Talk:Common Brittonic

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Reconstructions?[edit]

I'm a bit disappointed that there is little information on scholarly reconstructions of Old Brythonic, especially given that there are prominent scholars in the field of Celtic languages who have undergone such tasks (eg. Kenneth Jackson, Peter Schrijver). Although these reconstructions because of the lack of archaeological evidence aren't attested doesn't mean these should be any less listed or at least referred to; especially since we already have articles about similarly reconstructed languages like the big Proto languages of the Indo-European group (eg. Proto-IE, Proto-Celtic, Proto-Germanic, etc.). Could someone add information about these? - Znex (talk) 23:53, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Article name is very misleading[edit]

The article name is very misleading, I had assumed this was the article on British English but it is an article on Old Brythonic. Why was the article moved from its original and why is it called 'British language' when it should be called Old Brythonic? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.76.173.9 (talk) 11:26, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

I was skeptical at first too, but having read more about it in the past several years, I realize the Old Brythonic language is usually called "British" by scholars. British English is never called "the British language", though, at least not in scholarly discourse (maybe informally). I've tried to make the hatnote clearer. Angr (talk) 14:28, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
From what I've seen, "Brittonic" and "Brythonic" are more common than "British" in the sources.--Cúchullain t/c 14:37, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
"Brittonic" is by far the most popular form among modern Celticists. Cagwinn (talk) 15:11, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Brittonic and Brythonic are the most common names for the language family, but the barely attested language discussed here is actually commonly called British. It's called British by both Jackson and Schrijver, for example. Angr (talk) 18:00, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
It's certainly well established, especially in older sources, but I tend to doubt that that it's still more common. I don't have access to all my books right now due to a move, but perhaps Cagwinn can give us an overview of relevant sources. I know that "Brittonic" is used in Christopher Snyder's The Britons and in various of John Koch's works. I seem to recall that David Dumville uses "British" and "Brittonic" interchangeably. There's also the matter of confusion, which is obviously real.--Cúchullain t/c 20:47, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Kenneth Jackson, who wrote the groundbreaking book on the language, Language and History in Early Britain (50 years later, it's still the Bible) used "Brittonic" and for him and his peers in the '50s, "Brythonic" was already a dated term:
(LHEB, Page 3) "Until fairly recently, the term Brythonic, coined by Rhys, was regularly used to describe the language brought to Britain by the bearers of that variety of primitive Celtic speech known as P-Celtic, spoken there all through the Roman period, and subsequently divided into the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton of medieval and modern times. Of late there has been an increasing tendency to use Brittonic instead. It is not a matter of any consequence, the one term is as good as the other ; Brittonic will be employed in this book."
Now, some modern linguists, such as Peter Schrijver, do use the term "British" for "Brittonic", but not exclusively (Schrijver primarily uses "British" in Studies in British Celtic Historical Phonology, but also uses "Gallo-Brittonic" in certain sections of the book and uses "Brittonic" in some articles of his that I have read).— Preceding unsigned comment added by Cagwinn (talkcontribs)
This may be a case for a move request discussion to get some community input.--Cúchullain t/c 18:28, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to Common Brittonic. Everyone agrees on what language this article is about, they only disagree on what to call it. This is a technical term of ancient linguistics. I opened another thread at User talk:Cuchullain#British language in search of an agreement between User:Cuchullain and User:Angr. In addition to them I invited the three other RM participants to give their opinions. It now appears that Common Brittonic is the best choice. 'British language' has some disadvantages as a technical term since it may suggest to the general public the current language spoken in Britain. Some alternatives to this title might be found in the article called Brythonic languages: "..a common ancestral language termed Brittonic, British, Common Brythonic, Old Brythonic or Proto-Brythonic, which is thought to have developed from Proto-Celtic or early Insular Celtic by the 6th century BC." If we accept this summary by John T. Koch then any of the five italicized terms would be a suitable title. EdJohnston (talk) 15:04, 6 July 2013 (UTC)


British languageBrittonic language – Per my comments here and those by Cagwinn here, this appears to be the most common term in the reliable sources for the subject. Sources that use it include Kenneth H. Jackson's standard work Language and History in Early Britain, as well as Christopher Snyder's The Britons and various works by John T. Koch. "British" is an established name for the topic, but it appears to less common, and further it may also cause confusion with the various other languages of Britain. Cúchullain t/c 15:45, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

  • We have to make sure that these authors consistently use Britonnic to refer to this language and not to the Brittonic language family (which is unambiguously called Brittonic or Brythonic). For example, of the works listed at John T. Koch#Works, it isn't at all clear that any of them using the term Brittonic in the title are referring to the language of this article rather than the Brittonic languages generally. Angr (talk) 16:14, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Brittonic is the name for the ancient parent language, Neo-Brittonic (or "Archaic Neo-Brittonic", to use Koch's term) for the early medieval version that was the immediate ancestor to Archaic/Early Old Cornish, Old Welsh, Cumbric and Old Breton. Cagwinn (talk) 19:15, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
There's obviously a lot of overlap since the Brittonic languages are those that evolved from the Brittonic language. In Koch's case he uses "Brittonic" for the language in The 'Gododdin' of Aneurin and his various works on the hypothesized "Archaic Neo-Brittonic" language. And yes, I agree about the language family articles.--Cúchullain t/c 16:34, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
The other branch of Insular Celtic has similar problems; the branch is called Goidelic, but the oldest form of the language, which could just as easily be called Common Goidelic, is usually called Primitive Irish (and its premodern descendants are called Old Irish, Middle Irish, and Early Modern Irish, much to the chagrin of Scots since those languages were spoken in Scotland too); then there's Gaelic which is the normal term in Scotland but is considered dated and a little condescending in Ireland. If this article's name is changed, I would much rather it be changed to Common Brittonic language or Old Brittonic language than to Brittonic language since the latter is really ambiguous—Modern Welsh is a Brittonic language, but it isn't the Brittonic language. Angr (talk) 16:41, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
  • It is somewhat disingenuous to say that Jackson calls this language Brittonic on the basis of the quote from page 3 of LHEB given in the thread above, since on the following page he writes: "In this book British (Brit.) is used as a general term for the Brittonic language from the time of the oldest Greek information about it (derived from Pytheas of Marseilles, c. 325 B.C.) down to the sub-Roman period in the fifth century and on into the sixth." That seems to be the language described in this article, so if we want to follow Jackson's lead, we should stick with the name British. I therefore formally oppose the requested move. Angr (talk) 19:27, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
I made no attempt to be "disingenuous", I included Jackson based on Cagwinn's comment, which I specifically linked to. This includes a quote in which Jackson uses "Brittonic" for "the language brought to Britain by the bearers of that variety of primitive Celtic speech known as P-Celtic, spoken there all through the Roman period, and subsequently divided into the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton of medieval and modern times". IE, the topic of this article. At any rate, I don't see any evidence that "British" is more common.--Cúchullain t/c 13:59, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Also from LHEB, p. 4: "C(ommon)C(eltic). later divided into Q-Celtic and P-Celtic, in which I(ndo)E(european). qu was respectively preserved or changed to p ; from Q-Celtic is descended Goedelic, the parent of Irish, Scottish, and Manx Gaelic, and from P-Celtic comes Gallo-Brittonic (Gall.-Britt.). This last describes the group of P-Celtic languages spoken on the Continent, presumably in the Iron Age, by widely scattered Celtic tribes, some of whom invaded Britain and brought with them the variety known as the Brittonic (Britt.) speech (and probably the Iron Age culture) as defined above [p. 3, cited previously], while others remained on the Continent... [p. 5] (w)ith the dramatic changes that occurred during the Late British period we reach an entirely new stage...the rise of what will be called Neo-Brittonic tongues, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton.". Jackson uses Gallo-Brittonic, Brittonic and Neo-Brittonic as terms for the classes of languages, while Gaulish, British and Welsh, Cornish and Breton are subsets of them.Cagwinn (talk) 22:46, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, exactly. And this article is about a subset on a par with Gaulish, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton, not a class of languages. Angr (talk) 12:24, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm getting confused here. Cagwinn, in your estimation which name is more common in the sources for this article's subject, and which do you think we should use for the article title?--Cúchullain t/c 13:59, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, as has been mentioned, we find people using Brittonic and British interchangeably, but I find Brittonic to be more common today, especially among linguists. I think the best summary of the situation is in Koch's entry for "Brythonic" in his Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 305-306), I will quote from it extensively here:
'Brythonic, as a specialist linguistic term, refers to a closely related subfamily, within the larger, more diffuse family of the Celtic languages....'
'...In contemporary Celtic studies, ‘Brittonic’ and ‘Brythonic’ are interchangeable terms with precisely the same meaning. ‘Brythonic’ has been adopted in this Encyclopedia, since it has the advantage of resembling the Welsh terms from which it is derived, namely Brython ‘Britons’ and Brythoneg ‘Brythonic’, thus reminding the generalist reader of the languages to which it refers, and avoiding potential confusion owing to the similarity of ‘Brittonic’ and the name of the modern nation state of Britain (i.e., the UK) and of the British Empire, whose chief language is the non-Brythonic (and non-Celtic) English. In Jackson’s highly regarded scheme as set out in Language and History in Early Britain, ‘Brittonic’ is used in the same sense as ‘Brythonic’ here. In Thurneysen’s Grammar of Old Irish, ‘Britannic’ is used with this meaning, but this term did not win favour with subsequent writers.'
'Before Jackson’s time, in the 19th and earlier 20th centuries, writers often used the term Brythonic to refer to what we call the Brythonic languages and to some ancient Continental Celtic languages that, like Brythonic, show the change of Proto-Celtic /kw/ (from Indo-European /kw/ and /k´w/) to /p/. Thus, in this obsolete usage, ‘Brythonic’ is a wider grouping, including the languages that are here called Gaulish, Lepontic, and Galatian. For this larger group, this Encyclopedia uses the terms P-Celtic (emphasizing the linguistic innovation just mentioned) or Gallo-Brittonic (emphasizing a wider range of linguistic affinities between Gaulish and Brythonic).'
'Some writers in Celtic studies use the term British in the sense used for ‘Brythonic’ here; therefore, in that usage ‘British’ can include medieval and modern Breton, Cornish, and Welsh. This meaning of ‘British’ is found, for example, in the Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar of Lewis and Pedersen, which remains one of the standard handbooks. However, this Encyclopedia follows Jackson’s usage in Language and History in Early Britain, using ‘British’ only for the ancient form of Brythonic as found in documentary evidence from the Iron Age and the Roman period in Britain. In linguistic terms, ‘British’ therefore refers to Brythonic as long as it retained its Proto-Celtic (and ultimately Indo- European) syllable structure; for example, the Brythonic name written in ancient sources as British Cunobelinos is written in the early Middle Ages as an archaic Neo-Brythonic (or early Old Welsh) Cunbelin, revealing the loss of two unaccented Proto- Celtic syllables. Using ‘British’ to refer only to the ancient form of Brythonic (the ‘Cunobelinos stage’) has the advantage of using ‘British’ only for a period at which this language was actually the most widely spoken language of Britain; this avoids the confusions discussed above with reference to later periods when English had become the predominant language of Britain and then the British Empire, for which periods ‘British’ might be misunderstood as shorthand for ‘British English’ in contrast to ‘American’ or ‘Indian English’, &c. Place-name evidence, taken together with Brythonic) the testimony of Beda on the limited ecclesiastical use of Latin in the early Middle Ages, strongly suggests that spoken Latin never became the everyday language of any region of Britain. Therefore, ‘British’ is not potentially misleading as the name of the Brythonic spoken in Roman times and later prehistory.'
So, there you go. Cagwinn (talk) 14:53, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
And this article is about "the ancient form of Brythonic as found in documentary evidence from the Iron Age and the Roman period in Britain... (the 'Cunobelinos stage')", suggesting that if we retain the name British language we are conforming also to Koch's usage. 15:08, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
But, once again, you will often find people using the term "Brittonic" instead of "British"; it's often a matter of personal choice among scholars. Cagwinn (talk) 16:12, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, quite. In the Celtic Culture article the issue appears to be a matter of scope. There, Koch restricts "British" to the "Cunobelinos stage" of "Brythonic", but our article (and his) discuss things like the later stages of the language and its diversification, its displacement by Irish and English, and its relationship to Pictish, which are after the "Cunobelinus stage". And beyond that, we don't have the luxury of the Celtic Culture encyclopedia that "British" won't be confusing for readers.--Cúchullain t/c
We barely discuss anything post-Anglo-Saxon invasion in this article, so we really don't go past the "Cunobelinos stage", and I really doubt readers will be less confused by "Brittonic" than by "British". After all, -ic usually designates a language family/group in English (Celtic, Germanic, Italic, Slavic, Baltic, Indic, Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Altaic, Turkic, Afro-Asiatic, Semitic etc.) while -ish usually designates a specific language (English, Gaulish, Cornish, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Flemish etc., though there are a few exceptions like Arabic and Gaelic). Angr (talk) 17:27, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
While the article isn't fleshed out, much of the space is already taken up by material on diversification, replacement by Irish and English, and Pictish, and much more could be done whatever the title. And as Koch says, not every scholar who uses "British" uses it as restrictively as he does. Peter Schrijver is one example; he uses "British" for the language in general and "Proto-British" for essentially the period Koch calls "British" (even though it's attested).[1] This is clearly different names for the same thing, and again, I see no evidence that "British" is more common than "Brittonic".
As for confusion, while there's potential that "Brittonic language" may be confused for the individual "Brittonic languages", "British language" may be (and is [2][3]) confused for any of the "British languages" spoken in the UK.--Cúchullain t/c 18:57, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
And I see no evidence that "Brittonic" is more common than "British". And I do think there will be overall less confusion if this article has a name that differs from Brittonic languages in more than just grammatical number. It was formerly called British language (Celtic) to make it more immediately clear that it wasn't about British English, but was then moved because British language was not considered to be ambiguous. Angr (talk) 20:51, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
It's rather un-scientific, but I did a Google Books search of 20th and 21st century sources for just "Brittonic" and got 455 hits. I then searched for "British language" and "Celtic" (had to add these qualifiers, as "British" and even "British language" give too many irrelevant results) and got 507 results. It's fairly close, but I am sure that a lot of articles in Celtic Studies academic journals are not included in these results, so it's possible that my impression that "Brittonic" is more common among Celticists now might be more easily proven. It's close, anyway, with "British language" probably holding the advantage, especially among non-specialists in Celtic linguistics. Cagwinn (talk) 22:32, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I considered including a "Google test", but it doesn't really measure up. A search for "British language" Celtic still returns a lot of irrelevant results like this that discusses all all "languages of Britain", including the Celtic ones, while "Brittonic" returns hits about the branch, not just the language specifically. Additionally, returns for "British language"+Celtic may return hits like Koch and Jackson who use both terms, "British" for the early phase and "Brittonic" (or Brythonic) for the language as a whole. --Cúchullain t/c 20:44, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
  • FWIW, the OED prefers Brythonic over Brittonic[4], but which other reliable sources prefer which variant? I'm not so sure Google searches are very useful here, as reliability counts more than quantity. But this language family is outside my field of study—I mostly study Germanic languages—so I'll leave it up to those more familiar with the topic. Wilhelm Meis (☎ Diskuss | ✍ Beiträge) 22:03, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
The OED online has the main definition at "Brittonic"; under "Brythonic" it has "= BRITTONIC". Both are used; for instance John Koch uses "Brythonic" in "Celtic Culture" but "Brittonic" in various other works. As Cagwinn says above, "Brittonic" was used in Kenneth Jackson's groundbreaking work and has been much more common since at least that time (the 1950s). Other sources that use it include Christopher Snyder's The Britons. "British" is also used, but some sources that do (such as both Jackson and Koch's Celtic Culture) restrict it only to a particular phase rather than for the language as a whole.--Cúchullain t/c 16:29, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
That seems odd, that different Oxford dictionary editions take opposite stances on the preference of Brittonic or Brythonic. Anyway, thank you for your response. I am honestly trying to better understand how these terms are used, and I thought it was worth raising the point, but I will certainly defer to the wisdom of more knowledgeable editors here than myself. Cheers! Wilhelm Meis (☎ Diskuss | ✍ Beiträge) 02:06, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support as less ambiguous than Brittish, and equivalent on other counts. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:41, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Insular celtic[edit]

User:Kwamikagami, could you identify the sources you make reference to here please. Thanks. 19:12, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Rather than edit-warring with Cagwinn, I'm tagging things that get reverted.
My reasoning is simple: According to our own articles, and to sources such as Eska (2010), the debate about P/Q Celtic vs Insular/Continental is ongoing. Neither proposal seems capable of explaining the evidence used to support the other. This has been going on for a century, and is unlikely to end any time soon. Even Eska, who clearly prefers Insular, is not willing to present it alone. I think it is therefore inappropriate for us to choose sides. I have no problem putting Insular first, since that is currently the more popular, but I think we're doing our readers a disservice if we give only Insular, as if there were no longer any debate.
Generally when we have intractable classification problems like this, or like Sino-Tibetan vs Tibeto-Burman or Nilo-Saharan, we tend to follow a couple patterns:
(1) We may omit the clade except when immediately ascending (in this case, at Brittonic and Goidelic, but not for the individual language articles). That is, the tree includes only secure nodes, except perhaps the one immediately above the topic of the article. This can be combined with any of the following.
(2) We may put the clade in parentheses. I tend to do that with clades that are widely accepted as polyphyletic, so say for Contitental and Q Celtic here.
(3) We may add a question mark. I tend to do that for proposals that are debated, but without alternatives other than the null hypothesis being presented, such as Altaic and Nilo-Saharan.
(4) Yet another is to include both of two competing proposals, either with "or" or both with question marks. In this case, that would mean Insular or Gallo-Brittonic or Insular? [line break] Gallo-Brittonic? Because that takes a lot of space, I would rather only do it on the Brittonic article, and leave this one blank, but I suppose we could do it for all child articles.
In our Celtic article, we give Schmidt and Koch as examples of recent scholars who support P Celtic as a genealogical node. I've read others; an interesting idea at Max Planck, which unfortunately I don't think was ever published, was that the common features of the Insular languages are due to substratum effects of the pre-Celtic languages of the islands, which they suggested might have been Afro-Asiatic (though not necessarily any extant branch of that family, and not necessarily having been in the British isles for very long). Anyway, there are lots of attempts at explaining (or explaining away) the evidence for one model in the context of the other, but not the kind of consensus we see with, say, Balto-Slavic or Indo-Iranian. In contrast, no-one, but no-one, disputes Brittonic or Goidelic (if you ignore fringe claims like Bretton being Gaulish). — kwami (talk) 23:29, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
LOL - "Eska (2010)" is not a citation of a source - Eska likely wrote a number of articles in 2010! Which are referring to? What pages numbers? How about giving us some relevant quotes? By the way, I have corresponded with Joe Eska in the past and can contact him directly about any claims you are attributing to him.Cagwinn (talk) 00:04, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
It's citation 49 in the Celtic languages article. There's a whole section on Eska's hypothesis. @kwami: three comments:
  • This seems like the infobox tail wagging the article dog. The problem is that Insular Celtic isn't deprecated in the articles text (we're talking about several articles here, not just Common Brittonic) in the way you wish to have it in the Infobox. IMO, neither the removal nor the dubious tag should go in unless the articles' text is changed to reflect that.
  • As far as I can see - and I'm just going by what's actually in our articles at the moment - only Eska is bringing forward "Transalpine–Goidelic–Brittonic" and deprecating "Insular Celtic". (There's also the P/Q issue but that seems to be on the backfoot and a different point.) Maybe there's other literature, but at the moment that's all that's cited - and only then in the Celtic languages. There's no mention in Insular Celtic. So, I think in order to avoid WP:UNDUE (and to allow for the plural of "sources" in the dubious tag you want to add) we'd need other sources besides Eska advancing "Transalpine–Goidelic–Brittonic" in place of Insular Celtic.
  • Finally, I would say that Infoboxes are too simplistic to deal with these sorts of hypotheses. My suggestion is that we leave Insular Celtic in (unless we have other sources that show Eska has having been generally accepted, in which replace with Transalpine–Goidelic–Brittonic) but have a footnote which basically says that this is "a hypothesis about which there is scholarly debate andd an alternative is..." or something similar.
DeCausa (talk) 14:04, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm not pushing Transalpine–Goidelic–Brittonic. The Max Planck Institute via Glottolog judges that to be the state-of-the-art classification, but if you feel it's too marginal, fine. But that's beside the point: It has nothing to do with Insular Celtic. Take a look at Eska, and you'll see that he has two variants, his preferred one with Insular below TGB. The issue is that there are a number of scholars who continue to hold the P-Celtic hypothesis, that we reflect that in this article, and that P-Celtic is in direct conflict with Insular.
As for the tail wagging the dog, I want just the opposite. The article already makes no sense: In the box, we say Common Brittonic is an Insular Celtic language, but in the lead we say it's a P-Celtic language. Then we say it's both, and then we say it's Insular. So why not put both in the info box to reflect the article? Isn't that what we're supposed to do? Most readers of this article will understand that those are two competing hypotheses, and that they can't both be true, but there will be readers who don't know that, so the lead should be reworded to make that clearer as well.
I'd like to propose the following: For "Continental" languages, since we have an article but everyone except Cagwinn agrees it's not a valid family, we include it in the tree but in parentheses. For Insular and P-Celtic languages, since we cover them both in articles like this one, but they can't both be true, we include both in the tree with question marks. That should remind readers of their status, and if a reader does not know their status, will let them know that it's not straightforward. — kwami (talk) 17:13, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The current situation, with a "Dubious" tag and a note saying "Not according to several of our sources" next to "Insular Celtic", is not acceptable. It is is no way dubious that Brittonic is Insular Celtic, nor do any sources deny it. The only controversy is what the significance of being Insular Celtic is – whether that label reflects a monophyletic linguistic group or is merely a term of geographic convenience. Even those scholars who don't believe that Goidelic and Brittonic derive from a common ancestor to the exclusion of all other Celtic languages don't deny that Brittonic is an Insular Celtic language, they merely deny that that term is of linguistic significance. The same is true for P-Celtic: no one denies that Brittonic is P-Celtic, the only question is whether that grouping is of linguistic significance or is merely a term of convenience. Thus it's not accurate to say "they can't both be true": they are both true, but only one of them is linguistically significant. And it's not as if infoboxes are only allowed to list monophyletic groups: Reptilia isn't a monophyletic group either, but if you look in the infobox of any reptile article, you'll see it listed. I agree with listing both, but I don't think we should put questions marks next to them, as that will make it seem as if scholars are unsure whether the language in question really belongs to Insular Celtic or not and whether it really belongs to P-Celtic or not, and that just isn't the case. Let the articles P-Celtic, Q-Celtic, Insular Celtic, Continental Celtic, Gallo-Brittonic, etc., explain the situation, without trying to cram too much into the infoboxes. Angr (talk) 19:12, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
"They merely deny that that term is of linguistic significance". But isn't that what we're talking about? I meant "dubious" in the sense of being monophyletic. As for them both being "true", no, they're both common labels, like Reptilia, but scholars debate over which one of them is "true". And, of course, the tag is meant to be temporary, until we work out the wording. Your proposal is fine with me, though I'd add "or" between them. — kwami (talk) 19:43, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
But when a reader sees "Insular Celtic[dubious]" in the Common Brittonic infobox he isn't going to think that means it's dubious whether Insular Celtic is a monophyletic group, he's going to think that means it's dubious whether Common Brittonic is an Insular Celtic language. And it isn't. And "monophyletic" is not synonymous with "true"; just because a group is nonmonophyletic doesn't mean it isn't true. Alligators and turtles are truly reptiles and birds truly aren't, even though alligators are more closely related to birds than to turtles. Angr (talk) 21:05, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Again, it's meant to be temporary. I could change it to some other tag. — kwami (talk) 21:52, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
A similar case is the West Germanic languages. Many scholars believe that isn't a monophyletic group either but just a term of convenience, yet we do (and should continue to) include "West Germanic" in the infoboxes of English language, German language, etc., and we don't put a question mark next to it because no one denies that English and German are West Germanic, they merely debate what exactly it means to be a West Germanic language. Angr (talk) 19:30, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
This is exactly why you have no business editing any Celtic language article - you clearly have no background in them and lack a basic understanding of their classification and internal divisons!! Brittonic is an Insular Celtic language (as is Proto-Irish/Common Goidelic; they share certain traits with each other that separate them from Continental Celtic, which is why we classify them together as Insular Celtic). There is secondary a divide within Insular Celtic, just as there is a divide within Continental Celtic, between P-Celtic and Q-Celtic; Brittonic is a P-Celtic language (*pennos "head", *mapos "son/boy"), Goidelic a Q-Celtic language (*kwennos "head", *makwos "son/boy") - just as on the Continent, Gaulish is P-Celtic and Celtiberian is Q-Celtic).Cagwinn (talk) 18:32, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
It would appear that you're repeating words that you've read without understanding what they mean. Both Angr and I know about Insular/Continental and P/Q Celtic. But we also understand that Continental and Q Celtic are not families. The very WP articles you're editing will tell you that if you read them, as will the sources that they cite. — kwami (talk) 19:43, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
You have got to be joking. I have been studying Celtic historical linguistics for 30 years now. I have been the owner/moderator of several academic-oriented Celtic studies mailing lists (the membership of which includes leading Celticists like Joe Eska, John Koch, Xavier Delamarre, Patrick Sims-Williams, et al.) for the past 14 years. I know exactly what I am talking about, unlike you.Cagwinn (talk) 20:02, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Then why in the world would you say Continental Celtic is a language family, and that it's "vandalism" to note that it's geographic? You could say anything about who you are. All we can go on is the quality of your comments here. — kwami (talk) 21:52, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
He is not using any sources! He is a vandal who is sabotaging all of the Celtic language articles.Cagwinn (talk) 21:40, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Please see WP:VANDAL. That is clearly not what is going on here. That is a personal attack for which you could be blocked. DeCausa (talk) 22:03, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
That IS what's going on - and if I am to be censored for stating the obvious, than so be it. People wonder why Wikipedia is in a downward spiral - it's because of bureaucratic nonsense like this, where we have a reckless editor using the system to his advantage to push his own uninformed POV and there is nothing to be done about it; anyone who throws up red flags and tries to stop it is slapped with ridiculous bureaucratic sanctions. What a travesty!Cagwinn (talk) 23:10, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
"Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content, in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia. Examples of typical vandalism are adding irrelevant obscenities and crude humor to a page, illegitimately blanking pages, and inserting obvious nonsense into a page." It does not mean editing an article in a way you disagree with. You've therefore accused him of not believing the edits he's making and deliberately inserting misinformation into Wikipedia that he knows is untrue. That's why it's a personal attack. But, I note you also say he has an "uniformed POV", which is contradictory because to have a POV it means he believes in it. DeCausa (talk) 07:04, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
his restructuring of the categories is just his latest assault on these articles - if you look through the histories of them, you will see chronic negative activity on his part that has been reverted by other editors. His POV is uninformed because he is not an expert on Celtic languages (as has been evidenced over and over again in various Talk page debates) and not familiar with the even some of the most well known scholars in the field (like Eric Hamp!), no less their body of work. He HAS been blanking important sections of articles - notably anything having to do with the potential Celticity of Tartessian. I don't know if you have looked into Kwami's history, but this user in involved in all sorts of controversy on Wikipedia - edit warring, abusive comments left of other users' Talk pages, and accusations of rogue editing without any community consensus. He has had bans and blocks placed against him. Over all, just a bad actor.Cagwinn (talk) 15:50, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've come to this per Cagwinn's request, and I must say it's difficult even to tell what the issue is. My understanding is that Brittonic is obviously a Celtic language and within the Celtic languages it's grouped as Insular Celtic. As stated by others above, the P-/Q- divide occurs within both Insular and Continental Celtic languages; while some folks may still consider it a sign of direct relationship (between Brittonic and Gaulish on one hand and Celtiberian and Irish on the other) but I don't detect that this is the consensus, or even that it's strong enough to usurp the more common Insular-Continental construct. Barring some new evidence (based on sources) I'd like to see the previous version restored in the infobox.--Cúchullain t/c 17:15, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

This discussion is running in parallel on half a dozen pages. That's why I was tagging them until the central discussion was resolved. It's a waste of all our time to go over the points multiple times. See your talk page, Cumbric language, and Continental Celtic languages, among others.
You've got it partially right. Insular Celtic and P-Celtic are competing proposals for the sub-classification of Celtic languages. Some authors accept Insular and think that the P/Q divide is coincidental or otherwise meaningless; others accept P-Celtic and think that the Insular languages reflect a sprachbund or substratum. But they're both proposed clades, and as clades they can't both be correct. They overlap with the Brittonic languages, which are classified as Insular by one camp and as P-Celtic by the other camp. Currently Insular is more popular, but there is no consensus, and although some authors are adamant, other acknowledge that the debate has not been settled. So, for example, Eska (2010) – who the Max Planck Institute selected for their classification of Celtic languages on Glottolog – prefers Insular, but also drew up a competing tree for P-Celtic as a possibility that he couldn't discount. The debate shows no sign of being resolved any time soon. Since Insular is the more popular, it should come first, but both hypotheses should be mentioned. Both have articles that can be linked from the tree in the info box.
So, in agreement with Angr's comments above (or was it yet another discussion on the same topic?), I think the tree should be IE > Celtic > Insular or P-Celtic > Brittonic, with each node linked to the appropriate article. I made the edit here. Does that seem reasonable?
You removed a claim of P-Celtic, noting both were mentioned later in the same paragraph.[15] But in the next paragraph we just say it's Insular. Could you edit that for balance as well? — kwami (talk) 18:53, 14 May 2014 (UTC)