Proto-Celtic language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics. Proto-Celtic is a branch of the Western Indo-European languages, with the other branches Italic languages, Germanic languages and the Balto-Slavic group. The exact relationships between these branches are under discussion. The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of central Europe from the last quarter of the second millennium BC.[1] By the Iron Age Hallstatt culture of around 800 BC these people had become fully Celtic.[1]

The reconstruction of Proto-Celtic is currently being undertaken. While Continental Celtic presents much substantiation for phonology, and some for morphology, recorded material is still too scanty to allow a secure reconstruction of syntax. Although some complete sentences are recorded in Gaulish and Celtiberian, the oldest substantial Celtic literature is found in Old Irish, the earliest recorded of the Insular Celtic languages.

Sound changes from Proto-Indo-European[edit]

The phonological changes from Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Celtic may be summarised as follows.[2] The changes are roughly in chronological order, with changes that operate on the outcome of earlier ones appearing later in the list.

Late Proto-Indo-European[edit]

These changes were shared by several other Indo-European branches.

  • Palatovelars merge with the plain velars:
    • ḱ > k
    • ǵ > g
    • ǵʰ > gʰ
  • Epenthetic *a is inserted after a sonorant if a laryngeal and an obstruent follow (CRHC > CRaHC)
  • Laryngeals are lost following a vowel in syllables before the accent (VHC´ > VC´)
  • Laryngeals are lost before a following vowel, colouring its quality:
    • h₁e > e
    • h₂e > a
    • h₃e > o
  • Laryngeals are lost after a preceding vowel, lengthening and colouring it:
    • eh₁ > ē
    • eh₂ > ā
    • eh₃ > ō
  • Syllabic laryngeals between plosives in noninitial syllables are lost (CHC > CC)
  • All other syllabic laryngeals become *a (CHC > CaC)
  • Two adjacent dentals become *ss (TT > ss)

Early Proto-Celtic[edit]

  • Sequences of velar and *w merge into the labiovelars (it is uncertain if this preceded or followed the next change; that is, whether gw > b or gw > gʷ):
    • kw > kʷ
    • gw > gʷ
    • gʰw > gʷʰ
  • gʷ > b
  • Aspirated stops lose their aspiration and merge with the voiced stops (except that this counterfeeds the previous change, so *gʷʰ > *gʷ doesn't result in a merger):
    • bʰ > b
    • dʰ > d
    • gʰ > g
    • gʷʰ > gʷ
  • *e before a resonant and *a (but not *ā) becomes *a as well (eRa > aRa): *ǵʰelH-ro > *gelaro > *galaro / *gérH-no > *gerano > *garano. (Joseph's rule).
  • Epenthetic *i is inserted after syllabic liquids when followed by a plosive:
    • l̥T > liT
    • r̥T > riT
  • Epenthetic *a is inserted before the remaining syllabic resonants:
    • m̥ > am
    • n̥ > an
    • l̥ > al
    • r̥ > ar
  • All remaining nonsyllabic laryngeals are lost.
  • *p followed by *kʷ later in the word becomes *kʷ itself (p...kʷ > kʷ...kʷ)
  • ē > ī
  • ō > ū in final syllables
  • Long vowels are shortened before a syllable-final resonant (V:RC > VRC); this also shortens long diphthongs. (Osthoff's law)

Late Proto-Celtic[edit]

  • Plosives become *x before a different plosive or *s (C₁C₂ > xC₂, Cs > xs)
  • p > b before liquids (pL > bL)
  • p > w before nasals (pN > wN)
  • p > ɸ (except possibly after *s)
  • ō > ā
  • ew > ow
  • uwa > owa

Examples[edit]

PIE Proto-Celtic Example
Proto-Celtic Old Irish
*p *ɸ *ph₂tḗr > *ɸatīr 'father' athir
*t *t *tréyes > *trīs 'three' trí
*k, ḱ *k *kh₂n̥-e- > *kan-o- 'sing'
*ḱm̥tom > *kantom 'hundred'
can-
cét /kʲeːd/ (W. cant)
* * *kʷetwóres > *kʷetwores 'four' ceth(a)ir
*b *b *dʰub-no- > *dubnos 'deep, world' domun
*d *d *derḱ- > *derk- 'see' (ad⋅con-)dairc "(he) has seen" < *dork-e-
*g, ǵ *g *gleh₁i- > *gli-na- 'to glue'
*ǵen-u- > *genu- 'jaw'
glen(a)id "(he) sticks fast"
giun, gin "mouth"
* *b *gʷenh₂ > *bena 'woman' ben
* *b *bʰére- > *ber-o- 'carry' berid "(he) carries"
* *d *dʰeh₁i- > *di-na- 'suck' denait "they suck"
*gʰ, ǵʰ *g *gʰh₁bʰ-(e)i- > *gab-i- 'take'
*ǵʰelH-ro- > *galaro- 'sickness'
ga(i)bid "(he) takes"
galar
*gʷʰ * *gʷʰn̥- > *gʷan-o- 'kill, wound' gonaid "(he) wounds, slays"
*s *s *sen-o- > *senos 'old' sen
*m *m *méh₂tēr > *mātīr 'mother' máthir
*n *n *h₂nép-ōt- > *neɸūts 'nephew' niæ (MW nei)
*l *l *leyǵʰ- > *lig-e/o- 'lick' ligid "(he) licks"
*r *r *h₃rēǵ-s > *rīgs 'king' (gen. ríg)
*y *y *h₂yuh₁n-ḱós > *yuwankos 'young' óac (W ieuanc)
*w *w *h₂wl̥h₁tí- > *wlatis 'rulership' flaith
PIE Proto-Celtic Example
Proto-Celtic Old Irish
*a, h₂e *a *h₂ep-h₃ōn- > *abū (acc. *abonen) 'river' aub
*ā, *eh₂ *ā *bʰréh₂tēr > *brātīr 'brother' bráthir
*e, h₁e *e *sen-o- > *senos 'old' sen
*H (any laryngeal H between consonants)[3] *a *ph₂tḗr > *ɸatīr 'father' athir
*ē, eh₁ *ī *weh₁-ro- > *wīros 'true' fír
*o, Ho, h₃e *o *Hroth₂o- > *rotos 'wheel' roth
*ō, eh₃ in final syllable, *ū *h₂nép-ōt- > *neɸūts 'nephew' niæ (MW nei)
elsewhere, *ā *deh₃no- > *dāno- 'gift' dán
*i *i *gʷih₃-tu- > *bitus 'world' bith
*ī, iH *ī *rīmeh₂ > *rīmā 'number' rím
*ai, h₂ei, eh₂i *ai *kaikos > *kaikos 'blind'
*seh₂itlo- > *saitlo- 'age'
cáech "one-eyed"
(W hoedl)
*(h₁)ei, ēi, eh₁i *ei *deywos > *deiwos 'god' día
*oi, ōi, h₃ei, eh₃i *oi *oinos > *oinos 'one' óen oín; áen aín
*u before wa, o *h₂i̯uh₁n-ḱós > early *yuwankos > late *yowankos 'young' óac (W ieuanc)
elsewhere, *u *srutos > *srutos 'stream' sruth
*ū, uH *ū *ruHneh₂ > *rūnā 'mystery' rún
*au, h₂eu, eh₂u *au *tausos > *tausos 'silent' táue "silence" < *tausiyā
*(h₁)eu, ēu, eh₁u;
*ou, ōu, h₃eu, eh₃u
*ou *teuteh₂ > *toutā 'people'
*gʷeh₃-u-s > *bows 'cow'
túath
* before stops, *li *pl̥th₂nós > *ɸlitanos 'wide' lethan
before other consonants, *al *kl̥h₁- > *kalyākos 'rooster' cailech (W. ceiliog; Ogam gen. caliaci)
*r̥ before stops, *ri *bʰr̥ti- > *briti- 'act of bearing; mind' breth, brith
before other consonants, *ar *mr̥u̯os > *marwos 'dead' marb
* *am *dm̥-na- > *damna- 'subdue' damnaid "he tames"
* *an *h₃dn̥t- > *danton 'tooth' dét /dʲeːd/ (W. dant)
*l̥H before obstruents, *la *h₂u̯lh₁tí- > *wlatis 'lordship' flaith
before sonorants, * *pl̥Hmeh₂ > *ɸlāmā 'hand' lám
*r̥H before obstruents, *ra *mr̥Htom > *mratom 'betrayal' mrath
before sonorants, * *ǵr̥Hnom > *grānom 'grain' grán
*m̥H *am/mā
(presumably same distribution as above)
(none?)
*n̥H *an or *
(presumably same distribution as above)
probably *gn̥h₃to- > *gnātos 'known' gnáth

Phonological reconstruction[edit]

Consonants[edit]

The following consonants have been reconstructed for Proto-Celtic:

Table of consonant phonemes of Proto-Celtic
 Bilabial   Alveolar   Palatal   Velar (Plain)   Labialised Velar 
Plosive b t d k ɡ ɡʷ
Nasal m n
Fricative ɸ s
Approximant (Medial) j w
Lateral Approximant l
Trill r

In contrast to the parent language, Proto-Celtic does not use aspiration as a feature for distinguishing phonemes. So the Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops *, *, *gʰ/ǵʰ merged with *b, *d, *g/ǵ. The voiced aspirate labiovelar *gʷʰ did not merge with *, though: plain * became *b in Proto-Celtic, while aspirated *gʷʰ became *. Thus, PIE *gʷen- 'woman' became Old Irish ben and Welsh benyw, but PIE *gʷʰn̥- 'to kill, to wound' became Old Irish gonaid and Welsh gwanu.

Proto-Indo-European *p was lost in Proto-Celtic, apparently going through the stages *ɸ (as in the table above) and *h (perhaps attested by the toponym Hercynia if this is of Celtic origin) before being lost completely word-initially and between vowels. Adjacent to consonants, Proto-Celtic *ɸ underwent different changes: the clusters *ɸs and *ɸt became *xs and *xt respectively already in Proto-Celtic. PIE *sp- became Old Irish s (lenited f-, exactly as for PIE *sw-) and Brythonic f; while Schrijver 1995, p. 348 argues there was an intermediate stage *sɸ- (in which *ɸ remained an independent phoneme until after Proto-Insular Celtic had diverged into Goidelic and Brythonic), McCone 1996, pp. 44–45 finds it more economical to believe that *sp- remained unchanged in PC, that is, the change *p to *ɸ did not happen when *s preceded. (Similarly, Grimm's law did not apply to *p, t, k after *s in Germanic.)

Proto-Celtic Old Irish Welsh
*laɸs- > *laxs- 'shine' las-aid llach-ar
*seɸtam > *sextam 'seven' secht saith
*sɸeret- or *speret- 'heel' seir ffêr

In Gaulish and the Brythonic languages, a new *p sound has arisen as a reflex of the Proto-Indo-European * phoneme. Consequently one finds Gaulish petuar[ios], Welsh pedwar "four", compared to Old Irish *cethair and Latin quattuor. Insofar as this new /p/ fills the space in the phoneme inventory which was lost by the disappearance of the equivalent stop in PIE, we may think of this as a chain shift.

The terms P-Celtic and Q-Celtic are useful when we wish to group the Celtic languages according to the way they handle this one phoneme. However a simple division into P- and Q-Celtic may be untenable, as it does not do justice to the evidence of the ancient Continental Celtic languages. The large number of unusual shared innovations among the Insular Celtic languages are often also presented as evidence against a P-Celtic vs Q-Celtic division, but they may instead reflect a common substratum influence from the pre-Celtic languages of Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall and Wales,[1], or simply continuing contact between the insular languages; in either case they would be irrelevant to Celtic language classification in the genetic sense.

Q-Celtic languages may also have /p/ in loan words, though in early borrowings from Welsh into Primitive Irish /kʷ/ was used by sound substitution due to a lack of a /p/ phoneme at the time:

  • Latin Patricius "Saint Patrick"' > Welsh > Primitive Irish Qatrikias > Old Irish Cothrige, later Padraig;
  • Latin presbyter "priest" > early form of word seen in Old Welsh premter primter > Primitive Irish qrimitir > Old Irish cruimther.

Gaelic póg "kiss" was a later borrowing (from the second word of the Latin phrase osculum pacis "kiss of peace") at a stage where p was borrowed directly as p, without substituting c.

Vowels[edit]

The Proto-Celtic vowel system is highly comparable to that reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European by Antoine Meillet. The following monophthongs have been reconstructed:

  Front Central Back
long short long short long short
Close /iː/ /i/   /uː/ /u/
Mid /eː/ /e/   /o/
Open   /aː/ /a/  

The following diphthongs have also been reconstructed:

With -i With -u
With e- ei
With a- ai au
With o- oi ou

Morphology[edit]

Nouns[edit]

The morphology (structure) of nouns and adjectives demonstrates no arresting alterations from the parent language. Proto-Celtic is believed to have had nouns in three genders, three numbers and five to eight cases. The genders were the normal masculine, feminine and neuter, the three numbers were singular, plural and dual. The number of cases is a subject of contention:[4] while Old Irish may have only five, the evidence from Continental Celtic is considered[by whom?] rather unambiguous despite appeals to archaic retentions or morphological leveling. These cases were nominative, vocative, accusative, dative, genitive, ablative, locative and instrumental.

Nouns fall into nine or so declensions, depending on the stem. There are *o-stems, *ā-stems, *i-stems, *u-stems, dental stems, velar stems, nasal stems, *r-stems and *s-stems.

*o-stem nouns[edit]

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *makʷos *makʷou *makʷoi
Vocative *makʷe *makʷou *makʷūs
Accusative *makʷom *makʷou *makʷūs
Genitive *makʷī *makʷūs *makʷom
Dative *makʷūi *makʷobom *makʷobos
Ablative *makʷū *makʷobim *makʷobis
Instrumental *makʷū *makʷobim *makʷūs
Locative *makʷei *makʷou *makʷobis
  • dūnom 'stronghold' (neuter)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *dūnom *dūnou *dūnā
Vocative *dūnom *dūnou *dūnā
Accusative *dūnom *dūnou *dūnā
Genitive *dūnī *dūnūs *dūnom
Dative *dūnūi *dūnobom *dūnobos
Ablative *dūnū *dūnobim *dūnobis
Instrumental *dūnū *dūnobim *dūnūs
Locative *dūnei *dūnou *dūnobis

*ā-stem nouns[edit]

E.g. *ɸlāmā 'hand' (feminine) (Old Irish lám ~ Welsh llaw)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *ɸlāmā *ɸlāmai *ɸlāmās
Vocative *ɸlāmā *ɸlāmai *ɸlāmās
Accusative *ɸlāmām *ɸlāmai *ɸlāmās
Genitive *ɸlāmās *ɸlāmajous *ɸlāmom
Dative *ɸlāmāi *ɸlāmābom *ɸlāmābos
Ablative *ɸlāmī *ɸlāmābim *ɸlāmābis
Instrumental *ɸlāmī *ɸlāmābim *ɸlāmābis
Locative *ɸlāmāi *ɸlāmābim *ɸlāmābis

E.g. *kumbās 'coombe' (masculine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *kumbās *kumbai *kumbās
Vocative *kumbā *kumbai *kumbās
Accusative *kumbām *kumbai *kumbās
Genitive *kumbās *kumbajous *kumbom
Dative *kumbāi *kumbābom *kumbābos
Ablative *kumbī *kumbābim *kumbābis
Instrumental *kumbī *kumbābim *kumbābis
Locative *kumbāi *kumbābim *kumbābis

*i-stems[edit]

E.g. *sūlis 'eye, sun' (feminine) (Welsh haul ~ Old Irish súil)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *sūlis *sūlī *sūlīs
Vocative *sūli *sūlī *sūlīs
Accusative *sūlim *sūlī *sūlīs
Genitive *sūleis *sūljous *sūljom
Dative *sūlei *sūlibom *sūlibos
Ablative *sūlī *sūlibim *sūlibis
Instrumental *sūlī *sūlibim *sūlibis
Locative *sūlī *sūlibim *sūlibis

E.g. *mori 'body of water, sea' (neuter) (Gallic Mori- ~ Old Irish muir ~ Welsh môr)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *mori *morī *morjā
Vocative *mori *morī *morjā
Accusative *mori *morī *morjā
Genitive *moreis *morjous *morjom
Dative *morei *moribom *moribos
Ablative *morī *moribim *moribis
Instrumental *morī *moribim *moribis
Locative *morī *moribim *moribis

*u-stem nouns[edit]

E.g. *bitus 'world, existence' (masculine) (Gallic Bitu- ~ Old Irish bith ~ Welsh byd ~ Breton bed)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *bitus *bitou *bitowes
Vocative *bitu *bitou *bitowes
Accusative *bitum *bitou *bitūs
Genitive *bitous *bitowou *bitowom
Dative *bitou *bitubom *bitubos
Ablative *bitū *bitubim *bitubis
Instrumental *bitū *bitubim *bitubis
Locative *bitū *bitubim *bitubis

E.g. *dānu 'valley river' (neuter?)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *dānu *dānou *dānwā
Vocative *dānu *dānou *dānwā
Accusative *dānu *dānou *dānwā
Genitive *dānous *dānowou *dānowom
Dative *dānou *dānubom *dānubos
Ablative *dānū *dānubim *dānubis
Instrumental *dānū *dānubim *dānubis
Locative *dānū *dānubim *dānubis

Velar and dental stems[edit]

Before the *-s of the nominative singular, a velar consonant was neutralised to *-x-: *rīg- "king" > *rīxs. Likewise, final *-d became *-t-: *druwid- "druid" > *druwits.[citation needed]

E.g. rīxs 'king' (masculine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *rīxs *rīge *rīges
Vocative *rīxs *rīge *rīges
Accusative *rīgam *rīge *rīgās
Genitive *rīgos *rīgou *rīgom
Dative *rīgei *rīgobom *rīgobos
Ablative *rīgī *rīgobim *rīgobis
Instrumental *rīge *rīgobim *rīgobis
Locative *rīgi *rīgobim *rīgobis

E.g. *druwits 'druid' (masculine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *druwits *druwide *druwides
Vocative *druwits *druwide *druwides
Accusative *druwidam *druwide *druwidās
Genitive *druwidos *druwidou *druwidom
Dative *druwidei *druwidobom *druwidobos
Ablative *druwidī *druwidobim *druwidobis
Instrumental *druwide *druwidobim *druwidobis
Locative *druwidi *druwidobim *druwidobis

E.g. *karnuxs 'carnyx' (masculine?)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *karnuxs *karnuke *karnukes
Vocative *karnuxs *karnuke *karnukes
Accusative *karnukam *karnuke *karnukās
Genitive *karnukos *karnukou *karnukom
Dative *karnukei *karnukobom *karnukobos
Ablative *karnukī *karnukobim *karnukobis
Instrumental *karnuke *karnukobim *karnukobis
Locative *karnuki *karnukobim *karnukobis

E.g. *dants 'tooth' (masculine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *dants *dante *dantes
Vocative *dants *dante *dantes
Accusative *dantam *dante *dantās
Genitive *dantos *dantou *dantom
Dative *dantei *dantobom *dantobos
Ablative *dantī *dantobim *dantobis
Instrumental *dante *dantobim *dantobis
Locative *danti *dantobim *dantobis

Nasal stems[edit]

Generally, nasal stems end in *-on-, this becomes *-ū in the nominative singular: *abon-- "river" > *abū.

E.g. *abū 'river' (feminine) (Welsh afon, Old Breton aven, Gaelic abhainn)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *abū *abone *abones
Vocative *abū *abone *abones
Accusative *abonam *abone *abonās
Genitive *abonos *abonou *abonom
Dative *abonei *abonobom *abonobos
Ablative *abonī *abonobim *abonobis
Instrumental *abone *abonobim *abonobis
Locative *aboni *abonobim *abonobis

E.g. *kangsmã 'step' (masculine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *kangsmã *kangsmane *kangsmanes
Vocative *kangsmã *kangsmane *kangsmanes
Accusative *kangsmanam *kangsmane *kangsmanās
Genitive *kangsmanos *kangsmanou *kangsmanom
Dative *kangsmanei *kangsmanobom *kangsmanobos
Ablative *kangsmanī *kangsmanobim *kangsmanobis
Instrumental *kangsmane *kangsmanobim *kangsmanobis
Locative *kangsmani *kangsmanobim *kangsmanobis

*s-stem nouns[edit]

Generally, *s-stems end in *-es-, which becomes *-os in the nominative singular: *teges- 'house' > *tegos.

E.g. *tegos 'house' (masculine), Gaelic "teach/tigh".

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *tegos *tegese *tegeses
Vocative *tegos *tegese *tegeses
Accusative *tegesam *tegese *tegesās
Genitive *tegesos *tegesou *tegesom
Dative *tegesei *tegesobom *tegesobos
Ablative *tegesī *tegesobim *tegesobis
Instrumental *tegese *tegesobim *tegesobis
Locative *tegesi *tegesobim *tegesobis

*r-stem nouns[edit]

  • r-stems are rare and principally confined to names of relatives. Typically they end in *-ter-, which becomes *-tīr in the nominative and *-tr- in all other cases aside from the accusative: *ɸater- 'father' > *ɸatīr, *ɸatros.

E.g. *ɸatīr 'father' (masculine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *ɸatīr *ɸatere *ɸateres
Vocative *ɸatīr *ɸatere *ɸateres
Accusative *ɸateram *ɸatere *ɸaterās
Genitive *ɸatros *ɸatrou *ɸatrom
Dative *ɸatrei *ɸatrebom *ɸatrebos
Ablative *ɸatrī *ɸatrebim *ɸatrebis
Instrumental *ɸatre *ɸatrebim *ɸatrebis
Locative *ɸatri *ɸatrebim *ɸatrebis

E.g. *mātīr 'mother' (feminine)

Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative *mātīr *mātere *māteres
Vocative *mātīr *mātere *māteres
Accusative *māteram *mātere *māterās
Genitive *mātros *mātrou *mātrom
Dative *mātrei *mātrebom *mātrebos
Ablative *mātrī *mātrebim *mātrebis
Instrumental *mātre *mātrebim *mātrebis
Locative *mātri *mātrebim *mātrebis

Verbs[edit]

From comparison between early Old Irish and Gaulish forms it seems that Continental and Insular Celtic verbs were to develop differently and so the study of Irish and Welsh may have unduly weighted past opinion of proto-Celtic verbal morphology.[citation needed] It can be inferred from Gaulish and Celtiberian as well as Insular Celtic that the proto-Celtic verb had at least three moods:

  • indicative — seen in e.g. 1st sg. Gaulish delgu ("I hold") Old Irish tongu ("I swear")
  • imperative — seen in e.g. 3rd sg. Celtiberian usabituz, Gaulish appisetu
  • subjunctive — seen in e.g. 3rd sg. Gaulish buetid ("may he be") Celtiberian asekati

and four tenses:

  • present — seen in e.g. Gaulish uediíu-mi ("I pray") Celtiberian zizonti ("they sow")
  • preterite — seen in e.g. 3rd sg. Gaulish sioxti, Lepontic KariTe
  • imperfect — perhaps in Celtiberian kombalkez, atibion
  • future — seen in e.g. 3rd sg. Gaulish bissiet, Old Irish bieid ("he shall be")

A probable optative mood also features in Gaulish (tixsintor) and an infinitive (with a characteristic ending -unei) in Celtiberian.[5][6]

Verbs were formed by adding suffixes to a verbal stem. The stem might be thematic or athematic, an open or a closed syllable.

Example conjugations

Scholarly reconstructions [2][7][8][9] may be summarised in tabular format.

Conjugation like *bere/o- ‘bear, carry, flow’
Person Pres Impf Fut Pst
Act Pss Act Pss Act Pss Act Pss
Ind 1.sg *berū(mi) *berūr *berennem *- *bibrām *bibrār *bertū *-
2.sg *beresi *beretrīs *berītū *- *bibrāsi *bibrātrīs *bertes *-
3.sg *bereti *beretor *bere(to) *beretei *bibrāti *bibrātor *bert *brito
1.pl *beromu(snīs) *berommor *beremmets *- *bibrāmes *bibrāmmor *bertomu *-
2.pl *berete *beredwe *beretes (OI) ~ *bere-swīs (B) *- *bibrāte *bibrādwe *bertete *-
3.pl *beronti *berontor *berentets *berentits (?) *bibrānt *bibrāntor *bertont *britūnts
Sbj 1.sg *berām *berār *berānnem *- *- *- *- *-
2.sg *berāsi *berātrīs *berātū *- *- *- *- *-
3.sg *berāti *berātor *berā(to) *- *- *- *- *-
1.pl *berāmes *berāmmor *berāmmets *- *- *- *- *-
2.pl *berāte *berādwe *berātes (OI) ~ *berā-swīs (B) *- *- *- *- *-
3.pl *berānti *berāntor *berāntets *- *- *- *- *-
Imp 1.sg *- *- *- *- *- *- *- *-
2.sg *berī! *beretrīs! *- *- *- *- *- *-
3.sg *beret! *beror! *- *- *- *- *- *-
1.pl *beromu! *berommor! *- *- *- *- *- *-
2.pl *beretīs! *beredwe! *- *- *- *- *- *-
3.pl *beront! *berontor! *- *- *- *- *- *-
VN (unmarked) *berowon- *- *- *- *- *- *' *britu-s
Ptple (unmarked) *beront- *beromno- *- *beretejo- *- *- *bertjo- *brito-
Conjugation like *mārā- ‘greaten, magnify, enlarge’
Person Pres Impf Fut Pst
Act Pss Act Pss Act Pss Act Pss
Ind 1.sg *mārāmi *mārār *mārānnem *- *mārābjū *mārābjūr *mārātsū *-
2.sg *mārāsi *mārātrīs *mārātū *- *mārābisi *mārābitrīs *mārātssi *-
3.sg *mārāti *mārātor *mārā(to) *mārātei *mārābiti *mārābitor *mārātsti *-
1.pl *mārāmu(snīs) *mārāmmor *mārāmmets *- *mārābimmes *mārābimmor *mārātsomu *-
2.pl *mārāte *mārādwe *mārātes (OI) ~ *mārā-swīs (B) *- *mārābite *mārābidwe *mārātsete *-
3.pl *mārānti *mārāntor *mārāntets *mārāntits (?) *mārābint *mārābintor *mārātsont *mārātūnts (?)
Sbj 1.sg *mārām *māror *māronnem *- *- *- *- *-
2.sg *mārosi *mārotrīs *mārotū *- *- *- *- *-
3.sg *māroti *mārotor *māro(to) *- *- *- *- *-
1.pl *māromes *mārommor *mārommets *- *- *- *- *-
2.pl *mārote *mārodwe *mārotes (OI) ~ *māro-swīs (B) *- *- *- *- *-
3.pl *māronti *mārontor *mārontets *- *- *- *- *-
Imp 1.sg *- *- *- *- *- *- *- *-
2.sg *mārā! *mārātrīs! *- *- *- *- *- *-
3.sg *mārāt! *mārār! *- *- *- *- *- *-
1.pl *mārāmu! *mārāmmor! *- *- *- *- *- *-
2.pl *mārātīs! *mārādwe! *- *- *- *- *- *-
3.pl *mārānt! *mārāntor! *- *- *- *- *- *-
VN (unmarked) *mārāwon- *- *- *- *- *- *' *mārātu-s
Ptple (unmarked) *mārānt- *mārāmno- *- *mārātejo- *- *- *mārātjo- *mārāto-

Dating[edit]

Proto-Celtic is mostly dated to roughly 800 BC (Hallstatt C), see Celtic languages.

In the first decade of the 21st century a number of scholars addressed this question using computational methods, with differing results. Gray and Atkinson estimated a date of 6100 BP (4100 BC) while Forster and Toth[10] suggest a date of 3200 BC ±1500 years for the arrival of Celtic in Britain, but such early dates are not generally accepted.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chadwick with Corcoran, Nora with J.X.W.P. (1970). The Celts. Penguin Books. pp. 28–33. 
  2. ^ a b Ranko, Matasović (2009). Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic. Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series, 9. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-17336-1. 
  3. ^ Nevertheless, *C. stop + H + C. stop > Ø, in non-initial syllables. cf. PIE *dʰugh₂tḗr 'daughter' > PCelt. *duxtīr (not **dugatīr). Matásovic (2009: 6)
  4. ^ Pedersen, Holger (1913). Vergleichende Grammatik der keltischen Sprachen, 2. Band, Bedeutungslehre (Wortlehre). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 3-525-26119-5. 
  5. ^ Stefan Schumacher, Die keltischen Primärverben. Ein vergleichendes, etymologisches und morpholo-gisches Lexikon Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Univer-sität, Innsbruck (2003) (German)
  6. ^ Pierre-Yves Lambert, La langue gauloise. Description linguistique, commentaire d'inscriptions choisies Paris: Errance (2003) (French)
  7. ^ Pages xxxvi-xxxvii of MacBain, Alexander (1911) An etymological dictionary of the Gaelic language; Stirling: Eneas MacKay, available at http://www.archive.org/stream/etymologicaldict00macbuoft#page/xxxvi/mode/2up
  8. ^ Pages 7-14 of Ward, Alan (1982, revised 1996) A Checklist of Proto-Celtic Lexical Items
  9. ^ Examples of attested Gaulish verbs at http://www.angelfire.com/me/ik/gaulish.html
  10. ^ Forster, Peter; Toth, Alfred (2003). "Toward a phylogenetic chronology of ancient Gaulish, Celtic, and Indo-European". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100: 9079–9084. Bibcode:2003PNAS..100.9079F. doi:10.1073/pnas.1331158100. PMC 166441. PMID 12837934. 

External links[edit]

The Leiden University has compiled etymological dictionaries of various IE languages, a project supervised by Alexander Lubotsky and which includes a Proto-Celtic dictionary by Ranko Matasović. Unfortunately, those dictionaries published by Brill in the Leiden series have been removed from the University databases for copyright reasons. However, somebody has made an Excel file from Matasović's dictionary and uploaded on Google Docs.

Alternatively, a reference for Proto-Celtic vocabulary is provided by the University of Wales at the following sites: