The Modern Gaulish Language
The revival of the Gaulish language: Galáthach hAthevíu








Links:

1. A discussion group on, for and in the modern Gaulish language:

www.facebook.com/groups/moderngaulishlanguage/

2. A comprehensive English-Modern Gaulish-English dictionary:

www.glosbe.com/mis_gal/en/

3. A series of step-by-step lessons in several languages, including English, Portuguese, French, German and Italian:

https://moderngaulishlessons.wordpress.com

4. A memrise course:

http://www.memrise.com/course/802166/modern-gaulish-1/

5. a) A collection of translations of poetry and prose in modern and in old Gaulish:

https://www.amazon.com/Anthologia-Gallica-Senobrixta-Galáthach-hAthevíu-Poetry/dp/1511644265

b) a collection of original poetry, songs and stories in the modern Gaulish language:

https://www.amazon.com/CnusVl%C3%A1thu-Gal%C3%A1thach-Modern-Gaulish-Anthology/dp/1546815945

6. A collection of soundfiles, including songs, in  modern Gaulish:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQZGNIA8g2o&list=PLhTUHvgCLoUAEmRsQ9imUkR0JdoxWkq6K&index=1

7. A collection of essays on aspects of Gaulish language and culture:

https://independent.academia.edu/ModernGaulish


8. A translation of Asterix The Gaul in modern Gaulish:

http://asterixinmoderngaulish.myfreesites.com

9. A translation of Agrippa, a manga about Vercingetorix:

http://mangainmoderngaulish.myfreesites.com


19. Spatial paradigm
 
Terms defining the spatial paradigm are well attested in the ancient Gaulish corpus. It is possible to identify a number of pairs of opposing terms which between them define the elevation aspects of the spatial paradigm. All terms are featured in Delamarre (2003) or Lambert (2003).
 
         gwer: on                    / gwó: under
        uch: up                     / aner: down
        uchel: above, over    / anel: below, underneath (by analogy with uxellos, Delamarre 2003, p. 330)
         ardhu: high              / íth: low
 
These concepts are attested as being used to describe geophysical features:
 
        uchón: waterfall, i.e. water from above (by analogy with “andounna”)
        anón: source, spring, i.e. water from below (< andounna, Delamarre 2003, p. 48)
 
They are also attested as being applied to define metaphysical concepts:
 
        uchedh: superior, better (Delamarre 2003, p. 330)
        anedh: inferior, worse (Delamarre 2003, p. 46-47)
 
Similarly, they are attested as having been used in combination with the term “tam”, “level”, to construct a scale of appreciation of worth or value (Lezoux, in Delamarre 2003):
 
        anamich: worst, bad, poor (quality) (< andamica, Delamarre 2003, p. 46)
        méthamich: mediocre, ordinary, average (quality) (< mediotamica, p. 222)
        gwerthamich: best, good, excellent (quality) (Delamarre 2003, p. 317)
 
This allows for the construction of two parallel comparitive value systems:
 
a) The grammatical system, using the attested prefix “gwer” (Delamarre 2003, p. 317) and the attested suffix “–am” (Mees 2010 p. 104; Delamarre 2003, p. 233)
  
        dái – gwer dhái – dáisam (< dago-uer dago-dagisamo)
        good     better           best
 
        mes – gwer wes – mesam (< messamobi, Delamarre 2003, p. 226)
        bad    worse           worst
 
b) The metaphysical system, as defined above:
 
        math –  uchedh   -  gwerthamich
        fine       superior     excellent
 
        druch – anedh -    anamich
        bad       inferior    poor
 
Both systems can be used freely as preferred. The existence of more than one option to express a concept only adds to the richness of language, and is essential to avoid staleness and restriction of expression.
 
 
20. Temporal paradigm
 
The temporal paradigm, used to measure the passing of the time is not comprehensively attested in the ancient Gaulish corpus. However, based on the attested material constructions can be made to complete the paradigm, in conjunction with some loan words from other languages the existence of which in surviving Celtic languages appears to justify their inclusion here, and combined with re-constructed speculative Proto-Celtic words. All terms listed below are derived from Delamarre (2003) and Lambert (2003) unless otherwise specified.
 
aman: time
séthl: generation
áiu: age
 
ór: hour (modern loan)
minuth: minute (id.)
sechon: second (id.)
pimdhech minuth: fifteen minutes, quarter of an hour
sim ór: half hour (< sim “half”, attested)
 
dí: day
siní: today
nóith: night
sinóith: tonight (by analogy with siní < sindiu > sindenocta > sinóith)
lathíu: period of 24 hours, daytime, day and night
 
báréi: dawn (< proto-Celtic *ba:re:gom, loss of –om & –eg > éi cf. Lambert 2003, p. 43)
methin: morning (< Latin “matina”, cf. Br. mintin, C. metten, Ir. maidin)
médhi: midday (< medh “middle” + dí)
óswédhi: afternoon (< ós “after” + medh + dí)
nesnóith: evening (< nes “near, close to” + nóith
medhnóith: midnight (< medh + noith)
 
aváréi: tomorrow (< a “to, at” + báréi)
ós haváréi: after tomorrow
díes: yesterday (< proto-Celtic *gdijes)
cin dhíes: before yesterday
 
séithnóith: week (“seven-night”, by analogy with e.g. trinoctia)
penséithnóith: weekend (< pen “head” + séthnóith)
mís: month
blédhn: year
penvlédhn: anniversary, birthday
sonching: season (period)
 
sam: summer
meth: autumn (“harvest” < *met- “to harvest)
gíam: winter
gwison: spring
 
trinóith: three-night feast
dechnóith: ten-night feast
 
21. Comparative Paradigm
 
     First degree superlative
 
Enough of a variety of comparative forms can be discerned in the attested Gaulish material to permit the construction of a comparative paradigm. The inscription of Cajarc shows:
 
        redresta in uertamon nantou = climb to the summit of the valley (Delamarre 2003, p.
                                                         317, 332, 256)
 
in which can be seen that the preposition “uer”, “over, beyond, on”, is used in combination with the word “tam”, “level”, to indicate a notion of superior quality. The same construction is found in the word
 
        uertragos = over foot, super foot > fast feet > “a hunting dog”
 
Delamarre (2003, p. 145, “diuertomu”) indicates that in both these cases as elsewhere (diuertomu) a superlative notion is constructed with the preposition “uer”. Therefore it is posited here that modern Gaulish constructs the first degree of its comparative paradigm with the preposition “gwer”, which, being a preposition, causes a mutation on the following word:
 
        sír: long
        gwer shír: longer
        már: big
        gwer wár: bigger
 
     Equative degree
 
Attestation of an equative degree of comparison can be discerned in the form “Comarus” (Delamarre 2003, p. 122), which is identified by De Bernardo-Stempel and Slocum (n.d.)
as meaning “as big [as]” or “equally big” (De Bernardo-Stempel & Slocum, n.d., Old Irish Online). This equative form is constructd with the preposition “com”. Therefore, modern Gaulish adopts the use of the preposition “co” to construct the equative degree of comparison. It is reiterated after the adjective to tie up the equation. As a preposition it causes mutation both times:
 
        có shír có shin: as long as this
        có wár có hép: as big as a horse
 
     Second degree superlative
 
A second degree superlative is well attested in ancient Gaulish:
 
        dagisamo = best (Chateaubleau, Mees 2010)
        belisama = most powerful (theonym, numerous attestations, see Delamarre 2003, p.
                                                    71-72)
        messamobi = the worst (Lezoux, Delamarre 2003, p. 226)
        nessam = the nearest (Banassac, Delamarre 2003, p. 233)
        tragisama = the quickest, “most fleetfoot” (several river names, Delamarre 2003, p.
                                                                             300)
        brigiomu = the briefest (Coligny, Delamarre 2003, p. 88)
        diuertomu = without-highest (Coligny, Delamarre 2003, p. 145)
 
Delamarre (2003, p. 233) identifies the second degree superlative suffix as being “-samo”, rendered as “–omu” in Coligny. The same suffix is found in Brittonic and Gouidelic. Therefore, it is posited here that the modern Gaulish language uses a second degree superlative suffix –sam, to be reduced to –am after consonants:
 
        dái: good
        dáisam: best
        sír: long
        síram: longest (cf. Welsh hiraf)
        pel: far
        pelam: furthest (cf. Welsh bellaf)
        nes: near
        nesam: nearest (cf. Welsh nessaf, Old Ir. nessam)
 
This paradigm can be summarised as follows:
 
        már: big
        có wár (có): as big (as)
        gwer wár (có): bigger (than)
        máram: biggest
 
        dái: good
        có dhái: as good, i.e. as well
        gwer dhái: better
        dáisam: best
 
(see also p. 92 for a discussion of the metaphysical comparative system).
 
Both the equative and first superlative degrees make use of the preposition “có” to link the things that are being compared to each other:
 
e.g.: esi in ép-sin có wár co ‘n ép sé: this horse is as big as that horse
        esi in ven-sin gwer dech có’n ven-sé: this woman is more beautiful than that woman
 
This same preposition is also used adverbially to provide the equivalent of the English emphatic “so”:
 
e.g.: óghru: cold
        aman: weather (also “time”)
        esi in haman có hóghru: the weather is so cold
 
     Sameness
 
A word describing sameness is not attested in the ancient Gaulish corpus. However, the word *samalis is attested across all the modern Celtic languages, is deemed to be of sufficient antiquity to warrant the hypothesis that it would have been included in the ancient Gaulish language, and is widely accepted as such (Stifter 2012, pers. com.). As such, it is posited here that the modern Gaulish language uses the word “samal” to indicate sameness, in the following fashion:
 
        dúithir: daughter
        máthir: mother
        esi in dhúithir samal ó máthir: the daughter is the same as her mother
 
The tablet of Lezoux provides a term which may be used to accord an added degree of sameness (Delamarre 2003, p. 115):
 
        messamobi molatus certiognu sueticon = the worst praises born of certainty well-
                                                                          sufficient ...
 
In this phrase, the word “certiognu” (“born of certainty”?) contains the stem “cert-“. This stem is translated as “right, correct, exact, true, just” (Delamarre 2003, p. 115). It is posited here that this stem is used by the modern Gaulish language to convey an additional degree of sameness:
 
        esi in dhúithir samal ó máthir in gerth: the daughter is exactly the same as her mother
 
In the above example the term “exactly” is used adverbially.
 
In addition, use can be made of a simple and ingenious expression that can be borrowed from modern Welsh which does not necessitate borrowing words as such:
 
        W. yr un = the one
 
This can easily be rendered in modern Gaulish as:
 
        in on: the one, i.e the same
        > esi in dhúithir ach in wáthir in on: the daughter and the mother are the one, ie.
                                                                   they are the same
 
     Similarity
 
While the concept of similarity is not explicitly attested in the Gaulish corpus, it can be constructed following an example from Old irish, making use of lexemes that are attested in Gaulish:
 
     Old Irish cum-me < *co(n) “with” + *me- “to measure” = “with-measure” = equal measure = similar
 
Both these roots are attested in Gaulish:
 
     co-: with, as, equal to
     mes-: measure, judgement
 
This allows us to construct the word “cómes” for the concept of “similar”. It can be used in a similar way to the English word “like”:
 
     esi í cómes ó máthir: she is like her mother / she is similar to her mother
 
     Quantity paradigm
 
A word for “more” can be deduced from attested Gaulish material. The words:
 
       coettic (Larzac, Delamarre 2003, p.167) = with-and-more
       eti (La Graufesenque, Delamarre 2003, p.167) = more
       etic (Alise-Sainte-Reine, Chamalieres, Larzac, Delamarre 2003, p.167) = and-more
       peti- (Larzac, Delamarre 2003, p. 249) = what-more > save (“how much”)
       petidsiont (Larzac, Delamarre 2003, p. 249) = they will save
 
all contain the stem “eti”, which is identified by Delamarre (2003, p. 167) as the term “more”. Therefore, it is posited that modern Gaulish uses the word “éth” to indicate an increase of a quantity:
 
        curu: beer
        > gwéla mi curu éth: I want more beer
 
The opposite “less” can be constructed from this word by means of the adjectival/adverbial negating prefix “an-“, attested at Coligny and Larzac (Delamarre 2003, p. 43):
 
        matu = favourable (Coligny)
        anmatu = unfavourable (id.)
        andogna = indigenous (Larzac)
        anandogna = non-indigenous (id.)
 
This gives modern Gaulish a word for “less”:
 
        éth: more
        anéth: less
        > né chwéla mi curu anéth: I don’t want less beer
 
The attested word “coettic” (see above), constructed from the preposition “co-“ + “eti + -c”, translates as “with-more-and”. It will be used in modern Gaulish under the form
 
        cóéth: also, furthermore
 
A word for “a lot”, “much”, can be identified in attested onomastic material:
 
        eluo- = numerous, many, a lot (Delamarre 2003, p. 162)
 
This can be used in the modern Gaulish language as
 
        élu: much, a lot, many
        ívi: to drink
        > gwéla mi ívi curu élu: I want to drink a lot of beer
        rédhi: to ride
        > gwéla mi rédhi épé élu: I want to ride a lot of horses
 
A word for “enough, abundant” can be found in the Gaulish corpus at Lezoux, where Fleuriot identifies the term “extincon” with “sufficiency” (Delamarre 2003, p. 340). Therefore a modern term “éithinch” can be proposed for “enough, abundant”:
 
        mi-éthu curu éithinch: I have had enough beer/ an abundance of beer
 
In addition, the word “sati-“ (Delamarre 2003, p. 268) is also identified as meaning “sufficiency”. This would be rendered in the modern language as “sath”, with a more restricted meaning of “enough”. The quantity paradigm for the modern Gaulish language can therefore be summarised as follows:
 
        élu: a lot, much, many
        éth: more
        anéth: less
        cóéth: also
        éithinch: abundant, enough
        sath: enough