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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2001 (January-June) » Old Irish « Previous Next »

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K. Roush (acq16.mse.jhu.edu - 128.220.8.229)
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2001 - 11:20 am:   Edit Post Print Post

What about pre-Christian Irish language? Has that been lost entirely? Or does it exist, but only as a subject for scholars and historians?

pathwalker

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2001 - 11:24 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't quite understand your question
Irish was the pre Christian language in Ireland.
However, writing only came with Christianity, as the celt traditionally did not write things down. Christian monks wrote down most of the old stories we still have however.

Obviously, the langage has evolved since the 5th century, so an Irish speaker today would have some difficulty following a 5th Century conversation. But that hold's for all languages.

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K. Roush (acq16.mse.jhu.edu - 128.220.8.229)
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2001 - 01:09 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I can't claim to have seen much of it literally translated, but what I have, leads me to think that much of it must have changed severely. For example: how did people greet each other when God, Jesus and Mary didn't exist for them? Obviously somewhat differently. (And what words do non-Christians use today? Or are these phrases used without religious connotation, as happens in my office when someone sneezes and my atheist co-worker responds with "Gesundheit"?)

I am very interested in the antiquities, the roots, of the culture and the language, but it is sometimes difficult to peel away the other-cultural overlays in order to discover the heart of it. I guess that's what I mean. Searching for the origins.

pathwalker

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Dave (lab02.ffpu.hr - 161.53.48.212)
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2001 - 01:14 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

K. Roush,
If you want to read some Old Irish, try at this address: dir.yahoo/regional/countries/ireland/society_and_culture/mythology_and_folklore/. At the bottom of the screen there's an Old Irish text - Story of Mac Datho's Pig. It's written in both Old Irish and English.
As to pre Christian language of Ireland, there might still have been some population which spoke a pre-Celtic language. It was probably in those parts in which nowadays Irish is spoken - probably in Connacht because according to certain old legends (CuChulainn), a part of which might be true, some people who had inhabited Ireland before the invasion of Celts still continued to live there, probably still using their own language (which is lost entirely). However, Old Irish adopted some characteristic of it and that's why it is rather different than other Indo-European languages, even the ones that were rather close to Old Celtic - like Italic for example.

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K. Roush (acq16.mse.jhu.edu - 128.220.8.229)
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2001 - 02:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'll try that site, thank you!

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