Talk:Britain (placename)

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Modern Definitions[edit]

The article should define the word Britain: what is the meaning, or what are the various meanings, that it has today. As it stands, the article assumes that the reader knows. A lot of Americans (and probably a lot of other non-Britons) are confused about it. (not signed by author)

Agreed, and also the article doesn't go far enough in the other direction. Where did Pytheas come up with Prettanike? --Eddylyons (talk) 20:19, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I'll dispute that: I don't think any Americans are confused by it at all. It's not as though they think it's part of France: that's an entirely different vowel. It's "England" people sometimes forget, but only in the sense of employing it for the entire UK. And that's not even wrong (just synecdoche), but certainly unappreciated by non-English Brits. — LlywelynII 06:55, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Ireland[edit]

"In his Almagest, Ptolemy used the term Μικρὰ Βρεττανία (Mikra Brettania) for Ireland"

This has to be a mistake (albeit a sourced one). The reference is to Almagest 2.6.25-27 [Heiberg 1898] translated as:

The twenty-fifth parallel has a longest day of 18 equatorial hours. This is 58 degrees from the equator and passes through the southern part of 'Mikra Brettania'. The twenty-sixth parallel has a longest day of 18.5 equatorial hours. This is 59.5 degrees from the equator and passes through the middle part of 'Mikra Brettania'. The parallel where the longest day is 19 equatorial hours is 61 degrees from the equator and passes through the northern parts of 'Mikra Brettania'.

Ireland stretches from Clear Island at 51°26'N, 09°30'W to Malin Head at 55°23'N, 07°23'W. Even allowing for errors in latitude, the day lengths at longest day make the identification with Ireland impossible.

I don't think there is any serious doubt that Ptolemy was referring to what we now call Ireland - especially as later editions of the Almagest refer to "Mikra Brettania" as "Ivernia".

Ptolemy is referring to Scotland, as shown by the medieval cartographer Abraham Ortelius, in the Parergon (historical appendix) to his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Antwerp, 1595 and by JANSSONIUS, J. in his Insularum Britannicarum acurata delineatio, Amsterdam 1642. AJRG (talk) 18:34, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

This seems highly unlikely as it would require Ptolemy to A) have wrongly believed "Scotland" was an island and B) to have had the prescience to know about a country that seems obvious to us on a map now but in his time would not exist for many centuries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.146.92.230 (talk) 10:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Priteni[edit]

re: the paragraph overleaf that says - "Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, Britain,[dubious – discuss] which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic-speaking inhabitants of Ireland and the north of Scotland.[5] The latter were later called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans." I am Welsh, but I do not speak Welsh or write Welsh. However, I have lived in Wales for 66 years. My father and his father spoke Welsh, and were preachers, so they had what the Welsh call 'hwyl in their speech when they preached, meaning a passion that comes from the very land and history of Wales. So I heard Welsh as preached with that level of passion by my father and his father and their practicing their sermons at home several times a week to them right by Sunday, at the tops of their voices, and lived with that until the age of 23 when I moved to England. Other members of the extended family spoke Welsh at home also. It was their 'first' language. So I also heard their phonetics too. I returned to Wales in 1974, and moved to a part of Wales where Welsh is the 'first' language of most people that live and work there, and cannot therefore avoid hearing frequently it in conversation, and on radio and television. So I have heard Welsh spoken by 'first' language users for 60 of my 66 years of life. I am harping on about the phonetics of Welsh spoken by people who use it as their 'first' language because I have never heard the letter 'y' said like the audio voice recording of the word 'prydain' in Wikipedia English that I just obtained using my Babylon® language programme. In there the 'y' is said like the 'ee' in 'weed', whereas in my experience, it is always said like the 'i' in 'win' when it is inside a word, and like the 'u' in 'umbrella' or the 'ur' in 'lemon curd' at the beginning or end of a word or as a standalone word. Therefore, I can safely say that 'prydain' when spoken by the people of Wales for whom Welsh is their first language that the 'y' in 'prydain' is phonetically the same as the 'i' in 'win'. So, if you change the 'y' in 'prydain' to an 'i' and say it like the 'i' in 'win', you get 'pridain', which is very close to the english word 'britain'. In addition, the first letter of a word or syllable can change to one or more other letters when spoken or written, initiated by the spoken word, as Welsh is a phonetic language. I forget what the technical term is for that. However I know that 'p' and 'b' are thus interchangeable, as too are 'd' and 't'. So, if you make those two substitutions you get 'britain'. I therefore consider that 'prydain' is the way that the Welsh say and mean 'britain'. If therefore 'preteni' is the origin of 'britain', as would be the case if 'preteni' is the people of 'britain' and 'preten' is the island of 'britain', as well it may be, then, I am bound to say that in my view the statement that "Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, Britain" is correct. So I am going to try to remove the [dubious – discuss] tag that someone has stuck to end of that statement. I don't know if a non tecky like me can do that, but I will try.DadrianT,EsqMCIHT (talk) 22:34, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

The problem is that, so far, you haven't provided any reliable sources to back up your argument. Wikipedia is based on verifiability, rather than on what you think may be true. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:35, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Our Welsh friend is completely right. Here's a good source for all matters surrounding the name and its etymology: Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. Also for Albion. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:43, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Secondary single t[edit]

"The form with single -t-, Britannia, is secondary, but can be traced to the Roman period. - e.g. a 1st century AD coin inscription "DE BRITANNIS"; see "Britannia on British Coins". Chard. Retrieved 2006-06-25. "

I don't know what you can mean by "secondary" but it would seem to mean subsequent to Brittain. Not true, Pytheas the earliest has one t. The Romans did not originate the one t. If you mean Brittain is the preferred spelling in modern English, well, not in the US. I doubt also if in the so-called "British English." Do we speak different languages now? Removing this until such time as you can clarify it. If you do, I think the Chard site is a commercial site so I would object to that. The spelling of the native Prydain indicates the t was primarily one. Perhaps you made a typo! It happens.Dave (talk) 14:25, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Expansion[edit]

I am going to expand this article to include material I plan to move from the Pytheas article and more detail. I plan to keep most of the existing writing. The biggest change except for added material will be the structure, which will include chronological periods. Some of these will not contain much to begin with, but it will be coming. Right now the chronology is a bit mixed. I am also aiming at removing the tag.Dave (talk) 16:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Thule[edit]

"(possibly Iceland, Faroe, or the Shetland Islands).[1] Pytheas described Thule as the northernmost part of Πρεττανική (Prettanike) or Βρεττανίαι (Brettaniai), his term for the entire group of islands in the far north-west.[2][3][4]"
Thule is quite passionate topic, has been for centuries. Arouses incredible emotion. I got no desire to step on anyone's Thule toes. This material is not unreferenced, nor is it original research, nor does it reflect mainly the editor's opinion. It looks like a legitimate point of view with references. The only problem is, it presents that point of view as the Thule answer. Well, there is no Thule answer. Mainstream view is Scandinavia, viewed by the Greeks as islands. So, to present this as fact is a bit on the unbalanced side. In order to balance it you would have to get into the whole Thule question about which books have been written. The probelm is, this is an article about the name of Britain and the British, not about the location of Thule. So, I would think we want to mention Thule only in passing. Maybe it is cast as a British Isle, maybe not. So's Ireland. What actually constitutes and constituted the British Isles is a related question. However, it is a big question. We probably should not shrink from big question. In fact we didn't. There are other articles on these questions. So, I do not disagree with this view. Maybe it is right! Who knows? All the Thule theories have passionate arguments that as you read them are totally convincing. It is like religion. Unfortunately they cannot all be right! Someone is wrong and no one knows who. It may not be given to us to know. Or, the answer may turn up. We do have an article on Thule theories: Thule. I don't know if it is structured to include this theory, but it should be. So, I have pulled this Thule material out and put it here for your disposition. Our article will only cover the derivation and usage of Britain and related. It is an expanded etymological article. I got Thule in mind, don't think I don't. At some point I will jaunt over there and make sure things are neutral and comprehensive enough and properly referenced. By the way books are preferable to personal web sites. If this is NOT there I will take it with. Ciao.Dave (talk) 11:57, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Some wrong texts[edit]

"Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, Britain, which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic-speaking inhabitants of Ireland and the north of Scotland."

There's a source on this but I think the editor misstates the source. This is too condensed, too quick, which is the reason I'm working on this article. Priteni not the source, only a Greek word representing the native source. The Welsh comes from the native. Cruithne are not Brythonic, they are Goidelic. They didn't get to Scotland until they became the invader Scots after the fall of Britain. Scottish Gaelic is Goidelic. Don't you remember the film Braveheart, where the Irish run up the Scots and greet them like old family members? I'm going to cannibalize these great links so I'm not deleting the sentence this very moment.

"The inhabitants of the islands were called the Πρεττανοι (Priteni or Pretani).[3] The shift from the "P" of Pretannia to the "B" of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar.[3]"

The same source is on this with the same problem. Only the Greeks called them the Priteni. Their own name has to be reconstructed. Probably close. There's no "shift", which is basically an unconscious process. The Romans used the B, which the Romanized natives must have adopted. So, native use can't be pinned down to Caesar's time. As to when the Romans devised the name, well, that must have been when they first read the Greek. Could have been not long after the publication of Periplus. This sentence has to go, but I want to cannibalize it as much as I can. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Botteville (talkcontribs) 01:22, 13 July 2012‎

Recent changes[edit]

I had to change computers so I was away for a bit. I see you've made some changes. On the one hand let me say that your reasons are all wrong and your changes are all bull, every last one. You seem to me to be making changes just to be making changes. The material you said was irrelevant - nonsense. It is quite relevant. To me however this only means you would like to be involved. On the positive side you have changed nothing essential. You would write it differently. So would we all. Everyone writes different. As I said before, this is a linguistics article. I'm far from done. All right, so you don't like "reflex". There is no reason not to like it. Good word. I'd probably reject half of your words also. Still, what you have there does not change the content. I'm going on with this and I am not reverting what you have done. If you say something wrong or your changes make it wrong or you strip away some vital points you will hear from me soon enough. Have you made it better so far? I don't think so. Just quibbles. Don't see your points. Oh, there is one small thing. You made a tautology out of the first sentence. Don't say Britain is Britain. A rose by any other name is a rose. We need a definiton: Britain is the name of - what? Not Britain, please. If you don't like large triangular island come up with something else. If you don't I will just revert it on the grounds that it is not a sincere change. What about something else geographical? The island at ... the island off the coast of France ... what do you think is an identifying note of the island? Now, I am moving on this article, but slow as I have to do a lot of set-up on my system. I shall presume you are acting in good faith until you demonstrate otherwise. Right now these appear to be writing quibbles.Dave (talk) 03:32, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

The changes I made were either because your text was not needed in this article - which is specifically about the word Britain, not about the island's history or culture - or because it was written in a style that is simply incomprehensible to the great majority of readers. Effectively, they were copy edits, as it is obvious that English is not your first language. I did not change the substance of what you had written, as I am not qualified to do so. Hopefully we can all continue to assume good faith and build the article collectively, without any claims of ownership. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:17, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
PS: In my view there is no case for a section on "Ethnic implications". The term "ethnic" is confusing, contentious, and generally unhelpful. In any case, there is no necessary connection between language - which is the subject of this article - and genetics. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
In the first place you are deleting referenced material. In the second, there are no genetic considerations in the word ethnic. You evidently both misunderstand the term and have a prejuduce against it. In the third place, this material is relevant. What we want to know is who Pytheas' British were. What area and what people did the term cover. We also want to know who was included in the common language. The material is highly relevent. In the 4th place I am not done with it yet. It is pretty clear to me you are NOT acting in good faith. You are deleting relevant material on the ground that it is irrelevant, you are interfering in the further development of this article and you are deleting referenced material. "Ethic" with reference to ancient peoples means tribal. So, you are evidencing a misunderstanding of the basic terms of linguistics and cultural anthroplogy. I must ask you to stop attacking me. Stop interfering in this article to its detriment. You reasons are trivial and hypocritical. It is clear to me you are acting from motives of your own that are not related to the article. If this is the way you want it this is the way you shall have it. I'm reverting your changes. Please stop vandalizing this article.Dave (talk) 11:36, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
I suggest that you read WP:BRD. You boldly added material which was largely unreferenced, not very well written (you have acknowledged the need for copy editing), and gave the appearance of being original research and/or synthesis. It also appears to be barely relevant to this article, which is about the placename, and that alone. There are plenty of other articles dealing with language development and settlement on the island, but this is not one of them. So, per BRD, I reverted you. That is normal editing behaviour, and not "vandalism" in any sense at all. Please don't make unwarranted accusations, and please edit in a collegiate manner through consensus. It would be far preferable if you were to develop this article in a sandbox, seek other editors' views on it at that stage, and then - and only then - edit this article in accordance with the collective views expressed. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:45, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the vandalistic insertion of requests for references on already referenced material[edit]

The statement on Pytheas are blue-linked to the article on Pytheas. I will extend that link. I'm glad to supply any references to unreferenced material but this is not unreferenced. If you have something to say further please put it in this discussion. I'm extending the link and removing the request. Please stop vandalizing this article. I'm surprised that you have been on here so long and are still attacking editors. You are starting an edit war and for no reason that I can see. Please stop. I'm not just going to go away.Dave (talk) 11:48, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

The importance of blue links[edit]

I note some references to other articles have been removed, as in the introduction. Please, blue links are very important. This article is part of a series on Britain. It is true Albion is not an essential part of this article. However, it links to another article on an ancient name of Britain. A link to there is legitimate I think. I did let the 1000 island removal stand. I turned that into a blue links as well. None of these articles is a loner; in fact, if you don't put blue links in, you will get a message from the admin saying this article needs links to other articles. So, I do not know why, being on WP for so long, the editor removing the blue links does not know that. I guess you need this reminder. We do things for reasons on WP and not out of personal spite. You're just deleting everything saying it is not relevant when it is. Please. I am asking you nicely.Dave (talk) 12:13, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Please see my comments above. The article needs to remain focused on the origin and use of the placename Britain - not other placenames, and not on hypotheses about language development and settlement in the island. They are covered in other articles, which can be linked from this article's text if it is appropriate to mention them in this article's text, or alternatively from the "See also" section at the end of the article. Your edits are having the effect of making this article much less focused than it should be, by exploring a variety of issues loosely connected to the name "Britain" but which are not necessary to this article, because they are covered in other articles. Please don't accuse me, or anyone else, of acting from "personal spite", and please don't even think of suggesting that this article should reflect your own personal position. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:53, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Withdrawing from article[edit]

We are having irreconcilable differences of opinion. Frankly I can't see your viewpoint at all. I don't even understand what you are saying. I've expresssed my point of view more or less fully. I don't know of anything that would go under "placename Britain" except one sentence from a dictionary. I don't think we are communicating or are going to communicate on any level leading to a good article on WP. I can't see your viewpoint at all on the content or the links. I have seen no agreement at all on your part with anythng I have said. Do you? Do we have any basis for agreement? I don't see it. Either you or I have to depart from the article. Until I see some support for my idea of the content it is going to be me. I could sue you in WP content court, so to speak. However, I think I mentioned the fact that my time for this is limited. For me this is below the point of diminishing returns. There are things I'd much rather do.

If anyone should disagree with the current editor and go more in my direction, what I had planned next is following Schmidt back to the common Celtic stage, where the Irish and the British spoke one language. That isn't impossible yet, but it will need some support. Schmidt by the way is a major linguist. Several of our articles mention him. He is not in any way a marginal source. As long as the current editor has a free hand here then nothing more can be done by me. To the current editor I would say, well, if those are your views, you probably should revert everything I have done and put it back the way it was. That makes sense does it not? If the public lets you get away with that, then that is what they want. So far no one has demonstrated otherwise. I will not be back until they do. I got some time for scholarship but none for WP court cases. If I see any sign my work is appreciated I could come back. I think if you want me back you will have to apologize. I know, I won't hold my breath. I'm out, don't send me messages. If you were not able to take me seriously before, I can't see how you would now. So, I won't reply, unless perchance it would start with "I'm sorry ...." The article is yours. For you other people, what I did so far is pretty valid and well referenced. But where can it go from here? That is up to you.Dave (talk) 16:51, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

As I suggested in an earlier comment, the best way forward would be for you to develop the article as you see fit within your own sandbox, seek other editors' comments on it, and then - but not before then - make any changes to the article itself that are supported through consensus. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:47, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
For the sake of the public, to whom you will now have to account without me, I will answer you one last time. First of all, your view is 100% opposed to mine. There is NO way to reconcile them. You made that quite clear and Doug Weller has supported you. You did not seek discussion before you deleted my material even though this was a clearly controversial move. Even so, it is not your failure to seek discussion that influences my decisions now. Your view IS opposite to mine. You want to reject the linguistic and tribal approach. You don't want to know, in this article, who the Britons were. You object to the term ethnic, putting a genetic interpretation on it. I have NO idea what you think would actually belong there. To me you are an unfathomable mystery, at least as far as what can be openly said on Wikipedia is concerned. I can only conclude you would like to see the original article back, which I presume, having Doug on your side, you can now easily do. Or, alternatively, you have something you would like to put in. You have not said. You have made no suggestions. You have given no alternatives. Now, after the damage is done, you come up with the idea that I should develop this article in a sandbox! But, if you did not agree with my approach before, and do not agree with it now, how can you possibly agree with it then? What am I to do, waste my time? No. Now, it is not hard to follow my approach. The German linguist plays a big part. He is available mainly on the Internet. Anyone can edit Wikipedia. If you really do have a change of heart, if you really do change your mind about your view of what the content should be, YOU can easily finish it up or anyone else. Next I would have looked at the dates when Gallic changed to P-Celtic. That would give the date when Common Celtic prevailed in Ireland and Britain. But, YOU are not interested in P-Celtic, Q-Celtic, historical linguistics, tribes or anything else I consider relevant to the article. You will have to decide now exactly what you are interested in. I know that I cannot write the article being dogged by persons diametrically opposed to my approach. Now, as to your suggestion that I start developing articles in a sandbox and seek approval and consensus before making any changes, that is not Wikipedia policy. They do offer that option if you need it. If you like that option, why do YOU not exercise it? Where is your sandbox? How many articles have you sought consensus for? If a problem come up, then of course we seek. I had no idea this would be a problem. I still do not see what the problem is. I do not understand you at all, nor do I understand why Doug has taken your side. You sound like Dieter Bachmann, except that you go beyond Dieter in insisting I do all my articles in the sandbox. Why do you apply these standards to me that you do not follow yourself? Is this some kind of sardonic retort? Well, you have lost Dave here. I can't work with you, I don't know what your philosophy is, I don't see either you or Doug as following WP policy. Your diametrically opposed approach leaves no room at all for compromise. I'm not inclined to waste my time further. I'm not inclined to spend all my time in Wikipedia court. If you should change your mind, if you think you acted hastily or wrongly, if you decide you would like me to go on and you might accept the bulk of it, you can say that any time. By gentlemanly custom I would expect to see the words "I'm sorry" at the front of your retraction, but of course I do not know what they do in Wales. This "British English" concept is somewhat of mystery to me also. Is you behavior British English? I never heard of it or had any problem at all with it before Wikipedia. Now, all of a sudden, the word ethnic is anathematic in "British English." Yeh. Sure. Well, I think I covered everything. The British should go forward in "British English." I can't do it. If you had a suggestion to replace the word ethnic, I certainly would have considered it. You did not offer any. You don't offer any realistic or practical terms. I cannot go forward on your terms. I have no more time to waste on you, or Doug, or Dieter. Start behaving and applying the policy equally. You may think you have won a victory. In a way you have. I grant Wikipedia has the power to stop people from working on it. Getting qualified people to work on it, well, that is a different sort of victory. You can change your mind any time. But, you must change your mind if you want my services. I can't work with your current mind so I'm bowing out. Same with Doug's. You mention the article going "forward." Forward? Forward to where? You've already impled you wanted it to go back and you made a start by deleting my material and giving us that wonderful declaration of what you will and will not allow. Sometimes in life you cannot redecide decisions made. You made it, you live with it. You will be hearing no more from Dave unless those magic words "I'm sorry, I acted hastily" appear. I will not be checking this site again. I made my suggestions. Your turn. Dave's not available for more jerking around. We aren't getting anywhere. There is no forward, only around and around. This may be a limitation I don't really have time for. Ciao, or rather, au revoir. Good luck with the article. If you can't pick it up, drop it - revert all my changes. Easily done. Just go back in the history, open the last non-botteville file, and save.Dave (talk) 14:37, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  1. ^ Wolfson, Stan. "Tacitus, Thule and Caledonia". Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  2. ^ H.J. Mette, Pytheas von Massalia. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1952, fragment 14, after Cleomedes
  3. ^ a b c Snyder, Christopher A. (2003). The Britons. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-22260-X. 
  4. ^ Foster (editor), R F; Donnchadh O Corrain, Professor of Irish History at University College Cork: (Chapter 1: Prehistoric and Early Christian Ireland) (1 November 2001). The Oxford History of Ireland. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280202-X. 

Predannack[edit]

What is the relation between "Prettanike" and the placename Predannack? (talk) 16:11, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Our article on The Lizard suggests that there may be a connection between the two names - Predannack being located on the Lizard - but the claim is unsourced and is, I think, very uncertain. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:37, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
In A Concise Dictionary of Cornish Place-Names (Evertype, 2009) ISBN 978-1-904808-22-0 it says: Predannack (Predennek, 1284) Predennek «British (headland)» on p. 58. There may be more information in Cornish Place=names and Language.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 01:23, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Copy-Edit[edit]

This article has been copy-edited as part of the GOCE May Blitz. A large selection of material has been removed as it was largely irrelevant to the context at hand. While the information regarding the development of P-Celtic and Q-Celtic languages was sourced, it is better left to the linguistic articles themselves (from which it was evidently taken), which remained linked. This is particularly the case of the translation of Pryd and Pict as "forms" and "painted", as these are not directly related to the term 'Britain' the focus of this article. (Indeed, it raises more questions than it clarifies: if Pict is Latin for painted, how is the word of Brythonic derivation?) If material is to be reintegrated, it should hopefully be done in a more directed fashion, as it was previously a simple cut-and-paste from other related articles. --Mhbeals (talk) 21:36, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

The idea is that the Latin word Pictī, meaning "the painted ones", i. e., "the painted people", translates the Brythonic word (reconstructed) Pritanoi or Pritenoi, thus supporting the etymological connection of this name with (reconstructed) pritu- (Welsh pryd, Irish cruth) "shape", if the origin is truly a reference to tattooing and warpainting.
Historical linguistics is very technical; you shouldn't edit or remove material that you don't understand. The derivation was clearly given in the cited sources, so I'm at a loss regarding your edit comment "not reflective of the sources cited". The material was very informative (the etymology of the name, which this article is all about) and pertinent (to understand the connection between Prydein and Cruthin etc.) and should not have been removed. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:14, 8 July 2013 (UTC)