Reply To: Who’s afraid of the big bad witch?

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum Who’s afraid of the big bad witch? Reply To: Who’s afraid of the big bad witch?


    Dowrgi, I am talking about the language that Taliesin wrote in, he wrote in an old form of welsh. I don’t know about irish, Plus the Cornish had their own language deal. and The welsh were not Brits, you are dreaming on that one.

    The Taliesin of the 6th century CE probably composed in Cumbric. The Common Brittonic (P-Celtic) languages of Britain only started to diverge into Old Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Cumbric at that time. We don’t know enough about Pictish to be sure, but recent scholarship suggests it may also have been a Brittonic language. Allowing for dialect differences, these early forms of the respective languages are likely to have been mutually intelligible, perhaps to such an extent that their speakers wouldn’t have noticed much more than accent. Moreover, Cornish and Breton were difficult to distinguish from each other until the Middle Ages, and still retained a mutual intelligibility, according to historical accounts, until the mid-18th century. This high level of similarity has actually made it difficult in the past for historians working with manuscripts to determine exactly which language they’re dealing with. As a person with some knowledge of the Cornish language and who has also travelled in Brittany, I can attest to the similarities at a basic level – especially with place names, likewise in Wales, albeit to a lesser extent.

    The word Britain, via Latin Britannia, is supposed to derive from Celtic *Pritani, giving rise to the word British – Brythonaidd/Prydeinig in Welsh, Brythonek/Predennek in Cornish and Predenek in Breton – the similarities are already there to be seen. In the Welsh literature of the Middle Ages, we find the word Brythoniaid (Britons) referring to the Welsh, gradually being superseded by the word Cymry (Companions/Compatriots) – also remembered in the word Cumbria. Despite not being unified in one kingdom as such, this sense of being Britons, ergo not Saxons, is alluded to in Armes Prydein Vawr (Taliesin Book VI) and elsewhere in the early literature. Moving on, the Bretons call themselves Bretons, i.e. Britons, and live in Brittany because they trace their cultural origins to Britain, Brittany being “Little Britain” – in fact Great Britain is known as Great Britain to distinguish it from Brittany. Therefore, looking at the ancient literature and the linguistics, it would suggest that a common sense of being Britons, of being peoples coming from the same cultural background and origin is common to all three Celtic nations.

    Now, if we consider the words that others used, it seems to back this up: Welsh comes from Anglo-Saxon and originally meant “foreigner”, Cornwall (Kernow) was also called West Wales and the Cornish were referred to (by the Anglo-Saxons/English) as the “West Welsh” or “Cornish Welsh” – something which continued up until relatively recent historical times, the name “Corn-wall” in English being “Cornish Wales”, to which you might add that there is also Cornouaille in Brittany (Kernev). These strands of culture, language and identity twist around each other like a Celtic knot.

    In conclusion, I’d argue that there are no historical, linguistic or cultural bases to say that the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons are not Britons within the context of Celtic studies. We don’t really use the word “Brit” in the UK that much anyway, so I think you need to be careful with your nomenclature and not confuse British in a cultural and geographical sense with the English/UK establishment of the past. While it is probably fair to say that most people in the UK are still fond of their heritage, be it Welsh, English, Cornish, Highland Scots, or even more recent arrivals to these shores, the word British actually unites all of us as pertaining to this island, our passports say British at the end of the day. We also understand how we are all related to each other anyway.

    Try telling a glassweign that he is a Britt.,

    I’ve been to Glasgow and I know plenty of Scots people who don’t mind being called “British”, if you say English, that might be another matter.:-D
    Nationalism is toxic, it poisons everything, I’d steer well clear.