Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Celtic influence on Old English: phonological and phonetic evidence

  • PETER SCHRIJVER (a1)
Abstract

It has generally been assumed that Celtic linguistic influence on Old English is limited to a few marginal loanwords. If a language shift had taken place from Celtic to Old English, however, one would expect to find traces of that in Old English phonology and (morpho)syntax. In this article I argue that (1) the way in which the West Germanic sound system was reshaped in Old English strongly suggests the operation of a hitherto unrecognized substratum; (2) that phonetic substratum is strongly reminiscent of Irish rather than British Celtic; (3) the Old Irish phonetic−phonological system provides a more plausible model for reconstructing the phonetics of pre-Roman Celtic in Britain than the British Celtic system. The conclusion is that there is phonetic continuity between pre-Roman British Celtic and Old English, which suggests the presence of a pre-Anglo-Saxon population shifting to Old English.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Bird Barbara. 1997. Past and present studies of Hebridean English phonology. In Tristram Hildegard (ed.), The Celtic Englishes, 287300. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter.
Borgstrøm Carl. 1974. On the influence of Norse on Scottish Gaelic. Lochlann 6, 91103.
Campbell Alistair. 1968. Old English grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Daunt Marjorie. 1939. Old English sound changes reconsidered in relation to scribal tradition and practice. Transactions of the Philological Society, 108–37.
Filppula Markku, Klemola Juhani & Pitkänen Heli (eds.). 2002. The Celtic roots of English. Joensuu: University of Joensuu, Faculty of Humanities.
Forsyth Katherine. 1997. Language in Pictland. Utrecht: de Keltische Draak.
Greene David. 1973. The growth of palatalization in Irish. Transactions of the Philological Society, 127–36.
Greene David. 1976. The diphthongs of Old Irish. Ériu 27, 2645.
Hogg Richard M. 1992. A grammar of Old English, vol. 1: Phonology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Higham Nicholas (ed.). 2007. Britons in Anglo-Saxon England. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer.
Isaac Graham R. 2003. Some Old-Irish etymologies, and some conclusions drawn from them. Ériu 53, 151–5.
Jackson Kenneth. 1953. Language and history in early Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Jackson Kenneth. 1955. The Pictish language. In Wainwright Frederick (ed.), The problem of the Picts, 129–66. Edinburgh: Nelson.
Kastovsky Dieter. 1992. Semantics and vocabulary. In Hogg Richard (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. II: The beginnings to 1066, 290408. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Laker Stephen. 2002. An explanation for the changes kw-, hw- > χw- in the English dialects. In Filppula et al. (eds.), 183–98.
McCone Kim. 1996. Towards a relative chronology of ancient and medieval Celtic sound change. Maynooth: Department of Old and Middle Irish, St Patrick's College.
Nielsen Hans F. 1985. Old English and the continental Germanic languages. Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft.
Raftery Barry. 1994. Pagan Celtic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson.
Sammallahti Pekka. 1984. New developments in Inari Lappish phonology. In Hajdú Péter & Honti László (eds.), Studien zur phonologischen Beschreibung uralischer Sprachen, 303–10. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
Schrijver Peter. 1995. Studies in British Celtic historical phonology. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi.
Schrijver Peter. 1999. The Celtic contribution to the development of the North Sea Germanic vowel system, with special reference to Coastal Dutch. NOWELE 35, 347.
Schrijver Peter. 2000. Non-Indo-European surviving in Ireland in the first millennium AD. Ériu 51, 95–9.
Schrijver Peter. 2002. The rise and fall of British Latin: Evidence from English and Brittonic. In Filppula et al. (eds.), 87–110.
Schrijver Peter. 2005a. Early Celtic diphthongization and the Celtic-Latin interface. In de Hoz J., Luján E. & Sims-Williams P. (eds.), New approaches to Celtic place-names in Ptolemy's Geography, 5567. Madrid: Ediciones Clásicas.
Schrijver Peter. 2005b. More on non-Indo-European surviving in Ireland in the first millennium AD. Ériu 55, 137–44.
Schrijver Peter. 2007. What Britons spoke around 400 AD. In Higham (ed.), 165–71.
Thurneysen Rudolf. 1946. A grammar of Old Irish. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
Woolf Alex. 2007. Apartheid and economics in Anglo-Saxon England. In Higham (ed.), 115–29.
Wright Joseph. 1925. Old English grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Language & Linguistics
  • ISSN: 1360-6743
  • EISSN: 1469-4379
  • URL: /core/journals/english-language-and-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 115 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 492 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.