DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group - BBC News
Celtic and Gallic tends to be interchangeable--is that right? The English were a mixture of Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Danes, and Normans. to commit themselves on this, and I don't have a Latin etymological dictionary handy. A little while ago a link to this list of 23 maps and charts on language went around on The inhabitants of Great Britain when the Anglo-Saxons arrived were . progressive, it's quite far from English in both use and meaning. According to the data, those of Celtic ancestry in Scotland and Cornwall that the invading Anglo Saxons did not wipe out the Britons of 1,
Before Roman times, 'Britain' was just a geographical entity and had no political meaning and no single cultural identity.
The gene pool of the island has changed, but more slowly and far less completely than implied by the old 'invasion model', and the notion of large-scale migrations, once the key explanation for change in early Britain, has been widely discredited.
Substantial genetic continuity of population does not preclude profound shifts in culture and identity. It is actually quite common to observe important cultural change, including adoption of wholly new identities, with little or no biological change to a population. Millions of people since Roman times have thought of themselves as 'British', for example, yet this identity was only created in with the Union of England, Wales and Scotland.
Before Roman times 'Britain' was just a geographical entity, and had no political meaning, and no single cultural identity.
Arguably this remained generally true until the 17th century, when James I of England and VI of Scotland sought to establish a pan-British monarchy. Throughout recorded history the island has consisted of multiple cultural groups and identities. Many of these groupings looked outwards, across the seas, for their closest connections - they did not necessarily connect naturally with their fellow islanders, many of whom were harder to reach than maritime neighbours in Ireland or continental Europe.
It therefore makes no sense to look at Britain in isolation; we have to consider it with Ireland as part of the wider 'Atlantic Archipelago', nearer to continental Europe and, like Scandinavia, part of the North Sea world. This is a vast time span, and we know very little about what went on through those years; it is hard even to fully answer the question, 'Who were the early peoples of Britain?
Throughout prehistory there were myriad small-scale societies and many petty 'tribal' identities We can, however, say that biologically they were part of the Caucasoid population of Europe.
The regional physical stereotypes familiar to us today, a pattern widely thought to result from the post-Roman Anglo-Saxon and Viking invasions - red-headed people in Scotland, small, dark-haired folk in Wales and lanky blondes in southern England - already existed in Roman times. Insofar as they represent reality, they perhaps attest the post-Ice Age peopling of Britain, or the first farmers of 6, years ago.
The Celts - Origin and Background
From an early stage, the constraints and opportunities of the varied environments of the islands of Britain encouraged a great regional diversity of culture. Throughout prehistory there were myriad small-scale societies, and many petty 'tribal' identities, typically lasting perhaps no more than a few generations before splitting, merging or becoming obliterated.
These groups were in contact and conflict with their neighbours, and sometimes with more distant groups - the appearance of exotic imported objects attest exchanges, alliance and kinship links, and wars. These reveal a mosaic of named peoples Trinovantes, Silures, Cornovii, Selgovae, etcbut there is little sign such groups had any sense of collective identity any more than the islanders of AD all considered themselves 'Britons'.
Calling the British Iron Age 'Celtic' is so misleading that it is best abandoned. However, there is one thing that the Romans, modern archaeologists and the Iron Age islanders themselves would all agree on: This was an invention of the 18th century; the name was not used earlier. The idea came from the discovery around that the non-English island tongues relate to that of the ancient continental Gauls, who really were called Celts.
This ancient continental ethnic label was applied to the wider family of languages. But 'Celtic' was soon extended to describe insular monuments, art, culture and peoples, ancient and modern: However, language does not determine ethnicity that would make the modern islanders 'Germans', since they mostly speak English, classified as a Germanic tongue.
And anyway, no one knows how or when the languages that we choose to call 'Celtic', arrived in the archipelago - they were already long established and had diversified into several tongues, when our evidence begins.
Certainly, there is no reason to link the coming of 'Celtic' language with any great 'Celtic invasions' from Europe during the Iron Age, because there is no hard evidence to suggest there were any. Archaeologists widely agree on two things about the British Iron Age: And secondly, calling the British Iron Age 'Celtic' is so misleading that it is best abandoned.
BBC - History - Ancient History in depth: Peoples of Britain
English has what is known as the continuous or progressive aspectwhich is formed with a form of be and a present participle. English, on the other hand, uses it as the default form for many types of verbs. English also makes extensive use of a feature known as do supportwherein we insert do into certain kinds of constructions, mostly questions and negatives.
So while German would have Magst du Eis? Do you like ice cream? These constructions are rare cross-linguistically and are very un-Germanic. And some people have come up with a very interesting explanation for this unusual syntax: That is, they believe that the Celtic population of Britain adopted Old English from their Anglo-Saxon conquerors but remained bilingual for some time.
As they learned Old English, they carried over some of their native syntax. The Celtic languages have some rather unusual syntax themselves, highly favoring periphrastic constructions over inflected ones. Some of these constructions are roughly analogous to the English use of do support and progressive forms.
In English the progressive stresses that you are doing something right now, while the simple present is used for things that are done habitually or that are generally true.
In English, do is used in interrogatives Do you like ice cream? In Welsh, however, gwneud is not obligatory, and it can be used in simple affirmative statements without any emphasis. Nor is it always used where it would be in English. Many questions and negatives are formed with a form of the be verb, bod, rather than gwneud. For example, Do you speak Welsh? Proponents of the Celtic substrate theory argue that these features are so unusual that they could only have been borrowed into English from Celtic languages.
Why did English wait for more than a thousand years to borrow these constructions? And maybe most importantly, why are there almost no lexical borrowings from Celtic languages into English?