Showing posts with label Gaelic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gaelic. Show all posts

13 March 2014


Published, edited, formatted, any annotations (in red) & images added by Kenneth S. Doig

In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language-family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others. 

These are usually considered to be innovations, which are likely to have developed after the breakup of Proto-Indo-European or PIE.

It is also possible that some of these are not innovations, but shared

30 December 2013

Celtic polytheism

File:Detail of antlered figure on the Gundestrup Cauldron.jpg
Published, edited, annotated (in red) & images added by Kenneth S. Doig

Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, comprises the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron-Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BC and 500 AD, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman-era, and in the case of the Insular-Celts the British and Irish Iron-Age.

Celtic polytheism was one of a larger group of Iron Age polytheistic religions of the Indo-European

27 July 2012

Etymologies of British placenames (England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Mann)

Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotated (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig



Key to languages: Bry. Brythonic; C - Cumbric; K - Cornish; I - Irish; L - Latin; ME - Middle English; NF - Norman French; OE - Old English; ON - Old Norse; P - Pictish; SG -Scots Gaelic; W - Welsh

Term Origin Meaning Example Position Comments
aber C, W, P, K mouth (of a river), confluence, a meeting of waters Aberystwyth, Aberdyfi,Aberdeen, Aberuthven prefix
ac, acc, ock OE ác acorn, or oak tree Accrington, Acomb,Acton, Matlock


Ancient Ireland

A collection of findings from Archaeology, Geology and other scientific endeavor.

The following table is meant only as a general guide to some of the early Irish epochs

The Old-Stone-Age (Palaeolithic): Long ago to 8500-7500 BC

The Middle-Stone-Age (Mesolithic): 8500-7500 to 4000-3500 BC
The New-Stone-Age (Neolithic): 4000-3500 to 2500-2000 BC
The Early Bronze-Age: 2500-2000 to 1300-1200 BC
The Late Bronze-Age: 1300-1200 to 700-500 BC
The Dark-Age: 700-500 BC to 200-150 BC
The Iron-Age: 200-150 BC to 450-500 AD
The early Christian period: 450-500 AD to 800 AD
The Viking Age: 800 to 1075 AD
Medieval: 1075 to 1550 AD
Please note that dates given here are estimates based on current opinion and evidence, and are subject to change. The convention used on this page is to indicate radiocarbon dates in lower case letters (bc), versus the use of upper case letters (BC) for alternate dating estimates.

The Ice-Ages

Caught in the ebb and flow of the last Ice-Ages over the last 2-million years, Ireland was at various times largely glaciated and completely land-locked as a part of the continent of Europe. 
Ireland was an island about 125,000 years ago when the sea-level appears to have been very close to its present position.

16 July 2012

Scotti, Scottas, Dalriata, Gaels, Picts & Eire

C. 550 AD

Scoti or Scotti was the generic name used by the Romans to describe those who sailed from Ireland to conduct raids on Roman Britain. It was thus synonymous with the modern term Gaels

In the 5th century, these raiders established the kingdom of Dál Riata along the west coast of Scotland. 

As this kingdom expanded in size and influence, the name was applied to all its subjects – hence the modern terms Scot, Scottish and Scotland.

The origin of the word Scoti or Scotti is uncertain. Charles Oman derives it from the Gaelic word Scuit (a man cut-off), suggesting that a Scuit was not a general word for the Gael but a band of outcast raiders. 

In the 19th century Aonghas MacCoinnich of Glasgow proposed that Scoti was derived from the Gaelic word Sgaothaich. It has also been suggested that it comes from the Greek word skotos (σκότος) meaning darkness.

Scotland takes its name from Scotus which in Latin translates into Irishman (masculine form of Scoti).

15 December 2011


                                                   Ogham Stone Rathass Church Tralee Kerry.jpg

The Ogham is an Early-Medieval alphabet used primarily to write the Old-Irish language, and occasionally the Brythonic language. Ogham is sometimes called the "Celtic Tree-Alphabet", based on a High-Medieval Bríatharogam tradition ascribing names of trees to the individual

06 December 2011




C. 100 AD
Elementary Course of Gaelic

A Junior Gaelic Grammar
by Duncan Reid

Rearranged and enlarged by
Norman MacLeod, M.A.
(Gaelic master, the Glasgow High School)
Published by An Comunn Gaidhealach
Fourth Edition 1931 (first edition 1913) (websource)

7. The article: Nouns with initial B, P, F, M

Two groups: (A) Masculines; (B) Feminines




Manx (native name Gaelg or Gailck, pronounced [ɡilk] or [ɡilɡ]), also known as Manx Gaelic, and as the Manks language, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, historically spoken by the Manx people. Only a small minority of the Isle of Man's population is fluent in the language, but a larger minority has some knowledge of it. It is widely considered to be an important part of the Island's culture and heritage. 
The last native speaker,Ned Maddrell, died in 1974. However in recent years the language has been the subject of revival efforts. Mooinjer Veggey [muɲdʒer veɣə], a Manx mediumplaygroup, was succeeded by the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh [bʊn-skolʲ ɣɪlɡax], a primary school for 4- to 11-year-olds in St John's. In recent years, despite the small number of speakers, the language has become more visible on the island, with increased signage and radio broadcasts. The revival of Manx has been aided by the fact that the language was well recorded: for example the Bible was translated into Manx, and a number of audio recordings were made of native speakers.(Wikipedia) 


PUBLISHED BY KENNETH S. DOIG ("Kenneth" is originally from Irish-Gaelic (The name Kenneth derives from the Gaelic “Cinaed” or “Cionaed” meaning “born of fire” or “Coinneach” or “Caoineach” meaning “comely” or “handsome.” From there, it became the Scottish “Kenneth.” Kenneth I MacAlpin was the first king of Scotland in the 9th century. The name has been popular in Scotland ever since. Two other rulers of Scotland have borne the name. [wiki]
 'Kenneth' is common in both Eire and Scotland. Doig is a uniquely Scottish-Gaelic surname. It is one of the few Gaelic [usually partially or completely Anglicized, surnames that is NOT shared by both the Irish and the Scots as the name did not come into existence until after the Dalriatic Scots [Gaels or Goidelic Celts] from Ireland had settled in modern-day Scotland) 


(Gaelic: Not to be confused with Scots [Scots is a Germanic language based on Northern Old-English] language or Scottish-English. [Scottish-English "SE" is essentially standard-UK English with a Scottish accent with quite a few dialectal terms, idiomatic differences, etc. SE is mutually intelligible with London, Australian, American English while Scots is NOT! Gaelic belongs to an entirely different branch [Celtic] of the same Indo-European [IE] language-phylum to which the Germanic branch e.g., English, Scots, Norse, Swedish, German, Dutch, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, etc., belong. While English would be a sibling to Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, German, etc., Celtic, e.g., Welsh or Gaelic would be like third-cousins.

 You [with no linguistic training whatsoever] would recognized  immediately that any [written] Germanic language is related to English and you would understand 100s if not 1000s of words. Not so with modern insular [British Isles & Brittany] Celtic. Even I as a trained expert have a very difficult time seeing the relationships of many cognates. Modern Celtic's structure, word-order, everything is so untypically IE. 

But if you were to look at ancient Gaulish Celtic, it would be much more recognizable, especially if you've studied Latin. Gaelic, for me, is unlearnable beyond a few phrases and words. I believe the easiest language for a native English-speaker to learn is Swedish, then Norwegian, hands down! K.Doig)

Scottish-Gaelic (Scottish Gaelic: Gàidhlig)is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish (or Irish-Gaelic) and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish.

The 2001 UK Census showed that a total of 58,652 (1.2% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) in Scotland had some Gaelic ability at that time, with the Outer Hebrides being the main

16 August 2011

Published by Kenneth S. Doig

Among the ancient European peoples were the warlike Celts--muscular, light-haired wanderers who probably came from the distant steppes beyond the Caspian Sea. By 500 BC they were living in northeastern France, southwestern Germany, and Bohemia. The Celts, who were also called Gauls, continued to migrate in all directions.

About 400 BC Celtic tribes crossed the Swiss Alps into northern Italy. After capturing the fertile Po Valley region, they laid siege to Rome. At the same time other groups of Celts pushed down into France and Spain, eastward to Asia Minor, and westward to the British Isles. To what is now France they gave the ancient name of Gaul.
In Asia Minor they founded the kingdom of Galatia. St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians in the New Testament is addressed to the descendants of these Celts. In Britain, Celtic warriors overran and conquered the islands.

The Celts were a member of an early Indo-European people who from the 2nd millennium BC to the 1st century BC spread over much of Europe. Their tribes and groups eventually ranged from the British Isles and northern Spain to as far east as Transylvania, the Black Sea coasts, and Galatia in Anatolia and were in part absorbed into the Roman Empire as Britons, Gauls, Boii, Galatians, and Celtiberians. Linguistically they survive in the modern Celtic speakers of Ireland, Highland Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, and Brittany.

The oldest archaeological evidence of the Celts comes from Hallstatt, Austria, near Salzburg. Excavated graves of

14 August 2011


Published by Kenneth S. Doig

Major Northumbrian dialects are Geordie, Mackem, Pitmatic, Tyke and Scouse. Due to the roots of Northumbrian dialects, it is often said that visitors from Scandinavian countries often find it much easier to understand the English of Northumbria than the rest of the country. Apart from standard English, Northumbria has a series of closely related but distinctive dialects, descended from the early Germanic languages of the Angles and Vikings, and of the Celtic Romano-British tribes. In the ninth century, Scots in the southwest they were speaking Cumbric (a Brythonic language closely related to Welsh), in the southeast they were speaking Old English, in the northeast they were speaking Pictish, in the far north they were speaking Norse, and in the west they were speaking Gaelic.

Shetlandic has been described as 'English taught by Lowlanders to Norwegians. Shetlandic is not sufficiently typical as a dialect of English to be useful in extrapolating earlier English pronunciations. modern Shetlandic is a language closely related to English, which was adopted from Mainland Scotland by Shetlanders who had hitherto spoken a form of Old Norse. Norn words were first collected and a dictionary compiled as once the way of life changed and the objects themselves fell out of fashion, it was inevitable that their names were lost.

Gaelic replaced Norn entirely in the Western Isles. Norn died when is unknown to stipulation, both in Orkney and Shetland, was because the Northern Isles became more and more orientated towards Scotland. The Norn here shows interesting parallels with Faroese. Both the accent and a large part of the vocabulary make it a unique tongue. Shetland accent and a gradual decline of the characteristic Shetland vocabulary certainly continues throughout Shetland as they speak a language which could be written as standard English without any misrepresentation of grammar, phonology or vocabulary. Shetlandic in Lerwick is that children of Shetlandic-speaking parents, both of whom always speak Shetlandic to their children, may nevertheless speak English. Norn may have lived in Orkney and Shetland when the Northern Isles became more oriented towards Scotland by the seventeenth century. Reading into its rise or decline would be as though to read an Ogham script and not the letters.

The Pentland Skerries lie further south, close to the Scottish mainland. The name Pentland Firth can be read as meaning Pictland Fjord. The Romans were aware of the Orkney Islands, which they called "Orcades". There that they traded, either directly or indirectly, with the inhabitants. However, they made no attempt to occupy the islands. Across the Pentland Firth ferries link Caithness with Orkney but has a land boundary with Sutherland. In the wake of the Scots incursionists, followed the Celtic missionaries about 565. They were companions of Saint Columba and their efforts to convert the folk to Christianity seem to have impressed the popular imagination, for several islands bear the epithet "Papa" in commemoration of the preachers. 

The largest island in Orkney is known as The Mainland. Other islands can be classified as north or south of The Mainland. The islands north of The Mainland are known collectively as The North Isles, those to the south as The South Isles. During the later part of Shetland’s Pictish history, other Celtic peoples came to Shetland; Irish monks, who brought the Christian gospels to the islands. They spoke a different branch of Celtic, namely Gaelic, a language would have beeen readily understood by native Shetlanders.

02 August 2011


Wealisc Ós, dæs nama ic ne wát

Published by Kenneth S. Doig

Gaelic Literature

Gaelic Literature, literature, both oral and written, in the Gaelic languages of Ireland and Scotland. Before the development of a distinct Scottish Gaelic language in the 15th century, the literature of both countries may be considered as one.

Early Period

The earliest pre-Christian writings in Ireland are tombstone inscriptions in the ogham alphabet, which date from the 5th to the 8th century. 
The earliest Christian writings survive in a few manuscripts of the 7th through the 10th century-for example, some material on the life of Saint Patrick included in the 9th-century illuminated gospels The Book of Armagh. The scarcity of literary works until the 11th century is the result of the Norse invasions of Ireland in the 8th century and the sacking of the monasteries, the centers of learning. While some manuscripts were preserved on the European continent by scholars fleeing the invaders, most of the literary works composed in this period survive, in fragments, in much later manuscripts.

A characteristic form was the praise poetry composed by a professional class of bards, the filidh, in honor of their kings and chieftains. Freer, more personal poetry was written by anonymous poets, such as the one who addressed his white cat, or the writer who composed The Old Woman of Beare (9th century), an expression of longing for the pagan past. In the form of a dramatic monologue, it is one of the earliest examples of a genre popular in Gaelic poetry. The hermit monks of the early Irish church, living on intimate terms with their environment, established the tradition of nature poetry that is one of the glories of Irish and, later, Scottish Gaelic verse. Some fine examples of this genre are from the 8th century.


Scýttiscu héahland, Glencoe

Published by K.S.Doig


Irish, or Irish Gaelic, is the oldest of the Goidelic group of Celtic languages.
Ancient written examples exist in the ogham inscriptions, on about 370 gravestones scattered through southwestern Ireland and Wales. Dating from the 5th to the 8th century, the inscriptions consist almost entirely of proper names. Irish can be grouped into four periods: Old (circa 800-1000 CE), Early or Early Middle (1200-1500 CE), Middle (1200-1500 CE), and Modern (from 1500 CE). Originally a highly inflected language, Irish retains essentially two noun cases, nominative and genitive, with the dative surviving in the singular of feminine nouns; the language has only two verb tenses in the indicative mood. It is chiefly spoken in the western and southwestern parts of the Republic of Ireland, where it is an official language, and to some extent in Northern Ireland. In the past century, the number of Irish-speaking persons has declined from 50 percent of the population of Ireland to less than 20 percent.

Scottish Gaelic

A form of Gaelic was brought to Scotland by Irish invaders about the 5th century, where it replaced an older Brythonic language. By the 15th century, with the accretion of Norse and English loanwords, the Scottish branch differed significantly enough from the Irish to warrant definition as a separate language.
The alphabet of Irish and Scottish Gaelic is identical, consisting of 18 letters. Scottish Gaelic employs four cases of nouns: nominative, genitive, dative, and vocative. Like Irish, the accent is on the initial syllable.
Scottish Gaelic exists in two main dialects, Northern and Southern, roughly geographically determined by a line up the Firth of Lorne to the town of Ballachulish and then across to the Grampian Mountains, which it follows. The Southern dialect is more akin to Irish than is the Northern, and is more inflected. The main difference is the change of the é sound, which is eu in Northern dialect and ia in Southern. Thus, the word for "grass" is pronounced feur in Northern and fiar in Southern. Scottish Gaelic also has a few thousand speakers in Nova Scotia.


The language of the Isle of Man is classed as a dialect of Scottish Gaelic, with strong Norse influence. It began to decline in the 19th century, and in the early 20th century it became virtually extinct. The first written records are of the 17th century, and Manx literature, apart from ballads and carols, is negligible.

31 July 2011

Published by Kenneth S. Doig

1 Introduction
1.1 Northern and southern Irish English
1.2 Forth and Bargy
1.3 Archaic and/or regional words in Irish English
2 Irish loans in present-day Irish English
3 Irish loans in English outside of Ireland
3.1 Scottish Gaelic or Irish as source
3.2 Irish and international usage
3.3 Irish names in English
4 Studies of the Irish English lexicon
4.1 Folk linguistics and the Irish English lexicon

by R. Hickey Phd, Dr. habil

1 Introduction
Any treatment of the lexicon of Irish English, however brief, must begin with a basic
distinction between lexical items which are retentions from the varieties of English
brought to Ireland and those which can credibly be regarded as borrowings from Irish,
the Celtic language which was formerly the native one of the majority of the population.
The settlement of the country started in the late 12th century and continued in particular in
the period of more intensive plantation of both the north and the south which set in, for
the north from the Scottish lowlands, at the beginning of the 17th century and quite
intensively for the south from the west and north-west of England towards the middle of
that century, particularly as a consequence of the Cromwellian campaigns.

1.1 Northern and southern Irish English
The foundations for the linguistic distinction within Irish English on a north-south axis
were laid with the large-scale settlement of the north-east corner of the country (more or
less coterminous with the province of Ulster) at the beginning of the 16th century. Since
then there has been a distinctive Scots element in the more conservative forms of Ulster
English. This is known as Ulster Scots (occasionally as Ullans - also the name of a
journal - in analogy to Lallans for Lowland Scots). Much research has been carried out
on the lexicon of this variety with concentration on traditional rural terminology, see
Adams (1978) Braidwood (1969) and Fenton (2001 [1995]); for lexical information on
Donegal (Ulster, but outside Northern Ireland) see Traynor (1953).
Raymond Hickey English in Ireland Page 2 of 7

1.2 Forth and Bargy
Among the earliest sources of material on Irish English are glossaries on the dialect of
two baronies in the south-east corner of the country (Forth and Bargy - read: /bargi/ - in
present-day south Wexford) where a survival of English from the period of initial
settlement in the late Middle Ages was to be found. An antiquarian interest in this variety
had existed for some time when Captain Charles Vallancey compiled a list of words in
1788. This was supplemented later by a Protestant minister Jacob Poole whose glossary
was edited in 1867 by the Dorset poet William Barnes. The dialect died out at the
beginning of the 19th century and has no reflex among the varieties of current Irish
English so that its value is slight for contemporary studies. Among the lexical influences
which Forth and Bargy showed are Irish and, to a much lesser extent, Flemish (stemming
from a Flemish contingent among the original settlers of Ireland from Wales in the late
12th century).

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