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Continental Celtic

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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This class introduces the Continental Celtic languages and their surviving records, which, although relatively scanty, offer important insight into the history and culture of their speakers and are invaluable for the historical and comparative study of the Celtic languages. Our focus will be linguistic, but students with a primary interest in ancient history, archeology, mythology, etc. are also most welcome.

We will begin with a survey of what is known of the synchronic and historical grammar of the Continental Celtic languages, their evolution from Proto-Indo-European, and their contribution to the reconstruction of Proto-Celtic, then examine several of the inscriptions themselves. The Continental Celtic languages allow us to view Insular Celtic in a wider perspective, and also raise important questions about the historical relationships among the ancient Celtic languages, i.e. their subgrouping. Some of the Continental Celtic inscriptions also shed interesting light on language contact and multilingualism in ancient Italy and Gaul, involving not only Latin and Greek but also other local languages. We will also discuss the value of onomastics for reconstructing Continental Celtic vocabulary, and the much discussed problem of other possible Celtic-speaking peoples of antiquity