Talk:Gaulish language

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How similar were Latin and Gaulish?[edit]

Of course, Gaulish and Roman were somewhat related, as they where both Indoeuropean languages and as two thousand years ago the differentiation between the different Indoeuropean languages was clearly less then it is today. Old Gothic, Ancient Greek and Latin had much more in common with each other then modern Germanic Languages, New Greek end Romanic languages have. In the same way Gaulish and Latin had quite some resemblances, but everything we know about Gaulish (which is not THAT much), indicates that both languages were NOT mutually comprehensible. Even between Latin and the much more closely related Italic languages Umbrian, Oscan and Samnitic mutual comprehension was out of the question, even though speakers of these languages could learn Latin rather easily. It would have be considerably less easy for the Gauls. The reason why Latin GRADUALLY replaced Gaulish was the high prestige of Roman civilisation. At first the Gaulic aristocracy tried to ape Roman customs and became bilingual (within 1 or 2 generations). Then the urban population became bilingual (the towns being a creation of the Romans, quite a few Italians and inhabitants of other parts of the Empire settled there). Then more and more peasants learned some Latin after having served for 10 years or more in the Roman army. It was probably not before 300 AD (3 1/2 centuries after the Roman conquest!) that a majority of the Gauls started abadoning the Gaulish language and becoming monolingual speakers of vulgar Latin. By 400 AD, however, Gaulish had almost died out. The Gallo-Roman author Ausonius remarks that in his time (early 4th century AD) a Celtic dialect (closely resembling that of the Galatians in Asia Minor) was still spoken in the neighborhood of Augusta Trevirorum (Trier).

I strongly feel that the mention of Gauls taking over to Latin very soon because the languages were mutually comprehensible (even if it has been promoted by the famous French historian A. Lot) is unsubstantiated and should be removed from the article.

Lignomontanus - 2nd of May 2005

I really doubt that a Celtic language and Latin might be mutually intelligible. Can anyone back up this claim? The story about sending a message in Greek rather than Latin is hardly sufficient proof. Burschik 12:47, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Whether you doubt it or not, that's how it is. Gaulish and Latin were unrelated, mutually intelligible languages. How, I don't know. But linguists will tell you that is the reason Gaulish fell out of favor so quickly in Roman lands, since the language of their new leaders was so similar. -- 141.156.184.238 14:51, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I remember reading somewhere (long time ago) that Roman scholars noted that there were similarities between Celtic languages and Latin. I imagine, since Celts and Romans had been in contact for 400 years before Caesar's conquest of Gaul, there might have been a lot of importation of Latin vocabulary into Gaulish. And of course they were both Indo-European laguages, so words for commmon objects would have been similar anyway.

A few examples

Celtic mor = Latin mare = English sea (mere)

Celtic deus = Latin deus = English god (deity)

Celtic ekwos = Latin equus = English horse (equestrian)

and so on. I would have thought a Gaul and Roman could have understood each other.

Exile 23:01, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

They were similar, they were not identical. It was relatively easy for Gauls to master Latin, just the same as it's relatively easy for Dutch people to master English, when compared to, say Frenchmen or Russians. They were not mutually comprehensible. There are enough texts in Gaulish to show that. Diderot 19:09, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I think that perhaps also Celtic, since Latin was the closest, largest international language at that time, might have borrowed quite much vocabulary from Latin, as well. (?)
Gaulish did not borrow a great deal (although Latin borrowed words from Gaulish). Old Welsh does have quite some borrowing from Latin, yes. --Nantonos 23:39, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Dutch and English are closely related and native speakers can relatively easily learn the other language, however they aren't mutually intelligible Barcud Coch (talk) 00:25, 20 December 2008 (UTC).
However, while the similarities should not be exaggerated, Latin and Gaulish are clearly more similar to each other than (say) Koine Greek and Maharashtri Prakrit, which were spoken at the same time (let's say 50 BC), so that's not the whole reason. There are four possible explanations:
  • common descendance from a narrower (Italo-Celtic) subgroup (common innovations),
  • accidental convergence (common innovations),
  • conservativity (common retentions),
  • contact (common innovations).
Even if there was never an Italo-Celtic branch, contact between Italic and Celtic is actually quite likely and could even have persisted for a long period, or kept happening again and again as the speakers kept running into each other. There are several interesting points of similarity, some of which are patently old, most famously the assimilation of the type *penkʷe > *kʷenkʷe, but also the treatment of *sr clusters or the development from *eje to (> Proto-Celtic , as in *trīs "3"), while other similarities like i-apocope are more dubious (conditions different, relative chronology different) or a bit too trivial-looking (assimilations like *mu̯ > *u̯ and *mi̯ > *ni̯). In morphology, the superlative suffix, the formation of *mone- and *kapi-type stems (compare *mon-ei̯e-ti > *mon-ē-ti > monet, *mone-u̯-ed > monuit), the generalisation of the *s- allomorph over *t- in the demonstrative pronoun – where Balto-Slavic has generalised in the other direction –, a new thematic genitive singular in besides the old *-osi̯o one, which it eventually replaces, and mediopassive endings in -r, although this could be a retention just like the retention of the PIE vowel *o. That's a mixed bag, but you can collect quite a lot of similarities, which strike the Celtologist working with Continental Celtic material and Insular Celtic reconstructions. There are indeed enough patently old commonalities that I have long been prepared to accept Italo-Celtic, until it occurred to me that Rix's law, which means that initial *HRC sequences in Latin still reflect the three laryngeal colours basically like in Greek (as *VRC, while of course in a much more limited way than in Greek – indeed, Rix's law was originally formulated for Greek), is not present in Celtic. Damn! Laryngeal laws, especially a rule like Rix's law, must be extremely old. So, it's apparently all secondary convergence, some accidental, most probably through contact, and further some retentions, in fact, quite a lot of retentions, that make Latin and Gaulish appear more similar than other (equally ancient) Indo-European languages not on the same branch. This doesn't mean mutual intelligibility, mind you; but much like, say, modern English and Norwegian, it must have significantly eased contact and the adoption of Celtic words and names in Latin, as well as, of course, the task to learn Latin for Gauls. Indo-Iranians have never found Greek similarly congenial, nor vice versa, it appears. The Romans, on the other hand, found Greek similar enough that there was a widespread opinion that Latin was simply yet another Greek dialect, only a very corrupted and deviant one, and no doubt they must have thought of Celtic as almost as akin to Latin as Osco-Umbrian (Sabellic) or Venetic (or Lusitanian?), so perhaps they did think that Celtic was a kind of offshoot of the Italic dialects, and hence, they probably thought of all Italic and Celtic dialects as ultimately descended from Greek dialects. If they found Greek this familiar, they certainly must have thought of Gaulish as strikingly similar to Latin, especially compared to Etruscan, Punic or even Germanic. Their sense of Gaulish must have been roughly the sense English speakers get when they start to learn other Germanic languages. For example, Icelandic will seem strange and impenetrable at first, but in time, you will find more and more similarities and connections to English. Or think Persian and Pashto. Or Russian and Lithuanian. So different that nobody could mistake the other language for a mere dialect, yet still palpably related. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 05:45, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course, mediopassive endings in -r are also found in Anatolian, Tocharian and Phrygian, so their presence in the Italo-Celtic group is not unique. I only listed this feature because the endings in *-tor, *-ntor are a striking similarity that contributes to the impression that Gaulish and Latin are relatively close compared to any two random contemporary Indo-European languages.
By the way, Sidonius Apollinaris' testimony – if reliable – indicates that Gaulish was spoken far longer than 400 AD. If the nobles of the Auvergne in the heart of Gaul only began to abandon Gaulish ca. 450 AD – deep in Late Antiquity! –, the common folk can be expected to have continued to speak it even longer, probably centuries, despite Christianisation happening. The eventual extinction of Gaulish with the death of its last speakers presumably in some geographically much more marginal area (Switzerland? Northwestern Gaul?) could have happened as late as the Early Middle Ages. I think this is a very real possibility – if the elders of a village in the middle of nowhere spoke an additional language nobody else understands among themselves in the early medieval period, far from the centres of civilisation, we cannot expect any of the few people who could write to take notice of it, as the interest in such matters was at a low tide at the time – and I recall having seen even later dates suggested, although I am unsure on which evidence this was based. Moreover, Gauls were always known for speaking particularly bad Latin with a strong accent, which is in agreement with the high innovativity of French and its early forms compared to other contemporary Romance languages in apparently every period. This is easy to understand if Gauls, especially rural Gauls, remained bilingual to a large extent as late as the 5th century AD and even after the Frankish conquest. In fact the situation seems to be the opposite of what is usually suggested: Rather than aiding the spread of Latin, the similarity between Gaulish and Latin, while both were nevertheless clearly distinct, may rather have aided bilingualism. This situation is very different from other regions where, as far as we have evidence, the Pre-Latin languages did not survive as long by far. What's more, this means the situation in Britain may not have been so different after all: Rapid Romanisation and Latinisation in the urbanised south, survival of Celtic dialects (despite lots of borrowed words from Latin) in the rural north, from whence they later spread back south after the Romans are gone. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 15:43, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Huh?[edit]

Only in 2004 was Asterix first published in Gaulish, despite the inhabitants of his village being referred to as Gauls.

This makes no sense. It's a dead language. Daniel Quinlan 13:34, Mar 26, 2005 (UTC)
He means Gallo [1], which is not a Celtic language, it's the regional romance language of eastern Brittany. I pulled it.
---Diderot 17:26, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
We don't yet know enough to translate Asterix into Gaulish, and maybe never will. --Nantonos 23:39, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Do any of you mean "Gaellic"? Gaellic is the only language I've ever heard of the Gauls speaking.
Then you are wrong, gaellic was spoken by the gaels (ireland and Celtiberia) and is a different language. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.217.237.9 (talk) 19:00, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Gaulish & Latin[edit]

Sure, it shouldn't be exaggerated that Gaulish was very close to Latin and mutually comprehensible without qualification---Yet, I suspect that French scholars like Lot may not have been too far off. Remember that some linguists also propose that Italic languages & Celtic languages both may descend from Italo-Celtic. If so, there may have been Celtic languages that still retained a large Italic element. Decius 12:46, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Italo-Celtic as a class was politically motivated, so is strongly POV. --Nantonos 23:39, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Given the uncertainty & diverging opinions among scholars, it is best not to indulge in too much POV one way or the other in the article. Decius 12:47, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

it's the first time I hear Italo-Celtic is politically motivated. (sigh, why are languages always used as propaganda tools!). But what is the rationale? Franco-Welsh brotherhood? There were sound linguistic reasons for assuming I-C. So even if there was a political angle, we should just present the evidence regardless of that. dab () 10:35, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

What have the Welsh got to do with it? (I agree, sigh). A bunch of historical, archaeological and linguistic stuff was 'adapted' to form national myth in the period 1870 - 1914 - Franco-Prussian war to First World War. Italo-Celtic as a concept, while having some linguistic basis, was also used to demonstrate that Classical Rome and the Glories of 'nos ancêstres les gaulois' stood together against the barbarism of the Germans , and wil do so again, yadda yadda. Which just means that the current generation has to sift through this carefully. However, that being said, Proto-Celtic language does not currently see a need to postulate strong links to Italic, and Celtic languages states "the Celtic languages have sometimes been placed with the Italic languages in a common Italo-Celtic subfamily, a hypothesis that is now largely obsolete" although without a specific reference. --Nantonos 15:23, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

I see. well, quite apart from this grande nation nonsense, there is certainly strong evidence for prolongued areal contact in the Iron Age, I think that much is undisputed. That doesn't make for Italo-Celtic, of course, but the theory is still notable, and can be argued on entirely factual grounds. It's just that most common features have since been shown to descend from PIE, but that doesn't take away the common features. Proto-Celtic doesn't need to make that case, we have Italo-Celtic for that. dab () 15:31, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree with what you say, dab and there was certainly some parallel evolution, Gaulish contributing words for new technical items into Classical Latin and also into vulgar Latin at a later date (eg caballos). I may have been reacting in too sensitive a way to "there may have been Celtic languages that still retained a large Italic element", probably in a similar way to how I suspect Decius would react to suggestions that Dacian "still retained some Slavic elements". Most of the time when I see the similarity of Gaulish and Latin discussed, the arguments are quite superficial and come down to things like "Its not very Celtic, is it?" (meaning, it doesn't look much like modern Irish) or "it looks like a dialect of Latin" (meaning, the only language with a case system that they have heard of is Latin).

Anyway, yesterday I added a table of the best attested cases (-o- and -a- stems) to the article Gaulish language. --Nantonos 16:11, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

To be fair, note in what context I made that statement: If Italo-Celtic is correct (and we're not sure it is incorrect), then there may have been Celtic languages that were closer to Italic than other Celtic languages were to Italic (>Gaulish). It's not just about grammar, but vocabulary and even some phonology in common. But I'm not an Italo-Celtist myself. If I would group these language branches together, it would be more than just a two-forked branch. I would include Venetic and some other languages. Decius 18:27, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm not going to step too much in this territory yet, because I have not studied the similarities between Italic & Celtic enough, but this dispute seems to be reminiscent of other cases. In the case of Dacian, there are no real sentences of the language surviving (the longest is three words, and it looks close to Latin or Albanian the way it uses 'per'), so I would indeed take offense to someone hastily linking it to Slavic. Decius 18:46, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
I entered this discussion to try to underline one point: Gaulish and Latin, regardless of whether they were closely genetically related as languages (though they may have been), were kind of close to each other in practice, so Lot's idea is feasible to a degree. But I don't expect a Gaul who was previously unfamiliar with Latin to just walk up to a Roman who is unfamiliar with Gaulish and have a mutually intelligible conversation. I do expect that it was very easy for an average Gaul to pick up Latin, and probably vice versa. Decius 19:03, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I can agree that it might have helped - as earlier comments noted, in much he same way as a speaker of Dutch finds it easier to pick up English than a native speaker of French or Russian. The major reason, though, was the same reason that an immigrant to the US or the UK finds it advantageous to learn English - increased employability, its the language of official communications, and so on. To continue the analogy, they may well continue to speak their native language at home. In other words the reasons were social, economic and political, not linguistic. --Nantonos 20:16, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
certainly. The effect of any degree of intercomprehensibility is far outweighed by the fact that the Romans were TEH EMPIRE, and every self-respecting young gaulois was certainly aspiring to be able to chat away nonchalantly in Latin. dab () 20:33, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
There is general agreement here Nantonos, and I can agree with Dab's last point also. However, in the French Wiki's Gaulish language talk page, there is a section called Gaulois, proche du latin, where a Bretonique user named Guénael made the wild claim that Gaulish was no more close to Latin than it was to ancient Greek or Old Slavonic. To this, Enzino (a prominent figure in the French Wiki) disagreed and responded: "C'est étrange car mes références, parlent tous d'un sous-groupe réunissant les langues celtes et les langues italiotes."---Enzino is saying that all the references he has seen (in France) support Italo-Celtic and the closeness of Gaulish to Latin (so I guess it is popular among French scholars). And he indicates that Guénael's view is representative of the anti-Italic Bretonique attitude (so I guess it is not popular in Brittany). Decius 21:49, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer, oddly enough I just linked in the French wikipedia article on Gaulish Language (well, a section of a page in fact) today. Enzino overstates things if he claims that all French scholarship supports an Italo-Celtic hypothesis - it does not. For example Lambert 2003 p.13 (following quotation is fair use for purposes of discussion but should not be used directly in the article) "Certains ont supposé, du même, une unité italo-celtique, moins étroite bien sûr. Mais les traits communs à l'italique et au celtique se réduisent à très peu de choses: des assimilations phonétiques (p ...kw ... > kw ... kw dans le chiffre « cinq » quinque, dans le nom du chêne, quercus), et des innovations morphologiques réduites. L'unité italo-celtique est aujourd'hui un groupement contesté. Néanmoins, il est vrai que le celtique a des élèments communs avec les dialectes voisins, comme l'italique et le germanique." Lambert is saying that some people have suggested this grouping, which he describes as weak, gives examples of the connections, saying there are not very many, and says that it is contested (my emphasis), finally agreeing that there are some common elements with neighboring languages (which does not imply a common source). --Nantonos 01:24, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Okay, I'm satisfied with the way Lot's idea is currently presented in this article, so I have no issue here. Earlier, I commented because User:Lignomontanus was, without actually presenting counter-references, just writing that Lot's theory was "very unlikely" in the article or something. There's nothing wrong with "passing judgment" in itself, but Lignomontanus was not presenting any references and was basically just enforcing his own Point Of View in the text. Decius 01:40, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
well, the contesté part is afaik a rather recent development. The Lambert reference is from 2003, I can imagine somebody who didn't follow the recent literature would be of the opinion that I-C is widely accepted. The arguments of i-Genitive and a-conjunctive were quite strong, and I think it was only over the last 20 years or so that it became clear that they are not conclusive. So I do think "I-C belief" may linger in France, in good faith, but if we want an up to date article, we will say that I-C has been essentially replaced by points about prolongued contact. For the purposes of Roman Gaul this is irrelevant anyway, it wouldn't matter if similarities at this point were genetic or areal. dab () 08:06, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
ah, language suicide is the term I was looking for. Maybe we can link to that :) I do think any similarity to Latin was irrelevant, Etruscan went the way of Gaulish, much earlier, and wasn't similar to Italic at all. dab () 08:14, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Don't forget about the non-Indo-European Iberian language of pre-Roman Spain. Though the Romans were in Spain for a long time, and even Chinese would have been Romanized in Spain. What do you mean by "language suicide"? Latin didn't commit suicide: it got smart and took over an empty shell called Old English and made it into English. Decius 08:20, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
no, Gaulish committed suicide, because Latin was cooler. dab () 08:27, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
The whole Gaulish-Latin similarity is exaggerated out of proportion. What is true is that the core vocabulary (note boldness) was somewhat similar. However, this doesn't necessarily say anything about mutual intelligibility. Much of the core vocabulary of English and Sinhalese are similar too, but the two are definitely not mutually intelligible (English water, Sinhalese wathura, for example). Much of this is chance, with how the roots evolve, but even in the modern day, much of the core vocabulary of most modern Indo-European languages remains similar.
For example...

TIME: English- time < tʰaɪm> Spanish- tiempo <tjempo> French- temps <tɑ̃> Swedish- tempo (something along the lines of <tempu>, I think...) Danish- time (but lets note that while it doesn't sound much like the English, but if we lost all of our knowledge of the phonology of Danish and judged only be reconstructed roots and the orthography, it appears to be the same word exactly)

... note how Spanish and Swedish APPEAR to be, using only this word, much more similar than to each other than the other two. Of course, we know that in reality, among these four, if they were aligned on a spectrum, Spanish and Swedish would be at opposite ends, in terms of grammar, in terms of phonology, and so on... Furthermore, another thing we have to keep in mind is that the written form of the language, as well as the guesswork that linguists put into at the phonology of a long dead language that we know little about with few sources, is not really a good representation of how the words sound. --Yalens (talk) 00:52, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

numerals[edit]

Please, whoever added the Modern Irish and/or the Russian material, do not re-add it. The Modern Irish material is irrelevant, since ordinal number constructions are not inherited from Old Irish, and therefore do not compare with the Gaulish words. Likewise, Russian, a non-Celtic language, does not show any parallels, and if it did, would be outside the scope of a comparison with Gaulish's NEAREST relatives, that is, the other Celtic languages. It is not necessary to compare Russian with EVERY other Indo-European language. That can be done on the Indo-European languages page.

Flibjib8 01:55, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Question about *eqos[edit]

I suppose Indo-European *eqos should be Proto-Indo-European *ekʷos, but as a source is given I didn´t dare to change it. Is there someone out there who can check if *eqos is what the source says, or are there any rules in Wikipedia how to write PIE? Laurelindë 20:02, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

  • ekʷos is indeed correct. --24.201.238.141 16:25, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Phonetics[edit]

Some parts of the phonetic information here are more or less bizarre:

"[χ] is an allophone of /k/ before /t/."

A single, allophonic uvular, separated at least 1000 km from its closest kin? I bet that this actually means [x] (which appears briefly in the article too), in some old non-IPA sort of transcription.

"nasal + velar became /ng/ + velar"

Obvious bad transcription aside, is there any reason this would have waited 'til the actual Gaulish period? Just because they wrote <N> does not imply [n]. Sounds like some sort of misunderstanding here.

"U /u/ and V /w/ are distinguished only in one early inscription"

Seriously? That would put the birth of U some 500 years back from what's usually thought.

"intervocalic /st/ became the affricate [ts] (alveolar stop + voiceless alveolar stop)"

(Emphasis mine.) Is that just a failed attempt to point out that an affricate consists of a stop & a fricativ, or something more ambitious that also failed?

"and intervocalic /sr/ became [ðr] and /str/ became [þr]"

And yet we don't have {{[IPA|[ð]}} nor [þ] in the phonology. Either might mean the affricate, or some intermediate that later became something else??

--Tropylium (talk) 22:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I imagine the eð serves here for the Gaulish Ð which the article says occurs in some inscriptions, whose value isn't 100% certain, but may have been /ts/. Don't understand the Þorn, though.

-- Paul S 16:33 14 March 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Paul S (talkcontribs) 16:35, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Influence on French[edit]

Should this article discuss the influence of Gaulish on French, its primary successor? Or is there another article already existing on that? Funnyhat (talk) 23:07, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

There is History of French. By the way, Occitan, Franco-Provençal, and probably Romansh and Gallo-Italic – as well as Breton – are also successors of Gaulish in this sense. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:13, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Gaulish and Breton[edit]

Jean Markale wrote a book some years ago (which unfortunately I don't have anymore) and in it made a claim that the Southern dialect of Breton (Vannetais) was directly descended from Gaulish. I don't remember the specific examples he used in his argument but he pointed to the evidence that the Old British of Southern Britain and Gaulish were mutually intelligible and the "Vannetais" dialect is different from the other northern and western varieties of Breton. The British language evolved in those Centuries after the end of the Roman administration and then in the Sixth Century when the flood of Britons into Armorica reached its peak, they dominated the native Gaulish that was still being spoken there...indeed, he believed that some of the impetus of the British migrations at that time was that the culture and language were so similar in what was to be called Brittany. While British took over most of the province, on the south coast there is still evidence of direct Gaulish continuity. Has anyone ever heard this theory? Any comments on it? Brian Ceanadach

Vannetais might have a Gaulish substratum, but it is clearly a variety of Breton. See Continental Celtic languages. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:13, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Never mind the latin; Nominal morphology & Albanian[edit]

Has anyone noticed the strong similarities between Gaulish noun inflection, analytic construction and that of Albanian? In Albanian N.sing.Accus. Def. is also inflected with -n , feminine dative sing nouns are also inflected with -s, the Albanian gen/dative plural -ave or ëve bear a striking similarity to the cited gaulish obo - ebo - ibo inflections. The Gaulish vocative cited here seems to be a bare stem; likewise in Albanian. Compare the uninflected Gaulish subordinating particle jo with the Albanian particle , also uninflected. Albanian also has pronominal clitics which are tied to the verb and which can be doubled to mark direct and indirect objects. The described analytical sentence structure (SVO pro-drop, genitives and adjectives follow head nouns)could equally describe Albanian.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.196.26.198 (talk) 08:33, 5 September 2009 (UTC)


Other possible cognates:

Gaulish=art Albanian=ari Eng=bear
Gaulish=uerno Albanian=verv Eng=alder
Gaulish=carros Albanian=karro Eng=wain
Gaulish=briga Albanian=breg Eng=hill/barrow/burg
Gaulish=bitu Albanian=botë Eng=Life/quick
Gaulish=gobbo Albanian=gojë Eng=mouth
Gaulish=maru Albanian=madh Eng=great/much
Gaulish=sapo Albanian=sapun Eng=soap

Clarification needed[edit]

The sounds... need clarification. For example, X. Does that represent the Voiceless uvular fricative (as the article seems to suggest, but I find slightly hard to believe due to the fact that that sound... doesn't appear anywhere else in the vicinity), Voiceless velar fricative, or something else? You left it in brackets, but it isn't linked to the IPA. Other issues like that elsewhere as well...

Also, more citation would be nice... especially when we're dealing with the phonology of a dead language. --Yalens (talk) 22:34, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Toutious & Vindelican[edit]

There is a silly edit war going on about the translation for toutious, a reference to the "Vincelican language" and the Gaulish contribution to French. Silly IMHO because

  1. while toutious is etymologically straightforward, the translation will remain problematic (citizen, tribe leader, tribal official, etc.): we are going to need a question mark there
re: Cagwinn's edit: you (in that case: me) never stop learning...! I'll have to check up on that inscription. I thought I'd seen it translated as "tribal official" somewhere, but don't ask me where exactly. Assume of course you're right and it's really "generally accepted". ;-) Best, Trigaranus (talk) 14:23, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
There is certainly some room for debate, but "citizen" is the translation that I most often run across. It's literal meaning (root *tout- "tribe" + suffix of appurtenance -io-) is "(he that belongs to the) tribe/people". When collocated with a place name, "citizen of( X)" makes the best sense in English.Cagwinn (talk) 18:27, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
  1. there is no reason whatsoever to propose a "Vindelican language" separate from Gaulish as long as we do not have sufficient epigraphical material to establish their relationship; for all we know Vindelican, just like "the Boian language" or "the Helvetian language" was a form of Gaulish in its wider sense. Mentioning Vindelican in this place is perfectly gratuitous
  2. most contributors will be aware of the close similarities between late Gaulish and Vulgar Latin as spoken in Gaul (if you are not, read for example MEID, Wolfgang, 1980: "Gallisch oder Lateinisch?"); however, it is the scholarly consensus that the language Old French evolved from was, in fact, the latter of the two. The right place to emphasise the similarities between the ancient continental Celtic languages and the Italic languages is there, and not in the introduction to Gaulish. Trigaranus (talk) 22:36, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Glossary[edit]

This section was recently added to the main article, but needs to be checked for errors and references need to be added.

Adverbs & Coordinating Conjunctions

  • AC: preposition + instrumental association use "with" (cf. Breton hag, Old Welsh ac, Welsh a, Irish ag "and" French avec)
  • -C "and" , coordinating suffix between two similar sentences (verbs, nouns) (cf Old Irish -ch)
  • ETI: (adv.): "well, again" (cf. Latin etiam) - preposition (cf L item or idem )
  • ETIC: "and more" introduced on the instrumental or a final list item (Fr et encore);
  • EXTOS, EXTER * "but" (cf W eithr "except", OIr echtar)
  • COETIC: "and also" , see etic;
  • NEUE * "or" (cf W neu, Scottish neo)
  • NU: "Now, now" (cf I & W nu)
  • TONI (adv): "Then, secondly, then, again, also" (cf. Engl "Then", Germ & Neth dann, L tum);
  • -EU "or" coordinating suffix (Fr ou);

Adverbs

  • AIUSA: "forever" (cf W eisoes)
  • DESI: yesterday (cf W ddoe, doe , Br dec'h, OIr indé, S an-de, Manx jei)
  • ETI: again, (cf Br eta "then" W eto "again" Ir eadh "thus")
  • MOXSOU*: soon, sooner; (cf W Moch, Ir moch)
  • NU: now, (cf Ir nu)
  • SINDIU: today (cf Br hiziv, W heddiw, Ir andiu, S an-diu, M jiu, Fr aujourd'hui)
  • SINNOXTI*: Tonight, (cf Br henozh, W heno, OIr anocht, Fr cette nuit).
  • TONI: So, then
  • INTE + adj. D Masc. or N: adverb of manner in "-ly" - eg. inte Maroua (cf W yn fawr, M vooar dy, Br -ent, Fr ment) = substantially (cf W yn M dy)

Prepositions and prefixes

  • AD: "towards, at" prep. + Accusative (cf. OIr preverb ad, OW ad "to", Fr à) adomi
  • AMBI: "around, about, about" thought (cf Br em, W am, Ir im)
  • ANDE: "sub" (cf Br dan, Ir ann)
  • APO: "with" (cf. Br, W â)
  • ARE: "front, with" prep. + Dat. (cf Br W er, Ir air "on", Fr auprès)
  • ATE: "new" (cf W Br ad, OIr ath-, Aith- "re-")
  • AU: "of, from" prep. genitive / dative (cf W o "from ", OIr, Br of Vannes)
  • CANTA: "with" prep. → Kantimi (with me) (cf W Br glove "with" Ir gan "without")
  • COM, CON: "with, in full" prefix (cf W cyf, Ir comh)
  • DI: (1) ", coming from (distance, separation); (2) "of (partitive)" (3) "no" or negative prefix Intensive preposition dat. (cf Br di, W y Ir di, Fr de)
  • ENTER ENTAR: "between" prep Acc. (cf Br be, W Ithr, Ir eidir, Fr entre)
  • ERI: (1) "by, on behalf of, for" (2) "around" (cf Br er "because, for", W er "to" Ir air "because,for")
  • ES: "out, out of" prep. dat. (cf Br eu, W ech, Ir as)
  • IN, ENI, "in" Pref. and prep. dat. & Acc. ; → Enimie (by me) (cf. Br en, W yn, Ir a n-, Fr en, dans)
  • ISSOU "below, at the foot, below the" Pref. and prep. dat. (cf Br is "down below" W si Ir is, Fr dessous)
  • MEDIO "amidst, within" (cf. Br mez, OIr mide)
  • RACO "before before" (cf Br araok "before", dirak "before" W rhag)
  • SEPOS (acc): "except, beyond, besides"> "without" (cf Br hep "free", W heb 'without', Ir seach "in the past ")
  • TO: "to" prep. dative (to, zu germ.) → Tamiya (for me) (cf. Br da, irl do "at")
  • TRE, TRI, "by, through" Pref. and prep. Acc. (cf W Br tre be, Ir tri)
  • UXSE "over the top of" (cf. Br us, W uwch "higher" Ir ós, Fr au dessus de)
  • VER "on, above '; Pref. and prep. dat. & Acc. (cf Br war, W gor, Ir for)
  • VERTO: (1) "cons, to near" (2) "for, for, against '(cf. Br ouzh, W gwrth, OIr fri, Ir re, vers)
  • VO: "under"; Pref. and prep. dat. & Acc. (cf W go, Ir for)

When did it die out?[edit]

When did Gaulish die out and why didn't a similar process of language shift happen in roman Britain? Abrawak (talk) 08:47, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

There's no firm date available; most scholars believe that it was effectively dead by the 5th century AD, though obviously it could have survived in isolated areas for some time afterward. The process of colonization and Romanization was much more thorough in Gaul than in Britain (which was always rebellious against and troublesome for Rome).Cagwinn (talk) 15:18, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Inflection of Gaulish verbs[edit]

Hello,

Is here somebody, who has knowledge of Gaulish verbs in the inflection of just the present tense and how the infinitive is built? I ask this, because I want to contribute Wiktionary with Gaulish verbs I found in a Gaulish glossary (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/glossary/gaul.html). Please help me!


Excuse my English & please answer Greetings HeliosX (talk) 20:42, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Veleda (also Velleda) spoke Germanic[edit]

The article says that the Roman Emperor required an interpreter to speak with Veleda, a prophetess/priestess. It's implicit in this article that she spoke Gaulish. But the article about Veleda says she was a völva of the Germanic Tribe of the Bructeri. Maybe the original use of the term 'Germani' included some tribes that spoke Celtic, but it doesn't seem to apply in this case. See the article for the Bructeri: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bructeri. It's reasonably clear that Veleda spoke Germanic, not Gaulish. Thus the reference to her in this article is not valid and should be removed.

Californicus (talk) 01:18, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree Calfornicus. It's done.Nortmannus (talk) 07:19, 6 July 2012 (UTC). Can you read French or German ? because I would like to translate http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanum that I wrote partly and http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallo-römischer_Umgangstempel Such temples are common in Great-Britain too and I do not know why there is no corresponding article in English. An interesting site about these Romano-Celtic temples in Great-Britain http://www.roman-britain.org/romano-british-temples.htm. and for the design http://www.roman-britain.org/places/bourton_grounds.htm Regards. Nortmannus (talk) 07:36, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Nonsense! The Wikipedia article on Veleda, as is typical of this awful encyclopedia, is filled with original research. While there is no proof either way whether she (or the Bructeri themselves) spoke Germanic or Celtic (this was a mixed linguistic zone in the 1st century), most scholars regard her name as Celtic, which makes it more likely that she, herself, was a Celtic speaker. Cagwinn (talk) 15:12, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Ausonius - did he speak Gaulish or Aquitanian?[edit]

The current Gaulish article assumes that Ausonius spoke Gaulish. However, given that Ausonius came from Bordeaux, one could argue that his language would more probably have been Aquitanian (believed to be ancestral to Basque). But perhaps I am wrong here - can anyone clarify why people assume that Ausonius spoke Gaulish rather than Aquitanian? (Personally, I suspect Bordeaux had already converted to using Latin, so my question would be irrelevant, but that is another matter.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.172.38.82 (talk) 17:01, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

This is an interesting question, and one I now realize I've never thought through very well, so thanks for asking it. Ausonius wrote in Latin, and as the tutor of the future emperor Gratian would've spoken Latin. He refers in his poems to local traditions and heritage, and the proper nouns in such passages seem to be Celtic (names of people and deities, for instance, and fish names in the Moselle poem, as I recall). He teases a friend, for instance, for being so proud of his druidic heritage. I don't know what the evidence is that he actually spoke Gaulish as his first language or used it regularly. I have my doubts, since in the lofty circles he moved in, a person was considered lacking in sophistication if he spoke Latin gallice (with a Gaulish accent), and it seems unlikely that he would've been entrusted with educating elite Roman youth if his spoken Latin weren't topnotch. I'm pretty sure the article says it was Ausonius's physician father, Julius Ausonius, who has sometimes been thought to have Gaulish as his first language, but the passage in his son's poetry doesn't actually say that.
I'm not completely sure, but I don't think the entirety of what the Romans called Aquitania, or designated later as the province of Aquitania, was Vasconian. As I recall, some of the peoples of present-day Bordeaux have straightforwardly Celtic names in Caesar, for instance. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:48, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I think Ausonius' ethnicity is still a matter of debate, but Burdigala was the capital city of the Gallic tribe Bituriges Vivisci. They spoke Gaulish until the Roman period, after which they switched to Latin. Roman Aquitania was somewhat artificial (like many of the arbitrarily created nations in Europe and the Middle East the post-WWI era) and included both Celtic and no-Celtic speakers. Cagwinn (talk) 14:31, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Gaulish in 5th-century Switzerland?[edit]

The Gaulish article currently makes the claim that "In the 5th century AD, the existence of Gaulish is attested in modern German Switzerland.[citation needed]".

Can anyone offer a reference for this claim, and if so, insert the reference into the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.158.211.148 (talk) 15:25, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Cassius Dio quote on foreign soldiers[edit]

I am removing the claim "The senator Dio Cassius was appalled to hear Gaulish being spoken by soldiers at Rome.[citation needed]". After reading Cassius Dio's Roman History, I conclude the only possible basis for this claim is the following passage (Roman History Book 75), and it does not mention Gaulish:

"There were many things [the Emperor] Severus did that were not to our [the Senators'] liking, and he was blamed for making the city [Rome] turbulent through the presence of so many troops and for burdening the State by his excessive expenditures of money, and most of all, for placing his hope of safety in the strength of his army rather than in the good will of his associates in the government. But some found fault with him particularly because he abolished the practice of selecting the body-guard exclusively from Italy, Spain, Macedonia and Noricum, — a plan that furnished men of more respectable appearance and of simpler habits, — and ordered that any vacancies should be filled from all the legions alike. Now he did this with the idea that he should thus have guards with a better knowledge of the soldier's duties, and should also be offering a kind of prize for those who proved brave in war; but, as a matter of fact, it became only too apparent that he had incidentally ruined the youth of Italy, who turned to brigandage and gladiatorial fighting in place of their former service in the army, and in filling the city with a throng of motley soldiers most savage in appearance, most terrifying in speech, and most boorish in conversation." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.111.240.251 (talk) 23:56, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Dubious claims[edit]

The article makes two dubious claims. Can we resolve these so we can remove the tags?

  1. Gaulish is genealogically a Continental Celtic language: Per all our sources, Continental is a geographic group, not a genealogical one.
  2. Lepontic is a Gaulish dialect: Some argue that Cisalpine Gaulish/Celtic is a dialect/descendent of Lepontic rather than of Gaulish, but no-one argues that Lepontic is a dialect of Transalpine Celtic.

kwami (talk) 23:19, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Welcome Kwami, and hi Cagwin. Cagwin and I have had this discussion on a private level before. Because source material is scarce, there seems to be a spectrum of scholarly opinion on how widespread Gaulish was. See the tactful Encyclopaedia Britannica:
"Gaulish language, ancient Celtic language or languages spoken in western and central Europe and Asia Minor before about 500. Gaulish is attested by inscriptions from France and northern Italy and by names occurring in classical literature. Modern knowledge of the vocabulary and sounds of Gaulish is slight, and its exact relation to the Celtic languages of Britain and Ireland is not clear."
My own suspicion is that we will never know until someone excavates a Gaulish library somewhere. Meanwhile, the cautious approach of David Stifter makes sense to me: distinguishing between Gaulish in the narrow sense (Caesar's Gaulish language between the Garonne and the Marne) and a possible broader Gaulish (perhaps all the way to Galatia and the areas on the way). I think the first paragraph should make this distinction between the narrower and the broader sense of "Gaulish", and changing the tags is less useful for the general reader. Just my opinion. user:92.79.185.0, 2014 May 29‎, 06:19
Thanks. That sounds like sound advice. I'll wait to get rid of the obvious nonsense before adding that, though, so we don't have to do it twice. — kwami (talk) 17:51, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Regarding the separateness of Insular Celtic from all other Celtic languages (which, due to the fact that they are all attested on the Continent, are called "Continental Celtic"), here is Eska (forthcoming): "The evolution of the dual system of verbal flexion shared by Goidelic and Brittonic, evidence for which is completely lacking in Transalpine Celtic, on the other hand, is so unusual and distinctive as to guarantee the diagnosis of an Insular Celtic node in the Celtic family tree." (Eska is only contrasting Insular Celtic from Transalpine Celtic here because he has them both springing from the Core Celtic node, but his comments apply to the other Continental Celtic languages, too).
The phylogenetic structure of the Celtic languages per Eska (forthcoming):
A. Proto-Celtic > 1) Hispano-Celtic; 2) Nuclear-Celtic
B. Nuclear-Celtic > 1) Cisalpine Celtic (includes Lepontic); 2) Core Celtic
C. Core Celtic > 1) Transalpine Celtic (includes Galatian, Noric); 2) Insular Celtic
D. Insular Celtic > 1) Goidelic; 2) Brittonic
E1. Goidelic > 1) Western Goidelic; 2) Eastern Goidelic
E2. Brittonic > 1) Northern Brittonic; 2) Southwestern Brittonic
F1. Western Goidelic > Irish
F2. Eastern Goidelic > 1) Scottish Gaelic; 2) Manx
F3. Norhern Brittonic > Welsh
F4. Southwestern Brittonic > 1) Cornish; 2) Breton
Cagwinn (talk) 18:07, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. You just proved both of my points at the top of this thread. Can I restore the article now, or are you going to continue to edit-war over a POV which you claim you do not believe? — kwami (talk) 00:20, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
You just don't get it.Cagwinn (talk) 02:00, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Since you provided a RS that Lepontic is not a dialect of Gaulish, and that Continental Celtic is polyphyletic, I will again remove the claims that Lepontic is a dialect of Gaulish, and that Continental Celtic is monophyletic. — kwami (talk) 06:00, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I provided ONE SOURCE - NOT THE ONLY SOURCE!!! In fact, there are other Celticists who disagree with Eska - if you knew anything at all about Celtic linguistics, you would be aware of this! Stop POV pushing!!! Cagwinn (talk) 06:06, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Why do you keep providing sources which support my POV if you disagree with my POV? That's completely irrational. You have never provided a source that Continental Celtic is monophyletic, nor that Lepontic is a dialect of Celtic. Either quit obfuscating and demonstrate your POV, or get out of the way and allow serious editors to develop the article. — kwami (talk) 06:19, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Gentlemen, please calm down. As a non-linguist I have two questions on the current article: First, why the "dubious" comment in the passage "into Continental Celtic languages,[dubious – discuss][this is not a language family]". As far as I can see, nobody in the current text is claiming that Continental Celtic languages are a "family". Furthermore, even if this claim were made, it would be inappropriate English. In higher-order relationships the word "family" is indeed used (for example, "the Indo-European language family"), but not lower down in the hierarchy (thus you do not say "the Romance language family"). Secondly, I believe Caesar does include the Swiss Rhine valley in his Celtic language area, although admittedly I find Caesar's geography here a little ambiguous. Your comments welcome. (It was me who inserted the Swiss Rhine valley some months ago). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.79.185.0 (talkcontribs)

Not to mention, it is consistent with the definition of "language family" in the lede of the Wikipedia article of that name: "(a) language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family." All of the Celtic languages, no matter their inter-relationship, are descended from Proto-Celtic, thus each subdivision can appropriately be called a "language family". Continental Celtic is a universally accepted term among Celticists for any Celtic language that is not Insular Celtic; and even though there are internal subdivisions, they are all related languages and descendants of Proto-Celtic.Cagwinn (talk) 16:08, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Cagwin, I suspect there are a couple of typos in your comment immediately above - could you please check and fix so we do not talk at cross-purposes. As to "family" - I think the Wikipedia definition is logical but un-English. One tends to talk of a Romance "branch", or that Romance is "monophyletic", rather than of a Romance "family". I agree with the content of what you say, but I think your use of terms may inadvertently be contributing to the disagreement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.79.185.0 (talkcontribs)
Sorry folks, I have to correct you both on two points. First, 92.*, the term family is not used only for the major units but can be used for any size of grouping further down too, so it is absolutely common and normal in linguistics to speak of the "Romance language family" or the "Celtic language family" – even though, if and when you wish to refer to both a larger and a smaller unit at the same time you would be more likely to say something like "the Celtic branch of the Indo-European family". But secondly, and this goes to Cagwinn, in its precise technical definition the term family is in fact more narrow than just "any grouping of languages that have a common ancestor". The ideally correct defition would demand that it is a group of languages that uniquely have a common ancestor – i.e. one not shared by any other language outside the group; in other words, a "clade" in the tree. However, I agree that this may be too narrow and technical a view in the present instance. Sometimes, groupings that do not fulfil this strict definition are nevertheless widely used in classification in practice. Such groupings are called paraphyletic. If we assume Eska's tree you cited above, then "Continental Celtic" would be paraphyletic with respect to "Insular Celtic" (with Insular Celtic still being a true clade), just like, in biology, the class of reptiles is paraphyletic with respect to the class of birds. Nevertheless, the classification is so universally used that I can see no good reason not to use it in our trees in the infoboxes.
But, not to get lost too much in technicalities, let's go back to Kwami's original claims at the top of this thread. On one point I have to correct Kwami too. You objected to the claim that "Lepontic is a Gaulish dialect" with the argument that "Some argue that Cisalpine Gaulish/Celtic is a dialect/descendent of Lepontic rather than of Gaulish, but no-one argues that Lepontic is a dialect of Transalpine Celtic." This argument seems to presuppose that "Transalpine Celtic" is the same as "Gaulish". But there clearly are authors who do understand the term "Gaulish" in a broad enough sense to subsume Lepontic under it. Eska does this quite explicitly in his chapter on Celtic in The Ancient Languages of Europe, while in his chapter on Lepontic in The Celts: History, Life, and Culture (ed. J. T. Koch, 2012) he sums up the situation by saying that there are "some arguing that it is essentially an early dialect of an outlying form of Gaulish, and others arguing for its position as a separate Continental Celtic language". Fut.Perf. 18:17, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Future Perfect. Ironically it was a linguist who told me to stop using "family" for Romance many moons ago. What does the OED say about family? I do not have access to the OED at the moment. In the main article, I have now tried to reword cautiously so that everyone is happy. Is it OK now? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.79.185.0 (talkcontribs)
Seems okay to me, but haven't looked too closely yet. I think the lede could do with a few more changes. About another thing, could you please get into the habit of signing your posts, like we do? Just include four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your posting. Fut.Perf. 19:06, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Correct, a "family" is any monophyletic node. But it must be monophyletic: If it is not, it is not a family. The equivalent in biology is a clade. Reptiles are not a clade, but a grade. Continental Celtic is a grade, not a clade – that is, not a family. That's not "too technical", it's just the definition. When linguists argue about whether a group is a family, or membership of a family, they are arguing over monophyly. In the trees in the info boxes of other language articles, when we wish to link to an article on a group of languages that are not a family (not a clade), we mark it somehow, such as by putting it in parentheses or adding a footnote. This is because people expect a family tree to list families (or, if you prefer, a cladistic tree to list clades), not geographical or areal groups.

As for Lepontic & Gaulish, here is my understanding from a number of sources: Lepontic was an early Celtic language south of the Alps. Several recent sources state that it was one of the earliest lineages to branch off the Celtic tree, while Gaulish branches off later. In historical times, Gauls crossed the Alps and invaded Italy. Inscriptions dating to that era have been called "Cisalpine Gaulish", under the belief that they recorded the language of the Gaulish invaders. However, a number of Celticists challenge that conclusion, and believe the inscriptions to be a daughter or at least niece of earlier Lepontic. That is, rather than these inscriptions being interpreted as a form of Gaulish, they're interpreted as a form of Lepontic. In Eska, the two languages are together called "Cisalpine Celtic". In Cagwinn's table above, Lepontic + Cisalpine "Gaulish" (> "Cisalpine Celtic") branches off at (B), whereas Gaulish ("Transalpine Celtic") branches off at (C). But our articles state that this makes Lepontic a dialect of Gaulish, the exact opposite of what the sources are saying.

BTW, I left out the commentary, but placed dubious or citation-needed tags where this article makes these unsupported claims. — kwami (talk) 07:00, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

About Lepontic being subsumed under Gaulish: Eska (2008), "Continental Celtic", in Woodard ed., The Ancient Languages of Europe, p. 166 says explicitly that "it is probable that Lepontic and Galatian are not discrete languages, but regional dialects of Gaulish". (In this view, "Gaulish" essentially covers all attested ancient forms of Celtic that aren't Hispanic). David Stifter, in this [2] chapter, confirms that "Lepontic is considered by some to be only a dialect or chronologically early variant of Gaulish", while describing the alternative view that considers it separate as the "mainstream" view. The article on "Celtic languages" in Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, ed. Mallory & Adams, p. 97, says that "the narrow geographical range of Lepontic has suggested that it be treated as a dialect of Gaulish but it also shows a number of more conservative features than Gaulish".
As for the nature of our trees: these are classification trees, not necessarily strict cladistic trees. Restricting the use of tree diagrams solely to strict genealogical trees is not what the literature does, and in situations of dialect continua and similar cases it would be quite impossible anyway. So I don't believe it's true that "people expect a family tree to list families" in this narrow sense. Just look at what our sources do: many, including high-class linguistic sources, even those that do acknowledge in their text that precise cladistic divisions are uncertain or that "Continental" and "Insular" are merely geographical/chronological classifications but not cladistic ones, will nevertheless happily include exactly these nodes when it comes to tree visualizations (like here [3], in Fortson, Indo-European Language and Culture, p.10, or here [4], in Stifter, Sengoidelc: Old Irish for Beginners, p. 1); or will start off their chapters on "Celtic" heads-on with a statement to the effect that "Celtic is divided into Insular and Continental" and then use that as the main structuring criterion for the body of the text (as does Bussmann, Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft, and Koch, Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia); or use "Insular" and "Continental" as the first descriptive classifier in the text when they introduce one of the languages in question. The LinguistList family tree also lists "Gaulish" as a daughter of "Continental Celtic" [5]. If having a tree with "Continental" and "Insular" nodes is good enough for Fortson, Stifter and the LinguistList authors, it's good enough for me on Wikipedia. Fut.Perf. 16:12, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
LinguistList (actually MultiTree) is a horrible ref, and not a RS. Glottolog is better, and they don't have Continental. They actually follow Eska, who also does not have Continental. I don't mind us including it, but parentheses would indicate that this is not a reliable distinction.
Anyway, the problem is not just the info box, but the text, where Cagwinn is edit-warring over false claims. Dumbing down the info box is one thing, but the text is another.
Good, we have a source that some older sources considered Lepontic to be Celtic. We still have the confusion between that and the classification of Cisalpine. — kwami (talk) 22:39, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
[I assume that you meant to say "...considered Lepontic to be Gaulish".] Yes, indeed, but it's not "some older sources" that do that, it's freaking Eska himself in 2008. And before you go on claiming that would be self-contradictory with the tree models from him we've all been throwing around here, no it isn't – in his view the term "Gaulish" simply spans both sides of the "Cisalpine"-vs.-"Core Celtic" dialect split. As for edit-warring in the text, maybe I'm missing something, but the only pieces of body text I've seen you two edit-warring over was about Cagwinn preferring a version that said Celtic split into Continental Celtic languages [6], and a version that said that "The earliest inscriptions found in Cisalpine Gaul date from the 6th century BC" [7]. Neither of which is a "false claim". (Yes, every attested language among those into which Proto-Celtic split was a Continental Celtic language, no matter how you look at the precise relationships between them; and yes, Lepontic is clearly the oldest of form of attested cisalpine Celtic.) You might have disagreements about optimizing those statements for relevance, but accusing him of spreading "false claims" is just wrong and, I hate to say it, displays a deeply unconstructive attitude on your side. Fut.Perf. 15:26, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
Supporting sources do help clarify the argument! My statements were accurate given the sources that Cagwinn had provided. But you're right, Eska in Woodard (2008) does say that Lepontic was probably a dialect of Gaulish. Eska (2010) says the opposite, and in at least one of these articles, the argument in Eska 2010 was used to make the contrary claim in Eska 2008. That was a transparently false claim.
As for the classification, consider Stifter (2008),[8] who is not pushing his own analysis but summarizing the literature. There is no continental there, so I think it should be marked here as not being a normal node, and both Insular and P-Celtic are presented as possibilities. As an encyclopedia, we should also summarize the literature like this.
Thanks BTW for cleaning up the 'early period' section. — kwami (talk) 18:35, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
If by "Eska 2010" you mean the chapter on "The emergence of the Celtic languages" in Ball & Müller eds. The Celtic languages, then no, he is saying nothing there that contradicts what he said in 2008, certainly not about the separate-language status of Lepontic. In the 2010 paper he is simply not talking at all about "separate language" versus dialect status of any of these varieties, nor about the scope of any one language designation – he is merely saying that Cisalpine Gaulish is more akin with Lepontic than with Transalpine Gaulish. (By the way, if the summary of that article in the current version of our Celtic language article is yours, you have done a disappointingly poor job at it; the claim that Eska "rejects" Continental Celtic as a node is pure OR, as he raises no argument about the term at all but continues to use it as a matter of course; likewise, the claim that he "doubts that Cisalpine Gaulish is actually Gaulish" is your own projection into his article of your own prejudice that "Gaulish" must be equivalent to only "Transalpine Celtic", which is a premise nowhere justified by his paper.) You are also again mixing issues up. I named two issues over which you had edit-warred with Cagwinn in the text of this article, and challenged you to show how his versions were "false claims"; neither of the two issues in question depend in any way on any perceived or possible differences between the two Eska papers.
As for the Stifter lecture notes [9] (I suppose you are referring to the stemma on p.23, not the actual chapter on Lepontic), such a composite stemma is of course far too complex to use as a model for our infobox hierarchies; as I showed you in one or my previous posts, Stifter himself has no qualms using "Continental" and "Insular" for a simple general-purpose overview tree elsewhere. Of course we could include a more complex diagram like that – or, even better, an isogloss map like the one on the same page, somewhere in a "classification" section. Fut.Perf. 20:06, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes, he uses the term "Continental Celtic", but as a geographic term; he clearly rejects it as a node. See the Glottolog summary of his classification here. He doesn't use the name "Gaulish" at all, but rather "Transalpine Celtic" and "Cisalpine Celtic", which are distinct branches. The former is Transalpine Gaulish (fn 13), the latter includes Cisalpine Gaulish, so one can obviously not be a dialect of the other. Thus what you changed here was not OR, but a straightforward reading of the source, as supported by the tree in Glottolog. — kwami (talk) 20:30, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Who on earth ever claimed that T.G. and C.G. (or T.C. and C.C.) were dialects "of each other"?! What Eska 2008 is saying is that they were both dialects of a single over-arching language, "Gaulish". Nothing in that is contradicted by the assumption of a genetic division like that between Transalpine and Cisalpine, and as you rightly noticed, the 2010 paper simply doesn't touch on the concept of Gaulish as a language unit at all. As for the "Continental" node, not using a node is not the same as rejecting it – the latter would imply that he is raising an explicit argument against the use of the concept, which he is not. Fut.Perf. 20:44, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
I think you're misreading the sources. In 2008 he speaks of varieties of a Gaulish language. In 2010 the only thing that can be Gaulish is Transalpine. There can be no broader Gaulish, because anything broader would include the Insular languages. So there is an obvious contradiction: In 2008 Lepontic is a dialect of Gaulish, in 2010 it is not. — kwami (talk) 21:08, 1 June r2014 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, he does say somewhere that he considers the ancestor varieties of Insular to also have been still close enough to fall under the same umbrella of "Gaulish" at the time. So no, still no contradiction. Fut.Perf. 21:13, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
Then Lepontic is not a dialect of Gaulish as we use the term here on WP; our articles are about topics, not words. So no contradiction for Eska, but no support for saying Lepontic is sometimes considered a dialect of Gaulish either. We might want to explain that Eska's "Gaulish" is Celtic minus Iberian, i.e., Glottolog's Nuclear Celtic. — kwami (talk) 06:50, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
McCone, Kim, Towards a relative chronology of ancient and medieval Celtic sound change, Maynooth, 1996, page 5 and chapters 2 and 3 (pp. 37-104), argues that Lepontic is simply a dialect of Gaulish, rather than a separate branch of the Celtic family.Cagwinn (talk) 16:09, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. That is helpful.
user:92.79.185.0 said you've discussed this elsewhere, and that "the cautious approach of David Stifter makes sense". Do you agree with that assessment? — kwami (talk) 17:16, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I subbed Cagwinn's ref for Eska in the lead. I haven't accessed it, so I'm only assuming that McCone means Gaulish in the same sense we do. — kwami (talk) 21:55, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
It is not our task on Wikipedia to decide what "we" mean by "Gaulish". Gaulish is whatever the literature says it is, and we are already acknowledging in the article that there are wider and narrower concepts. Your "topics, not words" lawyering is spurious. Your are, again, begging the question on the basis of your own prejudice: "A cannot be part of B." – "But some sources say that A is part of B." – "But those sources are not really speaking about B, but about some other thing they call B." – "Why can't they be talking about B?" – "Because A cannot be part of B". That's all your "logic" boils down to. Ridiculous.
I could of course live with the McCone ref just as well, but I am going to restore the Eska ref neverthless, both as a matter of principle, and because it's more easily accessible than the other one. If you choose to edit-war about it, as you have edit-warred about pretty much everything in the past, this thing goes straight to ANI – I'm no longer seeing this as a legitimate content disagreement but as a matter of your disruptive conduct. Fut.Perf. 12:26, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Of course it's not our task to decide what "Gaulish" is. But it is our task to decide what the topic of the article is. If there were a language in Borneo that happened to be called "Gaulish", we wouldn't add refs to it with the argument that it's not up to us to decide what "Gaulish" means. And if we had refs to "Gaulois", we wouldn't exclude them because it's not up to us to decide if that's the same as "Gaulish". You're arguing that Lepontic is a dialect of Gaulish because all of Celtic apart from Celtiberian is Gaulish, but nowhere do we tell the reader that we're no longer referring to the language defined in the lead. That's intellectually dishonest. — kwami (talk) 15:11, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
This debate is now over. You are now up against the third highly experienced editor in two weeks who despairs of the possibility of discussing with you because talking to you is like talking against a brick wall. Maybe you really should start considering whether there is something about you that causes this. Fut.Perf. 17:07, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
And you beat your wife. See? Saying something doesn't make it so. The article is definitely better, as you've addressed most of my concerns, but objecting to irrational statements is hardly inappropriate just because the person making them is irrational. We now use a source that can only support the point cited (that Lepontic is Gaulish) if we conclude it means that Irish and Welsh are also Gaulish, but Irish and Welsh are not Gaulish per this article, so the ref is inappropriate. Silly, really, because we have another ref that says the same thing, and we can just use that. — kwami (talk) 02:33, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I will try for one final time to explain this to you, so listen:
  1. If you are basing any point on supposed relations with the insular languages, please remember I only said I thought Eska said something to that effect somewhere, "if I remember correctly"; in fact I cannot locate that passage anywhere now and may well have misremembered. He isn't saying anything about it in the 2008 chapter in question, so in any case it is immaterial. And of course nobody has ever claimed that "Irish and Welsh" are also Gaulish (what I was suggesting was that their ancestors might have been subsumed under it).
  2. Your contention that Eska's conception of "Gaulish" (whatever it may be) makes it a "different topic" from the concept of Gaulish this article is about is absurd sophistry. Of course, all the literature agrees on the basic intensional meaning of the term: Gaulish is, by definition, the ancient Celtic language known to us mainly from the inscriptions in Gaul. If some authors have different views about how far beyond Gaul its boundaries as a single languge may have reached (i.e. presumably different estimates about how far beyond Gaul there would have been mutual intelligibility), then that doesn't somehow magically make the term take on a different meaning; these are simply different opinions about the single, shared topic, the Gaulish language.
  3. Thus we are left with just you feeling that Eska's description in the 2008 chapter is somehow logically inconsistent with his description in the later paper. That is your opinion, and as such WP:OR. You can either go and debate that with Professor Eska in private, or you can go and find some reliable source by some other expert criticising Eska on this point. I doubt you'll find such. Failing this, your objection is immaterial.
  4. Your objection also happens to be rather poor linguistics. Your mistake is that you confuse the concept of a genealogical tree node with the concept of a "single language" as a synchronic unit. They are not the same. A "single language" (such as "Gaulish") is defined in terms of synchronic mutual intelligibility at a given point in time. Tree divisions, in contrast, are defined purely by age of innovation – not by amount or speed of innovation, hence not by synchronic dissimilarity. It is perfectly possible for two varieties that are divided by an older dialectal split, and hence further apart from each other in a tree, to still maintain a higher degree of similarity and mutual intelligibility with each other than with a third variety that split off at a much later date. So, even if Eska did say that (a) Lepontic is divided from Transalpine Gaulish by an older genealogical split than nsular Celtish, and that (b) Lepontic and Transalpine Gaulish formed a single language in antiquity while the insular languages didn't, there would still be no logical contradiction between these two statements.
Now, if you are still not satisfied, feel free to choose any form of dispute resolution you want: RfC, DRN, 3O, whatever – as long as it doesn't involve us two trying to convince each other, because my patience with you is absolutely exhausted. If you continue upholding your disruption through edit-warring and tag-bombing, I will call for sanctions against you at WP:ANI (and note, on the occasion, that if I hadn't become involved in this dispute with you I would in the meantime have blocked you myself for your conduct in the other dispute with User:Skookum1). Fut.Perf. 08:34, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid I understand this problem even less than the others. The text was being used to cite the sentence "The more divergent Lepontic Celtic of Northern Italy has also sometimes been subsumed under Gaulish" and it's not the only cite given. Kwami tagged it with the summary "fails ref (Irish is not Gaulish)". In his comment here he says "We now use a source that can only support the point cited (that Lepontic is Gaulish) if we conclude it means that Irish and Welsh are also Gaulish, but Irish and Welsh are not Gaulish per this article, so the ref is inappropriate." Uh, what? I can't read page 165, but p. 166 clearly states "As mentioned above, it is probably that Lepontic and Galatian are not discrete languages, but regional dialects of Gaulish"; there's no mention of the Insular tongues on this page. Regardless of whether Kwami likes this source (or understands it), it seems clear enough to me.--Cúchullain t/c 11:41, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
It seems to me we make it pretty clear that there are broader and narrower concepts of "Gaulish" and we lay them out pretty effectively. Future Perfect's version is the best we've seen in a long time. It would be nice if the discussion could now shift to how best to improve this and related articles.--Cúchullain t/c 18:22, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it's much better, apart from that one failed ref. — kwami (talk) 02:33, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Again, there's no consensus for these changes, and the "fails verification" tag is unwarranted as the source clearly says what's being attributed to it. Stop revert warring, Kwami.--Cúchullain t/c 13:25, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Allowing areal groups to appear in infoboxes opens a can of worms, I'm afraid. Which are permissible and which are not? What if areal groups are in conflict with each other? I mean, if we allow Continental Celtic, what is to stop anybody from adding Gallo-Brittonic? But then, is Gallo-Brittonic a subgroup of Continental Celtic or Insular Celtic or vice versa, or what? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:21, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Protest against removing "inconvenient" Classical Sources[edit]

Future Perfect, as you have seen here, modern scholars hardly agree on anything regarding Gaulish, Celtic etc. It is therefore disturbing when you now start deleting the primary evidence, namely inconvenient ("unreliable") Classical eye-witness reports by Caesar and others. Can you please resurrect them? We modern scholars will be dead and superseded in 100 years, Caesar et al. will remain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.137.39.180 (talk) 16:49, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

There is nothing "inconvenient" about those sources; why do you think I would have anything against them? It's just a matter of Wikipedia policy that we can't use primary historical sources as evidence to directly draw our own conclusions from. Please acquaint yourself with our policy on WP:Primary and secondary sources. We base our articles on secondary sources, i.e. modern scholarly works, as a matter of principle. Whatever it is Caesar said about Gaulish (and as far as I know it really isn't very much and very precise anyway), we can't use it unless we have modern scholars explaining to us how his statements ought to be interpreted. That's the policy in this place, like it or not.
And, for heaven's sake, please learn to sign your posts at last. Fut.Perf. 16:56, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I have now read the WP guideline, and this is what it says: "A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge." Caesar ticks that box. The other primary courses were referenced by secondary sources, as WP stipulates. Now return the favor and read the first few sentences of the Caesar reference - it will take you two minutes. There is nothing uncertain or "unreliable" about the Garonne, Seine and Marne. Please resurrect where you see fit. Shylock. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.137.39.180 (talk) 17:07, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe the primary sources really add anything. In fact, it confuses the attribution; presumably the whole couple of lines about Gaul, Noric and Galatian are meant to be attributed to Stifter and Eska, but inserting the primary sources in the middle of the sentences makes it appear that only the last part is from Stifter and Eska.--Cúchullain t/c 17:31, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Hi Cuchllian. Your post is slightly out of place here (the Noric/Galation addition is not of my making). I suggest we wait with bated breath where Future Perfect places the primary refs (he suggested in the External section). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.137.39.180 (talk) 18:21, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, you or someone added primary source references immediately after "Gaul (modern France)" and Asia Minor ("Galatian"), and rearranged the passages so it appeared the Stifter and Eska cites only covered the end of the passage, rather than the whole thing. I'm sure this wasn't intentional, but it's definitely how it looks to the reader. It doesn't really add anything to the intro, and risks confusing it. I think what Future's saying is that such references may be appropriate for the "external references" section, and I'd tend to agree, depending on how it's presented.--Cúchullain t/c 18:45, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Et voilà. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.111.222.98 (talk) 14:15, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, works for me. (But, for the third time now, can you please, please, please learn to sign your posts on talk pages? Everybody else does it; it really isn't difficult.) Fut.Perf. 14:28, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Transition Gaulish-Romance[edit]

Food for thought for Future Perfect, Cagwinn, Kwami et alii. It strikes me that the statement "Gaulish was supplanted by Vulgar Latin and various Germanic languages from around the 5th century AD onwards" contradicts the sources and statements in the subsequent sections which imply that the language switch came about via upper-crust trilingual Gauls, via the nobles learning Cicero, via the Bible translated into Latin etc. Does not sound very Vulgar to me. (Although I appreciate the Bible was referred to as the Vulgata.) And if you follow the Vulgar Latin weblinks, it seems the whole concept of Vulgar Latin is not straightforward. Any ideas how to remove/explain the apparent contradiction?

My own suspicion is that normal Latin imposed on Celtic substrate created Romance pretty much instantaneously in the fifth century, but my opinion is not important. Shylock. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.111.222.98 (talk) 14:05, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Like in every case where one language is supplanted by another through language shift, the old language will disappear only after a more or less protracted time during which substantial parts of the population have been bilingual. It takes more than just the "upper crust" becoming bilingual. This time of more or less mass bilingualism could have begun anywhere between Ceasar's days and late antiquity. The Latin adopted by these large parts of the population would of course have been popular vernacular Latin, i.e. "Vulgar" Latin. People somewhere in rural provincial Gaul would have learned Latin from their more Romanized neighbours in the nearest market town, not through reading Cicero. Fut.Perf. 09:57, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
With respect, you say "could have", would of course", "would have". Wiki does not allow original research. From my own experience with immigrants I do not believe that a language shift is necessarily protracted (often the parent(s) speak one language, while the children are perfectly fluent in another, higher-status language). But my opinion and yours are unimportant. The point is, what the article needs is a reference for a proposed Gaulish-Vulgar Latin transition, to resolve the contradiction (most conveniently by amending: "Social conditions such as serfdom and the shift of urban power to a villa economy moved large numbers of Latin-speakers into the countryside and upset the linguistic balance,[citation needed] resulting in the eventual extinction of Gaulish."), or a removal/qualification of the Vulgar Latin claim in the Intro. I had discussed this briefly with Cagwinn some time ago, but without a real solution. (I suspect that there is no such conclusive reference/evidence, and that it is all based on "of course", but am willing to be pleasantly surprised). Shylock. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.172.39.54 (talk) 12:35, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but I won't be prepared to enter inter further discussion with you unless you finally learn to sign your posts. How often do you have to be asked? (Better yet, please create an account. If you're going to be involved in discussing a topic over a significant amount of time, it's annoying to have to deal with fragmented edit histories of multiple seemingly unrelated IPs.) Fut.Perf. 12:59, 12 June 2014 (UTC)r
Please educate me: what is the material difference to you or to me, whether I sign my messages with Shylock, or sign your way, or create an account? Sincere question. Shylock. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.172.39.54 (talk) 14:25, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
When you don't sign yourself, the signing bot comes along and adds that distracting "autosigned" message underneath every time. It's visually distracting, and it clobbers up the edit history of the page because there is always an extra entry in it. If you had an account, it would have the additional benefit that one could get a coherent picture of what you've been doing and where on the wiki you have been active, by looking at your account's edit history. For instance, you just said above that you discussed something with somebody previously. I now have no way of finding that discussion unless you point me to it; if you were editing from an account, I could just look it up. Fut.Perf. 14:57, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Signing with four tildas (~~~~) or the signature button at the top of the edit box is important so that other editors can keep track of who's saying what. For one example why, if someone were to respond to you before SineBot tagged your comment, it would be quite difficult to tell who left your comment (it might even look like the person responding had typed your comment as well).
Simply typing the word "Shylock" at the end of your comment doesn't look like a signature, and it doesn't synch to the account that actually made the edit (the edit was left by 86.172.39.54, not an account named "Shylock").
The WP:Signatures guideline explains more fully why signatures are important. Especially since your IP keeps changing, it would be a good idea to create an account so it's clear all these comments and edits are coming from one person, rather than multiple people with different IPs. In fact, given your interest and solid understanding of the subject, we'd welcome and encourage you to create an account anyway.--Cúchullain t/c 15:02, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks both of you. To be honest, the advantages seem marginal, and I am certainly not keen on being "tracked". I am a purist and feel comments should be able to stand on their own merits without them being weighed against someone's presumed background/history. But I understand if you disagree and prefer not to interact with "strangers". And perhaps I will change my mind one day. Shylock. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.172.39.54 (talk) 15:21, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
There's certainly no requirement that you register an account, but please do start signing your posts with four tildas. It is otherwise too confusing to keep track of conversations, especially with multiple people involved; indeed, your comments are less likely to be able to stand on their merits if no one can tell where they begin or end or who's saying what. Thanks,--Cúchullain t/c 15:53, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Shylock: when you enter an online community and want to do things there, it is a good idea to look out for that community's conventions about how certain things are done, and observe them. While registering an account is optional on Wikipedia, signing your comments is not. It is simply part of how we do things here. People who deliberately and persistently refuse to act according to local conventions will be treated accordingly. At this moment you have the choice of being treated either an intelligent honest contributor, or as a troll. From now on, I will simply remove any posting of yours to this or related talk pages that isn't signed. Until you change your mind. Fut.Perf. 21:19, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
This is a tilde test, FuturePerfect. Shylock~~~~
Does not look right. Trying button this time. Shylock--86.137.32.174 (talk) 16:52, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Happy, Future Perfect? Kept my side of the bargain. Now indulge me and please enter a ref for the alleged Vulgar Latin/Germanic takeover. Preferably a ref that cites the primary sources. Cagwinn has had months to do so, and I have given up hope there. Shylock--86.137.32.174 (talk) 16:56, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the signing; I'll continue at the bottom of the thread for better readability. 21:11, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Vulgar Latin was the form of Latin spoken in Gaul; upper class, highly educated people wrote in a more Classical Latin style and might have affected a more Classical form of Latin in their every day speech, but it is Vulgar Latin that replaced Gaulish and eventually developed into the various French dialects. Cagwinn (talk) 16:52, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Take a look what I have done now, folks, as a temporary fix: I have co-opted a sentence from the Vulgar Latin wikipage. Admittedly it is not great to have a 250-year gap between the 6th and 9th centuries, but I hope future experts will be able to narrow it down with better references. Or indeed disprove a "Vulgar Latin takeover" of Gaulish. Shylock — Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.111.222.98 (talk) 17:30, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

I don't think that works - it's not relevant to the disappearance of Gaulish by the 5th-6th centuries.Cagwinn (talk) 17:47, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree my amendment is not directly relevant to the immediate post-Gaulish takeover (and neither did I claim it is relevant). But at least AD813 gives a robust latest possible date by which Vulgar Latin/Romance/Germanic was so widespread that the sermons had to change language. If you delete the AD813 reference, there is no mention at all of Vulgar Latin/Germanic in the main text, despite the promise in the Introduction. And it is you who insisted on Vulgar Latin/Germanic in the Intro, not me. So I am trying to defend your version (which I happen to skeptical of, but that is irrelevant). Shylock — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.172.39.54 (talk) 18:00, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Want to be less skeptical? Do some actual research on the topic. There are plenty of scholarly sources available to you - even a simple Google Books search of "Vulgar Latin" and "Gaulish" will provide plenty of leads for you. Cagwinn (talk) 20:47, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Shylock, you say you want refs, but I'm honestly not quite sure what it is you think is in need of further confirmation. The sentence as it is says "Gaulish was supplanted by Vulgar Latin and various Germanic languages from around the 5th century AD onwards". What could possibly be doubtful about this? The only thing I find not quite optimally worded is the "from", because it sounds as if to imply the language shift only began at that time; in reality Gaulish began to be supplanted by Latin right after the Roman conquest, and the middle of the millennium would have been when the supplanting was finished. Other than that, where's the problem? People first spoke Gaulish; that's not in doubt. Later, people spoke Vulgar Latin; surely that's not in doubt either? Do we really need extra refs for that? If they first spoke Gaulish, and then spoke Vulgar Latin, then Gaulish was supplanted by Vulgar Latin. Or is your beef with something you think it says about the modalities of that takeover? I get the feeling you are reading something into that sentence in terms of what the word "supplanted" implies about the modalities of the language shift, but I'm honestly not sure I understand what you think that implication is. (About the later passage, I of course agree that the sentence about "Social conditions such as serfdom and the shift of urban power to a villa economy..." should have a ref, and I can't offer one as I didn't write it.) Fut.Perf. 21:11, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

"People first spoke Gaulish; that's not in doubt. Later, people spoke Vulgar Latin; surely that's not in doubt either?" Let me be the devil's advocate and doubt that Gaulish was replaced by Vulgar Latin (rather than, say, by a Gaulish-Vulgar-Latin-Creole, or by pure Latin which then changed into proto-Romance, or whatever other theory we care to construct). If you are so sure about specifically Vulgar Latin displacing Gaulish, you must have some excellent documentation at your fingertips. Or, worryingly, you may simply be repeating uncritically what we all learned in our schooldays. Or worse, you are mentally constructing a scenario which you find plausible but for which there is no contemporary evidence. The best I could offer in favour of Vulgar Latin is AD 813, which you guys promptly deleted. So you must have something really convincing up your sleeve, and I would like to see it. (The casual remark "various Germanic languages" is even worse - I hardly expect you to find documentation for that, but surprise me please.) - Thanks in advance. Shylock--86.137.32.174 (talk) 22:31, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh, come off it!! Have you done any research on this subject yet?? Did you even bother to do what I suggested MULTIPLE times and search Google Books for "Vulgar Latin" and "Gaulish"? That will provide you with tons of quotes and references. Cagwinn (talk) 23:48, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Ah, now I get your point, Shylock. So you are saying that "A was supplanted by B" implies direct shift from A to B, and you want to exclude the possibility that they spoke something else entirely, C, in between? That would be a theoretical possibility, but since the literature never mentions the existence of any such C it's not a practical issue for us. So far the literature has only told us about these two languages that were spoken in succession, A and B, and as long as that is the case there is simply no alternative scenario to discuss. Go, read the literature, and come back here if and when you find evidence that an alternative scenario involving some "C" has ever been suggested. Failing that, debate over. Fut.Perf. 06:41, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
By the way, an accessible and extensive discussion (and online on Google books) is found in A. Lodge, French: From Dialect to Standard, chapter on "the Latinization of Gaul", pp.29–53. Fut.Perf. 08:22, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Hi FuturePerfect(and Cagwinn). "So far the literature has only told us about these two languages that were spoken in succession". This "literature" presumably includes A. Lodge, which in turn presumably refers to the contemporary (6th/7th/8th century) evidence that I requested? Please confirm briefly, and then I will browse Lodge. And neither of you can then object to Lodge being cited in the wiki article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.137.39.9 (talk) 08:37, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Forgot to sign, sorry. And yes Future, you have now understood my point. And Cagwinn - try to sound a little more polite and professional. Not your style I know, but it does come across as juvenile, however much I value your contributions. Shylock--86.137.39.9 (talk) 08:48, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
As I said, Lodge has a whole chapter about the Latinization process of Gaul, and from the brief glance I gave it it looks like a decent enough source, although of course he's looking at things more from the perspective of Latin/French than from that of Gaulish. If you find something of value for this article in it, sure, we can use it. Just make sure you keep it well on topic and don't draw your own OR conclusions from primary sources. Fut.Perf. 11:02, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt reply. For Lodge, my browser says "no eBook available" (different copyright laws in different countries?). And now you say Lodge is not a specialist book for Vulgar Latin in ancient Gaul, and I note with alarm that you are not reassuring me that it contains primary references to the pre-AD813 evidence. Can you provide a more appropriate source, or failing that, post me the link where you say the Lodge book is freely available? If not, I shall have to make a trek to the library next week, but shall not forgive you if the book turns out to be a dud with respect to Gaulish-Vulgar Latin transition evidence... The third option is: we give up, leave the Vulgar Latin/Germanic claim as is, and simply add "citation needed" in the article, and wait for someone else to do the work. Shylock--86.137.39.9 (talk) 11:39, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
So tired of the nonsense of Wikipedia! Do you even know what "Vulgar Latin" means?? Let me help you out: "Spoken Latin is generally termed Vulgar Latin, but this term is also applied to those forms of written Latin which by their lateness and their divergences from the known standards of. Classical Latin are believed to be closer to the spoken language— but only closer to it, by no means identical with it." (Peter Rickard, A History of the French Language, Routledge, 2003, p. 2). Also, from the same source, same page: "It is important to realise that the Latin which was introduced into Gaul with the legions and which, after the conquest of the region, continued to be influenced from without while undergoing modifications from within, was significantly different from what we understand by 'Classical' Latin." (then the author goes on to define Vulgar Latin) Cagwinn (talk) 17:09, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your concern Cagwinn (with the usual sneer alas - work at eradicating it, please). I do know about the concept of Vulgar Latin (the basic concept of Vulgar Latin is generally taught at school when learning French, and at university I have taken a passing interest in the controversies between linguists whether or not Vulgar Latin or indeed the Roman legions were relevant for the formation of the Romance languages). But that is all beside the point - what Future Prefect rashly has agreed to is to find a reference which not only claims the reality of Vulgar Latin, but shows its relevance in the transition Gaulish-Romance using contemporary 6-8th evidence. You and I both know that Future Perfect has a very tough job facing him, given that David Stifter has not produced such evidence. But we will see what Future Perfect has on offer. He is clever and may surprise me. And then we shall cite that reference and make the Gaulish wikipage a gold standard for others to aspire to. Shylock--86.137.39.9 (talk) 18:57, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Huh? What are you even talking about? I certainly didn't agree to some challenge to provide refs to satisfy your whims. I told you about a ref I just happened to come across, which might contain something of interest to you if you care to read up on things; other than that, I am certainly under no obligation to spoon-feed you references. My position is still that there is no problem in need of solving in the first place. You made up a problem that so far appears to exist only in your own head, and you are increasingly sounding like the amateur who kept pestering the astronomer for references that the Moon is not made of green cheese. Fut.Perf. 21:10, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Future Perfect, thanks. As RV Jones put it, in wartime intelligence work, one of the hardest tasks is to prove that the enemy does NOT have a suspected secret weapon. I thought/hoped there might be a 5 percent chance that the secret weapon exists, but judging by yours and Cagwinn's answers, it probably does not. Let us therefore end the discussion. Thank you both for indulging me. The Gaulish article is not at all bad as it is, and you have both made valuable contributions to it. The Vulgar Latin/Germanic internal contradiction is only a minor fly in the ointment. If I now added a "citation needed" comment, I would probably antagonise you, and you would try to edit-war it away. So I think we can all live with the present version until a linguist tackles the problem. And at least you can take home the satisfaction that you have induced me to sign my comments! Best wishes, Shylock--86.137.39.9 (talk) 22:20, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

guys, WP:FORUM. If you don't enjoy anonymous sophistry, why feed it? You are not required to. What the anon did was request a citation for "Vulgar Latin", so provide one, end of story.

It is, after all, true that the statement

"French historian Ferdinand Lot argued that this [viz. Italo-Celtic parallels] helped the rapid adoption of vulgar Latin in Roman Gaul."

should properly be referenced; we mention Ferdinand Lot by name, so it would be only right to give a pointer to a relevant publication of his instead of just expecting the interested reader to do their own literature search.

also, it amuses me to read "I am certainly not keen on being tracked" by people who prefer pasting IPs on talkpages that allows us to follow their daily movements around Cambridge, UK instead of just making use of Wikipedia's offer to choose a username and keep their IP from becoming part of the public record for eternity. But I suppose this kind of clarity of thought reflects the rest of the debate, which I do indeed agree should stand purely on its own merit, only I am afraid that merit isn't quite what the anon assumes it to be. --dab (𒁳) 05:07, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

813, again[edit]

The statement about the Council of Tours in AD 813, repeatedly pushed back into the article by IP user "Shylock" [10], is still baseless WP:Original research. If "Shylock" thinks there is something self-evidently relevant about Gaulish to be gleaned from that reference, he needs to provide reliable references from the modern linguistic literature that explicitly make such a connection, because in reality, there really isn't any such relevance. The only thing we can glean from that remark in the primary sources is that by 813, people were perceiving vernacular Romance as sufficiently distinct from classical Latin that special linguistic accommodation was called for. In that sense, the date is indeed frequently quoted as linguistically relevant for the history of French, but that has nothing to do with Gaulish. For Gaulish, the only thing we could get out of that reference is that by 813 it was no longer of comparable importance in everyday life as Germanic and Romance. We can't even take it as a terminus ad quem for the extinction of Gaulish, as "Shylock" seems to think, because it's perfectly compatible with a hypothetical scenario where Gaulish might have still been spoken in some pockets. The fact that the authors of the 813 decree mentioned only vernacular Romance and Germanic as the common vernacular languages doesn't entail that these were the only vernacular languages in existence within the Frankish empire (after all, Breton, for one, most certainly was spoken, as were Basque, Slavic and probably any number of other languages in the outlying ranges of the empire); it only means that these two languages were the first that came to mind as being the predominant languages of most of the population. Fut.Perf. 10:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

You have repeatedly attempted to delete primary sources claiming them to be irrelevant (first Julius Caesar, now the Council of Tours AD 813), even though you do not contest the obvious conclusions (your own words: "by 813 Gaulish was no longer of comparable importance in everyday life as Germanic and Romance"). Please read the WP guidelines on primary sources. You may not realise it, but it is selfish to draw these self-evident conclusions yourself but not allow other wiki readers to have access to the same primary information. Shylock --86.154.102.162 (talk) 11:10, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Read WP:OR. Fut.Perf. 11:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
And you read WP:Primary and secondary sources It says: "A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge.". By your own admission, the straightforward conclusion that you have drawn from the source is "By AD 813, Gaulish was no longer of comparable importance in everyday life as Germanic and Romance". And that should go into the article, along with the AD813 source quote. I want to suggest to you that we agree on an independent referee to adjudicate this case. Suggestions? Shylock--86.154.102.162 (talk) 11:31, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
It's much easier: you start citing reliable secondary sources, or you shut the fuck up. Fut.Perf. 11:40, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Fut Perf is right regarding the relevance of the 813 date: it has none, it doesn't even concern Gaulish. He states correctly that the date may indeed be relevant for the development of French, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with Gaulish. He was right to delete the addition. If we had no 7th century data, it might conceivably be used as a terminus ante quem (not ad), as Gaulish clearly doesn't even bear mentioning at this time. The anon has a point insofar as we do not cite any terminus that is either ad or post Gaulish extinction, and if we cannot find any decent 7th or 8th century reference, the 813 date might still serve as a post date to fall back upon. "around or shortly after the middle of the first millennium AD" is properly referenced to an academic source, but it isn't very precise. I suppose it may mean anything between the 5th and the 7th century. It may be useful to add that we positively know the language was gone by 800.

But I must say everyone could be a little bit more relaxed about it. An anonymous addition had to be reverted twice. Big deal. If it becomes a problem, just semiprotect the article, no need for dropping f-bombs. --dab (𒁳) 18:14, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, Dbachmann. I am not particularly wedded to the AD813 evidence for the demise of Gaulish if there is better evidence available for the timescale. In this context, you interestingly hint "if we cannot find any decent 7th or 8th century reference, the 813 date might still serve as a post date to fall back upon" and "we positively know the language was gone by 800." Can you provide a reference for your two statements? We could then cite your reference in the wiki article, and put the problem to bed. Shylock--86.170.123.101 (talk) 20:13, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh for chrissake. There is no evidence either way. Look at the freaking secondary literature, at last. Authors are vague about when it went extinct. They are deliberately vague, because they recognize that we don't fucking know. We don't fucking know because there is no fucking evidence. The 813 date isn't evidence, for anything, and anything else isn't evidence either. Gaulish went off the historical radar some time around the middle of the first millennium. Whether that means it actually went extinct at that time, or whether it held out in some unrecorded corners for one, two, three, four centuries, there is simply no way of knowing. Fut.Perf. 21:21, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
We know from one of the letters written by Sidonius Apollinaris to his brother-in-law Ecidicus c. 474 AD (Epistulae, III.3) that the Gaulish nobility had finally abandoned Gaulish for Latin around the middle of the 5th century (Sidonius attributes this to the work of Ecidicius, himself). As to when the peasants abandoned the language, this is hard to say (most peasants weren't literate, so they would not have left any inscriptions around for us to find). Most scholars suggest Gaulish was dead by the 5th, but there is evidence that at least some knowledge of the language survived a bit longer among the literate classes.Cagwinn (talk) 21:35, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Sidonius and sermo[edit]

I just wanted to point out that the Sidonius passage is about Celtic sermo, not lingua. This is not a hard and fast distinction, but by classicists attentive to Latin usage, it's usually taken to mean that the young nobles wanted to shed their Gallic provincial accent (their manner of speaking, not a language as such). It's not that Gauls of the bishop's social class would've been speaking Celtic as their native language (lingua) in boyhood during the late 5th century. On the usage of sermo, see for example J.N. Adams, The Regional Diversification of Latin 200 BC - AD 600[11], especially pp. 122, 174, 198–199 (where in a letter to Arbogastes, Sidonius is concerned about the survival of classical Latin as distinguished from vulgar Latin), and 241. The passage is presented in the article as if it's proof that Gaulish was a living language among the upper classes in the late 5th century. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:35, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

"Sermo" was also used of Celtic languages proper; for example, Tacitus when describing similarities between the Gauls and Britons: ""sermo haud multum diversus" ("the language is not much different"). Cagwinn (talk) 17:47, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
(ec) Thanks for sharing this observation. This of course beautifully illustrates the danger of Wikipedians relying on their own interpretation of primary sources. I notice that our quotation of that passage ostensibly refers to Stifter, a reliable secondary source, but Stifter in fact says himself that "This is a highly rhetorical, clichéed statement, which does not allow any inferences about the state of the language." [12]. Fut.Perf. 17:48, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
That's backwards reasoning, Cagwinn. One could also say that had Tacitus wanted to say lingua haud multum diversa, he would've. The author of the Dialogus in fact contrasts sermo, the manner of speaking one uses in conversation, with oratio, oratory.[13] When Latin authors mean to talk about languages in the linguistic sense, they use lingua. Tacitus was making observations about daily life, including how people spoke, so he used the word sermo; but of course in this passage he did mean that the Gauls and Britons had closely related languages, and it would be splitting hairs to argue otherwise. But that doesn't mean that sermo and lingua are or can be used interchangeably, or that the words have self-evident significance to the history of Gaulish without recourse to scholarship. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:27, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
"Backwards reasoning"??? Umm, excuse me??? That is a direct quote from Tacitus. The reasoning is his, not mine. Get in your time machine and take it up with him, not me. Also, see Lewis's second definition (with examples from primary sources) of sermo, "a language, the speech of a nation, etc.": http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=sermo&la=la&can=sermo0#lexicon Cagwinn (talk) 20:11, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Then with equal courtesy I would suggest that if you're going to do original research you should trade in your elementary Lewis for a real Latin dictionary, because that is certainly not the case in the OLD nor even the "big" Lewis & Short. You're arguing that sermo must mean "language" here (in the usual sense of lingua) because Tacitus says the sermo of the Gauls and Britons hardly differ, and we know that both spoke Celtic languages. To me that's backwards because the meaning of sermo isn't determined by what we know about the language of the Britons and Gauls; it's determined by Tacitean usage of sermo. Tacitus didn't choose to say lingua; he said sermo, which has a different shade of meaning.[14] I don't want to play "my dictionary is bigger than yours," but the OLD (and L&S) makes the distinction between lingua and sermo quite clear. The first six OLD definitions of sermo are variations on "speech, conversation, dialogue". The seventh and penultimate, with examples from Tacitus, is "the speech of a particular group, period, etc., a language, dialect": a spoken language and particularly in the context of Tacitus's sentence the everyday speech of the people. In the given sentence, I believe it's correct to think that in this passage there's only a negligible difference between "language" (lingua) and "language as used for conversation" or "the way a particular people speak" (sermo). It would be special pleading to argue that Tacitus means that Britons and Gauls spoke Latin sermone haud diverso, that is, with a similar accent or speech characteristics. That would be a minority viewpoint. But while the distinction between sermo and lingua is hardly discernible in this and some similar examples, sermo always refers to the way people speak or express themselves, not necessarily to a linguistically distinct language as lingua typically does. Interpreting Sidonius's passage requires all kinds of context about the Gallic aristocracy and their education, and his own self-conscious classicizing and nostalgia for standards of Latinity. Its meaning can't be regarded as self-evident and requires secondary scholarship. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:55, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Wow, you really have an amazing ability to read into other people's words that which they did not say!! It's almost alchemical! Somehow you magically manage to turn my comment "Sermo was also used of Celtic languages proper" into I am "arguing that sermo must mean 'language' here". Take a deep breath. Clean your glasses off. Re-read what I actually wrote, not what you wish I had written, so that you could argue with me. Cagwinn (talk) 02:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
It's entirely possible that I'm missing your point in the ad hominem fog. You seemed to be responding that since Tacitus uses sermo in a passage to observe that the spoken language of the Gauls and Britons in everyday life was more or less the same, then when Sidonius uses sermo, it's OK to take it to mean "language" in the sense of lingua. There's no special meaning of sermo in reference to Celtic. The context in Sidonius is the acquisition of eloquence, where sermo has a well-established meaning. The interpretation of the passage is askew: the youth didn't give up Gaulish in favor of "eloquent Latin"; they learned to speak "correct" Latin, without a trace of their Celtic speech, so they could master oratorical style. At any rate, Future Perfect at Sunrise said what needed to be said. Although the list of passages seems taken from Stifter, they're put forth breathlessly as evidence, without his skepticism and cautious contextualizing. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:47, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Wow...OK, let me spell it out for you as simply as I can: sermo sometimes means "manner of speaking/mode of expression/style/diction", other times it means the language of a people - Celtic, Greek, Latin, etc. I have given you an example from Tacitus; here is one from Cicero de, Or. 3, 11, 42: “quae philosophi Graeco sermone tractavissent, ea Latinis litteris mandaremus,”. It can also refer to expressions in other languages, or even single words, as in Cassiodorus, Exp. in Psa. 21, 1: "δέος sermo Graecus". Cagwinn (talk) 16:23, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Aulus Gellius[edit]

That passage is OR. It's given as proof that Gellius thought Gaulish was still spoken in Cisalpina. In fact, the point of the anecdote is precisely what we mean when we say "it's all Greek to me". Read the translation:

“This Roman knight”, he said, “eats apluda and drinks flocces.” All who were present looked at each other, first seriously and with an inquiring expression, wondering what the two words meant; thereupon, as if he might have said something in, I don’t know, Gaulish or Etruscan, all of them burst out laughing.

It's possible that the two languages are just meant to represent something irretrievably foreign; however, I don't think Etruscan is attested as written or spoken after the time of Claudius (mid-1st century), who was known for his antiquarian interest in things Etruscan. Linking Gaulish to the dead language doesn't necessarily mean that it too was dead rather than incomprehensible—but it certainly isn't evidence that Gellius considered it as in active use. Quite the contrary. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:49, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

To clarify, this passage is ambiguous without secondary sources. It may mean the equivalent to us at present saying as if he said something in Etruscan or Cantonese (one language extinct, the other heard as difficult and exotic; both incomprehensible to the listeners) or as if he said something in Etruscan or Hittite (both exotic and incomprehensible because extinct). The passage could just as well mean that Gellius thought (incorrectly) Gaulish was dead as a doornail. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:44, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi Cynwolfe. Interesting thoughts, thanks. The question is, do we expect Gaulish and Etruscan to be dead or alive in AD 180 if Aulus Gellius used them the sense of "It is gibberish/Greek to me". Here a look at the wikipage Greek to me is instructive: among modern languages worldwide, I count 45 instances where "gibberish" is a living language (often Chinese), and 12 instances where gibberish is a dead language (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin). It follows that in AD 180, Gaulish and Etruscan are alive with about 80 percent certainty (45/57). So indicative, but not statistically significant, alas... Shylock--
Ha, I can tweak the statistics further in favor of Gaulish and Etruscan survival in AD 180, as follows: Of the 57 gibberish languages, all but one (Ostrogoth, arguably) is known, by the users of the phrase, to be understand at least by someone else (by scholars/clergymen, in the case of Greek, Aramaic etc). So statistically, the probability is nearly 100 percent that Aulus Gellius thought that Etruscan and Gaulish were understood by someone, at least by scholars of his day. Taking this further, yes, there was certainly scholarly interest in Etruscan 2000 years ago. But ancient scholars interested in Gaulish? Never heard of them. So that leaves native Gaulish speakers alive in AD 180. But we knew that already from the AD228 reference. Shylock--86.154.102.82 (talk) 10:09, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but my point is that the significance of the Aulus Gellius reference is not self-evident in determining whether Gaulish was still spoken. Its interpretation requires secondary sources. The joke is that the languages are obscure and not commonly understood among the Latin speakers present. There's no clear implication as to whether they're still in common everyday use or have become extinct. I'm also not sure why on the basis of this passage "North Italy" is specified. That seems like a big leap, and one that requires references. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:32, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree in principle, but in this case the "North Italy?" comes with a query to warn the reader that we do not know which Gaulish (cis or transalpine or whatever) Aulus Gellius had in mind. So rather than stating it is North Italian Gaulish, the wiki article warns the reader of our modern ignorance. This is also true further up regarding Sidonius Apollinaris: in the introductory paragraph for the "Roman period" section, the reader is warned that we do not know with certainty what the ancient authors meant when they used the terms Gaulish, Celtic etc. Anyway, I plan to look up some more references and hope to improve matters. Shylock--131.111.222.98 (talk) 13:48, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I think you may be unduly confounding Roman geographical and administrative divisions with the question of language distribution. But I don't see how this passage from Gellius has to do with any of that. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Marcellus of Bordeaux[edit]

Oddly, Marcellus of Bordeaux is absent in the list of Latin authors as evidence for the survival of Gaulish. See Adams, Bilingualism and the Latin Language, p. 192. Marcellus offers Gaulish vocabulary items, which apparently he regarded as useful for preserving "knowledge traditions", if you will, such as medicine and magic. He seems to have thought some of his readers would still be familiar with or be interested in the Gaulish names of plants and such. Marcellus's article regrettably lacks a section on his significance as a source for Gaulish. Again, this is the kind of evidence that easy to overinterpret on the basis of wishful thinking.

I see that this article has been controversial of late, so I'll leave my suggestions at that, and wish not to wade in further. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:00, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Use in popular culture[edit]

Do you find it worth mentioning somewhere in the article that the Swiss metal band Eluveitie uses reconstructed Gaulish in many of their songs? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.23.164.78 (talk) 20:33, 21 October 2014 (UTC)