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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

418                 The Loom of Language
WELSH                                                          ERSE
pa?                (what?)                    ca
pen                (head)                     ceann
pedwar           (four)                      cathair
par                (couple)                   coraid
Apart from Basque, the Celtic group remained a playing-field for
fantastic speculations longer than any other European language Even
when most of the European languages were brought together, with
Sanskrit and Iranian, in happy family reunion, Celtic stayed out in the
cold * The large number of roots common to Celtic and other Aryan
languages now leaves little doubt about the affinities of Celtic, especially
to Latin and to other Italic tongues Were it otherwise, there would be
httie to betray the Celtic group as a subdivision of the Aryan family
The Celtic languages lack any trace of many flexions which are
common to other members of the Aryan family In so far as the Celtic
verb exhibits flexion with respect to person,, the present endings have
not passed beyond the stage at which we can recognize them as pro-
nouns fused to the verb-root The same is true of some frontier dialects
HI India, where the Old Indie personal endings of the verb have
disappeared completely and analogous endings have emerged by fusion
of the fixed verb stem with existing pionouns Fron this point of view,
the grammar of Celtic is more like that of Finno-Ugnan languages
than that of Sanskrit, Armenian, or Swedish
Two features, which have been illustrated akcady, emphasize this
essentially agglutinative character of Celtic grammar:
(a) among Celtic languages we find a parallel use of a contracted or
agglutinative form of the verb used without an independent
pronoun (p 100), and an unchangeable verb-root used together
with a pronoun placed after it,
(&) in all Celtic languages prepositions fuse with personal pronouns
so that directives have personal terminals analogous to those of
verbs.
The parallelism between the conjugation of the preposition and the
verb is common to the P and Q lepresentatives of the group, and the
characteristics of each throw light on the origin of the other For in-
stance, we have no difficulty in recognizing the origin of the personal
flexions of the Gaelic preposition le (with) when we compare them with
* A Scotsman, Andrew Murray, wrote in iSoi two remarkable volumes
called a History of European Languages emphasizing inter aha the relation
between Gaelic and Sanskrit