Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

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Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

Postby Glas » Tue 28 Apr 2009 6:24 pm

Anybody else heard of the attempts to revive the old language of Cumbria (or The Old North) - Cumbric?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AAHwTL_jZw Here's a video on it. (Please ignore any anti-'Scoti-Anglo-Saxon' comments, I'm not here to have an argument!)

From the few phrases I've found here and there over the internet, it seems a little too close to Welsh for me. I know there are plenty of languages that are mutually intelligable but is it a good idea to revive one that is so similar to a language that already needs some help to get along?

Either way, being the total Brythonic-fangirl that I am, I'd learn it anyway out of respect.
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Re: Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

Postby linguoboy » Tue 28 Apr 2009 9:13 pm

How can you "revive" a language that we don't even have any records for? Neo-Cornish is based on a decent-sized body of texts from the early modern period. All we have for Cumbric are some counting rhymes of debatable origin (some people argue they were introduced by Welsh shepherds rather than being of indigenous origin) and place names. You can't even attempt to build an adequate model of a language based on such scanty relics.

Anything purporting to be "revived Cumbric" is a conlang based on reconstructed Brythonic, much like the "Old Devonian" of Joseph Biddulph.
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Re: Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

Postby Glas » Mon 25 May 2009 3:57 pm

I suppose. This guy says that he's 'found some Cumbric manuscripts' - not quite sure how believable that is.
I still have this feeling that they should be speaking a Celtic language in Cumbria though, considering it has such a rich Celtic history, closely linked to Wales. But then the same could be said for most of Britain.
Do you think it would ever catch on? There seem to be quite a few enthusiasts already.
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Re: Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

Postby linguoboy » Mon 25 May 2009 5:21 pm

Glas wrote:I suppose. This guy says that he's 'found some Cumbric manuscripts' - not quite sure how believable that is.

Oh, that's perfectly plausible. After all, it's every day that self-taught amateurs make breakthrough discoveries that have eluded the best minds in the field for generations. By the way, did I mention that I found the Holy Grail in my cupboard last week? Look for my self-published book on it next month!

I still have this feeling that they should be speaking a Celtic language in Cumbria though, considering it has such a rich Celtic history, closely linked to Wales. But then the same could be said for most of Britain.

I don't really think there are any "should"s in this matter. On the one hand, it's an accident of history that Cumbrians now speak English. Then again, it's another accident of history that they once spoke Brythonic.

Do you think it would ever catch on? There seem to be quite a few enthusiasts already.

How many is "quite a few"? Popularising a conlang takes hundreds, and even then it's an iffy proposition.
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Re: Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

Postby Glas » Mon 25 May 2009 5:47 pm

No, I know. I think I just want to believe him and be supportive, because I think it's a great idea. I know it's ridiculous. I just wonder why somebody would bother lying about this sort of thing, really. I'm starting to lose faith in mankind! :lol:

Fair enough on the "accident of history" bit. I think this is just the attitude a lot of us 'Celts' have. "Give us back our land, give us back our language", etc. I still think it would be nice for Cumbria to speak a Celtic language though. The Old North is where Wales' oldest poetry comes from, right? They deserve to have something, some sort of recognition.

Fair enough, then. I only know of a few YouTubers. Not that many!
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Re: Cwmbraic / Cumbric?

Postby linguoboy » Mon 25 May 2009 6:16 pm

Glas wrote:No, I know. I think I just want to believe him and be supportive, because I think it's a great idea. I know it's ridiculous. I just wonder why somebody would bother lying about this sort of thing, really. I'm starting to lose faith in mankind!

The Celtic Revival is absolutely shot through with this sort of nonsense. Although James Macpherson is better known due to the worldwide attention accorded his Ossian poems, for my money the all-time master is Iolo Morgannwg (a.k.a. Edward Williams). He not only invented the Gorsedd of the Bards and modern Druidism essentially out of whole cloth but also was such a skilled forger of Old Welsh poetry that experts are still trying to separate his inventions from genuine survivals of Taliesin and Aneurin.

Fair enough on the "accident of history" bit. I think this is just the attitude a lot of us 'Celts' have. "Give us back our land, give us back our language", etc. I still think it would be nice for Cumbria to speak a Celtic language though

I appreciate your use of scare quotes around 'Celts', recognising that this is a sort of invented identity in the modern world. After all, what makes the Cumbrians so special just because a Celtic language survived marginally longer in their neck of Britain than elsewhere?

The Old North is where Wales' oldest poetry comes from, right? They deserve to have something, some sort of recognition.

Such as what?
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