Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by pjdude1219, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I've heard about the Hadrian wall. The Scots have been historically averse to giving up their independence, haven't they? How did they finally give in to the English?

    Did the wall play a role in keeping the Gaelic from being "corrupted" do you think?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You've got this a little muddled. Please review my earlier posts. The people who lived in south Britannia when the Romans invaded were a Celtic tribe, the original, genuine Britons. They spoke a Celtic language which is poorly attested but is now called Brythonic. There were no Germanic tribes in the British Isles yet. Apparently Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Cumbric started out as dialects of Brythonic and eventually diverged into separate languages, so what we know about Brythonic is primarily deduced by working backward from them. It was influenced by Latin, as expected.

    We cannot compare the linguistic fate of Roman-occupied Britannia with Roman-occupied Gallia or Iberia because shortly after the Romans left the people they had conquered were conquered again, by the Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) who sailed over to help themselves to the incipient civilization that the Romans abandoned. The Anglo-Saxons marginalized and displaced the native people so at that point there was a discontinuity in the culture and other ethnic characteristics of the people, including their language. The modern so-called "Britons" retain some of the DNA of the original authentic Britons (although some fled to Brittany or took shelter in Wales and Cornwall, and presumably many died), but they are culturally and ancestrally more Germanic than Celtic.

    The Britons did not have a chance to decide whether to give up their language and adopt Latin. The Anglo-Saxons came in and replaced both the people and the language with Anglo-Saxons.
    If you just tally the words in a dictionary, of course you'll find tens of thousands of scholarly, political, religious, scientific and other disciplinary words of Latin origin, although these days I'd say that most of them were coined as "Modern Latin" neologisms such as "petroleum" and "infrastructure," rather than borrowed from the Romans. The Normans overlaid a superstratum of French words that pertained to the business, government and domestic dealings of the aristocracy, which is why the cow, calf, pig or deer raised by the farmer or gamekeeper is called beef, veal, pork or venison once it leaves the butcher shop.

    But our basic wordstock is clearly Germanic: pronouns (we, they), conjunctions (and, or), prepositions (to, of), humble activities (go, think), body parts (head, foot), and places (field, house). Nonetheless there has indeed been some astounding French influence into our everyday vocabulary, such as use, question, very, face and second.
    The Scots didn't arrive from Ireland until after the Romans had left. The people who harassed the Romans were the Picts, and it's anybody's guess who they were since the Romans never established the kind of relationship that would have facilitated study of their culture and language. Some archeologists see reason to assume they were a Celtic tribe, but for all we know they could have been the last remnants of the earlier wave of Homo sapiens migrants who built Stonehenge.
    I doubt it. The Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf is clearly a form of Old German. The most profound influence on English was the Norman Invasion. Both grammar and vocabulary underwent wrenching changes as Anglo-Saxon evolved into the Middle English of Chaucer. When the Norman rulers assimilated and dropped French in favor of English in the 14th century, it then underwent wrenching phonetic changes, such as the bizarre shift in Modern English of cardinal A from AH to AY, I from EE to IGH, etc. This echoes the changes that were taking place in French, whose modern vowels are equally distorted from the Latin originals. (Me becomes moi, which is then pronounced "mwa.")
    They did not drive the Normans out. There has been no severe discontinuity in English aristocracy and government since the Normans took over. The French simply assimilated, just as the Mongols did in China. The story "Tess of the D'urbervilles" touches on that issue. A once aristocratic French family fell on hard times, lost its estate, and eventually even its name was anglicized to Derbyfield.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    You might find Fraggles post interesting, it addresses a lot of your errors here.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Interesting. I'd imagine that's not a very well-known set of facts outside of the US, especially as "Yank" is so often used colloquially by the media and I can't say I've ever heard of anyone taking offense to it.
    Well, I would say as there is a degree of amalgamation with regards to "indigenous" peoples in both countries along with the long history of multiple cultures within both countries - American is probably as valid to describe the Americans as British for the Brits. I don't think the modern Britons(in France) are too bothered; and IIRC Brittany was under Norman/English rule for a long time when we shared a lot of (what are now modern)French territories with France and we probably share a good genetic link with them. It's probably not as inappropriate as it seems, but to avoid a 200 syllable more accurate description of the Britons we should stick with the status quo. Or I suppose you could just call us United Kingdomers.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  8. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Well of course to a certain level there must be a consensus of common usage with pronounciation of words. The thing to bear in mind is that if there is no "correct" and "incorrect" way to say a word, then language loses all meaning, and definition. There are of course multiple accepted ways to say a word, some of which are more begrudgingly accepted than others. Generally I would say the consensus is that others understand what you're trying to say, and with that in mind a lot of Americans do pronounce Iraq perfectly fine, even if it takes a while for it to click for those who say it differently. That said within America there generally is a difference in pronounciation between media outlets/high ranking spokespeople and rednecks (for example) - and I suspect there's a loose correlation between this and education, which helps give rise to the stereotype "I'm a stupid American and I can't say this word correctly".

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I suppose it really comes down to how much of a snobbish attitude your tutors and peers have.

    What about when it comes to how most of the world pronounces Iraq?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    As for everything else I think between you and fraggle I've learnt a lot, so I'm just going to acknowledge that without posting a long reply. And may I add, go Yankees!

    Darn. Maybe we should have come up with something unflattering?
  9. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member


    Thanks for the clarifications. Can you give any good cites? I had believed that Hadrian had erected the wall to keep out the 'scots', but I suppose to keep out others of that region is not quite the same thing. So they too were later invaded by scots? OK, I can accept that. Citations?

    Likewise, it makes sense that with the departure of the Romans (circa 500 AD, though I'm sure you can come up with a better date), then teutonics would/could invade and replace them over the course of centuries. But they then replaced the celtic language, too.

    Our Latin vocabulary, however, then remains a mystery. How did that carry over from the celtic Britons, who were conquered/assimilated by teutonics and adopted the teutonic language. It's very clear that much of our vocabulary is Latin origin, not French/Norman. It is estimated that 80% of our common vocabulary is Latin origin. But yes, the Normans did add vocabularies too, along the lines you discussed, as well as changes in the teutonic pronunciations, etc.

    It would be nice to see a good web-site that discusses the origin of the English language, includings its Latin and Norman vocabularies as overlays on the teutonic basic grammar/structure. Wanna put one together?
  10. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I heard a Southerner try to help his people make peace with this fifty years ago: "You have to forgive those Englishmen [and I'm sure by that he meant all Britons]. They call all Americans 'Yankees.' They just don't know that some of us are still Rebels."
    The Celtic people of Brittany are called Bretons, not Britons. The French sometimes use breton to mean a British person, but AFAIK the reverse is never true.
    Like "the Great Satan"? When I was younger Latin Americans often called us norteamericanos. This bothered the Canadians, because they used "North American" to mean "of Canada and/or the United States, indiscriminately and collectively." But now with the passage of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), Mexico has proclaimed itself part of North America rather than Central America, so we don't hear norteamericano much any more.

    Hungarians pronounce USA as an acronym: OO-sha. I didn't think to ask if there was an adjective derived from that word.

    The Chinese contorted "America" into Meiguo, which means "beautiful country." So to them we are Meiguoren, "beautiful country people."
    No, sorry. These are infobits I have been collecting for more than fifty years. But so far I have found the Wikipedia articles on the history of the various European tribes and their languages to be accurate.
    I'm sure the story is told that way in abridged form. But it makes the animosity between the English and the Scots seem older than it actually is.
    It was the Picts who were invaded by the Irish, to be precise. North Britannia was not called Scotia during Roman times, because no Irish (scoti) lived there. I don't know how or when:
    • The Irish came to be known by more-or-less their own name for themselves in England,
    • The Irish invaders who defeated the Picts came to be known, nonetheless, as "Scots" rather than "Irish,"
    • North Britannia came to be called Scotia in Latin and "Scotland" in Anglisc.
    It didn't. These words were added much later. Dictionary.com gives the date of first appearance of each word. Look up a few of your own:
    • vocabulary 1525
    • remain 1375
    • mystery 1275
    • conquer 1200
    • assimilate 1570
    • adopt 1490
    • language 1250
    I'm not a professional in this field. I only get by on SciForums because I'm the big fish in the small pond.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The Scottish people did not exist when Hadrian's wall was built. A different tribe lived in North Britannia in that era, the Picts.
    Name one nation that hasn't? The Tibetans chose not to go to war against the Chinese because they knew they could not win, not because they were sanguine about the occupation. And also because they are confident that patience will triumph and one day their descendants will be free.
    They didn't exactly "give in." They just finally lost the battle. The usual way: intrigue, betrayal, strategic and tactical setbacks, bad luck, and an enemy whose star was rising and was destined to be one of the major world powers. It would have happened eventually because the English would never have stopped until they became strong enough to prevail.
    Scots Gaelic is a distinctly different dialect from Irish Gaelic, although dialects are by definition intercomprehensible. I'm not familiar with the differences; perhaps Scots Gaelic has more words of English origin. Although Ireland was occupied by the British for a couple of centuries and its people also speak English more than their native language, so I wouldn't be surprised if Irish Gaelic has also been influenced by English.
  13. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Britain is short for the Island of Great Britain, and strictly speaking to be British you have to come from England Scotland or Wales, or their outlying islands.

    If someone from Scotland does something good, the English call them British, but if they do something bad we call them Scottish.
    They find this annoying for some reason.
    eg. British athlete wins Olympic Gold medal. Scottish Paedophile athlete goes to prison.

    Whatever you do, never call the Scottish Scotch. It drives them mad.
    They like being called Scots.

    It gets a bit confusing, because the British Isles consists of Great Britain and Ireland.
    In Northern Ireland, generally Protestants will call themselves British, and Catholics will call themselves Irish. They can have either Passport, or both if they wish.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Oh, and the United Kingdom is Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Plus, because of our colonial history, many non geographically British people have British passports, and are British Subjects or varieties thereof..
    Calling yourself a British Subject is a bit long winded, so many call themselves British for short.
    So, we have:

    British Citizens
    British subjects
    British Overseas Territories citizens
    British Overseas citizens
    British Nationals (Overseas)
    British protected persons
    Commonwealth citizens

    Who may all call themselves British if they want to.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Don't confuse us! Isn't the official name "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?"

    The more educated among us know that "Great Britain" is the isle of Albion/Britannia. But "Britain" without the "Great" is more loosely used, even in the news media, as shorthand for "The United Kingdom." For some reason the convenient, unambiguous abbreviation "U.K." has not caught on over here. It's just a legendary prog rock supergroup with Bill Bruford, Alan Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. That's okay, we also had a (not so progressive and not so super) group named "America."

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    When's the last time a Canadian called himself "British," except on the TV show "Due South," where they were reverently maintaining a suite for the Queen in every British embassy? Or an Aussie?

    Right before the lease on Hong Kong expired, there was quite a rush of people from Hong Kong using their right of citizenship to relocate to other Commonwealth nations, perhaps most notably the western part of Canada. We've really got to to give high-fives to the people who had the temerity to stay.
  16. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    O.K Kremmen, what am I?
    I was born in England. ( I know it's a shock to me too!). I am a naturalised Australian. I came to Aus. at 10 months of age BTW so when I took my citizenship oath I did it loudly, proudly in broad strine. I have an Australian passport (only).
    What about my kids, they can get a British passport right? Their kids? Isn't there something about a grandfather clause?
    What if my eldset son (who's gay), adopts a child or has a non paternal child through a surrogate. Would they have access to a British passport.
    I'll probably absolve my Australian citizenship in the not too distant future (in favour of a Fijian citizenship. Will I still have access to a British passport? It's a colony too yeah?
    I wonder if Fiji celebrates the Queen's birthday?
    My circle of friends in Fiji already includes representatives of many of the colonies, Kiwis, Aussies, Indian Fijians, Fijians. Then of course there are the seppoes, actually I don't like any of those that I've met so far, except the Hawaiins and they're hardly real seppoes are they?

    Enlighten me Captain.
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    I wonder which ones have done best?
    Probably those who stayed.
    re Commonwealth Citizen.
    I think it is only those who have a right to live in Britain can get a British passport. I think that Indians used to have them.

    You're a Bladdy Dingo mate.

    I Seppoes not. Which ones are cannibals?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  18. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    Life is good.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Hey, Angus Young was born in Scotland.
    Why not? One became President. If you're referring to full-blooded ethnically Polynesian Hawaiians, I think you're about a hundred years too late. The people I know who try to pass themselves off as "real" Hawaiians have major Chinese or Japanese ancestry--like 3/4 or more. They think we haoles can't tell the difference and we humor them.
  20. Gypsi Registered Senior Member

    Just to say... Great posts FraggleRocker!
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

  22. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    that would depend. Aparently my dad missed out by 1 generation on a british passport which if he was able to get he would have because it gives unrestricted access to eroupe. However what you call yourself is about how you identify yourself. For instance, my mother in law is over in malysia for work, even if she got citizanship of that country for her work she would still concider herself Australian. Same goes for people who get US citizanship in order to work there
  23. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Great Britain as opposed to Britain is falling out of use here except for sports reports where it is used in the names of long standing British teams.
    Also in the phrase "The island of Great Britain.........." where it scans nicely.

    Brittania is used as a poetic word for Britain, symbolised by a lady with a trident and shield. We have a song called "Rule Britannia", which was once not amusing.

    Great British, as opposed to British, is very seldom used. Americans use it occasionally.

Share This Page