English and Its Historical Development, Part 02

(The Celts settled in Britain in about 500 B.C.)

Celts settled in Britain in 500 B.C.
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Only a few traces of the Celtic or Roman languages have survived from this period

The first people in England about whose language we have definite knowledge are the Celts. Celtic was the first Indo-European tongue to be spoken in England and it is still spoken by a considerable number of people.

Whatever the original accents of the British Isles may have been, as laid down by the prehistoric Celts, they were altered and revised by repeated waves of invaders that crossed the Channel in historic time; such as, the Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, and finally the Normans.

There was one other language besides Celtic, which happened to be Latin, that was spoken rather extensively for a period of about four centuries before the coming of English. Latin was introduced when Britain became a province of the Roman Empire.

Before the dawn of recorded history, the British Isles were visited, overrun, and conquered by two separate groups of Celtic invaders, speaking tongues which were the remote ancestors of present-day Gaelic and Welsh.

The ancient Celts were great wanderers and conquerors

Evidence of the extensive wanderings and conquests of the Celts is evidenced by the fact that traces of their civilizations are to be found in the valleys of the Rhine and Danube, the crest of the Alps, northwestern Spain, northern Italy, practically all of France, the Balkans, and the kingdom of Galatia in Asia Minor.

In Gaul, their Druids used Greek letters; in Italy, the Etruscan alphabet, at a time when the Romans had barely emerged from their rustic illiteracy. There is not much evidence that the high civilization of the continental Celts extended to their British kinsmen.

Proceed to Part 3, Romans invaded Britain and ruled Celts, A.D. 43-410.

INDEX or Table of Contents, English and its historical development.

References: sources of information.