Gaulish

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Gaulish

 

the language of the Celtic tribes that inhabited the territory from the Iberian Peninsula to Asia Minor shortly before the Common Era. Gaulish was a group of various but quite close tribal dialects. It was distinguished as a separate branch of the Celtic languages, closer to the Brythonic branch than to the Goidelic.

Gaulish epigraphic monuments and records dating from the fourth century B.C. to the first few centuries A.D. have been preserved. Most of the short inscriptions consist only of dedications. The most extensive inscription is a calendar on a bronze tablet from Coligny. Many Gaulish words and proper names were preserved in Latin inscriptions and the works of ancient authors.

Gaulish is archaic in comparison with the other Celtic languages. The phonetic shape of words did not undergo significant changes. Consonant mutation apparently did not develop. As far as can be determined, noun declension was fully developed; little is known about the verb system. Word order in the sentence was free. In most Gaulish-speaking regions, Gaulish was displaced by Latin in the fifth and sixth centuries. Many Gaulish words have been preserved in modern French and the northern Italian dialects.

REFERENCES

Lewis, H., and H. Pedersen. Kratkaia sravnitel’naia grammatika kel’tskikh iazykov. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from English.)
Dottin, G. La Langue gauloise. Paris, 1920.
Whatmough, J. The Dialects of Ancient Gaul, series 1-5. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1950-51.

A. A. KOROLEV