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Thread: R1b and Language

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    R1b and Language

    I have read thoroughly the essay that Maciamo has written on R1b and I'm trying to match what is known philologically. He states that L21 equates with the Q-celtic (Gaelic) languages whilst U152 equates with the Italic and P-celtic (Welsh) languages. The population of the British Isles by L21 (In Ireeland 2000BC) is some time before the settlement of Italy by U152 (1200BC).
    My problem with this is that the view from comparative philology is that the split between Welsh (p-celtic) and Gaelic (q-celtic) is generally held to be younger than the split between Celtic and Italic. I am having difficulty squaring this circle.

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    I think we can't be sure (and my personal opinion: it's unlikely) that the R1b-L21 who settled Britain around 2,000 BC left any trace of their language until the Middle Ages. I'd say that the Q-Celtic arrived with the Hallstatt expansion (think of something like the Castillian expansion in Spain wiping out Aragonese, Mozarabic and Leonese gradually), and the P-Celtic arrived with the La Tène. Celts were not a unified people either in politics, and also in language. The "classic Celtic", P-Celtic + Q-Celtic, we may relate to is probably much later than all the direct descendants of the earlier forms of Proto-Celtic. A slight evidence of this could be seen in the still ongoing controveries about whether Ligurian and Lusitanian are Celtic or Para-Celtic.

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    Thanks Ygorcs for replying. The view you're putting forward is the standard view which I haven't seen any reason to doubt. What I am more interested is understanding is why Maciamo has put forward a different view. He must have reasons for it.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I guess you (the way you're interrpreting what Maciamo said) are making a quite common mistake, which is assigning a specific haplogroup to a specific language or language family. Yes, there may be a particularly strong association between a particular subclade of a Y-DNA haplogroup and a certain language group, but it doesn't mean the contrary statement, which is: if a certain people shifted to another language they will necessarily shift their Y-DNA makeup, too. That's especially not true if the languages in contact are already very close and easily learned by each other, as certainly the British languages derived from Proto-Celtic or Pre-Proto-Celtic were from Hallstatt Q-Celtic, above all, and from La Tène P-Celtic. Those "Para-Celtic" languages would've split just 1,000-1,300 years before the arrival of Q-Celtic, so these two would've been probably as diverged as Portuguese and Spanish, or French and Catalan. It isn't really far-fetched to imagine that these people would shift their language to a much more influential, widespread and high prestige language that is already quite close to theirs, especially if, as it appears, there was at least a bit of migration from the continent to the isles, with the speakers of the "new" prestige language among the more ancient inhabitants. When P-Celtic of Gauls and similar tribes arrived much later, the similarity was even greater, with Q-Celtic and P-Celtic probably being sister languages diverged only in the later 500-1,000 years. It would've been not much different from a gradual linguistic convergence from one language to the other, much like what's happening now with Aragonese and Leonese diluting and disappearing into Castillian.

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    If I remember well :
    - The P/Q split also occurred in Italic languages : latin = Q-italic ; Osco-Umbrian = P-italic
    - Italic and Celtic languages are thought to descend from a common Proto-Celto-Italic ancestor somewhere north of the Alps.
    - The "kw" sound is the original PIE sound. So, it's legitimate to assume that P-Celtic is the more recent development, "younger" that Q-Celtic.
    This seems to suggest that some Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic groups left their Bavarian/Bohemian/Austrian homeland early, before the sound shift occurred, in pre-Halstatt or very early Halstatt times. As they led tribal lives, it's easy enough to suppose that most of the time, the whole tribe moved together. And as shared blood was the connecting link among those tribes ("gens"), the men of the tribe likely carried the same haplogroup. L21 (and probably DF27 too) must have moved first, taking their "kw" sound away with them to the west. Some time afterwards, "kw" turned into "p" among their former neighbours, who had chosen to stay behind - maybe because they were only distant U152 cousins.
    Similarly, among U152 Italics, an early "kw" group went south to Latium. The Osco-Umbrians left some time later, after their language had dropped the "kw". The kw/p shift could even be due to some sort of "contagion" between Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic tribes when they were still neighbors north of the Danube.

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    Y-DNA haplogroup
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    For what it's worth ...
    Proto-Celtic Schleicher's Fable :
    Proto Celtic.JPG
    Proto-Italic :
    Proto Italic.JPG

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    Ygorks - Maciamo says: 'The early split of L21 from the main Proto-Celtic branch around Germany would explain why the Q-celtic languages (Goidelic and Hispano-Celtic) diverged so much from the P-Celtic branch (La Tène, Gaulish, Brythonic), which appears to have expanded from the later Urnfield and Hallstat cultures.' I can only make this meaningful by assuming that he means that the Q-Celtic languages were taken by L21-men to the British Isles. If they were brought by later celtic bands to Britain and the inhabitants changed their tongue (whether or not in the way that you describe for modern Spain) then it would not be explained by the early L21 split.

    Thanks hrclv, Proto-italic and proto-celtic are very close aren't they. They just look like separate dialects rather than languages.

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