Celtic Languages

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INTRODUCTION

INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES

An Indo-European language is family of languages with the greatest number of speakers, spoken in most of the Europe and areas of the European settlement and in much of southwestern and southern Asia. They hey are descendent from a single unrecorded language believed to be spoken more than 5000 years ago, and have to split into a number of dialects by 3000 BC. Carried by migrating tribes to Europe and Asia, these developed over times into separate languages. Suggestions of similarities between Indian and European languages began to be made by European visitors to India in the sixteenth century. In 1583 Thomas Stephens an English Jesuit missionary, noted similarities between Indian languages and Greek and Latin. In 1585 Fillipo Sassetti, a Florentine merchant who traveled to Indian subcontinent and was among the first European observers to study Sanskrit, noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian. Unfortunately neither Stephens’ nor Sassetti’s observations led to any further scholarly inquiry. In 1647 Dutch Markus Zeurius Von Boxhorn noted the similarity among the Indo-European languages, and supposed the existence of a primitive common language. The study of Indo-European began in 1786 with Sir William Jones’s proposal that Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and Persian were all derived from a “common source”. In the 19th century linguists added other languages to the Indo-European family. Porto-Indo-European is hypothetical mother-tongue of all the Indo-European languages. Porto-Indo-European (PIE) has been partially reconstructed via identification of roots common to its descendants and analysis of shared grammatical patterns. The vocabulary of PIE allows anthropologists to make a pretty educated guess as to the homeland of the Indo-Europeans somewhere in Southwest Asia, perhaps on the steppes of Volga. Indo-European is divided into two groups, a Western group characterized by the retention of initial k- in the word for “hundred” (e.g. Latin CENTUM) and Eastern group in which this k- has been assibilated to s-, š- or s’- (e.g. Arestan SATEM). At close of 19th century these two groups were divided into: (A) CENTUM 1. INDO-IRANIAN a)INDIC b) IRANIAN 2. ARMENIAN

3. ALBANIAN
4. BALTO-SLAVIC a) BALTIC b) SLAVIC (B) SATEM 1. GERMANIC
2. ITALIC
3. CELTIC
4. GREEK
During the firs decade of the 20th century, unexpected archaeological discoveries in Asia revealed two additional branches of IE, HITTITE and TOCHARIAN, which are both centum languages.

CELTIC LANGUAGE

Celtic languages are a subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. During the Hellenistic period, Celtic speech extended in a broad swath from south-western Iberia (Spain), through Gaul (France) and Alpine region, into the Middle Danube. One group of Celtic settlers, the Galatians, introduced Celtic into central Asia Minor where it was recognizable in the 4th century AD. During the period from c. 450 to 200 BC migrations began into the Mediterranean and East Europe zones. Up to the 200 BC the transformation of the Celtic world was gradual and uneven. In the century and a half that followed, the Celtic communities of continental Europe were completely overrun from a rapid escalation in the Roman desire for empire, from Germanic pressures from the Nordic zone, and from Dacian and Sarmatian pressures from the east European zone. By 400 AD the surviving Celtic languages were mainly limited to the areas of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall...
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