Miraz
Miraz

The whole article is really interesting — Of melting pots and mongrel languages:

If a few soldiers, 958 years ago, had shown a bit more self-restraint, we’d all be speaking a different English. We wouldn’t, for example, know the word different. Or example.

The soldiers were English, but they spoke what we know as Anglo-Saxon. The Angles and Saxons … drove the native Britons off to the west and north, taking their Gaelic languages with them …. The territory that the raiders stole became Angle-Land, which in time became England. And thus Germans became the first English.

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In reply to
JohnBrady
JohnBrady

@Miraz I've often wondered what happened to the Celts/Gaels/Gauls. They once ranged from what's now Turkey (See St Paul's epistle to the Galatians), across Europe, to the British Isles; but they were steadily pushed to the margins from Roman times onward. Inferior military technology? Some aspect of social organization? I have no idea.

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annahavron
annahavron

@JohnBrady @Miraz I'm in the middle of this book about the Celtic world, which is pretty interesting.

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7robots
7robots

@annahavron this looks like a potentially interesting book. I’ve added it my list of books to read!

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chrisaldrich
chrisaldrich

@JohnBrady A lot of Celtic studies has changed significantly in the last 50 years or so. I remember during the pandemic enjoying Jennifer Paxton's overview that I got from the local library as I was starting to learn Welsh. Robert Harl has some interesting material on the interaction of the Celts with Rome during the Republic and into the Empire. Off and on since then I've been enjoying dipping into Barry Cunliffe's The Ancient Celts (Oxford University Press, 2018) which covers things from an archaeology perspective.

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writingslowly
writingslowly

@Miraz I really like the way English lets you speak ‘sort-of-Latin’ or ‘sort-of-Anglo-Saxon’. If you’re speaking the first you sound more educated, while speaking the second makes it sound like you’re keeping it real. That’s totally a legacy of the history described in the article.

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writingslowly
writingslowly

@chrisaldrich @JohnBrady @Miraz The meaning of ‘Celtic’ has certainly been a controversial question. The People of the British Isles Study (2015-) has confirmed significant long-standing genetic clustering in the UK. But that’s far from the whole answer. Meanwhile, we’re still here.

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Miraz
Miraz

@writingslowly Agreed. It's an interesting feature of the language.

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bradenslen
bradenslen

@JohnBrady @chrisaldrich You are right, the Celts seemed to be everywhere for a very long time: they sacked ancient Athens (if I remember right), they sacked Rome long before the Germanic tribes were even around. And of course, the Romans never forgave them for that.

What always struck me about the Celts is that they could never truly unify for very long even against an overwhelming threat like the Romans. Once in awhile they could come together under a warlord like Vercingetorix but it never lasted long. And this pattern repeats itself from Caesar's campaigns in Gaul to Medieval times of the Welsh vs. the Normans and later the English vs the Irish. Wales had many small kingdoms and principalities and Ireland had many kingdoms (with a temporary High King for emergencies) but neither could really unify.

So the Celts remained tribal throughout their long history and seemingly just as happy to war against each other as they were to fight non-Celtic neighbors. Anyway that's my sloppy, broad brush take on it.

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