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CELTIC-L  June 2000

CELTIC-L June 2000

Subject:

The nature of the Gael and of the Celt

From:

Bratronos <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bratronos <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Jun 2000 17:22:28 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (79 lines)

>>   So, does this mean that most Scots are not Scottish?

>      No, it means they are not *Gaels*.

And by extension, not celts?

>> I seem to remember that
>>   in Cornwall their language died out for a while. Is that right, yes? If
>>   nobody has a direct connection to native speakers, does that mean that
>>   Cornish people aren't Cornish at all, but foreigners pretending to be
>>   Cornish?

>     "Cornish", like "Scottish", is a term of regional identity, not ethnic
>identity.  So while we
>can call them Cornish, we can't really say that they're "Celts".

Okay. So you need proper fluency in a celtic language to be a celt. Does it
have to be your own native celtic language? It may seem an odd scenario, but
I'm wondering about a Cornish person raised in Cornwall by a grandparent
steeped in Cornish lore and tradition, who takes for some reason to studying
Irish culture and language, spends twenty years of their life immersed in
some Irish-speaking part of Ireland. Are they celtic according to the
theory? My guess is yes, though a Gael or a Briton? In fact, does that
really matter?

>>  Or are there more subtle grades of exclusion people in celtic
>>   countries are subject to? Can you explain this 'Gall' thing a bit? Is
it an
>>   absolute rule?

>     The great thing that modern Scottish nationalism has tried to
obliterate is
>the traditional
>differences between the Highland and Lowland peoples and their cultures.
That
>is why you
>seem to believe that a Gael/Celt and a Scotsman are or should be
synonymous.

Sorry it seemed that way. I don't, though I can understand why you should
think so. I gave no indication otherwise. Isn't 'celticness' a fundamental
part of the Scottish national self-image, though? I wonder how strongly, or
not, lowlanders feel about such an image. Your point is well made, though.
Perhaps when Scots can accept the two cultures of Scotland for what they
are, and care little where and when and how far they overlap, or don't, the
whole issue of Scottishness can begin to define itself in terms which are
wholly about Scottishness and less about difference from 'an other group',
and specifically from England. I think perhaps the day when Scots forget how
different they are from the English is the day when they forget to 'be
Scottish' and just get on with living it instead. My experience has been
that people who learn to forget about the national, cultural, ethnic, class
or whatever banner they carry in their psyche, even for a short time, are
far more at ease with themselves and what they are. I believe that past
oppressions and wrongdoings, whether rightly or wrongly attributed to
external baddies, for example the English, have played a large part in
shaping the 'I have a banner and I'm going to wave it' element of the
national mindset of, for example Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Israel, and the
list can go on and on. I have no idea whatever if you agree with me or not.
I'm not sure I really mind either way. I'm not even sure why I followed this
particular thought.

>Gaelic culture came to appear romantic and somehow an
>expression of the essence of lost Scottishness throughout the country.

I am inclined to think you may be heading in the ame direction as I have
above with this thought, though I'll leave that to you to say either way.

>had an impeccable Highland lineage).  It is a distinction that makes
perfect
>ethnological sense,
>even tho' it ignores arbitrary national borders.

I agree absolutely. It does follow a very specific logic which is admirable.
I'd like to thank you for your time thus far. If I have irritated you at all
please take my apology. I have found everything you have said fascinating
and enlightning. Please continue.

B.

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