No Proto-Celtic?

Eduard Selleslagh edsel at
Mon Apr 30 11:00:11 UTC 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: <X99Lynx at>
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 9:34 AM

> If you sincerely were looking for evidence of convergence, you mention the
> obvious place to look, in such "picturesque novelties as the initial
> consonant mutations -- not to mention the Old Irish verbal system."  It
> wouldn't be in the consistencies that Celtic would show evidence of
> convergence,  it would be in the "innovations."  But if we are dealing with
> possibly hundreds of EXTINCT European languages, IE or otherwise, how would
> you be able to identify other "genetic" influences?  Perhaps one of them had
> initial consonant mutation.

> Regards,
> Steve Long

[Ed Selleslagh]
Grammatically determined initial-consonant mutations (I think it's important to
be that explicit about it) occur in other, still existing, languages too: e.g.
(sub-saharan) Fulani ( or Peul). And some Bantu languages, like Tshiluba, use
initial consonant palatalization for diminutives (so does Basque) and all use
class-prefix modification (Actually, that may be the origin of the Peul
phenemena: I wonder if the Celtic equivalent might not have a somewhat similar
origin, e.g. the female form of the adjective).

Verbal systems can change quite a bit in 1000 years, let alone in thousands of
years; just look at what had already happened to Latin and Greek verb by the
10th or 11th century A.D. - I mean Byzantine (and later) Greek and the various
Latin languages.

I really would like to know other people's views on these matters.


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