Atlantic substrate of Insular Celtic

Mag.Hans-Joachim Alscher hans.alscher at
Wed Feb 3 07:00:22 UTC 1999

Dennis King schrieb:

> Theo Vennemann wrote:

> > Insular Celtic is structurally an Atlantic language (it is structurally
> > more similar to Arabic than to any non-Insular Celtic Indo-European
> > language), whereas Germanic is not.

> ...
> In the meantime, would you be willing to summarize for us some
> telling evidence in favor of the Atlantic substrate hypothesis?
> ...

The "Anlautpermutation" (morphological change of the initial consonant) of
Insular Celtic
resembles the same feature in "(Western) Atlantic" languages, one of the
branches of Greenberg´s "Niger-Congo"-languages. The most important languages
of this family are Ful, Wolof and Serer in Senegal. Hans G. Mukarovsky has
drawn a picture of possible relations between this family and the Berberic
and Basque language, see "Mukarovsky, Hans G.: Die Grundlagen des Ful und das
Mauretanische", Wien, Herder, 1963. Following this hypothesis one must assume
that "Mauretanic" is the "missing link" substratum to (Insular) Celtic.
Nevertheless, neither Semitic nor whole Afro-Asiatic (or branches of
Afro-Asiatic) show the characteristic "Anlautpermutation" of Atlantic and
Insular Celtic, a very rare feature amongst the world´s languages. Therefore
connections between Atlantic and Insular Celtic should be considered rather
than Semitic.
Mit freundlichen Gruessen / Yours sincerely

Bibliotheksrat Mag.phil. Hans-Joachim Alscher
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