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Similarities between Gaelic Languages - UniLang

Similarities between Gaelic Languages

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Ciarán12
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Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby Ciarán12 » 2012-03-30, 0:44

Hey,

I want to know what speakers of other Gaelic languages think about their sibling-languages. What do you guys think of Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx? Can you read the other languages? Understand them spoken even? How much mutual comprehension is there for you, and does it differ depending on your reference point? For example, I only speak rudimentary Irish really, but even with what I know I can decipher quite a bit of Scots Gaelic (when written). The spoken language is harder by far to understand, but that could be just because my Irish isn't good enough. Also, maybe if I knew Ulster Irish better I'd have a better reference point. Manx is pretty much impossible for me to read or understand spoken, but I've seen videos of a Manx speaker and an Irish speak (apparently) speaking their respective languages and holding a conversation with each other, so perhaps it's just my poor Irish. I was wondering if Irish is as accessible to a Scots Gaelic speaker as Scots Gaelic is for me, and what Scots Gaelic speakers make of Manx.
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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby ceid donn » 2012-05-18, 4:38

I can only understand and read basic phrases in Irish and Manx. A few fluent Gaelic speakers have told me they can understand words here and there in either language, but not enough to really converse with a Manx or Irish speaker. These three languages have evolved quite differently and so they really are their own languages.

I've seen videos of a Manx speaker and an Irish speak (apparently) speaking their respective languages and holding a conversation with each other


Gaelic in Scotland was heavily influenced by Old Norse and other regional languages, like Anglo-Norman French, Scots, Pictish and Norn, that did not influence Manx or Irish as much if at all. So it has elements that are very unique to it. I think the differences between Irish and Scottish Gaelic get oversimplified a lot.

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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby linguoboy » 2012-05-18, 12:51

nì eile wrote:Gaelic in Scotland was heavily influenced by Old Norse and other regional languages, like Anglo-Norman French, Scots, Pictish and Norn, that did not influence Manx or Irish as much if at all.

What influences do you see outside of a bit of borrowed vocabulary? (In particular, I wonder how one would go about identifying "Pictish" influence given we know so little about the language.) Irish was influenced by Old Norse as well--they founded Dublin, after all!--and Norman French loanwords are thick on the ground--seomra, buidéal, plúr, coláiste, garsún, etc.
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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby linguoboy » 2012-05-18, 14:36

ciaran1212 wrote:I want to know what speakers of other Gaelic languages think about their sibling-languages. What do you guys think of Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx? Can you read the other languages? Understand them spoken even? How much mutual comprehension is there for you, and does it differ depending on your reference point?

Spoken? Almost none. But then again, like you, I'm not so hot at understanding spoken Irish either. Depending on the level of discourse, I don't have much trouble reading Scottish Gaelic. A while ago I picked up a copy of Campbell's Tales of the Western Highlands and I didn't have much more difficulty reading that than I do reading childrens' stories in Irish. Reading Wikipedia articles is tougher, but still not that much more difficult than reading them in Irish.

Manx is a different story. I find the orthography absolutely impenetrable; even when I've been told exactly what a Manx text says, I have problems seeing the connexion. And I'm sure my starting point makes a difference: Munster is the most geographically distant dialect from both Manx and Scottish Gaelic (though there are some surprising commonalities, like diphthongisation before fortis sonorants). I've been told that Ulster speakers have much less trouble.
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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby corcaighist » 2012-06-01, 6:26

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA7hlurc9EQ

A conversation between a native speaker of Munster Irish and a teacher of Manx, the former speaks Irish and the latter Manx.

As a learner of Irish for many years I can have a good stab at understanding Manx when it is spoken (but not when it is written). On the other hand I understand more Gaelic when it is written than when it is spoken. That is because the Gaelic written system is very close to that of Irish but that of Manx is very different. I have never tested this out but I think I would understand more spoken Manx than spoken Gaelic but only marginally.

Sadly most learners of Irish never learn that sister languages are spoken in Scotland, Man and Canada. If they knew then maybe they wold think more highly of Irish and be more motivated to attempt to learn it rather than what happens which is to impose on the language their disgust and shame and inferiority complex which they have learned from their parents.

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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby Ciarán12 » 2012-07-31, 15:41

Just to make sure, the second, older Manx man that Manchán speaks to in the video IS speaking in Irish, not Manx, right? I could hear a lot of similarities and even pick up some phrases (maybe even get the gist) of what the first guy was saying, but it was clearly a different language. The second guy though must have been speaking in Irish. Either that or his form of Manx is just Irish with a Manx accent...
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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby nailgun » 2012-08-09, 23:08

As the Isle of Man was at one time attached to the Kingdom of Scotland and, since the time of the Northmen, has not been attached to Ireland, it would seem likely that Manx is, if anything, closer to Gaelic than to Irish. But bear in mind that both Irish and Gaelic early became weak on the coasts facing Man, so Manx has done a lot of evolving on its own.

On Pictish, the language is unknown. Or rather, the languages are unknown. For it seems likely that, in the centuries immediately prior to the Scottish take-over of Pictland, its ruling classes spoke a language fairly similar to Strathclyde Welsh. It is also likely that this was not the universally spoken language of Pictland.

One rough and ready indicator of "Pictish" is the "Pit-" prefix in placenames. This is not foolproof by any means, as there is evidence that it was borrowed into Gaelic and may well have produced some entirely Gaelic placenames. But it's a start, and it indicates the presence of "Picts" in NE Scotland, i.e. between Ross and Fife, but not really reaching much, if any, of the west coast. BUT there is a complete lack of "Pit-" names in the far north of Scotland - Sutherland, Caithness, Orkney and Shetland - places where one might have expected "Pictish" to survive a lot longer than in areas closer to the Gaelic heartland of Argyll. My suspicion is that this area is one where the commonly postulated P-Celtic Pictish language had not really penetrated at the time of Pictland's demise.

As for influence on Gaelic, this is really beyond question. Quite apart from the borrowing of the "Pit-" form for placenames, there is the use of "beinn" for a peak. While this usage is not totally unheard of in Ireland, it is exceedingly rare - whereas it is the norm in Scotland. This may well come from a borrowed Pictish word cognate with the Welsh "ban" (a beacon). And, indeed, it has even passed into Scots, as in the term "pit bing" for a pit heap: there can never have been many Gaelic-speaking coal miners! Recent research (sorry, I've forgotten who did it - probably at Glasgow but Strathclyde also rings a bell) suggests that the main differences between Gaelic and Irish are where the Gaelic is "more like Welsh", which would tally with an influence from a P-Celtic language on Gaelic as it spread eastwards.

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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby Jurgen Wullenwever » 2012-10-21, 7:51

nailgun wrote:As for influence on Gaelic, this is really beyond question. Quite apart from the borrowing of the "Pit-" form for placenames, there is the use of "beinn" for a peak. While this usage is not totally unheard of in Ireland, it is exceedingly rare - whereas it is the norm in Scotland. This may well come from a borrowed Pictish word cognate with the Welsh "ban" (a beacon). And, indeed, it has even passed into Scots, as in the term "pit bing" for a pit heap:

This bing in "pit bing" looks more of a Germanic origin to me. In Swedish, we say "binge", meaning 'heap', 'bunch', 'storage container'.
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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby Ciarán12 » 2014-09-04, 10:00

nailgun wrote:As for influence on Gaelic, this is really beyond question. Quite apart from the borrowing of the "Pit-" form for placenames, there is the use of "beinn" for a peak. While this usage is not totally unheard of in Ireland, it is exceedingly rare - whereas it is the norm in Scotland. This may well come from a borrowed Pictish word cognate with the Welsh "ban" (a beacon). And, indeed, it has even passed into Scots, as in the term "pit bing" for a pit heap:


According to Wiktionary it's from Proto-Celtic.
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Re: Similarities between Gaelic Languages

Postby An Lon Dubh » 2014-09-11, 16:52

Well I have spoken to people in their 80s from all the major dialects (i.e. conservative speakers of all the dialects) and have understood them with ease, but I cannot understand Scot Gaelic when it is spoken. Native speakers of Irish have all told me they cannot understand Scots Gaelic. In addition a native speaker of Scots Gaelic told me she could not understand any Irish before she actively learned it.

It's funny because Scots Gaelic is easy enough to read.


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