wanna-be crap imposes a very strong barrier!
I suppose those Victorian fallacy preachers created this situation. For some reason they decided to be anglo-saxon with nordic ascendancy, and that ONLY.

I think only western europeans are celtic, because the celts got pushed farther west. But then, if one says ´I´m celt´ one gets ´are you irish?´
It is true that people, other than of germanic origin, are fewer today and there is a tendency to get more and more rare to call someone ´pure stock´. Everybody is Germanic in Europe today... The Italic group has long disappeared and pure celts are restricted to some areas. But that doesn´t change the fact that most every mid-southern west European people has once had Celt blood.

I´m not drop Irish but I certainly am Celt. And I want to have this differential.

Does anyone understand what I have put or have I made myself too obscure?
Ryan   Tuesday, July 08, 2003, 01:38 GMT
I'm sure I'm part Celtic, but I would guess by the geneaological research that has been done by my family that I am more Germanic than Celt. But it's not a problem to me if you want to celebrate a heritage even if it is a minority part of your "blood." I know several people who celebrate their Native American heritage when they are 1/4 or even less blood.

Antonio   Tuesday, July 08, 2003, 12:27 GMT

There is one flaw in that ´minority´ line: ´older blood´ is ofen considered a minor part of oneself when it is actually what may define that person.
The latest research here in Brasil showed that 97% of the brasilians ARE genetically European, even if they look totally black. And MOST do! Why? Because their older ancestor was a European come to this land. They made tests with very well known people like artists and published them, showing that those persons with full lips, curly hair, dark skin were even 99,9999 ( that´s right :) European despite their looks. And other people, blond and blue-eyed showed black ancestry being only 67% european ( an example of this case is one very well known brasilian male model - Zulu ). Well, some 7 generations ago he had a negro or ´mulato´ in his line.
So, you are more likely to ´be´ what your nth generation ancestors were, than what you see or your more close ones.

If we all were Celts one day, so our Celt blood is present today, doubtless. And it, possibly, is stronger than the germanic blood we have.

Well, I have considerably less germanic blood than all of you ( at least is what I expect ).
Simon   Tuesday, July 08, 2003, 12:35 GMT
Yes but the Celts moved around a lot - just like everyone else - and were once in modern Switzerland and Greece too. The original inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland spoke unknown non-Indo-european languages. I don't think Celtic should refer to blood as blood is extremely hard to discuss without getting into racism. We can talk about language, music, and simple identification and indeed this is where Celticism mainly seems to sit.

You can assert what you like about blood but the English language is no more Celtic than French or Dutch are.
Simon   Tuesday, July 08, 2003, 12:37 GMT
I don't know why everyone is so obsessed with the Celts. All they did was get conquered, produce large families, and then rewrite history in their favour.
Paul G   Tuesday, July 08, 2003, 16:29 GMT
''I don't know why everyone is so obsessed with the Celts. All they did was get conquered, produce large families, and then rewrite history in their favour. ''

That's not fair...they're also very good at whinging, taking credit for anything positive, and blaming the English for all their weaknesses.
Clark   Tuesday, July 08, 2003, 18:53 GMT
Do you really need DNA testing to tell you "who" you are?

Redacted, I asked you once if you would feel as Welsh (or "Celtic") as you do if you were adopted, and you did not know anything about your birthparents. I do not think you gave me an answer.

The point I am making is that we are who we are reguardless of what our ancestors did, or who they were. Genetically, were are who they were, but mentally and culturally, we are very different people.
Simon   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 08:27 GMT
I do agree that the Germanic invaders didn't bring in a whole new population. So the population on the isle of Great Britain is made up of lots of different elements and of course includes DNA from before the 'Germans' arrived. But they imposed their Germanic language and the power base of the United Kingdom is still the SE of England where Germanic settlement was heaviest.
Simon   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 12:44 GMT

Some folks know not when to stop. Note the key word is 'marketing'.
Simon   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 12:48 GMT
Seriously, I'm really getting tired of this. Celt has become like red wine. Put one tiny drop of red wine into white and it already changes colour to a kind of red. One drop of Celt (whatever people mean exactly) and you become Celtic.

What is the difference beyond language between Germanic and Celtic?
Redacted   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 14:15 GMT
This is the problem that could cause extreme racism...of course the people of Devon, Somerset, Cumbria or anyone from anyother "English" county have the right to identify themselves as being either West-Britons or West-Saxons, if Devon (Dewnsans) wishes to have a stronger-claim to modern-day Celtic identity then a Celtic language such as Cornish (Kernewek) could be re-introduced perhaps...I mean, many Cornish people worry so much that Devonians are taking their identity, the truth is that they should be glad that Devonians are taking a step-forward to being more "Celtic".

There's no wonder that Devonians have gathered around in claim of their new identity, having the Cornish St. Piran waving in their face for the past 1,000 years. Everyone has the right to self-identification, it's a simple human right and if Devon folk feel more like descendants of the Dumnonii rather than the Wessaxens (recent gentic tests show no-difference between Cornish, Devon and West Somerset people in their Dumninii ancestry) then let them do so in their own way, without any intimmidation by either the Cornish to the west or English to the east.
Personaly, i'm proud of my various ancestry: Brittonic & Goidelic Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Pictish etc. The truth is people form East-Anglia can either lay-claim to being either Iceini Celtic or East-Angles: It doesn't matter and neither should it continue to produce racist behaviour in modern British society.