On 8 Aug 2011 at 9:16, Dennis King wrote:
> I wonder how this fits into the theory of "ingrown" languages, and
> what external factors, if any, promoted the vast simplication of the
> verbal system. For a summary of ingrown languages:
I wonder if the scenario mentioned on this blog entry can be applied
to Ireland and Irish. "Ingrown" languages presumably need a long time
to "grow in", ideally undisturbed and without the interaction with
other languages. I wonder whether this scenario is valid for Ireland.
Several things speak against it. First of all, compared to, let's say
British, Irish in the early middle ages looks surprisingly uniform.
All the modern Gaelic languages can be derived from Old Irish, and -
again citing from Peter Schrijver's paper at the Congress - to all
extents and purposes Old Irish looks like Proto-Gaelic, i.e. no non-
literary dialects need to be assumed as their ancestors. A language
that is so relatively uniform would usually have expanded over the
terrain it covers only relatively recently. Schrijver even claimed
that Irish may have arrived in Ireland as late as the 1st century AD.
I cannot think of lot arguments against this proposition, actually.
Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that Irish must have taken up
loanwords from another language within Ireland as late as the 5th
century AD or so. During the entire first millennium, Irish was in
contact with other languages (British, Pictish?, English, Norse, and
possibly (a) lost language(s) of Ireland). All of this doesn't look
to me as being conducive to linguistic ingrowth as imagined in that