I don't think the Celtic languages are Indo-European...
In terms of vocabulary, syntax and morphology they seem totally different to any other Indo-European language. In most modern Indo-European languages in Europe you can see clear similarities in vocabulary and syntax, but with the Celtic languages this is not evident.
IF the Celtic languages are Indo-European languages then I propose that they are as different from the IE languages present in Europe as the Indo-Iranian languages are.
But still, I think its debatable if they even are Indo-European, I think its quite possible they're isolates.
Are you serious?
Some are very obvious:
I: me my mi, fi mé mé mi mee
thou: te ty ti tú tú thu oo
who: piv piw pwy cía cé cò quoi
all: holl, tout oll pob, holl uile uile uile ooilley
one: unan onan un óen aon aon unnane
two: daou dew dau dá dó dà daa
three: tri tri tri trí trí trì three
four: pevar peswar pedwar cethair ceathair ceithir kiare
five: pemp pymp pump cóic cúig còig queig
mother: mamm mamm mam máthair máthair màthair moir
father: tad tas tad athair athair athair ayr
Don't be absurd. Celtic languages are just as Indo-European as it gets.
But there is some optical illusion because most Germanic and Romance languages evolved together in such a way that it eventually made them hugely different from all other IE languages.
Don't feed the troll guys!
But Celtic and Italic languages have more in common with each other ultimately than they do with Germanic. I believe they came into western Europe as one group and then split. There were similarities between old Latin and ancient Gaulish, even in grammatical structure and declensions, and I heard they could understand a little of their basic speech. Caesar actually noticed this to an extent. I remember seeing a list of similar words somewhere, but I don't remember exactly. Some that I found were:
King: rex, rix
Horse: equus, epo/ekwos (on a side note, the Vulgar Latin caballus, ancestor of the Romance language word for horse, was actually borrowed from Gaulish caballos- work horse, as was cervisia from cervesia- beer, and carrus from carros- wagon)
Divine: divinus, divno
God: deus, devos
World: mundus, dumno
Bull: taurus, tarvos
Horn: cornu, carnus
Sea: mare, mori
Other, second: alius, allos
Out of: ex, es
And: que-, cue-
Brother: frater, bratir
A few of these can be explained by common IE roots though. Anyway I remember someone once joked that Romans were essentially "Hellenized Celts", but I think that's a bit of a stretch, lol. Of course the other explanation for their similarities could be just the fact that they lived near each other for a long time.
As for Romance languages, yes they derived even further from the Italic base, so it's hard to find any direct similarity to Celtic languages, which themselves have evolved a lot. Especially insular ones like Irish, which ended up quite different from continental ones like Gaulish. All in all though, I think Celtic belongs somewhere in between Italic and Germanic, as it also has several words that are similar with the latter, like "isarno" and "Eisen" or "iron". All of them form part of the Centum group of IE languages.
Genetically the Celtic languages are closer to Spanish or Italian, as both belong to the Celtic-Italic branch of the Centum IE languages. Not to mention that even some scholars believe the Germanic languages might belong to the Satem branch instead of Centum. Some celtiberian inscriptions resemble somwhat Latin. For example here is one in Lusitanian:
SECIAS ERBA MVITIE
AS ARIMO PRAESO
INI AVA INDI VEA
VN INDI VEDAGA
INDI NVRIM INDI
LOEMINA INDI ENV
PETANIM INDI AR
M INDI TEVCOM
"King: rex, rix
...Brother: frater, bratir "
Those are chosen names. For rix, we could do the parallel with rik in old frankish, or bratir with brothar etc...
"I believe they came into western Europe as one group and then split. "
Today, the only criterium to classify a language is the vocabulary. Because it is the less "mixable" criterium, compared to phonology, syntax or alphabet...which can belong to several groups in the same time (cf french phonology).
I don't think that there is a group of "indo-europeans" which has come in western europe. I think rather that a group of asian nomads has come from steps of central Asia, give them the name you want (probably joined with slaves and aventurers on their way) and spread in half-eastern europe (from Sweden to Italy). They imposed their language, with some substratum features (uvular and harsh phonology for example). This has created creoles in different regions, like proto-germanic near baltic sea, proto-celtic in high danubian plains, proto-italic in central italy...And then, these "creoles" has spread in western europe for different reasons (it is said climatic for germanic, economic for celtic, military for roman...). So, for the celts, they can have a different structure, it remains a indo-european languages.
Today, it is difficult to admit that nomads can give vocabulary to sedentary peoples, but this is the same schema with magyars and turkish in high and late middle-age, and with higher local densities.
Of, course, I don't believe to the theory of Colin Renfrew who sees in the indo-european languages the heritage of neolithic settlements. Like I said in an another thread, it is no sense in a geograhic POV (less and less indo-european languages in southern and western regions in antic times), and in a historic POV.
I just notice that the Renfrew's theory (and its "clones") is very popular in the federal partisans of Spain, because it supports the theory that the basque would be allogeneic. Hence the limitation of their claims which are based primarily on some historical right (realistic or not).
It's the same problem with the natives populations of America: more and more thesis appear to contest that they were the first arrived on the continent, and one wonders if the conclusions of these theories have not previously been ordered to reduce Indian rights...I don't know.
I guess that does make sense, especially about the Hungarians. Although I hear they like to think they're descendants of Attila's Huns or Magyars or whatever, it was most likely a smaller but elite group that came and imposed or spread their language on the native central European population. It is a similar situation in Turkey too with the Ottomans.
And I have heard about the theory that there might have been different waves of what later became "Native" Americans. Something to do with an interesting skeleton called the Kennewick man with more "Caucasian" features, but I don't know how legit that is. Sounds kinda crazy to me. Just as much as the proposed connection of Turkic and Altaic languages to Native American ones though lol.
<<Not to mention that even some scholars believe the Germanic languages might belong to the Satem branch instead of Centum.>>
Germanic languages show a mix of Centum and Satem features, leading some scholares to postulate that Germanic was in fact a mixed language, or a Centum language intimately exposed to a Satem language.
This explains why in Germanic the PIE consonant shift is sometimes represented and sometimes not: PGmc *stab- "staff" vs PGmc *stapal- "staple", PGmc *kritanan "to cry" vs PGmc *gradanan "to cry" (there is also an intermediate root, *gratanan, showing mix of both), PGmc *ufer "over, above" vs *upp "up".
However, based on the words for "who", "hundred", etc. Germanic is regarded as Centum, as these words represent the core of the language that was admixed, not the externally influencing Sprache.
"I hear they like to think they're descendants of Attila's Huns or Magyars or whatever, it was most likely a smaller but elite group that came and imposed or spread their language on the native central European population."
Why not, but facts are facts : if nomad asian tribes in late middle age can impose their language in areas which were denser than the neolithic times, why such a phenomena would be surprising with less sedentary peoples 3000 years before ?
This kind of phenomenum has probably occured in troubled times when there was no dominant power in a region. It has probably need several conditions:
- the allegeneic people must be of course numerous enough , but not necessarily a majority in the host region
- The allogeneic people must be politically and linguistically united
- in the same time, the indigenous people must be linguistically and politically disunited
This has probably happened with the Magyars and the Turks, but one might also include the "Saxon" colonization in Brandenburg (i don't believe in an extermination of the slavic), the Slavic in the Balkans, the sino-tibetan groups in the Thai peninsula...and the indo-europeans too.
If those conditions are not reunited (for example, if the indigenous people are linguistically united), the minority, even dominant, is absorbed by the substratum (cf franks in France, maybe norman in England, hunnic and Gothic peoples in Eastern Europe...).
I obviously don't talk about "acculturation" which occurs when there is a dominant and accepted culture in a region, even very minority (ex : christianisation in the late roman times in Gauls and Iberic peninsula, islamisation in northern africa, spanish domination in america...and even central national languages above the desunited dialects).
The nowadays extinct Continental Celtic languages are way more vowel-friendly than the now living Insular Celtic languages. Take the now extinct Gaulish.
Example: Segomaros Villoneos toutius namausatis eioru Belesamin sosin nemeton
Which means: Segomaros, son of Villonos (or Villu), citizen of Nîmes, has founded this Sancuary for Belesama (goddess).
The Celtic languages that are spoken todays are full of consonant clusters.
When I look at declension charts of Gaulish I also notice Gaulish had a lot in common with Latin.
Here's some info in Balloon: http://wa.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A5lw%C3%A8s
This here is better: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaulois_%28langue%29
The Gauls are misrepresented as club-wearing savages. They used to be known as the Scourge of Europe to the Macedonians before Philippos II reign and also to the Romans during the early Republic.
They also knew how to write, but they lacked cities and contact with highly-developed civilizations.
"The nowadays extinct Continental Celtic languages are way more vowel-friendly than the now living Insular Celtic languages. Take the now extinct Gaulish. "
Are you sure that it is not a "latinized" gaulish ? We must beware of the written forms face of the oral ones. Some big differences can appear (cf oral phonology of French). Same example for the written forms of the medieval towns of germany, england...
<Thor: Same example for the written forms of the medieval towns of germany, england...>
What do you mean about their written ways of old? Could you spell it out further and give some examples. Thanks.
München was Munichen
Frankfurt was Franconofurd
Hanover was Honovere
...and other ones
I didn't make researches, but ancient germanic languages appears in the written texts with more vowels than they are today (ex : actual dutch Haag was haga in old frankish). It is either a problem of written translation ("latinization" form which was the international language in christian states), either this was the real name, and the later form comes from an internal evolution.
If it is the first solution, we bust beware of ancient gaulish words or names that are described : ex : Rotomagos (actual Rouen) appears to me as a latinized form, idem for "ambiani" (people who lived near Amiens).