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J1 DYS388=13
10-05-2015, 08:24 AM
For those who can access it on BBC iPlayer, an excellent survey of Celtic-ness was broadcast last night on Radio 3.

Includes quotes from the current luminaries in this field: Barry Cunliffe, John Koch, Peter Donnelly of the People of the British Isles genetic project, Julia Farley, curator of the new Celtic exhibition at the British Museum, etc.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06fld1w

Schanulleke
10-09-2015, 10:18 AM
Blood and DNA is one thing..An important factor to identity is language. Therefore, Celtic identity must imho include Celtic languages and Celts capable of speaking it.

Dubhthach
10-09-2015, 12:49 PM
Blood and DNA is one thing..An important factor to identity is language. Therefore, Celtic identity must imho include Celtic languages and Celts capable of speaking it.

Sounds like the program was aimed at English audience (not surprising it's BBC), here in Ireland of course where majority of population spoke a Celtic language until 1800 until undergoing rapid language shift it's quite a different matter.

rms2
10-09-2015, 03:50 PM
Blood and DNA is one thing..An important factor to identity is language. Therefore, Celtic identity must imho include Celtic languages and Celts capable of speaking it.

Well, I don't agree with that. A Hottentot could be taught to speak Welsh or Gaelic. That wouldn't make him a Celt.

I identify as a Celt based on my heritage, and that includes my dna test results, especially my y-dna test results.

MikeWhalen
10-09-2015, 04:19 PM
I would strongly add "a groups commonly held customs, values and beliefs" as part of my cultural or ethnic identity.
I have two very obvious examples in my family tree, one from the Irish, Irish/Scots protestants line and the other of the Newfoundland fishermen line, who were originally Devonshire fishermen.

as the years have gone by, not only I have been able to identify certain habits and ways of me and my family from one line or the other that is different from most others around me, but I have routinely had someone notice something I did that obviously seemed notably different from those around me
...often it was a phrase or idiom that was super common in my and my cousins house, but no one else had heard before, or as a small trivial example, I discovered in a workplace lunch table discussion last week, I was the only monarchist, all the others were mildly to strongly anti monarchy-I just assumed most would be like me...all of that comes from the roots I mentioned above

I might add, in both cases, the real 'transmitters' of these values, beliefs and customs were the women of the family.
In every branch, and certainly of these 2 in particular, the women outlived the men by a long shot, and as another example, it was the paternal grandmother that taught the Irish prot. ways, and my mom and Aunt that taught the Newfie ways...even though none of those women were born in 'the old country', it was what they learned and lived and passed down

My DNA does support all the above, which is both fun and interesting, but in my mind, it is secondary in a way to the human dimension.

Nothing is more powerful in my life than a handful or beliefs or rules my Gma Whalen taught me..."God hates a coward", 'always back family in a fight', 'never forget a friend or enemy', 'you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" and so forth

Mike

Dubhthach
10-09-2015, 04:36 PM
Well, I don't agree with that. A Hottentot could be taught to speak Welsh or Gaelic. That wouldn't make him a Celt.

I identify as a Celt based on my heritage, and that includes my dna test results, especially my y-dna test results.

Don't forget though that you did have ancestors in relatively recent past who spoke Welsh, your average Hottentot wouldn't. In my own case I know that my great-great-grandfather who was born in the late 1820's was marked down on 1901 census as been able to speak both Irish and English, in comparison his son (my great-grandfather) could only speak English (he was born in 1860's). This points to my G.G.Grandfather been a native Irish speaker who picked it up in the home and that intergenerational transmission of language was broken when his son was born in 1860's. (Which basically follows most research into massive language shift Ireland underwent in 19th century)

I haven't listen to the show, but often shows such as this aimed specifically at English audience seem to forget that within UK to this day there are at least three Celtic languages spoken (Irish -- northern Ireland, Welsh -- Wales, Gaidhlig -- Scotland), along with revival efforts on two others (though Isle of Man is not in UK, Cornish been other). As a result they often seem to ignore actual Celtic linguistic communities and assume that "Celts were these distant Iron age people, or heck they spoke "Iron age" " ;)

MacUalraig
10-09-2015, 04:57 PM
Don't forget though that you did have ancestors in relatively recent past who spoke Welsh, your average Hottentot wouldn't. In my own case I know that my great-great-grandfather who was born in the late 1820's was marked down on 1901 census as been able to speak both Irish and English, in comparison his son (my great-grandfather) could only speak English (he was born in 1860's). This points to my G.G.Grandfather been a native Irish speaker who picked it up in the home and that intergenerational transmission of language was broken when his son was born in 1860's. (Which basically follows most research into massive language shift Ireland underwent in 19th century)




I haven't listen to the show, but often shows such as this aimed specifically at English audience seem to forget that within UK to this day there are at least three Celtic languages spoken (Irish -- northern Ireland, Welsh -- Wales, Gaidhlig -- Scotland), along with revival efforts on two others (though Isle of Man is not in UK, Cornish been other). As a result they often seem to ignore actual Celtic linguistic communities and assume that "Celts were these distant Iron age people, or heck they spoke "Iron age" " ;)

Give it a listen. Its presented by Prof. Dai Smith who I see has been lambasted on one website for not having learnt to speak Welsh, but it seems to be largely aimed at Welsh rugby fans ;-)

It has brief appearances from Barry Cunliffe and Peter Donnelly from the POBI project.

I grew up next door to a Welsh speaking family from Anglesey. I don't think Dai could tell them anything about being Welsh or Celtic for that matter.

rms2
10-09-2015, 06:25 PM
I listened to the program and enjoyed it except for the kind of condescending tone which I find to be all too common in such shows, especially where the Celts are concerned. Maybe you know what I mean: the sort of we find all this Celtic rot all too amusing, but no one should take it too seriously attitude, the we're above the silly sentiments of the unwashed masses sort of thing.

J1 DYS388=13
10-09-2015, 07:09 PM
Rugby World Cup in progress over here. Technically England is the host but many matches here in Cardiff. It is clearly, in part, Celtic tribal warfare, but under control --- rugby fans are cheery.

It's the football (soccer) fans who would like to kill you on the street here.

rncambron
10-09-2015, 08:31 PM
Rugby World Cup in progress over here. Technically England is the host but many matches here in Cardiff. It is clearly, in part, Celtic tribal warfare, but under control --- rugby fans are cheery.

It's the football (soccer) fans who would like to kill you on the street here.

If such a post were to be published in the UK newspapers there would be an outcry.The class bias implicit in the post is unacceptable to most who actually live here.Why say thank you for such nasty class based bias?

The Rugby and Football Teams of Wales are to be congratulated on their current success and we all celebrate that.

rms2
10-10-2015, 12:37 AM
If such a post were to be published in the UK newspapers there would be an outcry.The class bias implicit in the post is unacceptable to most who actually live here.Why say thank you for such nasty class based bias?

The Rugby and Football Teams of Wales are to be congratulated on their current success and we all celebrate that.

I tried to figure out what you are talking about, but I could not. I couldn't see anything wrong with J1 DYS388=13's post.

David Mc
10-10-2015, 02:35 AM
I tried to figure out what you are talking about, but I could not...

Depending where you are in the UK, rugby might be considered a sport of the middle class, whereas football is working class. I think that probably lies behind rncambron's reaction. Having noted that, I didn't read anything at all "classist" in J1 DYS388=13's post.

J1 DYS388=13
10-10-2015, 04:38 AM
I was also puzzled by the charge of "class bias." I can't see any evidence of that here in Cardiff.

I was going to expand on this Celtic-ness idea by discussing drinking habits in modern Britain, but maybe I'd better stop here.

avalon
10-10-2015, 10:53 AM
Don't forget though that you did have ancestors in relatively recent past who spoke Welsh, your average Hottentot wouldn't. In my own case I know that my great-great-grandfather who was born in the late 1820's was marked down on 1901 census as been able to speak both Irish and English, in comparison his son (my great-grandfather) could only speak English (he was born in 1860's). This points to my G.G.Grandfather been a native Irish speaker who picked it up in the home and that intergenerational transmission of language was broken when his son was born in 1860's. (Which basically follows most research into massive language shift Ireland underwent in 19th century)

I haven't listen to the show, but often shows such as this aimed specifically at English audience seem to forget that within UK to this day there are at least three Celtic languages spoken (Irish -- northern Ireland, Welsh -- Wales, Gaidhlig -- Scotland), along with revival efforts on two others (though Isle of Man is not in UK, Cornish been other). As a result they often seem to ignore actual Celtic linguistic communities and assume that "Celts were these distant Iron age people, or heck they spoke "Iron age" " ;)

Am I right in thinking that the mass emigration in the 19th century caused by the potato famine was a major factor in the decline of the Irish language?

Wales obviously has a different history to Ireland and Scotland and there was never any large scale emigration from Wales so this would partly explain how the Welsh have managed to retain their language better than other Celtic fringe nations.

The census from 2011 recorded 562,000 Welsh speakers which was 19% of the population. Of course, not all of these people are necessarily fluent/native speakers. I believe that the Welsh Language Board estimated that in 2006 there 320,000 people who could speak, read and write Welsh fluently and for whom Welsh was the first language.

Schanulleke
10-10-2015, 11:18 AM
Well, I don't agree with that. A Hottentot could be taught to speak Welsh or Gaelic. That wouldn't make him a Celt.

I identify as a Celt based on my heritage, and that includes my dna test results, especially my y-dna test results.

Sure, both are important,Agree...But language aswell.Im not taken extreme examples like a hottentot.

rms2
10-10-2015, 01:48 PM
Sure, both are important,Agree...But language aswell.Im not taken extreme examples like a hottentot.

That's not an extreme example at all. It's simply an example of someone without any Celtic heritage being taught to speak a Celtic language.

rms2
10-10-2015, 01:48 PM
I was also puzzled by the charge of "class bias." I can't see any evidence of that here in Cardiff.

I was going to expand on this Celtic-ness idea by discussing drinking habits in modern Britain, but maybe I'd better stop here.

Nah, go ahead. It would be interesting.

rms2
10-10-2015, 01:57 PM
Am I right in thinking that the mass emigration in the 19th century caused by the potato famine was a major factor in the decline of the Irish language?

Wales obviously has a different history to Ireland and Scotland and there was never any large scale emigration from Wales so this would partly explain how the Welsh have managed to retain their language better than other Celtic fringe nations.

The census from 2011 recorded 562,000 Welsh speakers which was 19% of the population. Of course, not all of these people are necessarily fluent/native speakers. I believe that the Welsh Language Board estimated that in 2006 there 320,000 people who could speak, read and write Welsh fluently and for whom Welsh was the first language.

You know, I'm not sure you're right when you say there never was any large scale emigration from Wales. My memory is a little hazy, but I seem to remember something in David Hackett Fischer's book, Albion's Seed, about whole districts in Wales emptying out in the 17th century because their inhabitants went to the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania. I could be wrong about that though.

I'm sure Welsh immigrants were nowhere near as numerous as Famine Era Irish immigrants, but I believe there was still a pretty substantial number of them.

J1 DYS388=13
10-10-2015, 06:36 PM
The histories of Ireland and Wales are so different. The English oppressed the Irish in every way, even advocating the extermination of the Irish in their own land. Or at least expelling them "to hell or Connaught." The English never did that to the Welsh. Although the speaking of Welsh was not allowed in schools, Welsh speaking communities remained intact.

An important factor in the survival of the Welsh language was the translation of the Bible into Welsh in the 16th century. With that, the Non-Conformist movement needed nothing else to start up countless churches (called chapels here). Some are still going.

The Welsh language now has every sort of support imaginable from the government and from every political party. Ironically, the latest "complaint" is that Welsh children leave their all Welsh speaking classrooms and speak English on the playground.

I don't have a dog in that fight. I'm not Welsh.

alan
10-10-2015, 06:56 PM
Depending where you are in the UK, rugby might be considered a sport of the middle class, whereas football is working class. I think that probably lies behind rncambron's reaction. Having noted that, I didn't read anything at all "classist" in J1 DYS388=13's post.

In some areas rugby is the sport of all classes like Wales and the Scottish borders and of course Rugby League (different rules) in NW England is very working class too. In other many other areas football (soccer) is the sport of most and Rugby is associated with posh private schools (confusingly for people in America, private schools are called 'Public Schools' in the UK) which means many feel they cannot relate to it.

alan
10-10-2015, 07:00 PM
Rugby World Cup in progress over here. Technically England is the host but many matches here in Cardiff. It is clearly, in part, Celtic tribal warfare, but under control --- rugby fans are cheery.

It's the football (soccer) fans who would like to kill you on the street here.

There has been very very little trouble in football for decades. Its not the 70s or 80s anymore. Its also incredibly expensive now at top level to go to games.

alan
10-10-2015, 07:03 PM
There has been very very little trouble in football for decades. Its not the 70s or 80s anymore. Its also incredibly expensive now at top level to go to games.

Having said that - Scotland, Ireland and Wales international fans have a reputation for being happy fun beer happy fans all over the world while England stands out as the odd man out for still having a thuggish element among their international fans (with absurd superiority complexes when we are talking about shaved headed dregs of society).

alan
10-10-2015, 07:10 PM
there is a phenomenon called 'the cringe' in Scotland and Wales where an element of the locals actually have been influences by the Anglocentric idea of all things Celtic as sort of fake or comic. There are a significant amount of people with very bad attitudes to Gaelic and Welsh in Scotland and Wales, weirdly including many people carrying surnames that show their ancestors not so long ago spoke these languages. Basically brainwashed.

rms2
10-10-2015, 11:20 PM
The histories of Ireland and Wales are so different. The English oppressed the Irish in every way, even advocating the extermination of the Irish in their own land. Or at least expelling them "to hell or Connaught." The English never did that to the Welsh. Although the speaking of Welsh was not allowed in schools, Welsh speaking communities remained intact.

An important factor in the survival of the Welsh language was the translation of the Bible into Welsh in the 16th century. With that, the Non-Conformist movement needed nothing else to start up countless churches (called chapels here). Some are still going.

The Welsh language now has every sort of support imaginable from the government and from every political party. Ironically, the latest "complaint" is that Welsh children leave their all Welsh speaking classrooms and speak English on the playground.

I don't have a dog in that fight. I'm not Welsh.

I think the English were pretty thorough in oppressing the Welsh and in suppressing the Catholic Church in Wales. Protestant sects don't just naturally flow from making translations of the abridged version of the Bible available in the vernacular. They grow from proselytizing.

avalon
10-11-2015, 10:23 AM
You know, I'm not sure you're right when you say there never was any large scale emigration from Wales. My memory is a little hazy, but I seem to remember something in David Hackett Fischer's book, Albion's Seed, about whole districts in Wales emptying out in the 17th century because their inhabitants went to the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania. I could be wrong about that though.

I'm sure Welsh immigrants were nowhere near as numerous as Famine Era Irish immigrants, but I believe there was still a pretty substantial number of them.

Albion's Seed is one of those books I keep meaning to read but never get round to. I think it's true that Welsh emigration to the US has perhaps been underestimated by some sources, perhaps because many left from English ports so were recorded as English. Also, after the Act of Union 1536, Welsh identity became more obscure through political union with England, so perhaps Welsh immigrants in America had less of an obvious identity.

By contrast the Scots-Irish folk movement of the 18th century was quite distinctive and then of course the mass migration from Ireland in the 19th century.

Even in Scotland, with the Highland Clearances you have a significant depopulation of rural areas for which there is no parallel in Welsh history.

avalon
10-11-2015, 11:06 AM
I think the English were pretty thorough in oppressing the Welsh and in suppressing the Catholic Church in Wales. Protestant sects don't just naturally flow from making translations of the abridged version of the Bible available in the vernacular. They grow from proselytizing.

J DYS388 is right that Wales, Scotland and Ireland have had different histories with England but I would still say that the Normans were pretty brutal in their treatment of the Welsh, particularly Hugh of Chester, Robert of Rhuddlan and the Marcher Lords who spent generations harrying the Welsh.

I always turn to historian RR Davies and his book Age of Conquest 1063-1415 which is an authority on Medieval Wales. His book goes into great detail over the two centuries of on/off warfare between England and Wales. The large number of castles in Wales is testament to this period of conflict. In the case of Gwynedd, it took a long time to be defeated by England, numerous English monarchs attempted it but it was Edward I who finally succeeded in 1282.

Davies does say that although the Welsh leaders (Llywelyn and Dafydd) met grisly ends at his behest, Edward I seems to have tried to create a peaceful settlement in North Wales and although the Welsh were often displaced from the fertile lowlands and forced to the hills, there wasn't any attempt to exterminate or victimise the ordinary Welsh people.

alan
10-11-2015, 11:56 AM
Albion's Seed is one of those books I keep meaning to read but never get round to. I think it's true that Welsh emigration to the US has perhaps been underestimated by some sources, perhaps because many left from English ports so were recorded as English. Also, after the Act of Union 1536, Welsh identity became more obscure through political union with England, so perhaps Welsh immigrants in America had less of an obvious identity.

By contrast the Scots-Irish folk movement of the 18th century was quite distinctive and then of course the mass migration from Ireland in the 19th century.

Even in Scotland, with the Highland Clearances you have a significant depopulation of rural areas for which there is no parallel in Welsh history.

As well as the highland clearances, people tend to overlook the effect of the same potato famine as Ireland in the highlands of Scotland where the potato had also become vital. Although the death toll was nowhere near as high, the displacement factor was actually higher in the highlands of Scotland with a third of the population leaving the highlands. This is of course on top of the highland clearances where the landlords kicked out the locals in favour of sheep for over a century from the late 18th century. Combined, the removal of the highland Scottish population was probably on an even larger scale than in Ireland and today the once densely occupied area is very sparsely populated. As in Ireland, Gaelic has been critically damaged by these population upheavals.

alan
10-11-2015, 11:58 AM
J DYS388 is right that Wales, Scotland and Ireland have had different histories with England but I would still say that the Normans were pretty brutal in their treatment of the Welsh, particularly Hugh of Chester, Robert of Rhuddlan and the Marcher Lords who spent generations harrying the Welsh.

I always turn to historian RR Davies and his book Age of Conquest 1063-1415 which is an authority on Medieval Wales. His book goes into great detail over the two centuries of on/off warfare between England and Wales. The large number of castles in Wales is testament to this period of conflict. In the case of Gwynedd, it took a long time to be defeated by England, numerous English monarchs attempted it but it was Edward I who finally succeeded in 1282.

Davies does say that although the Welsh leaders (Llywelyn and Dafydd) met grisly ends at his behest, Edward I seems to have tried to create a peaceful settlement in North Wales and although the Welsh were often displaced from the fertile lowlands and forced to the hills, there wasn't any attempt to exterminate or victimise the ordinary Welsh people.

Maybe not physical extermination but I think you are downplaying the cultural suppression and marginalisation somewhat.

avalon
10-11-2015, 01:49 PM
Maybe not physical extermination but I think you are downplaying the cultural suppression and marginalisation somewhat.

I have no idea how you got that impression from my post? I could write pages about how the medieval English took the best agricultural land in Wales for themselves, or how 14th century Welshmen were marginalised in the castle boroughs, or how the Victorians attempted to suppress the Welsh language through education but I didn't mention any of that in my post.

I was just making a few points about the levels of violence during the 12/13th century, which was quite bad and usually perpetuated by the Normans. But I have never read of any attempt to exterminate the Welsh, expect perhaps some of the ruling Welsh dynasties.

avalon
10-11-2015, 04:26 PM
As well as the highland clearances, people tend to overlook the effect of the same potato famine as Ireland in the highlands of Scotland where the potato had also become vital. Although the death toll was nowhere near as high, the displacement factor was actually higher in the highlands of Scotland with a third of the population leaving the highlands. This is of course on top of the highland clearances where the landlords kicked out the locals in favour of sheep for over a century from the late 18th century. Combined, the removal of the highland Scottish population was probably on an even larger scale than in Ireland and today the once densely occupied area is very sparsely populated. As in Ireland, Gaelic has been critically damaged by these population upheavals.


I did not know that about the potato famine in Scotland, I guess I learned something new today!

On your point about the decline of Gaelic, that was basically my point with respect to Welsh. The Welsh have never had a potato famine or a highland clearances type event that decimated the rural population. So, this is one of the reasons that Welsh has managed to survive (562,000 speakers currently) to an extent that Gaelic has not.

My knowledge of Irish history is fairly basic but the general impression I have, when I think of Cromwell and the like, and this may be wrong, is that Ireland's relationship with England was a more protracted and bloodier conflict than England's relationship with Wales. Of course, that is not to say that the Welsh did not suffer too. As someone who is 75% Welsh I am more than aware of the many centuries of domination by our more powerful neighbour.