The Celtic Englishes

The Celtic Englishes III

Abstracts of Papers


Karen Corrigan

For-to infinitives and beyond: Interdisciplinary approaches to non-finite complementation in a rural Celtic English

Three alternants for expressing the infinitive have been isolated in a range of Celtic and non-Celtic Englishes: viz. (i) to + infinitive; (ii) for-to(-til) + infinitive and (iii) zero + infinitive. Type (i) is categorical in Standard English with the exception of restricted uses of (iii) such as accusative-and-infinitive constructions with perception verbs like I saw her leave (c.f. Blatt (1957:66); Denison (1993:165-217); Fischer (1994:22) and Visser (1963-73:§2055 and §2250-2337). Type (ii) and a less restricted use of Type (iii), are reported for a number of diverse English vernaculars. Harris (1967), for example, records all three options in a Devonshire dialect. The for-to infinitive is mentioned in Edwards et al. (1984:27) as characteristic of Northern Irish-English, Scots, South-Western English and Cockney and (iii) is described as a North-Western English feature. Macafee (1983:50-51), Macaulay (1991:106) and Miller (1993:131) record for-to infinitives in contemporary Scots and Beal (1993:200) and Beal et al. (2000) note that the feature is also current in rural Northumbrian and urban Tyneside English. The persistence of for-to infinitives in North American vernaculars (such as those spoken in Ottawa Valley and the Ozarks) prompted Chomsky and Lasnik (1977), in an early generative account of the feature, to invoke a for-to filter in order to distinguish Standard English from these vernaculars which apparently lack the filter (c.f. Carroll (1983); Chomsky and Lasnik (1977); Chomsky (1981); Koster and May (1982) and Lightfoot (1979)).
A number of more recent accounts have charted the distribution of for-to and bare infinitives in Irish-English, though the most comprehensive dialect grammar of this Celtic English to date does not include any complex discussion of the infinitival system (c.f. Filppula (1999:54 and 184-185)). While Henry (1995:83) mentions that non-standard infinitive variants persist in certain dialects of Northern Irish-English, such as those spoken in Tyrone and South Armagh, treatments have been largely synchronic and have focused on the distribution of the for-to infinitive, in particular, in urban Belfast data (c.f. Davis (1984); Finlay (1988:275-277) and (1994); Harris (1993:167); Henry (1992) and (1995) and Milroy (1981)).
Variation in the semantic and syntactic constraints operating on the system of non-finite complementation in English can be traced back to the Old English period. Consequently, contemporary Celtic and non-Celtic vernaculars may be distinguishable by variability in the use of these constructions along similar lines to those suggested by Henry (1995:104) who concludes that different dialects have divergent underlying systems. One objective of this paper, therefore, is to provide a sociolinguistic account of the synchronic distribution of various infinitival constructions used by speakers in rural South Armagh, Northern Ireland. A second objective will be to attempt to shed light on the origin and development of non-finite complementation in the history of English on the basis that the peripheral geographical location and isolated socio-political circumstances of this relic area make it likely to have preserved conservative features inherited from the superstratal lects brought to the region as a result of colonisation from the Jacobean period onwards (c.f. Anttila (1989:294) and (Hock 1986:442)). In addition, the persistence of a South Armagh Irish substrate into the early part of the twentieth century may have important consequences for the syntactic distribution and semantic constraints operating on these constructions in the contemporary dialect as the system of non-finite complementation in Gaelic diverges in interesting ways from that of the superstrate (cf. Disterheft (1980), (1981), (1982), (1984), (1992) and (1997); Guilfoyle (1993); Hughes (1994); McCloskey (1980) and (1983); McCloskey & Sells (1988) and Ó Siadhail (1989)).
The paper will be inter-disciplinary in that its overarching aim is to present a language-contact account which utilises comparative superstratal and substratal historical materials that are appropriate (as far as practicably possible) on diatopic as well as diatypic grounds. In addition, the system of non-finite complementation in South Armagh English will be examined from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives and will draw on insights from dialectology, historical linguistics, generative syntax and sociolinguistics.


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Finlay, C., 1994, "Syntactic Variation in Belfast English". Belfast Working Papers in Lan-guage and Linguistics 12: 69-97.
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Fischer, O., 1992, "Syntactic Change and Borrowing: The Case of the Accusative and Infini-tive Construction in English', in: Gerritsen, M. & D. Stein, eds., Internal and External Factors in Syntactic Change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 17-88.
Fischer, O., 1994, "The Fortunes of the Latin-type Accusative and Infinitive Construction in Dutch and English Compared", in: Swan, T. eds., Language Change and Language Structure. Older Germanic Languages in a Comparative Perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 91-133.
Fischer, O., 1995, "The Distinction Between Bare and To-Infinitival Complements in Late Middle English". Diachronica 12: 1-30.
Fischer, O., 1996, "Verbal Complementation in Early Middle English: How do the Infinitives Fit In?", in: Britton, D., ed., English Historical Linguistics 1994. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 247-70.
Fischer, O., 1997a, "The Grammaticalisation of Infinitival To in English Compared with German and Dutch", in: Hickey, R. & Puppel, S., eds., Language History and Linguistic Modelling: a Festschrift for Jacek Fisiak on his 60th Birthday. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 265-280.
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Hock, H.H., 1986, Principles of Historical Linguistics. Amsterdam: Mouton de Gruyter.
Hughes, A., 1994, "Gaeilge Uladh", in: McCone, K., McManus, D., O! hAinle, C., Williams, N. & L. Breatnach, eds., Stair na Gaeilge in Ómós do Padraig Ó Fiannachta. Maynooth: Roinn na Sean-Ghaeilge, Coláiste Phadraig, Maigh Nuad, 611-750.
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McCloskey, J. & Sells, P., 1988, "Control and A-Chains in Modern Irish". Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 6: 143-189.
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Milroy, J., 1981, Regional Accents of English: Belfast. Belfast: Blackstaff.
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Trudgill, P., Gordon, E. & G. Lewis, 1998, "New Dialect Formation and Southern Hemisphere English: The New Zealand short front vowels". Journal of Sociolinguistics 2 (1): 35-52.
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Astrid Fieß

Do be or not do be - generic/habitual forms in East Galway English

The generic/habitual category in Irish English has received considerable attention by scholars such as Henry (1957), Bliss (1972, 1979), Ní Ghallchóir (1981), Guilfoyle (1983), Harris (1984, 1986, 1993), Kallen (1986, 1989) or Filppula (1999). Nevertheless, the picture is far from complete, due to the lack of descriptive studies of most of the dialects of English in Ireland.

My aim with this paper is to add another part to the puzzle: Based on personal research in East Galway in 1995, I will describe the structure of the grammatical forms used for the generic/habitual category in this variety and explain the semantic context they are used in. In the second part of the paper I will touch on the sociolinguistic aspects of my study. Finally, I will argue that my findings have implications on the conventional views taken concerning the geographical distribution of the various generic/habitual forms in Irish English.

Markku Filppula

More on the English progressive and the Celtic connection

At the last Colloquium on the Celtic Englishes, held in Potsdam three years ago, the question of the origins of the English progressive was discussed at some length in the paper read by Ingo Mittendorf and Erich Poppe (see Mittendorf & Poppe 2000). Their contribution focused on the hitherto little researched Celtic parallels as they occur in especially Middle Welsh texts. After a careful scrutiny of the different formal and functional patterns of the Middle Welsh periphrastic constructions with yn the authors draw attention to the "striking formal similarities between the Insular Celtic and English periphrastic constructions" and note that "striking similarities also exist between their functional ranges in the medieval languages" (Mittendorf and Poppe 2000: 139). However, as has become usual in the research on early contacts between English and Celtic, the authors shy away from concluding that the English progressive would have been influenced by Celtic (Welsh), although their stand on this issue can be read from their final statement according to which the evidence "adds another, new perspective to the problem" (ibid.).

The aim of this paper is to assess the possibilities for 'conclusive conclusions' about the influence of Celtic on the English progressive. The kinds of evidence adduced for or against the Celtic hypothesis will be weighed against each other and against the competing hypotheses. New evidence from conservative British English dialects and 'external' factors such as the background and even nationality of the central players in this field will also be discussed. Indeed, a recent paper by Johan van der Auwera and Inge Genee (van der Auwera and Genee 2000) has brought along a new perspective on the influence of external factors on another much-debated problem of English historical syntax, viz. the origins of 'periphrastic DO'.


Mittendorf, I. & E. Poppe (2000). "Celtic Contacts of the English Progressive?" In: Tristram, H.L.C. (ed.), The Celtic Englishes II. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 117-145.
van der Auwera, J. & I. Genee (2000). "English 'do': converging languages and linguists". Paper read at 11 ICEHL, Santiago de Compostela 7 - 11 September, 2000.

Gary German

The link between Breton French and Celtic Englishes

The lack of early written sources containing English and Brittonic or Goidelic vernaculars has long plagued students of the history of the Celtic-Englishes leaving them to rely primarily on comparative linguistic evidence, recent fieldwork and/or extralinguistic data.

One avenue of investigation which has not been fully exploited, however, and which could offer fascinating insights into the early evolution of English as well as the nature of Celtic influence upon English in modern Celtic-speaking countries, is the French spoken in Western Brittany. Indeed, although Breton influence on French is heavy in Breton-speaking areas and can be discerned at all levels of grammar, it has remained remarkably understudied by linguists in France and abroad, possibly because it is so thoroughly stigmatised.

In this paper we shall attempt to provide an overview of the kinds of phonological, morpho-syntactic and lexical influence Breton has exerted (and continues to exert) on the French of this region. We shall conclude with the presentation of a model of language shift in Brittany and consider its relevance to the study of the Celtic Englishes.

Heinrich Härke

Population replacement or acculturation? An archaeological perspective on population and migration in Post-Roman Britain

The traditional view, based on historical sources and derived from 19th century ideas on ethnic and national origins, has been that the native Romano-British population was replaced by immigrant Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century AD. Some historians and archaeologists of the early and mid-20th century had doubted this model, but a new debate on this question has run since the first half of the 1980s, stimulated as much by theoretical reconsiderations as by some new evidence.

The greatest stumbling block to the replacement model is the new population estimates for Roman Britain, suggesting a population between 3 and 6 million. Such a substantial population can hardly have disappeared suddenly within a few decades; and there is, indeed, no archaeological evidence of catastrophic events (plague, famine, ethnic cleansing) which might have caused such disappearance. On the contrary, new palaeobotanic evidence implies substantial population continuity in the sub-Roman period.

These arguments and evidence, and a general shift of opinion against migrations, have led to a search for the largely 'invisible' Britons in the archaeological evidence of early Anglo-Saxon England. They remain difficult to identify, mostly because of the disappearance of the Roman material culture, but there are some indicators in house types, burials, artefact types, and skeletal evidence. The latter might even allow a rough, hypothetical quantification of the relative numbers of immigrants and natives, supported by preliminary results of the analysis of modern DNA.

The majority view in Anglo-Saxon archaeology today is that much, perhaps most, of the Romano-British population survived and underwent a process of acculturation which may also be found in other 'Dark Age' cases of empire collapse. As a result, Britons would appear as Anglo-Saxons in the archaeological record. This model would have profound implications for the ethnogenetic, social and linguistic processes of the post-Roman period in England.

Johannes Heinecke

The temporal and aspectual system of English and Welsh

Modern Standard English has undoubtedly been influenced by many languages spoken both in Great Britain and Ireland and on the neighbouring continent. These languages did not only influence the English lexicon, but also changed to a great extent the grammatical structures of English, thus changing its typological classification.
In my paper I will investigate the temporal and aspectual systems of Modern Standard (British) English using a semiasological approach and compare the results with a similar investigation on the Welsh temporal and aspectual system. The latter has been extensively analysed in Heinecke 1999.
The result of the comparison will show differences and similarities in marking time and aspect in the two languages. This is necessary for a future step: An investigation into the temporal and aspectual system of Welsh English in order to identify Welsh influences in Welsh English and in Standard English.
In order to analyse the temporal system I use a language independent system to define temporal relations between the temporal deictic origin (the time of the utterance or speech) and the time of the situation (i.e. process or state). Each relation is either directly related to time of utterance by a before, after or at relation; or indirectly linked via one or multiple reference points. This system is applied to the temporal functions of tenses (or other means, e.g. syntactic means in Welsh) to describe their temporal value.
In my approach to aspect, the terminological meaning of the term "aspect" must be defined precisely, since especially in the English linguistic literature, "aspect" has a wide range of more or less defined meaning. Hence, I restrict the term "aspect" to the binary opposition of imperfective and perfective. In this definition, aspect describes the view of the situation (dynamic or stative) in contrast to Aktionsart, which describes the inherent characteristics of a proposition expressed by a verb.


Heinecke, Johannes (1999). Temporal Deixis in Welsh and Breton (Heidelberg: C. Winter Universitaetsverlag)

Raymond Hickey

What's cool in Irish English? Linguistic change in Dublin

The subject of the present paper is the set of changes in the sound system of Dublin English which has been in evidence in the past ten years or so and which represents the most remarkable change in present-day Irish English. What one is dealing with here are shifts in the phonological space of vowels which have already led to a major re-alignment of the vowel system of mainstream Dublin English with a retraction of low vowels and a raising of back vowels. These changes are, however, part of a larger scheme in which on a broad front the phonological profile of Dublin English is being radically altered. The changes are of general linguistic interest because they represent a case of dissociation as a type of change, that is, the motivation for the shifts would appear to be a distancing on the part of fashionable Dublin English speakers from those who speak the colloquial form of English in the capital. This dissociation is particularly clear because it is not simply an approximation to a British English standard of pronunciation. In the presentation, the course of the shifts so far and their present orientation will be discussed and compared with other cases of dissociation known in the Anglophone world.

Magnus Huber

The Corpus of English in South-East Wales and its synchronic and diachronic implications

This paper reports on work in progress. It describes the structure and potentials of the Corpus of English in South-East Wales, a corpus which is being compiled from the interviews held at the South Wales Miners' Library (SWML), Swansea University. The second part of the paper will present some preliminary findings based on the analysis of part of the corpus.

During the 1970s and 80s, the SWML conducted more than 700 interviews with people connected with the South Wales mining communities, at a time when the last pits were being closed, the aim being to record and preserve various aspects of a dying industrial culture.

Some 380 recordings are potentially suitable for the corpus, corresponding to ca. 460 hrs of speech or about 4 million words. For reasons of speed and because standard corpus processing software is unable to work with phonetic symbols the recordings are being transcribed orthographically. Apart from their linguistic relevance, the data will also be of interest to historians or researchers into oral history, among others.

The corpus and its analysis will be innovative in several respects: on the theoretical level, it combines traditional dialectology with corpus linguistics and also adds a diachronic perspective. Apparent time evidence takes us back to the 1880s, just some 30 years after the valleys were populated. Coupled with the very detailed census data available for 1851-1901 (when the 1901 census returns are finally published in 2001), this offers the rare chance of studying the "birth" of a dialect. The data also allow sociolinguistic studies, the amount of the material available being such that there is enough data to draw statistically significant conclusions about e.g. social class or gender variation. On a more practical level, the corpus will close a gap in the Survey of Anglo-Welsh Dialects, which neglected the valleys because they were considered urbanised. It will also be the first substantial computerised corpus of English as spoken in Wales (no corpus of Welsh English is available apart from the Polytechnic of Wales Corpus, which records childrens' language). Last but not least, there is the great practical advantage that no fieldwork is needed and that the observer's paradox is minimised as the purpose of these interviews was not linguistic. Nevertheless, the interviews do contain valuable metalinguistic statements e.g. on the relationship of Welsh to English, language use. Dublin English is being radically altered. The changes are of general linguistic interest because they represent a case of dissociation as a type of change, that is, the motivation for the shifts would appear to be a distancing on the part of fashionable Dublin English speakers from those who speak the colloquial form of English in the capital. This dissociation is particularly clear because it is not simply an approximation to a British English standard of pronunciation. In the presentation, the course of the shifts so far and their present orientation will be discussed and compared with other cases of dissociation known in the Anglophone world.

Graham Isaac

Diagnosing the symptoms of contact: some Celtic-English case histories

During the early medieval period (AD 500 - 1100), at least four different languages were squeezed together within the confines of the island of Britain: late British, which early in the period became Welsh and Cornish; Irish; Anglo-Saxon, itself the result of a dialectal convergence; and Old Norse. How one reaches a precise number of languages depends on how one wants to draw the line between dialects and languages, but four will suffice as an approximation. (Pictish too is not to be forgotten, but its fragmentary attestation means that its influence is not to be seriously evaluated either.) It would seem to be inconceivable that this linguistic situation would not have left its mark on the languages in question in the form of contact induced areal convergence and/or sub-/superstrate influences. Such influences have been argued for Old Norse/English, in well documented cases, but in this contribution I shall obviously be concentrating specifically on contact phenomena shared between Celtic and English in the period. In doing this, I shall look at four aspects of English grammar which have in the past, or could be, regarded as evidence of Celtic - English contact (some, indeed, may be old chestnuts): 1) progressive construction; 2) preposition stranding; 3) Northern Subject Rule; 4) dental spirants. My conclusion will be that, for various reasons, none of these criteria are evidence of the influence of one language on the other(s), or even of contact of any sort. In drawing this conclusion, I am aware that I place myself on a particular "side" in a long-standing debate, but I hope that my comments may have some relevance in drawing attention to certain methodological issues that need to be considered, in evaluating language contact(s).

John M. Kirk

The Grammar of Northern Irish English

Filppula's (1999) grammar offers us the most comprehensive description of the syntax of Irish English yet. Although it uses data from many sources, it does not use data from the Northern Ireland Transcribed Corpus of Speech (Kirk 1991). This paper offers a description of the NITCS on the basis of Filppula and as well as a critical appraisal of both Filppula and the corpus.

Juhani Klemola

Personal pronouns in the traditional dialects of the South West of England

The morphosyntax and semantics of personal pronouns in traditional dialects in the south west of England show a number of interesting properties, as indicated by examples (1) to (3) below:

(1) Then you'd press en down again,
you see,
and let en bide for two days.
press en down.
Keep on pressing en.
And then you uh # take en out and give en to the cows out in the field. (So3:Somerset Wedmore)

(2) So farmer # Salisbury say +…
come to we,
"Want some grass cut up there?”
(So11: Somerset, Horsington)

(3) "I know what we'll do.
# We'll get a brick,
and chuck him up in the air,
and if he do come down,
we got to # go to work,
and if he stop up there,”
he said,
"we got to have a day off.”

In example (1) we find the typical south-western use of en /n/ as a 3rd person singular oblique form, (2) exemplifies the phenomenon sometimes referred to as 'pronoun exchange' – the reversal of subjective and objective forms of the pronoun, and in (3) we find an example of the south-western use of 3rd person singular masculine pronoun he/him referring to inanimate objects.

In this paper I will discuss the linguistic characteristics, geographical distribution, and history of these features of the personal pronouns in the South West of England. The paper will also address the question of whether these characteristics of the personal pronouns in south-western dialects could be due to a Celtic substratum.

Liam Mac Mathúna

Irish shakes its head? Code-mixing as a textual response to the rise of English as a societal language in Ireland

The response of Irish-language creative writers to the societal dominance of English continues to vacillate. It runs on a spectrum from ignoring English as much as possible (the orthodox post-Revival ideological stance, maintained by Ó Conaire, Mac Grianna, Ó Direáin, Ó Cadhain, Ó Ríordáin, Jenkinson) to working simultaneously in both languages (e.g. Mac Piarais, Ó Flaithearta, Ó Tuairisc). In more recent times poets in particular have shown an eagerness to be translated into English (e.g. Ní Dhomhnaill, Davitt, Rosenstock). The poet Michael Hartnett temporarily withdrew from bilingual production, dismissing English as a commercial medium, "the perfect language to sell pigs in", in A Farewell to English (1975). However, he later abandoned this Irish-only position, observing that "Irish shakes its head" in disapproval, in Inchicore Haiku (1985).

This paper seeks to (i) sketch the extent to which English has been making an impact on Irish-language compositions since the early seventeenth century, (ii) delineate the principal phases of the phenomenon, (iii) identify the literary genres which admitted and those which resisted the inclusion of English, and (iv) analyse the characteristic thematic and linguistic features of code-mixing in the context of the sociolinguistic circumstances of the various periods.

A previous study, presented at "The Celtic Englishes II" Colloquium, explored the anglicisation of Irish personal and topographical nomenclature following Ireland's incorporation into the English administrative and judicial system. Significantly, it is this public sphere of activity which first impacted linguistically on Irish texts, e.g. Pairlement Chloinne Tomáis, and a number of political poems in the seventeenth century, and the eighteenth-century, Munster genre of An Barántas, ("The Warrant"), which parodied the application of the new common law.

The importance of English in the Dublin area is illustrated in several texts from the Ó Neachtain circle, dating from the first quarter of the eighteenth century, e.g the humorous prose tale Stair Éamuinn Uí Chléire, Bearna Chroise Brighde and other poems. The later rise of English throughout the country is widely attested in macaronic songs, where the creative interplay of the two languages is given free rein. Finally, this paper will explore the modest role of English in certain pivotal works of the Revival and post-Revival periods, including Séadna, the standard-bearer for caint na ndaoine "the (ordinary) speech of the people".

Kevin McCafferty

'I'll bee after telling dee de raison [..]': Be after V-ingas a future gram in Irish English, 1601 - 1750

No abstract was provided.

Heli Pitkänen

The non-standard progressives in Welsh English - an apparent time study

The geographic distribution of the habitual periphrastic verb phrases, be + present participle and do + infinitive, is a well-known feature of Welsh English. A large number of scholars today maintain that both structures result from two historical layers of Celtic substratum, although their precise origins may be under some dispute. What is less known still is whether and how these structures are used by present-day speakers of Welsh English.

This paper focuses on the use of the habitual periphrastic be of the following type (examples from my Llandybie interviews):

Present habitual: That's the way we are going, through your place there (LC: CO).
Past habitual: He was coming to the post here, okay, he was calling in then and having a chat (LC: LZ); You were using a lot of timber (LC: GV).

The structure is investigated in the light of three corpora: the Survey of Anglo-Welsh Dialects (Parry 1999 and Penhallurick 1991) and the intended sequel to that survey, both of which I have had access to at the dialect archives of the University of Wales, Swansea. The study also introduces new material collected by the present author in South-West and North-Wales. Together the corpora cover large areas of rural Welsh Wales as well as four towns in different parts of Wales. The oldest informants were born in the late 19th century and the youngest in the 1980s. The material therefore offers both geographic and diachronic views into the actual usage of this structure.

Thomas (1994) considers the grammatical distinctiveness of Welsh English a transitional phenomenon. It is my intention to study this transition as evidenced in apparent time.


Parry, D. (1999). A Grammar and Glossary of Conservative Anglo-Welsh Dialects of Rural Wales. NATCECT. Occasional Publications, No. 8. University of Sheffield.
Penhallurick, R. (1991). The Anglo-Welsh Dialects of North Wales. University of Bamberg Studies in English Linguistics, Vol. 27. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Thomas, A. R. (1994). "English in Wales”. In Burchfield R. (ed.) The Cambridge History of The English Language, Vol. V: English in Britain and Overseas: Origins and Devel opment. Cambridge: CUP, 94-147.

Erich Poppe

Progress on the progressive? A report

In her recent study 'How Celtic is Standard English' (St Petersburg: Nauka, 1999) Hildegard Tristram has argued on the basis of a number of selected characteristic features that 'in many aspects of its morphosyntax, Present Day English is a "Brythonised” dialect of West Germanic' (p. 30). This claim raises several important linguistics questions, regarding the typological probability of the proposed influence and ensuing convergence, as well as the history of some of the proposed shared features themselves. In my paper, I will explore some of the methodological, typological, and diachronic issues arising from Tristram's discussion, as a further contribution towards a more comprehensive understanding of the Brythonic/Welsh and English contact phenomena.

The following are the main topics I propose to examine:

  • the areal distribution of progressives in African languages as a contact phenomenon;
  • the history of so-called 'contact clauses', or zero-relatives, in Middle Welsh;
  • the typology of the expression of prepositional relatives;
  • the typology of clefting in a formal and functional perspective;
  • the comparative typology of the demise of full morphology in Persian and English.

Patricia Ronan

Progressive Constructions in Old Irish

At all stages of Irish language history, verbal nouns are a salient feature. Especially in Modern Irish, constructions involving verbal noun and preposition are used to denote anterior an – particularly - continuous actions. However, already in Old Irish periphrastic constructions expressing an ongoing action relative to a point of reference can be observed. Evidence is scarce in early law texts, but numerous examples can be found in the Old Irish glosses dating from about the eight century A.D. (compare Ailbhe Ó Corrain 1997).

While they remain scarce in earliest writing, a considerable amount of examples appear in other narrative genres, such as saints' lives, e.g. Bethu Brigte, 'The life of Saint Brigit' or Bethu Phádric, 'The life of Patrick'. Where used they appear to be employed for aspectual and emphatic marking. The amount of periphrastic constructions increases considerably in Middle Irish (900-1200). Irish therefore displays even earlier documented examples for periphrastic constructions than typologically closely related Welsh (see Poppe and Mittendorf in CE II) and may offer a further interesting comparandum for developments of the progressive in the history of the English language.

Graham Shorrocks
(St. John's, Nfl)

Irish-Influenced Varieties of Newfoundland English

It has often been said that, if a Newfoundlander were dropped by parachute into Ireland at night, he might think himself at home in Newfoundland next morning. Indeed, I have heard and read this (or close variants on the theme) myself probably some ten or twelve times this year alone from Newfoundlanders in all walks of life.Though there is an element of the stereotypical here, at least from a highly technical perspective, it is not at all a stereotype of the same order as, say, the oft-repeated claim that Newfoundlanders speak good Elizabethan/Shakespearean English, or even the English of Chaucer, which is patent nonsense.There are extremely close linguistic, folkloristic, and other cultural links between Newfoundlanders and Irish people.(In the past year or so, many Newfoundlanders have found work by commuting over to Ireland to work as tour guides, and in other service industries. Apparently, they fit in well, with minimal training required, and - yes! - are sometimes thought to be Irish ....) In my Celtic-Englishes-I paper, "Celtic Influences on the English of Newfoundland and Labrador," I summarised the existing literature on all Celtic influences in the province. Whilst most work has been done on Irish influence, it still does not amount to any great quantity: there is a tendency to take the influence for granted, and to settle for a few well-worn examples, as a result of which we really have little idea of just how close or distant the relationship is. Such work as there is has explored lexicon to a degree, phonology to a lesser extent, and grammar not at all well. My intention here is to try to adduce further data, by examining a body of tape-recorded evidence - and to pay some attention to suprasentential, or discourse, features.The paper will be illustrated in Potsdam with tape-recorded specimens.

Roderick Walters

A study of the prosody of a South East Wales 'Valleys Accent'

The paper reports some of the findings from ‘A study of the segmental and supra-segmental phonology of Rhondda Valleys English,’ a PhD dissertation completed by the author in 1999. Its focus is on the suprasegmentals – stress, rhythm and intonation – which are generally regarded as forming the most striking feature of South Wales ‘Valleys Accents’. Several of the prosodic forms described have parallels in other ‘Celtic influenced Englishes’, including Liverpool, Glasgow and Belfast and may form one of the most significant and enduring legacies of the Celtic languages.

Among the intonational features of Rhondda Valleys English (RVE) are:

- In 50.4% of non-final and 55.8% of final accents the obtrusion (pitch movement to the stressed syllable) is downwards. An even more conspicuous intonational feature is that in 87.8% of non-final and 75.7% of final accent profiles, the initial pitch movement from the stressed syllable is rising. Examples can be seen in the intonational phrase below: pitch rises from each of the accent profiles (H*+H, 0*+H, L*+H & L*+H), and in the last two accents – including the final one on Maerdy’ there is a pitch obtrusion down to the stressed syllable.

- Amongst the phonetic characteristics of accent profiles investigated is the peculiar feature that, whatever the type of obtrusion to them, they are often heard to flatten or ‘sag’ during the course of the stressed syllable before the subsequent rise. This feature is analysed instrumentally.
- Measurements were also taken of alignment of H-peak in rises, relative to onset of stressed vowel, and show that in profiles where the rising-tone is compressed into a single syllable, the average alignment of H-peak is 79% into stressed long vowels; and in polysyllabic rising-tone profiles, the H-peak generally aligns with the second syllable, with 50% of the examples in the data peaking late in its vowel or during its closing consonant.
- Of the nuclear contoursin the data (the stretch from the onset of the final accent to the end of the intonational phrase): 60.1% are ultimately rising (subsuming level) and 39.9% are ultimately falling. The figures thereby show a strong tendency in the informal conversations forming the data for speakers to accompany completed statements with a rising (‘referring’) rather than a falling ter-minal tone – a feature that could be culturally determined.
- There are very few falling-rising contours in the data : 0% of non-final accent profiles and only 2% of nuclear contours. Most of the latter are separated fall-rises, i.e. the terminal tone was separated from the final accent profile.

Among the rhythmical features of RVE are the following:

- The main ‘organizing principle’ of rhythm in RVE, as in RP and most UK dialects of English, lies in the alternation of ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ beats: on average a strong beat occurs at intervals of 2 to 2.5 syllables. There seems less tolerance than in RP for a succession of more than two weak beats, so that a strong beat tends to be inserted. Examples include the words teleVIsion ; epilEPsy ; coopeRAtive; overHEADS (where underlined syllables denote stress, and capitals primary stress).
-Word-stress placements sometimes seem influenced by the Welsh language, with its strong ten-dency towards stress on the penultimate. For example, in the data:
1. stress on the penult is strongly preferred in sub'sidence
2. and is heard with two informants in main'tenance
3. stress may be shifted rightwards, e.g. in ca'pitalist, where, with the penultimate syllable weak, the effect is similar to (1)
- Stresses, even non-accentual ‘rhythmic stresses’, are typically accompanied by L H, O H or H H contours. The greater duration of a stressed syllable in RVE may be accomplished
1. by lengthening the stressed vowel
2. by shortening the stressed vowel and lengthening of the following consonant
The latter device is common in strongly accented syllables, and is a conspicuous feature of RVE prosody. It can occur with any of the short vowels, with /i:/and /u:/and with any of the diphthongs.
- Another conspicuous prosodic feature of RVE rhythm is the frequent phonetic strength of the post stress (final) syllable. The impression is of it being as long and strong as the stressed syllable. It also carries much of the pitch movement.
- Measurements of isochrony were taken from the onset of stressed vowels in first and final accents of IPs containing two or more accents. The findings quite clearly reject the hypothesis of strict isochrony, but are generally supportive of the weaker hypothesis that speakers tend to make adjustments towards it.

Malcolm Williams

Information packaging in Rhondda speech: a second look a the research of Ceri George

In the 1980's, a team working under the direction of David Parry undertook the same task in Wales as that accomplished by H. Orton et al. in England. The result was SAWD, two volumes of the Survey of Anglo-Welsh Dialects. Although she had contributed to SAWD, Ceri George broke away from what she saw as an overly conservative approach to compile a corpus of natural conversation from the two valleys of the Rhondda. The result is an exceptionally rich source of material whichcan be analysed from the twin perspective of syntax and pragmatics. This paper sets out to show how the Welsh language has left its mark on the way the Rhondda dialect conveys information. A quantative analysis raises questions as to how a possible "tacit language contract" could be set up between researcher and informant.

Iwan Wmffre

Welsh- and Cornish-English phonology in the Early Modern Period

This paper discusses those phonological traits of English as spoken in Wales and Cornwall that can be specifically attributed to Welsh and Cornish (hereafter titled 'Celtic-English' for convenience's sake).

I begin by looking at those salient phonological features in the contemporary English in Wales and Cornwall that can be viewed as veering from contemporary mainstream English. Reference is made to evidence dating from the 16th century onwards which can instruct us as to the way in which English was taken up by the Celtic-speakers. Another source of evidence used will be my own observations on phonological changes in progress in contemporary Welsh-English and Cornish-English (including analogical evidence from Breton-French).

It is hoped that the paper will have demonstrated that:

  • one era's Celtic-English is not identical to the next era's Celtic-English
  • ny phonological features in Celtic-English are beyond exclusive attribution to unambiguous classification as purely Celtic or purely English origins
  • some phonological features are not attributable to either the native Celtic speech or to the incoming English, but to an interplay between the two phonological systems as they came into contact
  • the characteristic phonological features of Celtic-English have a mixed origin (that is they can be attributed to the preservation of an archaic English pronunciation, or in other cases to an underlying Celtic phonological value).

Much new evidence from hitherto unquoted sources is exploited, such as the author's own phonological account of 17th century Late Cornish (Late Cornish, 1999, München: Lincom Europa) and his PhD on Welsh place-names (Language and History in Cardiganshire Place-names, 1998, Swansea: Univ. of Wales) the latter concerning itself with 1/10th of the Welsh-speaking area and treats the development of Welsh dialects from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century.

Copyright ©  Engelbert J.R. Tristram (last update: 19.12.2001 - Engelbert.Tristram@succurit.com - http://www.successor.de)