CHAPTER IV
LANGUAGE (concluded)

I
CELTIC LANGUAGES AND INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES OF THE EAST AND SOUTH-EAST. CONCLUSION

C ELTIC came into contact with other languages than Germanic, Slavonic, and Italic. When the Latins and Umbrians went down into Italy they left the Celts uncovered on the east. In that quarter, various Indo-European languages were spoken, which it would be interesting to know, in order to have a complete notion of the affinities of Celtic. These were Illyrian, Thracian, Dacian, and Getic. The Illyrians had historical relations with the Greeks, and so did the Dacians, but how far did they go back? There were certainly religious resemblances between the Thracians and the Greeks which may have come down from very ancient cultural relations. These various languages did not vanish without leaving a trace. Something of their vocabularies remains in those of the Slavonic tongues, Rumanian, Albanian, and Greek.

This last language is highly complex. It inherited something from the languages which were spoken on Greek soil before the Hellenes, properly so called, arrived there, and among these there were Indo-European tongues which we cannot classify. It also picked up many words from neighbouring dialects. The scholars of Greece were interested in these foreign elements in their speech, and faithfully collected them in their dictionaries.

Greek has a certain number of words in common with Celtic -- either with Celtic alone or with it and other of the languages which we have been considering. Usually they are rare words,1 or, to be more accurate, the most striking cases are rare words, that is, foreign words. Thus Greek, which is

____________________
1
Bρένθιζ, Hesych., Bρένθος. Cf. Welsh bryn "hill"; Gaulish, ex monte Brenno. Holder, CCVII, i, p. 525.

-72-

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