Saturday 8 July 2017

Celtic Languages and computational phylogenetics: 88% of DNA in Ireland traces to ancestors who arrived in the Mesolithic period 81% in Wales

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr had asked the question whether the work of Morris Swadesh has been applied to Celtic Languages and this lecture by Barry Cunliffe gives us our answer.

Statistical methods have been used in comparative linguistics since at least the 1950s with pioneering work of Morris Swadesh. 

Since about the year 2000,  interest in the topic, based on the application of methods of computational phylogenetics and cladistics to define an optimal tree (or network) to represent a hypothesis about the evolutionary ancestry and perhaps its language contacts.

The probability of relatedness of languages can be quantified and sometimes the proto-languages can be approximately dated.

The topic came to the attention of the popular press in 2003 after the publication of a short study on Indo-European in Nature (Gray and Atkinson 2003).

A volume of articles on Phylogenetic Methods and the Prehistory of Languages was published in 2006 as the result of a conference held in Cambridge in 2004.

In his 2006 book The Origins of the British (revised in 2007), Oppenheimer argued that neither Anglo-Saxons nor Celts had much impact on the genetics of the inhabitants of the British Isles, and that British ancestry mainly traces back to the Palaeolithic Iberian people, now represented best by Basques.

88% of people in Ireland currently trace their roots back to people who first arrived after the ice age in the Mesolithic period (pre-Neolithic). 
That figure for Wales: 81%
Scotland: 70%
Cornwall: 79%
England: 68%

Monday 3 July 2017

Wales, DNA and Historical Genetics by Brian Swann

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says just like Historical linguistics we find Historical genetics science very helpful  in the reconstruction of a real People's History of Wales from the bottom up.

Brian Swann who delivered this lecture on Wales and DNA is related to Sir Thomas Picton someone who we have studied and written about but who does not exemplify Welshness but Brutal British Imperialism and it transpires Sir Thomas Picton is Normano British in origin according to the terms used in the video above - once a predator always a predator.

PS The video because it deals with DNA is a bit technical - but it is worth the effort understanding the technical questions for the light it throws on history



Sunday 2 July 2017

The Celtic Languages - Historical Linguistics

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr while there are many challenges to Celticity in the social and cultural areas which we discussed earlier - in the language area the use of  Celtic is accepted and faces only the major challenge of the survival of the Celtic Languages.

Does anyone now if Maurice Swadesh's techniques of historical linguistics have been applied to Celtic languages ?

He was the chief pioneer of lexicostatistics, which attempts to classify languages on the basis of the extent to which they have replaced basic words reconstructible in the proto-language, and glottochronology, which extends lexicostatistics by computing divergence dates from the lexical retention rate.

                                          Morris Swadesh