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Scots language history

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  • Scots language history

    Cumbric and English were minority languages in the kingdom of the Scots/Gaels and confined to the Clyde valley and Lothian by the 11th century. The Scots language was Gaelic at this time as it was the language of the Scots (lingua Scottorum) who had founded the Scots kindom. Furthermore, Pictish and Gaelic may have been a lot more fluid than is often assumed as they along with Cumbric had all been one language a few centuries earlier and this Common Celtic had been spoken across Britain and Ireland at the time when the Romans arrived. Peter Schrijver believes it is this Roman presence which accounts for the rapid changes in both Goidelic and Brythonic which took place between the fifth and seventh centuries and that before then, they had been a dialect continuum, which may explain how Argyle has been autochtonous from Ireland and yet Gaelic at a time before the Gaels/Scots brought their version of Celtic Eastwards across Northern Britain and arguibly back engineered Pictish dialects to a common language that had been the case in the first century ce.On pages 79 to 80 of his book "Language Contact and the Origins of the Germanic Languages", Professor Peter Schrijver writes: " The closest cognate of Irish is British Celtic, or rather Highland British Celtic, the ancestor of Welsh, Cornish, and Breton that was spoken in the west and north of Britain. Although on the face of it the Old Irish of the seventh century and Old Welsh and Breton of the eighth century look very different from one another, almost all of the differences between them had arisen in a relatively short period between the fifth and seventh centuries AD, when masses of sound changes affected both languages. In fact, during the Roman period Irish and British Celtic must have been so similar that Celtic speakers on either side of the Irish Sea had little difficulty in understanding one another’s language. The earliest datable linguistic development that was not shared between Irish and British is the development of the Proto-Celtic diphthong * ai to * ɛ̄ (as in English bed but long), which affected British Celtic but not Irish, probably at some point during the later first century AD at the earliest. Before this happened, Irish and British Celtic were not just mutually comprehensible dialects; they were indistinguishable from one another."

  • #2
    confined to the Clyde valley
    Please refer to it by its proper Scots names, Strathclyde or Clydesdale, not the anglified version.


    (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
    "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

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    • #3
      I was using the terminology of Professor Peter Schrijver. I assume he wanted to make clear to his readership that it was the valley of the river Clyde and thought that a more useful way of describing the area in case they weren't local and didn't know the other names.

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      • #4
        Wow, so the Clyde Valley Stompers did their jazz repertoire in Cumbric ? Cool !

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        • #5
          I was using the terminology of Professor Peter Schrijver.
          Then tell him to stop using anglified nomenclature! We've got so called Tweed Valley now, Spey Valley, Tay Valley etc - these are not the proper Scottish names of these places in any of our three languages. It's another example of the creeping destruction of our culture... now it's got to the very simplest levels.

          'S ann an Utrecht a tha Maighstir Schrijver a nis. Chan eil an leisgeul sin againne.


          (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
          "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

          Comment


          • #6
            I wonder how much thought he put into the nomenclature. I would guess very little because it wasn't written to promote Scotland particularly. It was written however, to demonstrate that the Celtic languages are likely to have been one single language at the time before there were any such people as the ones now known as the Picts or any divergence between Welsh and Goidelic. What this means is that Gaelic is a descendant of the same language spoken in what is now Scotland prior to the emergence of a Pictish people or the Britons to their South and that it may never have been an altogether foreign language to any speakers as we know very little of the differences in structure between spoken dialects of Pictish or even the Cumbric language that is presumed to have been a form of early Welsh. He argues that the majority of the developments that turned Welsh and Irish into entirely distinct languages occurred in a brief period between the fifth and seventh centuries and this is what caught my attention more than what he calls Clydesdale.

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