Remarks on the nature and content of a corpus of Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic maritime memorates
This paper will analyse and assess material contained in a corpus of maritime memorates, or stories of the sea, collected in Ireland and Scotland, in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is based on the Ulster University research project ‘Stories of the Sea: A Typological Study of Maritime Memorates in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic Folklore Traditions’, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and aims to add to previous published studies on this subject, including Fomin and Mac Mathúna, 2010-, 2015, 2016.
Les foyers de la mucoviscidose en Bretagne: des origines insulaires (britanniques et irlandaises)?
La génétique, associée à la généalogie, permet de tracer l’histoire biologique des êtres vivants. Elles décrivent les chemins par lesquels le patrimoine génétique collectif a été transmis au fil des générations. Ce travail de reconstruction n’a rien de novateur dans la méthode. La généalogie existe depuis très longtemps, l’une des nouveautés est d’éclairer la situation de ces généalogies par la biologie moléculaire, une donnée rare dans le contexte de données historiques. On a alors ce lien entre des connaissances très modernes, techniques avec le passé des individus, l’histoire des populations. En nous appuyant sur une étude menée sur la fréquence et de la répartition des mutations de la mucoviscidose en Bretagne nous verrons en quoi la génétique peut apporter un nouvel éclairage sur les problématiques liées aux contacts entre les populations installées des deux côtés de la Manche
'Mutual Regard': Remarks on An Anthology of Indo-Irish Writing
I will launch an anthology of parallel texts from the Irish and Indian intellectual traditions ranging over what scholars have said about Ireland and India histories of turmoil, their philosophies of mind, and being, their myths and fantasies, their contemplative imagination as expressed in their lyrical poetry, their learning in medicine, history, linguistics and poetics, the records left about them by Irishmen who came to India and by Indians who went to Ireland, and the contemporary engagements between the two countries.
The Celtic element in Gallo-roman dialect areas.
The history of the French language was initially marked by Celtomania, which saw Celtic roots everywhere. When this doctrine was discredited and discarded in the 19th century, the role of the Germanic superstratum became hypertrophied, the more so that Breton, long considered a direct descendant of the native Gaulish, was ranked in the same period as an alien language imported from Great Britain into the Armorican peninsula.
Relying on modern geolinguistics, I compare ALF (Atlas Linguistique de la France) maps with Breton ones, using the data recorded in Le Roux’s Atlas Linguistique de la Basse-Bretagne and Le Dû’s Nouvel Atlas Linguistique de la Basse-Bretagne. I shall try to show that several of theses maps reveal the presence of ALF data whose origin is clearly Celtic and not Germanic.
The study of the Atlas Linguarum Europae and of the Atlas Linguistique Roman has shown that borders between languages and even language families are not waterproof. It is high time to develop such comparisons to bring about a new vision of the history of languages.
Orosius Insularis: Notes on the
transmission and reception of the Historiae adversus Paganos in Ireland and England
Paulus Orosius (c. 375 – post 418) is most commonly remembered as the author of Historiarum adversus Paganos Libri VII (‘Seven Books of History against the Pagans’ hereafter Historiae), a masterpiece of late-antique universalist history in which he chronicled in Latin the succession of world empires that culminated in his own Christian Rome. During the European Middle Ages, his work is known to have circulated extremely widely in Europe and beyond and his themes and methodology were imitated in historical writing from Scandinavia to Ethiopia. I intend to present in this paper some highlights from a larger study of the transmission of his work and its influence on the conception of history among the Celtic- and English-speaking populations of the Early Middle Ages. The aims of this paper will be twofold: first, I will survey the evidence for the direct transmission of the Historiae both in Ireland and in Irish-influenced centres on the Continent and I will present a brief catalogue of instances of potential Orosian influence in several major Irish historical works, including various annals, Sex Aetates Mundi and Lebor Gabála Érenn.
While the influence of writers such as Eusebius upon these works is well known, a comprehensive discussion of the influence of Orosius has hitherto been lacking. Second, I shall turn my attention to England. The presence of Orosius’s work in England is evidenced most prominently by an abridged Old-English translation or, rather, adaptation of the Historiae. This so-called Old-English Orosius, which was attributed until recently to Alfred the Great, diverges from Orosius’s Latin text frequently and significantly. A great many details seem to be drawn from other classical works of history and, on this account, the text has been seen as the product of considerable English learning and erudition. The Old-English Orosius has been the subject of a recent extensive study by Malcolm Godden, who argues convincingly that these divergences from the Latin source are to be attributed to the use of a single Latin exemplar that was heavily glossed with material from other sources. Godden posits a Frisian provenance for this glossed exemplar. I intend to demonstrate that many of the divergences in the Old-English text have close analogues in Irish material. Among others, a particularly vivid comparison may be drawn between the biography of Alexander the Great in the Old-English Orosius and the Irish Scéla Alaxandair. I will interrogate the possibility that the Old-English text is thus not the product of transmission from Germanic-speaking communities on the continent, but rather owes its origins to the Irish, whether directly from Ireland or via Irish-influenced centres in Britain or on the Continent.
Some notes on the searching for origins of Apgitir Chrábaid
In my PhD thesis (assumed title: Apgitir chrábaid in the context of the religious and philosophical aspect of the intellectual culture of the Irish monasticism of the 6th-8th centuries) I am going to develop research line that was set by V. Hull, P. Ó Néill, W. Follett and other researchers, who did previously bring the Apgitir chrábaid, an Old Irish monastic wisdom tract written circa the 7th-8th centuries, into the picture.
My thesis is about developing an approximate list of authentic sources that could have had the influence upon author/authors or compiler/compilers of the Apgitir chrábaid. Notably, T. O'Loughlin made such a list for Adomnán's De Locis Sanctis.
It seems to be especially profitable to identify the influence of the Christian scriptures on Apgitir chrábaid from the Old Testament (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Book of Wisdom, and Sirach), as well as from the New Testament (Epistles), and ideas of Continental monastic wisdom tradition, from Spain – Isidore of Seville, from Gaul – John Cassian. In my opinion, such influence could be found in two possible ways: in undirected or concealed quotations, because there are not direct quotes or ones provided with the source in Apgitir chrábaid, and in the references and allusions on used texts. In my paper I would like to present a brief account of first results in my research.
A searchable database of Old Irish texts
A sufficient part of contemporary linguistic studies are corpus-driven, as such a methodology allows to draw upon statistical data apart from a scholar's intuition. It makes the results of any linguistic research more reliable and scalable, which is a significant step forward for humanities, bringing it together with science and technology.
Although corpus linguistics in modern sense has a long history and dates to 1967, when "Computational Analysis of Present-Day American English" (Kučera, Winthrop, 1967) was published, some languages still lack computational resources for corpus analysis. It is especially true for ancient languages, such as Old Irish.
A text corpus is a large searchable collection of texts with special morphological, syntactic and semantic markup and metadata. Building a corpus of historical texts is a challenging task, especially regarding markup, due to the three main factors:
(a) the grammar of old languages tends to be more complicated than the grammar of modern ones;
(b) there number of digitised texts in old languages is sufficiently smaller than in modern ones;
(c) there is almost no software for automatic markup of texts in old languages.
However, this task is not impossible, as the examples of "Welsh Prose 1300–1425" and "Historical Irish Corpus 1600 - 1926" show. I shall point out that both projects are not fully-fledged corpora, but rather searchable text databases. The texts in these corpora are normalised and segmented, but do not have any linguistic markup. This is a first stage of implementing a language corpus.
Computational resources for old languages, including corpora, have just begun to emerge: for example, "Historical Irish Corpus" was launched by the Royal Irish Academy only in 2017. The only corpus of Old Irish is still POMIC (Lash, 2014), represented by a set of parse trees in graphic format, which is convenient only for a limited number of linguistic tasks.
I propose a searchable database of Old and Middle Irish texts compiled from the texts published on UCC CELT website. All the texts are provided with metadata such is a historical period, an author (if any), an edition used for the digital version of the text etc. and lemmatised by an Ealy Irished Lemmatiser described in (Dereza, 2016a) and (b). Lemmatisation allows to search all the forms of a word, not only the exact match to the query, unlike in the corpora mentioned above. The database is processed with the help of Python and R and to be published as a Shiny app soon.
Dereza O. Building a Dictionary-Based Lemmatizer for Old Irish // Actes de la conference conjointe JEP-TALN-RECITAL 2016, volume 6: CLTW. — 2016a. — Pp. 12–17.
Dereza O. Разработка программы-лемматизатора для древнеирландского языка. —2016b. — Курсовая работа.
Kučera, Henry, and Winthrop Nelson Francis. Computational analysis of present-day American English. Dartmouth Publishing Group, 1967.
Lash E. The Parsed Old and Middle Irish Corpus (POMIC). Version 0.1. — 2014.
Historical Irish Corpus 1600-1926, http://corpas.ria.ie/
Welsh Prose 1300–1425, http://www.rhyddiaithganoloesol.caerdydd.ac.uk/en/
The druid Mog Ruith and St Molaga: Two heroes of Munster
Mog Ruith, “the god of druidry”, is a controversial figure in medieval Irish tradition. Medieval Irish apocrypha describe him as the greatest sinner of Ireland – the disciple of Simon Magus and the murderer of John the Baptist. However, in medieval Munster, he was known as the powerful druid and the splendid descendant of Fergus mac Róich, a truly “noble” ancestor for many of the local saints.
Corpus Genealogiarum Sanctorum Hiberniae mentions him as an ancestor of St Molaga, the mighty Irish saint, whose ecclesiastical activity was known far beyond Ireland. According to his Life – Betha Molaga, he was born in Liathmuine in the territory of Fir Maige Féne people. There he possessed his chief church of Áth Cros, however because of the neglect of the local king, Cuanu mac Caílchine, it was destroyed by druids. Because of this insult, Molaga left his home and set out on a journey, visiting Ulster, Connacht, Scotland and Wales, during which he performed many miracles. In the end, after a visit of women from Fir Maige, who bears their breasts, appealing to him, St Molaga agreed to return to his people.
The attribution to Mog Ruith’s race was not considered harmful for St Molaga’s reputation. On the contrary, in Betha Molaga, the hagiographer includes Mog Ruith’s biography as part of the text. Similarly to Mog Ruith, St Molaga is granted the support of the local community in exchange for his services as an intermediary between them and the supernatural. He dissuades a certain king from retirement and saves the Corco Baiscinn people from the plague. Finally, he becomes the king’s spiritual advisor; this could again be compared with Mog Ruith, who is mentioned as the chief druid of Fiacha Muillethan – the legendary king of Munster.
Mog Ruith and Molaga – one a heathen, the other a Christian saint, are both represented as the patrons of their people. Their case is a very remarkable example of the gradual replacement of legendary hero by local saints. Considering the texts dedicated to Mog Ruith and Simon Magus, genealogies and Betha Molaga, this paper will analyze how the old “heathen” cults were used and re-used in Celtic lands (particularly in Ireland) as well as how these cults had been recast and reimagined as Christian ones.
Linguistic profile of Hystoria Adrian ac Ipotis
Hystoria Adrian ac Ipotis is a short Middle Welsh text found in Oxford, Jesus College MS. 119 (Llyfr Ancr Llanddewi Brefi, the Book of the Anchorite, 1346) and some other medieval and Early Modern manuscripts (NLW MS. Peniarth 15 (c 1400), NLW MS. Llanstephan 27 (The Red Book of Talgarth, c 1400) – see Williams 1960/1962: 259, Luft et al. 2013). This is a Welsh version of a highly popular dialogue on faith between the emperor Hadrian and the ʻwise child’ Epictetus, which is found in the Middle Ages in Latin and also in numerous vernaculars across Europe. Prof. Hildegard Tristram studied one of the motives of the text, the homo octipartitus in Irish and Old English literature (Tristram 1975). Interestingly, there are other Celtic-English connections since the Welsh version is the only text in the Book of the Anchorite for which a Middle English, and not a Latin source has been suggested (Suchier 1910; Williams 1960/1962: 272). The Middle English dialogue Ypotis (see Shuffleton 2008, Gardiner-Scott 1991) is indeed very similar to the Middle Welsh text in the Book of the Anchorite, although all the existing witnesses of the ME poem are later than 1346, the date of the Welsh manuscript. The textual transmission of the text is so vast that we cannot undertake a search for the exact source of the Welsh text to prove or disprove this theory with traditional philological methods.
On the other hand, a linguistic approach can help to address this issue: it is possible to compare this text to the other texts of the Book of the Anchorite in relation to the frequency of several features that can possibly be markers of translations from Latin. Among such features are certain constructions of relative clauses, derivatives with suffix -edic in the plural, agreement between plural noun and adjective and between plural subject and finite verb. There are certainly caveats to such a procedure: first, there is a significant variation in the presence of such features within the texts which are definitely translations from Latin, since Welsh translators used different strategies in constructing their texts. And secondly, related to the first, is the fact that we sometimes find phenomena that are similar to Latin constructions in passages that lack corresponding constructions in the Latin original, thus not all ‘traces of translation’ (see Luft 2016) are merely calques, but they can also be markers of a deliberate stylistic choice in a specific literary register. However, mapping this text of unclear provenance among texts undoubtedly translated from Latin and defining its linguistic profile will already be a benefit for our understanding of Middle Welsh religious texts, and of the complex nature of cultural und linguistic influences on Middle Welsh more generally.
Gardiner-Scott, Tanya (1991): The Missing Link: An Edition of the Middle English Ypotis from York Minster MS XVI.L.12. In: Traditio 46, 235–259.
Luft, Diana; Thomas, Peter Wynn; Smith, D. Mark (2013): Rhyddiaith Gymraeg 1300-1425. Cardiff University. Available online at http://www.rhyddiaithganoloesol.caerdydd.ac.uk.
Luft, Diana (2016): Tracking ôl cyfieithu. Medieval Welsh translation in criticism and scholarship. In: Translation Studies 9 (2), 168–182.
Shuffelton, George (2008): Item 27, Ypotis: Introduction. University of Rochester (Middle English Texts Series). Available online at http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/shuffelton-codex-ashmole-61-ypotis-introduction.
Suchier, Walter (1910): L'Enfant sage. Das Gespräch des Kaisers Hadrian mit dem klugen Kinde Epitus. Dresden (Gesellschaft für romanische Literatur, 24=8.2).
Tristram, Hildegard L. C. (1975): Der „homo octipartitus“ in der irischen und altenglischen Literatur. In: Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 34, 119–153.
Some examples of calques from French into Middle Welsh
Study of the effects of language contact on Middle Welsh has mostly focused on loanwords. This paper will consider evidence for the less obvious process of calquing or loan-translation, by which the sense of a native word is extended through association with a particular sense of a foreign word. The most secure example is mwyn, which corresponds to the secondary sense of French gentil, ‘kind’, but was used to convey its primary sense, ‘noble’, in the Mabinogi: Mab y dynnyon mwyn yw (PKM 23.10), ‘He is the son of noble people’. This usage can be seen to have had a limited currency amongst the Welsh social elite until the end of the Middle Ages. Other examples to be considered include hoyw influenced by gaie and gwladaidd corresponding to paysan.
Tradition celtique dans le lai Chievrefueil de Marie de France
The paper addresses the obscure passage from Marie de France’s lay Chievrefoil that describes Tristram cutting a hazel rod and carving his name on it to let his beloved Iseult know about his presence. The passage sparked an ongoing academic discussion concerning the content of the message Tristram left on the rod and the medium he used to express that content. Putting forward various interpretations, scholars have been attempting to tackle several inconsistencies in the narration.
First of all, it is not clear what exactly was written on the rod besides Tristram’s name. There are two possible answers to this: either it was the entire story of his misfortunes while he was separated from the Queen, or it was only a quote that Marie gives us in lines 77-78: ‘Bele amie, si est de nus: / Ne vuz sanz mei, ne mei sanz vus’. Whatever the answer, still it is difficult to conceive of how Tristan could have fitted the whole story onto the stick. Secondly, the rod with the message to the Queen was obviously a compromising evidence of their adultery. How did Tristram dare leave it on the road where any member of the royal procession including King Mark himself could have spotted it?
Some scholars (L. Spitzer, E. Rickert) provided a symbolical interpretation of the passage, suggesting that Iseult had read the message with her ‘heart‘, rather than with her eyes. Others (A. Hatcher, J. Frappier) proposed a middle-ground solution, contending that the message Tristram had inscribed on the hazel rod contained only his name and, probably, lines 77-78. However, drawing upon Marie’s own unequivocal statement: ‘Tutes les lettres i conut’ - ‘[she] recognized all the letters’, I put forward further arguments supporting the Ogham hypothesis, according to which Tristram inscribed his message in ogham letters (G. Schoepperle, G. Frank, M. Cagnon, M. Demaules).
According to J. Vendryes, throughout the Middle Ages, learned people had been familiar with ogham, and many manuscripts featured the ogham awlphabet. The word ‘ogham’ as designating a type of an alphabet was known to Latin grammarians as well, and in particular, to Varro and Priscian to whom Marie de France made a reference in the general Prologue to her Lais. Archeologists have found multiple ogham inscriptions not only on the territory of Ireland, but also in Britain – in South Wales, Cornwell, Scotland – where Marie’s lays are set. Ogham alphabetic symbols are strokes and dots located to the right or to the left of a single stemline, which was a vertical edge of an upright stone or a piece of wood.
It is noteworthy that Tristram first squared off the hazel rod, so that it had four surfaces and, consequently, four stemlines where he could easily carve strokes. Like Germanic runic letters, the Ogham alphabet was used to encrypt messages. There is no evidence that it was used specifically in magic practices, but as an encryption system, it could have been employed to code curses or spells. However, Tristram’s message is the message of love. And similar examples of lovers using secret alphabets in their messages to the beloved ones can be found in the medieval literature, and not only in the Irish or Icelandic, but even in the English one.
In Atlakvida of the Poetic Edda, Gudrun sends a warning to her brothers, carving it on a ring in runes. In Gisla Saga, Gisli throws a rune-covered stick into her brother’s house to make him come out and meet her. Saxo Crammaticus mentions a runic carving on the wood in his Gesta Danorum. On this list, Scél Baili Binnbérlaig (The Story of the Baile Sweet-Spoken) deserves special attention not only because it mentions wooden tablets where the story of love between Baile and Ailinn was inscribed, allegedly, in ogham letters (which were used as a mnemonic device in that case) but also because it compares the wooden tablets drawn to each other with a honeysuckle clinging with its tendrils to a twig so that they cannot be separated. Here we can clearly see the motif affinity between Tale of Baile and Marie’s Cheivrefoil, which presents a counter-argument to Pierre Le Gentil’s claim that the honeysuckle motif is absent from the Celtic tradition and is a fruit of the French sensibility.
It is necessary to add to this list the Old English poem The Husband’s Message, where the speaker of the poem is a wooden tablet covered with runic symbols, which delivers a message of a husband to his wife, asking her to come and see him. We cannot but notice a striking similarity of the performative speech acts as well as their mediums in Marie’s Cheivrefoil and in The Husband’s Message. Both poems contain a message encoded with a cryptic ancient alphabet, which begs an addressee for a tryst that will bring joy to the lovers. But while in the 8th-9th centuries the joy was promised to reuniting spouses, in the 12th century, it was only possible in the reunion of courtly lovers. By and large, contacts with the Celtic literature gifted a brilliant metaphor of the hazel tree forever bound to the honeysuckle to the French medieval literature, which, in its turn, enriched the Celtic legend about Tristram and Iseult with a new interpretation.
The Irish construction of attention with ar ‘on’
The paper considers the use of the preposition ar ‘on’ with the verb tabhair ‘give’ in constructions with nouns like aird ‘attention’, aghaidh ‘face’, cuairt ‘visit’:
thug Seán aird ar Mháire
give.PST Seán attention on Máire
‘Seán paid (gave) attention to Máire’
The use of ar with tabhair ‘give’ is unusual due to the dative semantics of the verb, which means that more often it is used with the dative preposition do ‘to’. This means that the construction has a high degree of integration of the elements and is non-compositional as the meaning of the whole depends on the combination of the elements and their interpretation is a function of the meaning of the construction. The unusual use of tabhair with ar poses the question as to how this can be accounted for. The Nua-Chorpas na hÉireann provides the following nouns used in this construction:
Nouns (number of occurrences):
aghaidh ‘face’ (543)
cuairt ‘visit’ (510)
aird ‘attention’ (256)
turas ‘journey’ (137)
súil ‘eye’ (41)
amharc ‘look’ (28)
íde ‘ill usage’ (19)
súilfhéachaint ‘glance’ (17)
féachaint ‘look’ (8)
síth ‘rush, dash’ (7)
These nouns refer to various kinds of situations with a common semantic component in their the meanings – that of attention. The paper explores the possibility of explaining this use through posing a general construction [ATTENTION PREDICATE ar OBJECT OF ATTENTION], or the CONSTRUCTION OF ATTENTION. Other possible instantiations of this construction include, for example:
breathnaigh/féach/amharc ‘look’ ar X ‘look at X’;
cuir ‘put’ aithne, eolas ‘knowledge’ ar X ‘learn to know X’
In this case we can argue that TABHAIR AR inherits the pattern of governing from the more abstract construction CONSTRUCTION OF ATTENTION [ATTENTION PREDICATE ar OBJECT OF ATTENTION].
Such an approach can enable us to account for other similar situations where the same verb is used with a number of prepositions each of which is inherited from a more general construction that can accomodate various verbs and verb-noun constructions with the constructionally prescribed preposition to encode a particular meaning, attributed to the concrete instation by the more general construction.
The druids and the fairies – searching for Wales’ national identity during the eighteenth and nineteenth century
Classical authors introduce the druids as high-ranking members of ancient Celtic culture. During the eighteenth century the druids became identification figures for the achievements of national culture in Wales, when in the search for ancient roots of the Welsh nation the classical time of Celtic tribes lead by the wisdom of the druids was presented as a golden age of learning and of pre-Roman scholarship on Welsh ground, e.g. in Drych y Prif Oesoedd by Theophilus Evans.
At the end of the nineteenth century, however, we observe that the druids are presented as primitive magicians or shamans, relicts of a primitive pre-Celtic past by Sir John Rhŷs in Celtic Folklore –Welsh and Manx. Nevertheless, Rhŷs, too, aims at presenting the ancient Celtic roots of the Welsh in a most favourable way.
This paper explores how such a dramatic paradigm shift regarding the ideas about the druids could come about. It will show how conflating the druids with the fairies by the Scot Cririe and Peter Roberts constitutes an important element for bringing about this change, for the two authors believed that the fairy folklore was a memory of the druids who had gone into hiding after the Roman conquest. Cririe’s and Roberts’ ideas and the application of social-Darwinist theories enabled Rhŷs to devise an image of the druid as a magician rooted in a non-Celtic culture as seen in Celtic Folklore –Welsh and Manx.
This paper will also highlight examples how the above mentioned, contradicting views about the druids precipitated in Welsh culture.
Aspect – a linguistic category in insular Celtic and Slavic? The case of Sorbian and Welsh
The category of aspect is a popular research topic, whose usefulness has been explored with regard to various languages. A classical approach to this category is normally the assumption that aspect should be seen as the depiction of an act(ion) as a whole (perfective) or as a duration (imperfective) (cf. Isačenko, 1954/60). This seems to be prototypically encoded in Slavic, most apparently in Russian, predominantly the by prefixation of verbs (in which the perfective ones are normally seen as marked), but most clearly by suffixation. Such suffixation triggers pairs of verbs, as for instance in
On otkryval okno, no ne otkryl.
He opened_ip window, but not opened_p
He tried to open the window, but did not manage.
Looking at Upper Sorbian, the concept of aspect can be identified, but does not seem to be fully grammaticalised as is explained in detail by Werner (2003, 2013). When looking at Welsh, the concept of aspect seems to be difficult to identify within a verb-based framework altogether. When, however, opting for the concept of aspectuality, a more universally applicable system takes shape. Defining aspectuality as the cognitive domain referring to a time structure of situations, allows to include aspect, lexical aspect (Aktionsart) and verb semantics (Verbalcharakter) as subconcepts, which may be encoded differently, like in the following Welsh examples:
Yr wyf yn canu ‘I am singing’ Yr wyf wedi canu ‘I have sung’
Yr wyf ar fin canu ‘I am about to sing’ Yr wyf newydd ganu ‘I have just (finished singing)/sung’
Yr wyf heb ganu ‘I have not sung/I did not sing (did not even start singing)’
Yr wyf wedi hen ganu ‘I have long sung’ and many others.
This system will be explained in further detail and parallels shown in non-Indo-European languages.
Berger, T., Gutschmidt, K., Kempgen, S. and P. Kosta, 1996, Die Slawischen Sprachen. The Slavic languages, Berlin: De Gruyter.
Heinz, Sabine, 2003, “Walisisch”, in: Roelcke, Variationstypologie, Berlin: De Gruyter, 277-307.
Maslov, Jurij, 1948, Vid i leksičeskoe značenie glagola v sovremennom russkom literaturnom jazyke, in: Izvestija AN SSSR, Otdelenie literatury i jazyka 7.
Vendler, Zeno, 1957, Verbs and Times, in The Philosophical Review, Ithaca: Cornell University, Vol. 66, No. 2. (Apr., 1957), pp. 143-160.
Vogel, Petra M. and Bernard Comrie, eds., 1999, Approaches to the Typology of Word Classes, Berlin: De Gruyter.
Werner, Eduard, 2003, Die Verbalaffigierung im Obersorbischen, Bautzen: Domowinaverlag.
Werner, Eduard, 2013, “Upper Sorbian and Verbal Aspect”, Romano-Bohemica II, 165-182.
At the beginnings of Celtic Studies in France and Germany: the letters of Henri d’Arbois de Jubainville (1827-1910) to Ernst Windisch (1844-1918)
Among the papers of the German Celticist and Indologist Ernst Windisch (1844–1918), which are preserved in the Archive of the University of Leipzig, the most extensive collection of letters and postcards in the field of Celtic Studies is due to Kuno Meyer (1858-1919), who was among Windisch’s earliest, most faithful and most productive pupils. Next to this, the most extensive Celtic correspondence of Windisch appears to have been with his French colleague Henri d’Arbois de Jubainville (1827-1910), first professor of Celtic at the Collège de France and long-time editor of Revue celtique. Unlike Windisch, who was an Indo-Europeanist by training and continued to combine an interest in ancient Ireland with one in ancient India for most of his active academic career, d’Arbois de Jubainville was first and foremost an historian with a strong archaeological bent. Both men, however, shared a keen interest in the fabric of ancient civilisations and its reflection in literature.
Between 1884 and 1907, more than fifty letters and postcards from d'Arbois to Windisch testify to the cordial relationship between the two scholars, who are among the most important founding fathers of Celtic Studies as an academic discipline in France and Germany. In my paper, I shall try to present an overview of d’Arbois’ letters to his German colleague, pointing out in which ways and to which extent they reflect specific problems of research, the institutional setting of Celtic Studies in the decades around 1900, and the personality of the letter writer.
For this purpose I shall quote from the letters themselves, but also from references to d’Arbois, Windisch and some of their German, French, British and Irish colleagues in other letters of the period. In conclusion I shall address the question to what extent a comprehensive analysis and appraisal of as yet unpublished scholarly letters may contribute not only to a profounder understanding of the formation and early history of Celtic Studies, but also to an enhanced appreciation of its present situation.
Irish maritime narratives in communal context
The study considers the value of personal experience legends – ‘memorates’ – as effective actualisations of belief, in contrast to more stylized, complex legend forms, such as the migratory legend. While the migratory legend may to some reflect general belief concepts, the memorate is deeply rooted in time and place in a way that the former is not. The degree of social realism exhibited in both genres, and their relative source value as cultural historical documents are explored in this presentation. In addressing these issues, the mode in which a legend narrative is transmitted – by whom and in what circumstances – its individual creative elements, and the cultural context in which it is framed, are key issues.
The study draws on a sample of several hundred supernatural legends recorded in the Gaeltacht (Gaelic-speaking) district of Corca Dhuibhne, County Kerry in the first half of the twentieth century by field workers of the Irish Folklore Commission. It spans a broad spectrum of oral texts, ranging from personal accounts of supranormal experiences to distinctive legend types of a local or migratory character. The study is conducted with reference to the socio-economic and cultural context of storytelling and folk belief in a mixed farming-fishing community at the turn of the twentieth century.
Linguistic geography as a window onto the past: From current phonetic variation in Breton to early medieval Brittany
For a long time in Breton studies, the importance of a Gaulish substratum on the actual Breton language had been discussed from various standpoints and positions (Loth 1883, Falc’hun 1962, Fleuriot 1981, van Doorn 2016). The respective influence of Gaulish on the one hand and of Brittonic on the other upon contemporary Breton is still not clear. Since the textual and linguistic sources are very scarce, it is hard to propose a definite and clear answer. Various textual sources allow us to reassess the vitality of the Gaulish language at the time of Breton migrations in the 5th-6th centuries.
We would like to contribute to this debate with a computational analysis of Breton dialectal data contained in the Nouvel Atlas Linguistique de la Basse-Bretagne (Le Dû 2001). Our method, called dialectometry, aims to evaluate a linguistic distance between the different locations investigated for this linguistic atlas. The results we have obtained offer a fresh perspective onto the linguistic past of Brittany.
Contrary to the position of Kenneth Jackson (1961), a synchronic approach of linguistic variation has led us to observe geographical patterns, which reflect such historical phenomena. Our findings show a clear configuration in the distribution of the linguistic similarity in the Breton-speaking Brittany. The division is made according to a North-western and South-eastern axis. Furthermore, alongside with our dialectometrical approach, this view matches also with specific linguistic facts. Moreover, recent findings in population genetics do converge with these conclusions and contribute to bringing a further light onto the so-called Dark-Ages in the absence of other direct evidence.
Breton and Lower Sorbian word order in translations of the Gospel of Luke
The paper proposed presents a comparative analysis of the syntax in the earliest known Lower Sorbian and Breton translations of the New Testament. The earliest preserved translation into Breton is ‘Testamant Nevez hon aotrou Jézuz-Krist’, accomplished by Yann Frañsez Vari ar Gonideg in 1827. However, correspondence between the Société nationale des antiquaires de France and the British and Foreign Bible Society from the 19th century indicates that there were even earlier Breton translations of parts of the Bible. As for Ar Gonidec's translation, the correspondence between him and his Welsh mentors, Rev. Thomas Price and Rev. David Jones, shows that Ar Gonidec translated mainly from a Latin version. In addition, he utilized the French translation of Louis-Isaac Lemaistre de Sacy from 1667.
The earliest known translation of the New Testament into a dialect of Lower Sorbian, now extinct, is a manuscript entitled ‘Nowÿ Zakon’ and completed by the Protestant clergyman Mikławš Jakubica in 1548. Comparisons with Czech and Polish Bible translations of his time suggest that he tried to create a Sorbian standard language based on his own Lower Sorbian dialect, Upper Sorbian, Czech and Polish.
The second and most recent Lower Sorbian New Testament, ‘Nowy Testament naschogo Knėsa Jesom Kristussa’, was produced by Johann Gottlieb Fabricius (Jan Bogumił Fabricius) in 1709. His work is of major interest here because he was born into a German family in Schwerin an der Warthe (today Skwierzyna in Poland) and learnt Lower Sorbian later when he became a minister in Lower Lusatia. Fabricius' translation shows an intense syntactical influence of German.
Given the linguistic context described above, syntactic influences on the Breton and Lower Sorbian translations by their contact languages are analyzed.
ar Gonidec, Yann Frañsez Vari, Testamant Nevez hon aotrou Jézuz-Krist. Angoulême, 1827.
Dujardin, Louis, La Vie et les Œuvres de Jean-François-Marie-Maurice-Agathe Le Gonidec. Brest, 1949.
Fabricius, Jan Bogumił, Nowy Testament naschogo Knėsa Jesom Kristussa. Kahren, 1709.
Jakubica, Mikławš: Nowÿ Zakon. Manuscript, 1548.
Leskien, Johann Heinrich August, Das sorbische Neue Testament von 1548. In: Archiv für slavische Philologie 1/1876. Berlin, 1876.
Morris, John Hughes, The History of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists' Foreign Mission: To the End of the Year 1904. New Delhi, 1910.
Šewc, Hinc, Mikławša Jakubicowy přełožk Noweho zakonja do serbšćiny z lěta 1548. In: Lětopis 44/2. Bautzen, 1997.
Teichmann, Doris, Die Reformation im östlichen Teil des ehemaligen Markgraftums Niederlausitz und im benachbarten Niederschlesien. In: Lětopis 42/1. Bautzen, 1995.
Possible manuscript source and some contextual considerations for Tochmarc Momera
The Middle Irish tale Tochmarc Moméra (TM), one of the origin legends of the Munster royal dynasty the Eóganachta, has only one extant manuscript witness, Yellow Book of Lecan (TCD MS 1318, cols. 341-343.30). The manuscript which contains TM (cols. 281-344) was penned by Murchadh Ó Cuindlis, student of Giolla Íosa Mac Fir Bhisigh, “for himself” in east Ormond (Co. Tipperary) in the years 1398–99. In this paper, I will propose my theory that TM might once have been part of the twelfth-century Book of Leinster (LL), based on Aed mac Crimthainn’s reference to this tale in the genealogical tract he copied in this codex, and on the fact that the scribes of Mac Fir Bhisigh school had access to LL at the end of the fourteenth century. I will also briefly analyse the context in which TM is found in Murchadh’s manuscript, and will describe a thematic cluster the tale belongs to.
Scandinavian and Scottish seals: Gaelic and Norse tradition in the Scottish multiforms of a migratory legend
The continuing impact of centuries of prolonged contact between speakers of Celtic and Scandinavian languages is to be seen in the shared verbal culture of their descendants, especially beliefs and narratives of the supernatural. Legends of the fairies, water-horses, changelings, the restless dead, and merfolk form an important part of the storytelling repertoire of Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, and Scandinavia.
One of the most popular stories in Irish folk tradition, identified by Reidar Christiansen as ML 4080 ‘The Seal Woman’ is well attested all throughout this area. It details the marriage between a human male and a supernatural seal-woman or mermaid, after the man steals a magical object which allows her to travel underwater from her. Eventually, she discovers this object again, and returns to the sea, leaving her husband and any children on land.
As part of the preparation of a doctoral dissertation on this legend, I am presently engaged in archival research at a number of locations, including the National Folklore Collection in Dublin and the archive of the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh, and working on a catalogue and atlas of this legend. In this presentation, I will focus on versions of ML 4080 which were collected in Scotland. Looking at Scotland as a ‘contact zone’ between Gaelic and Norse communities, I will discuss the typical forms of the legend throughout Scotland, the presence and distribution of motifs typical of Norse or Gaelic tradition, and the ways in which the legend has been adapted to specifically Scottish contexts. I will also discuss other Scottish traditions concerning seal-people and merfolk, and how they relate to similar oral traditions found in Ireland and Scandinavia. Finally, I will discuss some of the ways Gaelic and Norse traditions may have been disseminated throughout Scotland, and the possible role of Scotland in transmitting ML 4080 from Ireland to Scandinavia.
Sibli revisited: textual relation-ships between the Welsh Tiburtina in the Red and White Books, and Peniarth 14
In the Celto-Slavica Colloquium before last in Bangor I gave a talk on the editorial strategies used in the translation of the Latin Sibylla Tiburtina into Middle Welsh. This paper may be seen as a ‘sequel’ to that one, although there is no need to have seen the first episode in order to understand the second.
The Tiburtina is a text with roots in antiquity, and in its final, Latin form (the text was translated from Greek into Latin around the year 1000) it was copied and read all over the Medieval West. The Sibyl was an important figure in Medieval culture; the church father Lactantius wrote extensively on the topic, and he was quoted by Isidore of Seville. Augustine, in his City of God, places in her supposedly pre-Christian mouth a prophecy about the Last Judgment, and another about the Passion of Christ.
In Middle Welsh, we have two different, independent translations of this text. One survives in two of the most famous manuscripts in the Welsh language , namely the White Book of Rhydderch (ca. 1350) and the Red Book of Hergest (end of the fourteenth century), and the other in MS. Peniarth 14 (second half of the thirteenth century). They form part of the large collection of translated Middle Welsh texts, witnesses of a medieval Welsh culture in contact and dialogue with the cultures surrounding it.
In this paper, I want to introduce you to Sibli Ddoeth, the Wise Sibyl, in both her Welsh incarnations, and expand on the differences between these texts, and their similarities. In the end, I will shed some light on the textual relationship between Red and White Book Sibyl, and the Peniarth 14 one.
How did that end up here? – The creative work of combining motives in An buhez sante Barba
The sixteenth century Breton saint's play An buhez sante Barba tells the story of the maiden Barbara who is made to live in a tower by her father Dioscorus in order to keep her safe and preserve her beauty. She secretly converts to Christianity and suffers great torment at the hands of the heathen authorities. In the end she is beheaded by her own father who is struck by lightning in an act of divine punishment. Barbara is welcomed in heaven among the martyrs of Christ.
While the historicity of Barbara is highly doubtful, the legend became extremely popular in Europe and the worship of the saint turned into a cult, which reached its climax in the fifteenth century. The cult was particularly strong in France and Belgium and play-performances about saint Barbara abounded in France in the fifteenth and sixteenth ceturies.
The Breton play was clearly inspired by a variety of international sources, among which are two French plays, a five-day-play and a two-day-play. The influence of the two-day-play appears to be considerably less significant than that of the former. Furthermore, two Latin legends of saint Barbara have influenced the Breton play, namely a later version of the Legenda Aurea, and the Historia siue legenda beatissime virgine Barbara by a Belgian monk called John of Wakkerzeel, in which he attempted to reconcilie the different accounts of Barbara's legend circulating in Europe on the one hand, and the translation history of her relics on the other.
Some motives of the Breton version can be clearly linked to one or several of these sources, but others are of less certain origin. In any case, the creativity with which the author has treated the subject matter is simply marvellous. I will present some of my findings in this regard and illustrate how much effort the author had to expend in order to create the framework of a Breton play with an international saint at its centre. For while the play employs a typical Breton rhyme scheme, which consists of 813 six-verse stanzas involving end rhyme as well as internal rhyme, the subject matter derives for the most part from the international sources mentioned above. I will demonstrate that An buhez sante Barba shares motives with all the source texts and attempt to show how the author combined them in order to create this very special work of art. Examples will be the building process of the tower, which partly derives from the French five-day-play, but nevertheless shows distinct features that do not occur anywhere else, such as the presence of a „historically correct“ building crew on stage. Similarly, the author chose to adapt the bath-house, which is customarily built for Barbara by her heathen father in the Latin versions. In order to suit the local conditions better, the author transformed it into a fountain. Despite the changes, he managed to convey most of the motives, such as for example the appearance of John the Baptist, by devising creative speeches for the characters which evoke the absent figure and its implications.
La bio-autobiographie en breton de Julien Godest
Sollicité par la personnalité marquante de l’emsao François Jaffrennou (1879-1956), le paysan cornouaillais Julien Godest (1849-1933) se lance dans un long travail d’écriture littéraire et produit vers 1913 un texte de nature bio- et autobiographique (manuscrit d’environ 300 pages conservé aux Archives départementales du Finistère et actuellement en courant d’établissement, de traduction et d’analyse pour une publication). L’auteur souhaite témoigner et porter réflexion sur la rencontre d’un Bas-Breton avec l’armée nationale lors de son service militaire, de l’apprentissage de la langue française par ce soldat monolingue bretonnant, de ses activités belliqueuses lors de la Commune de Paris, mais également donner son opinion sur deux phénomènes qui prennent de l’ampleur en cette toute fin du XIXe siècle : la déchristianisation et l’exil des Bretons vers les grandes villes, notamment vers Paris.
A l’aube de l’entrée dans la modernité, tous ces points de rencontre culturels et linguistiques sont autant de moments provoqués par l’Histoire et les importantes transformations politiques et sociales de cette époque. Sa langue, son écriture et la conception de son récit de vie par Julien Godest reflètent pourtant des archaïsmes culturels qui peuvent nourrir les questions de temporalité et de la nature des échanges culturels. Le projet littéraire de Godest tend sans cesse des ponts entre des valeurs et des éléments culturels plus ou moins anciens, et des événements et phénomènes sociaux qui lui sont contemporains. Les marges littéraires comme celle créée par Godest peuvent ainsi constituer des outils d’archéologie culturelle, autant que des observatoires précieux de la réception des contacts culturels plus récents.
‘As olc linn ar ndearbraithre dar ngonadh’: Irish language manuscripts written in Prague
The presence of an Irish Franciscan house in the Czech lands, along with the unsuccessful attempts at founding a house in Wieluń, Poland, constitutes some of the most substantial evidence of Irish-Slavic relations in the 17th and 18th centuries. The history of the Irish Franciscans in continental Europe has been the subject of much scholarly investigation, which has focused mainly on the renowned Louvain college. Such attention is understandable, given the magnitude and impact of the literary output of the so-called ‘Louvain achievement’ (cf. e.g. the collection edited by Bhreathnach, MacMahon and McCafferty 2009). One factor which facilitated this achievement was the transmission both in manuscript and print form of the writings of the Louvain Franciscans. Successfully embracing the print revolution also meant that the literary output of the Louvain friars had an increased chance of surviving the hazards and dangers of the passage of time. The case of the Irish Franciscans in Prague is instructive in this regard. Although less prolific than their Louvain compatriots, the Prague house, active for over 150 years, nevertheless produced many works, ranging from original theological treatises to copies of grammatical and historical texts, both in Latin and in the vernacular.
The works composed in Irish were produced solely in manuscript form. These manuscripts have consequently suffered a fate comparable to that of so many Irish manuscripts, being variously dispersed, damaged, or lost to obscurity. Previous studies have remarked on the absence in Prague libraries and archives of Irish language manuscripts recorded in the catalogue of the Irish Franciscans in Prague (Dillon 2007; Mac Craith and Worthington 2003). This paper will examine the contents of those Prague productions which have been located elsewhere. Also considered are copies of works produced in Prague, the originals of which no longer survive (Dillon 2013). Finally, this paper will consider other manuscripts which are potentially of the same provenance, in particular the case of UCD Franciscan Collection MS A 32 f.5, a single paper folio which preserves the only known example of the Czech language in a Gaelic manuscript. The content of that folio, along with another stray item in the same collection (A 30 f.3), sheds light on the relationships between the continental houses, and highlights the more quotidian and less-vaunted aspects of the lives and work of these exiled Irish men of God.
Bhreathnach, Edel, MacMahon, Joseph, and McCafferty, John (eds.) (2009), The Irish Franciscans, 1534–1990, Dublin: Four Courts Press.
Dillon, Charles (2007), ‘Catalóg Leabharlann na bProinsiasach Éireannach, Prág’, Léann 1, 63-76.
Dillon, Charles (2013), ‘Features of the Irish dialect of counties Cavan/Fermanagh, as evidenced in 18th century manuscript production’, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 60, 27-50.
Mac Craith, Mícheál, and Worthington, David (2003), ‘Aspects of the literary activity of the Irish Franciscans in Prague’, in O’Connor and Lyons (eds.), Irish Migrants in Europe after Kinsale, 1602-1820, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 118-134.
How to say ‘road’ in Irish: Lexicostatistics and the theory of universal semantic shifts
Atāt tra ilanmand for na conaraib… (Cormac’s Glossary)
A new revolutionary method of language changes dating was proposed in the 1950s by Morris Swadech (1952, 1955), who introduced the 100-words list of lexical basic terms. He examined changes in basic vocabulary of a language and proposed that the 1000-year retention rate represents 86 %, in other words, 14 words out of 100 must be replaced. This new technique of dating language changes is known as lexicostatistics. Later, this simple methodic of dating was modified (Starostin 1999; Blažek 2007), compromised in Gray and Atkinson (2003); but supported in Renfrew (2013). James Mallory calls this technique as ‘often cited but usually rejected’ (Mallory 2013: 258). “We cannot help concluding that the lapis philosophorum of glottochronology is unable to transmute the base metals of lexicostatistical numbers into pure gold of reliable dating. The radiocarbon method of dating is good for atoms, but is not good for culture-bound human languages”. This is how a linguist from Russia summarized the skeptical view on the lexicostatistical method (Dolgopolsky 2000: 404).
Lexicostatistics, although it is not popular in traditional historical linguistics, continues its development in some academic centres in Russia and the USA. Databases of basic vocabularies of many languages (with proposed etymologies, lists of synonyms and the proposed dating of changes) are published (for Celtic, see Blažek and Novotná (2006), also The Global Lexicostatistical Database). The use of this precious comparative material sub specie of the theory of universal semantic shift typology (see Zalizniak et al. 2012) could lead to new discoveries.
The concept # 68 from Swadesh word-list, ‘road’, belongs to the so-called ‘cultural vocabulary’. The basic notion of ‘road’ depends on the level of social development of the nation, its geographical and climatic position and its cultural contacts. The results of the conducted comparative and diachronic study of semantic changes of the word ‘road’ based on Slavonic, Baltic, Germanic and Roman languages could be presented as follows:
Three main semantic models of ‘road’ are revealed:
1) The general idea of moving or walking (Slavonic *pǫt’ - Litt. pintis ‘road’, Russian put’ ‘way’ etc. from IE *pent- ‘to go, to walk’, but Lat. pons, -tis ‘bridge’, Gr. pontos ‘sea’; Germanic *wegaz ‘way, road’ from IE *weghan- ‘to move, to go’; Germ. Steg ‘path’, Lath. stiga ‘path, road’, Eng. stair, from IE *steg- ‘to move up, to go with effort’; but comp. Greek hodós ‘way, road’ and Russian hodit’ ‘to go’, both from IE *sod-/*sed- ‘to sit’).
2) The specification of making the road (Russian doroga, Polish droga, from IE *dhergh- ‘to pull, to weed’, cf. also Germ Trakt, but Goth. dragan ‘to take off’; Czech cesta from IE *keid- ‘to divide > to clear’; Latin strata, literally ‘pavement’ – the base of the ‘road’ in Roman languages including early borrowing in Germanic: Strasse).
3) The idea of a preferential user of the road (Engl. road from CG. *raido- ‘vehicle, chariot’ from IE name of the ‘wheel’, the same semantic extension cf. Polish koleja ‘road’ and Russian koleja ‘track’, Slavonic *kolo- ‘wheel’; Dutch spoor ‘road, path’ from IE *sphere- ‘to go with feet’).
Two main directions of semantic extension can be formulated
1) ‘road’ → ‘way, journey’ → ‘way of life, destiny’ (Danish stí ‘path, destiny’ from CG *stige and Russian dialectal stezka ‘a small path’ and stezia ‘destiny, way of life’; Old Norse senda ‘journey, way’ and Old Engl. sið ‘way, destiny’, both from IE *sentu- ‘to go; path, way’).
2) ‘road’ → ‘way, manner’ → [‘good manner’, ‘luck’] (many examples from Germanic languages, but also Russian drugim putem ‘by another way’ and (coll.) vse putem ‘all is OK’, literally ‘all is by the way’).
The main goal of the paper is to study Celtic (especially - Goidelic) words denoting ‘road’, to collect ranked synonyms, to give motivated etymologies, to exercise a diachronic and comparative study of the use of the names of the ‘road’ in Old, Middle and Modern Irish and in Scottish Gaelic (including comparative data from Continental Celtic and Insular Brittonic languages) and to reveal and describe supposed Goidelic innovations (slige, belach, bóthar). The final aim is to introduce Goildelic data into the described scheme of a semantic shift.
This research is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project # 17-29-09124.
Blažek, V. (2007) ‘From August Schleicher to Sergei Starostin: On the development of the tree-diagram models of the Indo-European languages’ JIES, 35, P. 82-110.
Blažek, V. and Novorná, P. (2006) ‘On application of Glottochronology for Celtic Languages’ Linguistica Brunensia, A 54, P. 71-100.
Dolgopolsky, A.B. (2000) ‘Sources of linguistic chronology’. In: Colin Renfrew, April McMahon, and Larry Trask (eds.) Time Depth in Historical Linguistics. Cambridge, UK: McDonald Institute for Archeological Research. P. 401–409.
Gray, R.D. and Atkinson Q. (2003) ‘Language-Tree Divergence Times Support the Anatolian Theory of Indo-European Origin’ Nature, 426, P. 435-439.
Mallory, J. (2013) The Origins of the Irish. Thames and Hudson.
Renfrew, C. (2013) ‘Early Celtic in the West: The Indo-European Context’ In J.T. Koch and B. Cunliffe (eds.) Celtic from the West 2. Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books, P. 207-218.
Starostin, S. (1999) ‘Comparative-historical linguistics and lexicostatistics’. In V. Shevoroshkin and P. Sidwell (eds.) Historical Linguistics and Lexicostatistics. Melbourne: Association for the History of Language, vol. 3, P. 3-50.
Swadech, M. (1952) ‘Lexico-statistic dating of prehistoric ethnic contacts’ Proceedings of American Philosophical Society, vol. 96, P. 452-463.
Swadech, M. (1955) ‘Towards greater accuracy in lexicostatistic dating’ IJAL, vol. 21, P. 121-137.
Zalizniak Anna A., Bulakh, M., Ganenkov, D., Gruntov, I., Maisak, T., Russo. M. The Catalogue of semantic shifts as a database for lexical semantic Typology // Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria and Martine Vanhove (eds.), Linguistics 50–3, Vol. 2012, p. 633 – 669.
Breton-French Dictionary and Handbook: Vocabulaire nouveau ou colloque françois et breton as a testimony of the colloquial language
The handbooks containing Breton-French dictionary and a Breton-French or Breton-French-Latin phrasebook were printed in French Brittany since the 15th century, when the famous Catholicon, the trilingual dictionary by Jehan Lagadeuc, was compiled in 1464 and printed in 1499 in Treguier. This kind of handbooks and dictionaries had been produced for the use of both French and Breton speakers, especially priests and merchants. They are a precious testimony of the written and sometimes spoken language of the Premodern Breton, and present an interest for linguists as well as for specialists in history and cultural studies. The numerous modern re-editions of Catholicon show the growing interest of scholars of the Breton tradition to dictionaries, handbooks and both descriptive and prescriptive grammars. The Catholicon is the first but not the unique book in this genre. The followers of Jehan Lagadeuc also deserve attention.
The editions and numerous re-editions of Colloquia in 17-18th cc. were published in Morlaix, Brest, St Brieuc Quimper, Vannes, Landerneau, Rennes, Caen. Many of them were studied by Joseph Loth and La Borderie. The latest editions were made at the beginning of the 20th century as the Nouveau Dictionnaire ou Colloque François et Breton, published in Morlaix, which last edition (with some modifications) was made in 1915. The first edition of this Colloque was printed in Morlaix in 1717 by Paul de Plosquellec, as an alternative to the more ancient Colloque by Guillaume Quiquer (first edition – 1626). Very probably Paul de Plosquellec, the editor, was also the author of the book.
The Nouveau Dictionnaire ou Colloque François et Breton was reprinted in 1740, 1750 and 1755 in Morlaix, after that in 1764 in Sait-Paul-de-Léon by J.-P. Le Cremeur, in 1773 an exact copy of the first edition was published in Quimper by the publisher Marin Blot in Quimper and then under the name Vocabulaire nouveau ou Colloque François et breton: ouvrage très utile pour ceux qui sont curieux d’apprendre l’un ou l’autre de ses deux langues, published in Quimper in 1778 by the widow Blot. Meanwhile another reedition was published in Morlaix by Guyon. The later editions reproduced the original of 1717 but in some cases some changes were necessary. E.g. the re-edition in 1791 (after the French Revolution) by Y.-J.-L. Derrien (Quimper) replaced the word “Monsieur” with that of “citoyen”.
The analysis of the evolution of Breton written standard in the 18th century and its influence of the later reform of the Breton orthography by Le Gonidec and other tentatives of reforming the written Breton, the evolution of Premodern Breton into Modern Breton. The edition of 1778 by the widow Blot is available in several libraries and also in digital format that makes it possible to observe the evolution of written and spoken Breton from the 15th century up to the 18th. These handbooks and dictionaries are a precious source for any study of grammar and syntax of Pre-Morden Breton.